Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rain and Trucks

My two least favorite things on a road trip are rain and the eighteen wheelers which splash mist into the air making it very hard to see even cars that are well lighted. This is how we spent the major portion of today's trek through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia (From Statesville, NC to Brunswick, GA).

We got an early start and were very optimistic. We thought it would be an easy travel day - we had planned for an early stop in Brunswick to rest up from yesterday's trek.

Right away we ran into rush hour around Statesville. It was stop and go for 15 for 20 minutes - bumper to bumper, complicated by heavy rain and more trucks than you can shake a stick at. There was a parade of red tail lights as far as the eye could see ahead of us - a little disconcerting!

After we cleared that mess, the weather let up some, and then it rained off and on for the rest of the trip. The trucks didn't let up though. Trying to share the road with the big truckers makes you a big fan of sending freight by rail.

In South Carolina we saw two bizarre incidents along the highway. In the first case, a police car was checking out a wrecked new model car on an exit ramp. The front of the car was badly smashed in and it was just sitting there - no indication of ambulance, wrecker, etc.

The second event was even more unnerving - the car was on the right shoulder of the freeway, headed right at us on an upward curve to the left. There wasn't a lot of shoulder because of the guardrail along the curve. A man appeared to be getting out of the car - almost as though this had just happened. It appeared that the car went out of control on the curve, hit the guardrail, was smashed in the front, and was turned around backwards. At 70 mph it's hard to take it all in, but it was definitely interesting to say the least. Again, no evidence of wrecker. Bizarre.

After we rested, we drove around Brunswick to see what we could see. There's a huge bridge to Jekyll Island. We found a middle school with some event going on - cars were parked everywhere - the lot was full and so were the surrounding streets. We had no idea what the attraction was.

Drove down streets of really nice, big homes reminiscent of 6th Street, and other streets that were woe-begone and God forsaken. I noticed that the residents, black, white and in-between all like to sit on the porch in the evening.

Back to the motel and over to Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q for dinner. Luscious ribs - comfortable family atmosphere - it was a pleasure to be there.

The accent in Georgia sounds to be the typical southern stereotypical accent. At Sonny's I heard a man ordering - "I'll have this here...that there." Huh?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Heading South

From Marion, Ohio to Statesville, North Carolina - this was a long haul - too many hours in the car!

We finally made it through Ohio, by way of Columbus. Our neighbor, Tom Mc. said he never thought that Dick woud ever go anywhere near Columbus. I told Tom that we kept our eyes shut all the way through.

Then we were in West by God Virginia - beautiful mountain scenery. It was mostly enjoyable, except that in one small town where we stopped for coffee there was a sign on the bridge saying "Only one bus or truck at a time". Doesn't give you a lot of confidence.

Four States today - Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. In southern Ohio, WV and VA forget about looking for an NPR station. I think most likely the mountains make for bad recepton anyway. North Carolina has lots of NPR.

We stopped for lunch north of Beckley in West Virginia at a Biscuit House, which is a chain of little restaurants in the area. I had a sausage biscuit with egg on the biggest biscuit ever. I may never eat another biscuit in this lifetime!

Across the street from the Biscuit House is the Omelet Shoppe - shades of T.C. !

On the way to Virginia the highway takes you through two long, long, magnificent tunnels. As you exit the second tunnel, the East River Mountain Tunnel, you're suddenly in Virginia.

Observation: In WV and VA the locals speak with a definite southern accent - very noticeable. In North Carolina, not so much. The service people that we met up with sounded just like us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunshine on Our Shoulders

Great travel day. You just have to love moderate traffic, blue skies and sunshine.

It was such a great day that it was hard to imagine what had happened to the rollover we saw on US 23 by Ann Arbor. A small gray car had rolled off the road, down a slope, and ended up quite a long way into a field - it must have rolled several times. People were there checking it out - we couldn't tell when it had happened. Go figure.

The trip was pretty much uneventful, except for the gas station incident at the Dundee exit.

The bathrooms were closed and the sign said "Use the bathrooms on the other side of the building". This involved a cooperative search with other seekers. Those available bathrooms were not marked with any recognizable signs. The hallway said Big Riggers. There was eventual success. The bathrooms were back by the showers for the long haul truckers. What a treat!

Even more memorable was the coffee station where I wanted to get coffee for Dick. A young man was there with a pressurized cannister of something and he had it hooked onto the machine. When he turned it on, the pressurized hose nozzle blew off with quite a bit of force, hitting an employee in the face. She seemed to be OK after a few seconds, but that has to leave a mark! He said, "Let me try it this way", so I decided to move on out of the store and just keep going.

We're in Marion, Ohio - a nice motel, but no elevator. Tomorrow we get to drive through Columbus (wince).

Ohio is not the most scenic State you can drive through - (cornfield, cornfield, mosque, cornfield). At the risk of repeating myself, here's part of one of my favorite poems from my blog of July. 2008:

When I go back to Michigan I drive through Ohio.
There is off I-75 in Ohio a mosque, so life
goes corn corn corn mosque, I wave at Islam,
which we're not getting along with
on account of the Towers as I pass.
Then Ohio goes corn corn corn
billboard, goodbye, Islam. You never forget
how to be from Michigan when you're from Michigan.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Any Port in a Storm

Driving around town after the game we spotted this old freighter anchored in West Bay.

Turns out it's The Maumee, one of the oldest freighters still operating on the Great Lakes. It was seeking shelter from 40 mile an hour winds and 15 foot waves out on the big lake.

Dick took this great picture of the ship, which is much better than the photo that the Record Eagle ran, if I do say so myself!

Humble Pie in Columbus


Wolverines Fall in Regular-Season Finale at No. 8 OSU


Denard Robinson rushed for more than 100 yards (105) for the ninth time this season, Jordan Kovacs notched a team-high 17 tackles and an interception, and Michael Shaw scored U-M's lone touchdown in a 37-7 loss at No. 8 Ohio State.

Paraphrasing the words of John Denver re: The coach who shall not be named:

Country roads, take him home, to the place he belongs -
West Virginia, mountain mama, take him home, country roads.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving dinner with family - yay! Barb, Jim, Adam, Melanie, Lydia, and Izzy - thank you :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lake City

Time to head home. We bought a map and took back roads all the way home - very enjoyable. Ate lunch in Lake City at the Hometown Cafe.

Their front windows are painted with decorative snowmen. Waiting for our food, all of a sudden I noticed the theme of the snowmen and it cracked me up. The MSU snowman is skating along proudly and competently and smiling. Check out the Michigan snowman - he's very unsure of himself, he has weak ankles, and he's in danger of a fall. The look on his face is exactly the way we feel today! We got a good chuckle out of these paintings. The waitress said that they are done by "some lady" in town. She's a crackerjack, whoever she may be.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beautiful Saturday

Long underwear, jackets, scarves and mittens - we were very bundled up for this game. It was supposed to be in the low 30s at kickoff with a high of maybe 42 at the end of the game. Instead, the sun was brilliant and very warm, and the people were packed in cheek to cheek, so to speak. We were never even a little bit chilly. The sky was blue, and it was really a very nice day, weather-wise.

It was Senior Day - the last home game. The introduction of the senior players was very well done - they walked the gauntlet one at a time, accompanied by their families, and in one case by the player's high school coach. It was very enjoyable and there was cheering during the entire parade. That will be remembered by them forever.

All of our seatmates were there, except for Noah and Holden. Kim came by herself. Heather and Justin used our extra tickets. It's always very much fun to see everybody and hear all of the latest news. I especially enjoyed talking to Kim and Heather.

I wangled an invitation to Holden's Bar Mitzvah next fall - we would love to be there - we've known him (sort of) since he was a babe in arms. Evidently their temple shares space with an Episcopal Church, and according to Kim, the Bar Mitzvah there is not quite so formal - not everything the boy does is in Hebrew, just special parts. Holden has been going to Hebrew school since the third grade.

Heather is a genuine Harry Potter fan. She hasn't seen the newest movie yet, but we had a great discussion of the series, the movies, and the Deathly Hallows. She's usually very quiet, but she got animated talking about Harry, and it was a real treat for me. I had a very pleasant, social afternoon.

Oh yes, we lost the game. It was 24-0 at the half. I asked Dick to take this picture to prove that our team actually came out for the second half - that's how intrepid our team is:

Robinson Breaks Two NCAA Records, U-M Falls to No. 6 Wisconsin

Nov. 20, 2010
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Stadium)
Score: #6 Wisconsin 48, Michigan 28
Records: U-M (7-4, 3-4 Big Ten), Wisconsin (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten)
Attendance: 112,276 (sellout)
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Nov. 27 -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), Noon (TV: ABC)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach HS) racked up 360 yards of total offense (239 pass, 2 TDs; 121 yards, 2 TDs) to become the first NCAA quarterback to rush for 1,500 yards and pass for 2,000 yards in the same season while breaking the NCAA record for most rushing yards by a quarterback (1,538), but the University of Michigan football team could not overcome a 24-0 first-half deficit in a 48-28 loss to Wisconsin (No. 6 AP/No. 5 Coaches) on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 20) at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines closed the deficit to 10 points twice in the third quarter before the Badgers used their relentless running game -- 357 yards and six touchdowns -- to pull away in the final stanza.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Sniders are in California, so we're spending the night tonight in Jackson at the Comfort Inn. It's a noon game tomorrow, so we want to be close, but not too close.

The roads were clear, traffic was light, and so we hade an uneventful trip, thank goodness.

The motel room is very nice, very comfortable, and no bed bugs :) I enjoyed their fall decorations very much. The pictures don't really do them justice - we took the pics at night - it looked beter in the daylight, but you get the general idea.
Cute table decorations in the breakfast room:

This display was over the exit:

We ate dinner at the nearby Red Lobster, and it was very yummy .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Visual Treats

In Traverse City, the number one visual treat currently is this mural of the waterfront. It's made up of hand-painted tiles, painted by many different hands at many different events. It's on the Ace Hardware Building on Front Street

Driving around town today we were in sunshine one minute and blowing snow the next. Our town has so much to appreciate - it should be appreciated before the blizzards of winter come galloping across Lake Michigan and cover everything up!

Soon we'll be surrounded by Christmas decorations, and this beautiful late fall November we've been enjoying will be gone. We enjoyed checking out some of the treasures of our town this morning.

This one's a real treat - on Union Street near 14th. I love the gracefulness of the bikes riding down the hill.

The Visitor Center entrance looks very welcoming.

Everybody's favorite statue is the bike lesson at Clinch Park.

Lady Liberty on the Boardman - she's behind a big ugly building - this is definitely the good side of the building!

On the porch at Folgarelli's:

Nobody's favorite - The Guardian of the River, by the Chamber of Commerce:

Fancy metalwork at the new hand surgery building at Front and Division:

Fall bounty at the Fruit Dock on Front Street.

In front of the old Courthouse:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Streak

Oh boy! Two wins in a row - it's a streak! Our poor team is so inept that it would be laughable if it weren't so very sad.

Football Holds Off Purdue for Second Straight Win
James Rogers had two interceptions and Cameron Gordon recovered two fumbles, including one he returned 58 yards for a touchdown, to lead a defense that forced five turnovers and held Purdue without an offensive TD in a 27-16 Wolverine win.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tribute to Richard!

MiTuCats logged our Welcome to Traverse City cache yesterday. It's a nice recognition of the ingenuity of the leader of our team - well deserved, in my opinion.

November 10 by MiTuCats (1020 found)

It's been a long time since we had the privilege of finding a Basswoodbend cache, so this was high on our list of caches to find while the Best Half was attending a conference in Acme. The mention of the regional maps at the Welcome Center added to the allure.

Unthinkingly, I arrived at the site just as the workers at the Welcome Center were straggling in for the day. With two particular Basswoodbend caches in my mind, I was hunting in a likely location when a young lady came along and asked if she could help me. Since she was heading for the Welcome Center, I knew she would be aware of the existence of the cache so I told her I was just looking for the geocache. She said something like "Oh, I know it's here but not exactly where. From what I've heard, you're looking in the right place." I spent another 20 minutes or so searching with no luck, then went inside. I had a nice chat with the lady at the desk, left a signature card in the inside cache and signed that log and acquired a VERY nice map of the area. The lady then asked me if I had found the outside cache and I said "no". She told me it was NOT where I had been looking (contrary to former information) but she didn't want to give me any further advice because she figured I'd prefer to find it myself (she was right!). I then went back out and within a minute had found the cache in a location
that I would have checked earlier if it hadn't been for some well-informed but incorrect advice.

I hadn't been aware that the Welcome Center existed (in fact it didn't the last time we were in the area) so thanks for leading us here and for the caches.

I signed both logs, left a signature card inside and took nothing but memories. As usual, I greatly enjoyed your cache. There are about 6 geocaching teams in Michigan that we find consistently place higher than average quality caches, Basswoodbend is one of those teams and we greatly appreciate the few opportunities we have to hunt your hides.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monthly Meet and Greet at B C Pizza

We were glad that we were back in town to attend this meet and greet. It was a small but intensely fun gathering of our favorite up north cachers. Had a chance to talk to Fins and Feathers, Halanski Expedition, Jerry and Lydia, Tim and Susie, Sherry and Denny, Team Peterson, Jeff of the Evil Eye, Don and Marty and somebody who left early and I didn't catch their names (blush).

We had an excellent time, ate some good pizza, and got lots of hugs.

Thanks to Halanski for the pictures.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Michigan Football? Or a Disney Movie...

This day had everything. Moderate fall temperatures, blue sky and sunshine for starters. No traffic jams on the way to the Stadium - what's up with that? All of our seatmates came today - so we had Tony and Sharron, George and Alice, Kim and Holden, and Young George, not to mention Justin and Emily! We were crowded but happy. It was great to have everybody there.

The band did our all-time favorite Blues Band number during the pre-game show - that's always a treat. There was a fly-over after the national anthem - always thrilling.

It was a day to honor Veterans, so during the pre-game show the gauntlet for the players was lined with gold star families and two huge flags were displayed on the field.

All during the game members and veterans of the different military branches were asked to stand and be recognized - that was a nice touch.

And then there was the game. Holy Cow. It took 14 seconds for the first touchdown to be scored, and little did we know then that we would see 132 points scored this afternoon. It was 31-31 at the half, and I jokingly asked Justin, "Do you really think they'll score 60 points today?" Ha! At the end of regulation time the score was 52-52. After 3 overtimes this scoring circus finally ended at 67-65. Does that sound like a football game score? Cheesh. Anyway the maize and blue pulled it out at the end amazingly enough. We were exhausted!

We all agreed that the half time show was the best of the season!

Then home to Sniders' for pizza and a nice warm fire. What a day.

From mgoblue:

Shaw, Hemingway Cap Come-From-Behind, Triple OT Win over Illini
Roy Roundtree set the single-game receiving record (246 yards) as Michael Shaw's one-yard run and Junior Hemingway's two-point catch sent U-M to a 67-65 win over Illinois in three overtimes.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Snow! Oh No!

This is what our yard looked like this morning when we got up.

We drove through a veritable blizzard from home to Cadillac - it was a slippery white-out. Dick estimates 3 inches of the white stuff. The traffic on 131 was going 35 mph. South of Cadillac things cleared up, and the rest of the trip was uneventful, thank goodness.

Dick wore his new Lloyd Carr shirt so Bill could "appreciate" it