Saturday, June 8, 2013

On The Road (St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada)

We left you as we returned from the Virgin Islands.  Great trip!!!   Upon arriving home we shifted gears promptly to getting ready to travel with our beloved dogs in the truck and fifth wheel. We had a few doctor check ups, haircuts  and three outings for dinner with wonderful friends.  We also had to regretfully conclude our volunteering with the Green Valley Animal League.  We do love that place.  We hit the road 15 May.  We begin with a 3 day drive to Iowa to visit with Debbie's son Ryan.  We use to drive 200-250 miles a day but we're steadily increasing that distance.  We arrived in Iowa 18 May and didn't depart until 28 May.  We camped at the Cass County Fairgrounds.  It was nice.

Much of the time we had the place to ourselves. One night there was a 4H horse club activity with horses and people. There also was a 4H cattle show over the weekend that brought in lots of campers.  These activities simply added texture to the fabric of our stay (poetic?).  While in Iowa we ate too well, went to the movies, and got a little exercise walking and biking. 

We spent an afternoon in Council Bluffs, IA at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.  If you're a railroad buff it's a must.  For the rest of us it was wonderfully interesting.  If history, construction of the railroads or current operation/maintenance interests you at all then a stop here is time well spent. 

Debbie and I also spent a day visiting Sioux Falls, SD.  While there we spent a little time at the Falls Park (you know - Sioux Falls).  It was quite pretty with a nice dash of history.

After big hugs with Ryan we spent 2 days driving to Shipshewanna, IN.  This is the third largest Amish community in the country. (The other two being in PA and OH). Crafts of the area include meat and cheese, cute stuff and enormously beautiful, well crafted furniture.  All this was evident at their huge flea market as well as multiple shops and stores throughout the community. Lots of buggies and Amish folk in traditional clothing.

I felt the highlight of our stop there was a visit of 3+ hours at Menno-Hof. 

This is a large interpretive center established to explain the Amish/Mennonite culture/religion to visitors.  I thought they explained their unique lifestyle in a comprehensive, understandable manner.  You've got to applaud their sense of industry and community. 

We also spent time at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart. IN.  If you're an RV'er it's a must.

This is info about the camper Duane is checking out above
Much of the museum is devoted to displaying early model campers.  Some you could actually enter. Great fun.

From IN we headed to my home state of Ohio arriving 31 May.  I grew up there but haven't lived there since, I think, 1973.  My brother, Danny, and his family all live in the greater Mentor, OH area.  My sister-in-law works at Lake Erie College and she arranged for us to "camp" at their equestrian center.  We had the place to ourselves with the exception of a few stable hands and beautiful horses.  It was a wonderful setting with rolling green hills, mature trees and gorgeous pastures.

So we had a wonderful time!  The four of us, Duane, Debbie Danny (he's about 3 years older) and Lorraine spend much of our time acting foolish and laughing.  It was great to see "the kids", they're all in their mid 30's, and their children.  Debbie and I milked the Aunt and Uncle thing and had a joyous good time. Danny and Lorraine are gracious hosts entertaining us greatly and making us feel wonderfully loved. We ate well and had some very nice outings.

We spent 6+ hours at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and could have spent 12. 

If you've enjoyed any form of contemporary music in your lifetime then this is a great place to visit. There is infinite music, endless displays, movie footage and fun facts for everyone.

This is our second visit and we look forward to returning again.

Debbie loved the interactive display where she could look up the popular DJ's she remembered from her teenage years in the PA/NJ area.

And  brace yourself......the Rolling Stones have been at it for 50 YEARS!!!!! 


We also visited the closed Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, OH.  Debbie and I are both retired prison people but that really had very little to do with our visit.  It's a great old building with ongoing renovations and a varied history. Shawshank Redemption and other movies were filmed there and, if you believe, you may encounter ghosts. 

I took off solo for a morning to go meet an old friend I've known since the 5th grade.  John and I hadn't seen each other for about 40 years.  We met in Macedonia, OH and sat in a Bob Evans for about 3 hours talking.  It was great to see you John!

I'm not a gun guy but Danny is a genuine enthusiast.  So another great outing was a visit to his gun club.  Danny, Lorraine and I all did some shooting.  Debbie has done some shooting back in her days with the SC Dept of Corrections but those days are past.  Danny (Dan to everyone but me) has, shall we say, MANY  guns and he brought a varied assortment for us to shoot .  We started with a  22 hand gun then a rifle.  Then we moved on to a 45 then stepped up to the cannon, a 44 magnum.  He also broke out the AR 17 (I think) but there was a jamming problem so we only popped off a few rounds.   We wrapped up the day with some trap shooting.  Danny loves his gun club so it was nice for me to experience some of it with him.  His instructions were very helpful and he was oh so patient.  Love ya bro!

We also spent a wonderfully pleasant half day at the Holden Arboretum. What a beautiful place!

Lunch by Lorraine was included.  Check out Danny's great labels!  Nice.

Extremely well done!  So we just had a very nice time.  Thanks Dan! (and Lorraine)

From there we headed north, drove 1100+miles spread over 3 days arriving at St. Martins, New Brunswick Canada 7 June.  That was last night.  Today it's VERY windy, VERY rainy with temps in the low 50's.  Good day to blog.