Indiana – Michigan

Breaking news, we have made it to Canada! Eh? Yea! The brutal Florida heat has followed us all the way here, but we are now getting a delightful reprieve with less humid days and much cooler nights! We are only running one A/C during the day and opening the windows at night, ahh.

Stacie Driving RV in IndianaIn other news since our long-ago last post, I drove the RV! More than across a parking lot, but not out in traffic yet, just several miles of back roads and a few parking lots to practice parking and backing up. I need more practice before I’m ready for traffic, but I can definitely drive this thing!

Our tour of the REV-Fleetwood RV factory in Indiana was super, almost three hours. It was intriguing to see how our rig was made, from bare chassis to final paint, and the craftsmanship & engineering that goes into it.  I guess we’re kinda geeky when it comes to field trips and tours like this. But we always meet up with other like-minded geeks, so it’s all good. 😉

Moonrise over Indiana FarmThere was a full moon while we were there, so we drove out into the “country “(it’s all country in rural Indiana!) so Tom could get photos.  We found the perfect spot and stayed for almost an hour as the glowing orange/gold moon rose.  Just sitting on the side of the road, watching the moon, taking pics…ahh, it’s so unbelievably wonderful to have free time like this! Almost every day, Tom says, “Can you believe we’re retired?!” We recognize what a gift from God this is and we are so, so grateful.

Our next stop was Greenwood Acres RV Park in Tom’s hometown of Jackson, Michigan. We enjoyed spending time and more fabulous home cooking with a couple of his childhood friends and a cousin who lives about an hour away. We also visited Tom’s growing up points of interest—all the houses he lived in, The Cascades and Ella Sharp Park, the church he grew up in, St. Mary’s, and of course, The Parlour, home of the “Dare to be Great” 21 scoop ice cream sundae! No, we didn’t Dare, but Tom did get their huge double scoop which honestly equated to about a half-gallon, so naturally I had to help him eat it. 😉

We also found a new spot, Sandhill Crane Vineyards, which has delicious food in addition to really great wine. But the best part was two-fold, 1) enjoying the view of the beautiful vineyards and wide open grassy space where lots of Sandhill cranes and other birds hang out. Birders and photographers come from all over! And 2) meeting the owner (wife) and hearing their story. She came out to greet us and to thank Tom (because while we were enjoying our meal, he noticed their screen door was literally falling off its hinges and he asked our server if he could fix it…because of course he had screws and a drill in our trunk)! They had been struggling with that door forever and were so thankful for Tom’s quick, but expert fix! That Tom Linley is quite a guy! 🙂 The owners just celebrated 65 years of marriage and 13 years with the winery, though they bought the property decades ago and spent those years designing and cultivating it. Her husband is a retired Detroit police officer who learned to make wine from his Italian colleagues and has handed down the secrets to his family! This is an off-the-beaten-path gem of a place. 🙂

Next we headed to visit Linley cousins at their beautiful homes on Grosse Ile, Michigan, an island south of Detroit, in the Detroit River near Lake Erie. This is our first experience with “driveway surfing”…and their driveways are so long, we could fit two rigs our size! They got us hooked up to 30amp service in their garage so we can run a/c—this is like a gift of gold. 🙂 And they are all boaters so within a couple hours of our arrival, we were having a blast out on the water! As cousin Dan says, “on island time, if it’s 2 o’clock, it’s time to go boating.” We like island time!

For Sunday worship, we knew we wanted to visit a “sister” church in Detroit, about 45 minutes north, Redeemer Midtown Detroit. It was wonderful, very welcoming and similar to our Center Point Church in Tallahassee, although a different scale of downtown area for sure. Detroit is big-city-urban while Tally is…well, not so much. It is great to see Detroit coming back from the crush of the recession. We had a fantastic brunch at Mudgie’s Deli on our cousin’s recommendation. Mudgie’s is famous for their “lobster week” every summer. They fly in hundreds of pounds from Maine daily to make lobster bisque, lobster rolls and other delicacies that have the locals standing in line for hours to get! We were there on the last day and sadly, they ran out. The owner’s mom was so apologetic and chatted with us for a long time. Apparently, lobster week was her idea and it just keeps growing in popularity so demand is outpacing supply! But, as we told her, we are on our way to Maine (via Canada) so we’ll have no shortage of lobster-eating. 🙂

The state of Michigan is very green and bordered by so much beautiful, many-shades-of-blue Great Lakes water! There are amazing coastlines with spectacular dunes as well as plenty of rolling farmland in between. We have explored most of the state in previous visits, so this trip was less about sight-seeing and all about visiting with family and friends we haven’t seen in years. They treated us, and fed us, so royally we only wish we could have stayed longer!

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