Friday, August 29, 2014

No Buses Allowed!

It is always hard to say good-bye - but, it always seems that there is another wonderful experience around the next bend.  Or - across the next bridge - or span of water.  And, as always, we have to find that perfect lunch spot to ease us from one adventure to the next --

Can you believe there are such beautiful 'roadside stops'?  Think they make them just for Magic!

Our next stop was St. Ignace, MI - one of the gateways to Mackinac Island.  We were 'promised' a Lake Michigan view from our spot - AND WE WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED!  The pictures will speak for themselves.

Our base camp - complete with canons just in case the pirates came ashore;-)

Overlooking Lake Michigan for cocktail hour.

A bucket list item on our travel list was Mackinac Island - and it was checked off this past week.  As the title of the post indicates - Magic was left behind as part of the charm of the island is NO cars - horse drawn carriages and bikes only.

We left the banks of the mainland behind as we boarded our ferry bound for the Island.  The trip over was brief but informative as it included a 'turn under the bridge' that connects the lower peninsula to the upper peninsula of Michigan.  As the ferry passed under the bridge, we went from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan and back to Lake Huron again.  Not sure how one lake becomes another, but that is what the map says!  This bridge, when built, was the longest suspension bridge in existence and is high enough for large freighters to pass under.  Something to see from underneath.

On your left..Lake Huron.  On your right..Lake Michigan.
The day could not have been more perfect.  It went from a slight drizzle on the way over - to clear - to a few clouds to keep things cool - to clear again.  As the ferry approached Mackinac Island, we were treated to wonderful views of the downtown area complete with the rows and rows of bikes for rent and the colorful village shops - half of which are fudge shops;-)!!!!

No buses or cars allowed, only bikes and horse drawn vehicles.

E found her new ride, champagne in the cooler and all!

We took the horse drawn carriage tour of the island, which gave lots of history and a terrific overview of the Island.  One of the stops was the Butterfly Conservancy.  Not sure what it was about Gary, but they loved his hat and shirt --

Hitchhiking butterfly on G's cap.
Our final stop was the historic Grand Hotel - and Grand it is!  The hotel was constructed in the late 19th century by - you guessed it - a consortium of railroads AND the Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company.  The front porch is purportedly the longest in the world at some 660 feet overlooking a vast garden.  E & G took full advantage of the gardens and the porch --

Horse and carriage.

The Grand Hotel viewed from the gardens - we had our drinks between the two flags just right of center;-)

The gardens viewed from the porch..

Our spot on the porch overlooking the gardens.
WHAT A FANTASTIC DAY!  E felt like she had spent the day at Kellerman's (think Dirty Dancing).

But, just as always, all good things must come to an end.  It was time to leave yesteryear behind, board the ferry and come back to the rat race.  Before we completely left Mackinac and St. Ignace behind, though, we had one last beautiful look at Lake Michigan - -

Sunset views from Magic's spot.

Good night from Elizabeth & Gary;-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Door County

The last few days have been wonderfully spent in Door County, WI with friends Gary and Chuck.  Our introduction was thru our campsite in Egg Harbor - which was adjacent to the golf course we played and in the middle of an apple orchard.   A beautiful spot to spend a few days --

Magic's Door County Digs.
We had lots of fun exploring the many harbors of Door Co - beginning with Egg Harbor - our home base.

Strolling Egg Harbor.
After spending one day exploring the western side of the peninsula, which is the shoreline of Green Bay, we ventured to the eastern side of the peninsula, which is on the Lake Michigan side.

Cherry Mimosas with our friends (and very capable guides) Gary and Chuck on Lake Michigan.

Cherries and apples are everywhere in Door County.  There is cherry pie, chocolate cherries, cherry juice (used in mimosas instead of OJ!), cherry salsa, etc. etc. etc.  There are also lots of lighthouses.

One of many local light houses.

We golfed in this apple orchard.

There are lots of other unusual sights - all very charming ---

I guess the goats are cheaper than having your roof mown.

Old barn..old truck.

AND - we saw the first of our fall colors in Door County ---

Fall colors are beginning already.

Can't eat any more cherries - so must be time to move on.  Many thanks to friends, Gary and Chuck, who entertained us in one of their favorite spots.

Appreciative of friends, yet again - E & G on the move

Monday, August 25, 2014

River Crossings

After a nice stay in Cody, it was time to continue our trek east across the midsection of the country. This, of course, means crossing all those important rivers that assist with transportation, water, etc.  Fortunately for us, these crossings are much easier today than they were for those moving west.  First was the Missouri, where we also camped for an evening --

Crossing the Missouri River.
Then, the Mighty Mississippi.  Don't know why - but, I still love it when we cross or drive along the Mississippi.  Guess there is just a lot of folklore attached to it.  Anyway, we camped on its shores for a night - which was, without a doubt, one of the scariest nights we have spent in Magic.  MAJOR STORM - felt like it was going to carry us away!!  The lightening was so continuous that the sky was BRIGHT WHITE for almost an hour.  AND - the winds were horrendous!  Blew one camper off its leveling blocks.  Fortunately, all was good for us and we woke to a beautiful morning in a wonderful county CG on Goose Island --

Parked along the Mississippi.

After a very scary storm.. a beautiful morning

At one point during the night it seemed like we might need these to get off of the island.
One more river - The Wisconsin - on our way to meet up with the Stinson's in Spring Green, WI.  Why Spring Green??  It is THE home of Frank Lloyd Wright - Taliesin - which we toured and thoroughly enjoyed and some good golf!

View from out spot on the Wisconsin River.

Golfing in Spring Green, WI.
E especially liked the golf course!  No - no hole in one.  BUT, a VERY long putt that gave her a par on a VERY long par 5;-)!!  Yee haw - lets go celebrate with a VERY strong John Daly (so strong it had to be shared!)--

Post game recovery beverage.
Taliesin was built by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Spring Green area on 600 acres that originally belonged to Wright's maternal family.  The house was completed in 1911, though it endured two fires after that with subsequent rebuilds.  Beginning in 1924, Wright spent most of his time here for the rest of his life, although winters were spent at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ after its completion in 1937.

Taliesin is typical FLW - building in a flat, prairie style into the landscape.  In this case, it is built around the hill it sits on.  He felt that to build it on top of the hill would detract from the hill and the surrounding area.  So - it is built around the hill - as you can see when you stand on the top of the hill in the middle of the house!
With Jim and Linda touring Frank Lloyd Wright's home in Spring Green, WI.

Here is the top of the hill - around which the FLW home is constructed.

View of the house from the top of the hill.

Stunning views from the top of the hill away from the house.

Unfortunately, we also 'took in' the other site in the area - House on the Rock, built by Alex Jordan and opened in 1959 to 'show up' FLW and to display his various collections (aka JUNK)!!  If you are ever in the area, spend your time enjoying the FLW buildings and don't waste your time here unless you LIKE junk - and dust/filth, as nothing here has been cleaned or dusted since installed in 1959!  Oh yes, and it all feels like you are in a cave and captive with no way out;-)

Note the thick dust on the display.  The entire House on the Rock was a dark, unkempt, claustrophobic, nightmarish facility that we couldn't wait to escape.
Do you get the message that we REALLY disliked this place!  Especially since we paid $55 for this torture;-)

Well - another day and a drive to Madison to see another FLW design - their convention center, Monona Terrace.  (No pics as it was pouring down rain and the only shot was from across the bay.)  What else is there to do when it is pouring but EAT.  So - we were off to find a nice lunch, which we found just a couple of blocks from the Capitol at Papavero's --

What a find!  The Osteria Papavero in Madison, WI.  Felt like we were back in Northern Italy.
Once again, after a fun couple of days of eating, visiting, golfing and enjoying time with Jim and Linda - it was time to move on.  AND - move we did.  No stops --

Gotta keep moving.  No time to stop for pictures.
Off to Door County, WI - where we hope beyond hope to leave some of the humidity and BUGS behind.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ----

These bugs kept us "confined to quarters".  At one point there were so many the car and coach had a solid black coating.
Looking forward to more visits with friends and exploring Door County - E&G

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Scenic Sun Valley

It had been approximately 30 years since E had been to Sun Valley and G had never been there.  So - we were really looking forward to our visit with friends Eileen and Tom.  As we got in a little early and got Magic all set up - we set off to check out the Sun Valley Lodge, site of the Allen & Company conference where Warren Buffett and Bill Gates famously met?!?!?  E thought she had an appt. with Warren and Bill but they never showed up so she had to shop and enjoy the sights. The grounds of the Resort are lovely ----

OK, where are Warren and Bill?

Runs E and her sister Barb enjoyed a looooooong time ago.

Sun Valley enjoyed an incredible thunder and lightening storm that knocked out all electricity in the surrounding area.  Fortunately, their symphony shelter is beautifully built so the acoustics do not require amplification and the concert was able to go on without a hitch.  Well - almost ---

With the power outage, the announcer resorted to a megaphone.
Since all power was out - all the restaurants were closed for the evening as their kitchens were included in the 'no power thing'!  So - we had a wonderful impromptu dinner done on the BBQ at the Raney's (the grocery store needed to get rid of those steaks!).  Whoever said "spontaneity is the spice of life" certainly had it right.

While we were wandering around Ketchum, we found one of those Starbucks that are converting to include wine bars.  Of course, E had to try this out with an afternoon refresher of prosecco -

E's first Starbucks Wine Bar sighting.

Custom Riedel glasses-really!!  Designed by Starbucks.
Question of the day was - Would the storms stay away long enough for us to get in our round of golf??  Answer was ----YES!!  And, it was beautiful.

A great day on the course with Eileen and Tom.

Beautiful views made it difficult to concentrate on the golf.

The next day we took the most beautiful drive to Red Fish Lake through the Sawtooth National Forest, a federally protected area that covers more than 2 million acres.  The Lodge looked like an adult camp with a fantastic beach with every type of water vehicle available to rent.

The 'men' of the trip - Tom, Parker and Gary
The area was beautiful, so will let the pictures speak for themselves --

The Sawtooth Mountains above Redfish.

Can you tell how they got their name?

Birds eye views complements of our camera drone.

Love this pic from the drone;-)

This great day and visit finished with a dinner in Magic.  We really enjoyed our time in Sun Valley and look forward to a return visit - soon!

But, all good things must come to an end and it was time for us to start East.  Cody, WY would be our next stop but our travels there took us through Yellowstone, not only our oldest NP, but the oldest in the world;-)  And, of course, we found great spots to stop for lunch and our afternoon snacks.

Our lunch spot in route to Cody, WY by way of Yellowstone NP.

Bison jam.  It's their park and they just don't care if you need to get somewhere!

Steam baths.
It was truly a beautiful drive, a fantastic day - and a great week.

Appreciative of friends - E & G on their way East