Wednesday, July 26, 2017


July 26th--Butter Tour Finis

   This is the last North Till the Butter Don't Melt blog. We're only 150 or so miles from home. I write this blog (a) So we can remember where we've been and some of the stuff that happened, and (b) I like to type; to see neat little letters morph into words and unfold across the page.  Thanks for reading it.
   I'll close with assorted photos of Little Beaver (the campground).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Little Beaver State Park, West Va.

   July 25th  2017.  Alas....what do you do with the name "Little Beaver"?  I'll simply leave it at that. Tee-Hee-Hee.
   July 24th left Sleepy Hollow State Park, north of Lansing, Mich. and headed into a mysterious funk via highway 127 to Fayette,  Ohio, THEN onto the Ohio Turnpike which proved to be shades of the old Kingston Trio's  "Riding on the MTA": "....But he'll never return, no he'll never return & his fate is still unknown. He'll ride forever beneath the streets of Boston....". In short, once you're on the Ohio Turn Pike there ain't no getting off.  Coasting along on vapor we finally crept into what was the only rest stop, filled up, danced the jig and got an espresso.  Spent the night at Findlay State Park, in Wellington, Ohio.....truly lost in time.....lost in geography, and the showers wouldn't drain, leaving you dancing around a pool of swill,  and trying hard to maintain a carefree camper attitude.
   Off this morning for a circuitous, basically lost,  back-and-forth, around-and-around trek through remote, Ohio farm lands.  Google and Garmin were more bumfuzzled than we were, but FINALLY we stumbled upon I-77 South. Never, did we think we'd celebrate transporting ourselves down the bloody I-77!!!  Stumbling and bumbling, we ended up at Little Beaver which without a doubt, is the best camp site of the entire trip!  Hence,  we're staying an extra day or two.  There's a beautiful lake for canoeing and fishing, so I'll get my poles & we'll give her a try.  We feel so at home here in the West Virginia's thick forest.  It's dusk and spikes of sun filter next to leafy undergrowth and stately hard wood tree trunks.  It's  quiet, cool, and a joyous place to be. Trailering like this is hard work, but the gain is worth the pain.... most of the time
   A couple of goofy photos to follow (maybe).

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sleepy Hollow State Park

   July 23rd,   2017.  Southeastern Lower Peninsula, Michigan.  We looked at each other over breakfast and simultaneously agreed that it was time to point the nose toward home.  
   Reflecting on the trip to the Great Lakes, several dynamics come to mind:  (1) It gets dark later at this latitude---say 9:30-10:00 pm & dawn occurs sooner than expected.  (2)  Michiganders go into a frenzy to get out of doors following 6 or more months of snow & overcast days. The states parks are overflowing with campers and children having a jolly good time. Folks seem pretty dern happy and it's  a beautiful thing. (3) The flora is exceedingly lush. Lots of photosynthesis (thank goodness) and lots of wildflowers.  (4) The upshot is that everything----the people & the flora----- seem in a panic to make up for lost time---to spring into life quickly and gloriously. (5) The five Great Lakes constitute 1/5. 20% of all water on earth! Hence, it's impossible to get you head around the massiveness of this water!  And to think,  millions of poor souls in Africa have no water & no food.
   Having spent 12 months recovering  from broken bones and sundry other medical maladies, we  simply had to leap off the medical conveyor belt. I'm thinking this trip filled the bill.  It'll be hot as a $2 pistol in Charlotte, but it'll be home, nonetheless.
   Incidentally Sleepy Hollow Camp Grounds got its name from the benefactor who donated the land. His name was I.B. Crane, as per Ichabod Crane in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Ain't  that a hoot?

Saturday, July 22, 2017


July 21st, '17. St. Ignace/Mackinac Island KOA Campground

   U.P. Michigander dude and former Marine told me that when you go over the Mackinac Bridge into Michigan's U.P. , set your clock back 50 years.  "We're different up here; more laid back, self-sufficient, and when they snow plow the roads up here they leave a couple of inches.  Maybe they're saving the snow plow blades.  Hell, I don't know. All I know is that for five or six months in the winter people drive on snow pack-----  fly like hell. Amazing more ain't killed than are."
    As for the video I mentioned in last night's blog, we discovered that you can't put a video on a blog---or at least we don't know how, yet.  This video is on FaceBook (public) as is another one from tonight shot at the Mackinac Grill. (Pretty silly.). What's more, there are three additional shots:  Great Lake Whitefish Dip, Whitefish dinner and the reverse of the T-shirt I bought.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Friday, July 21st of July '17

   Day Two at Brimley State Park, Brimley, Michigan.  Went over to SOO Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan where freighters pass through locks connecting Lake Huron and Lake Superior.  Very, very impressive bit of engineering completed in 1943.
   A big freighters was just leaving Huron for Superior, after being lifted +- 30 feet in a lock. (Good grief!)
   With luck there'll be photo of 1) sunset last night on. Lake Superior, 2) a video revealing the inter workings  of a U.P. Michigan state park during this, the peak vacation season for  middle-American- Michigander working folks. A great group! And 3), another photo of something, but I can't remember what.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Butter Don't Melt Tour

   July 19th.  Alas...we won't make it far enough north for the butter not to melt. We're way up north close to Lake Superior & it's warm in the sun, but the breeze is cool and There's Low Humidity. Toward morning you pull a quilt up about half-way. Nice for sleeping & napping. 
   Last night stayed at J.W, Wells State Park, Cedar River, MI.  Great photo Ann took at dawn this morning of the fireball-of-a-sun coming up over Lake Mich. And then there was the photo of the Boy Scout totem pole and maybe a couple of more selfies.  We've simply got to  give it up with the selfies as this blog is morphing into a "home movie" sort of thing and watching someone else's home movies can be torture. 
   Tonight we set up camp in Tahquamenon (obviously not Irish) Falls State Park, Paradise, MI. It's close to Lake Superior. Tomorrow, we'll go up to White Fish Point to see the famous light house and go to the mariners museum. It features the story of and artifacts from the legendary Edmund Fitzgerald which sank off-shore.
    Since north-to-not-melting butter ain't gonna work, we thought we'd try to step into---maybe even dive into each of the Great Lakes, but as fate would have it, we'll probably only hit Lake Michigan, Superior & Huron. Ontario is way over toward New York & we may have to pass on this. Oh well......
     I'll take some goofy photo tomorrow.

Butter Tour Continues

   Thursday, July 20,2017--Brimley State Park on Lake Superior in Michigan's Eastern Upper Peninsula.  With the melting butter silliness swept aside we decided to take a dip in all five of the Great Lake, but as fate would have it we'll only dive into three of the five: Michigan, Superior & Huron. Erie and Ontario will have to wait. Hey... three out of five /60% ain't so bad. Superior was truly chilly so we zipped up our shorty wet suits and dove in on the count of three. I must say, the wet suits were curiosity items for the Michiganders sunning on the shore.  
   We're staying here at Brimley for two days. Our site is in a shady grove just next to the water.  It's 72 degrees with a brisk breeze.  Very low humidity. Burrr...
    Yesterday, we pontificated about how weird we've begun to feel doing this trailering thing.  As was the case during earlier lengthy trips,  home has become a foggy concept.  The cliche, "live in the moment," applies. Each day constitutes an end-all experience. You don't think about tomorrow because you're too absorbed in the here-and-now.  We meet folks who've been doing this for years & they've got a strange persona; an odd, at ease vibe about them. They just "chill", then move on when the mood strikes them.

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 16th Photos

Oops!  Photos have an IT mind of their own


Kohler Andrae State Pk. Sheboygan, WI

   July 16th. Day II at  Lake Michigan.  Hiking, resting & getting psyched for loop up into Michigan's U.P. Took a 2.5 mile hike along skinny meandering board walk through dune flora alongside the lake. 
   Attached, are a bunch of photos. With luck they're in  order. CHECK SEPARATE POST/JULY 16.
1/2 of a selfie
L. Mich.
Northern Red Oak
Northern Red Oak description
Cottonwood (tall, with dynamic bark)
Lake Mich.
Northern White Pine (exploited ++ for lumber)
Pink Wild Roses w vast marsh behind
Meandering board walk
Sand from ice description 
Northern White Cedar
Northern White Cedar description
     "           "          "  in grove: background
Four Wild Flower shots
Pepper hike snack
Footsies in chilly H20
Lake Mich.
Ann w Clint Eastwood lid


Saturday, July 15, 2017


Hancock, Wis. Trailer Park

    Saturday night. Interstates up here tend to be like the old corduroy roads. Beats the heck outta you with 50psi trailer tires and 40 psi rear tires on the truck.  It's the weather that does it: Freeze/thaw/freeze/thaw. In short, they buckle and it gives the traveler the shakes---not to mention what it does to the vehicle. As for the weather, it seems that it's good till November, then it snows for 3.5 mos.  Snowbound, I'm thinking there's a good bit of drinking going down. Bet domestic police call ramp up during these snow mos.
   As for the 62-year-old Class of 1983 girls in last night's blog who were celebrating a birthday,  they're extraordinarly close. Every day they FaceTime at 10:00 in the morning while they're having their coffee---one in Kokomo, Ind., one in Alabama; one in Anderson, Ind.  Then they rendezvous yearly and party down. What a neat thing--- stay so close---to be "blood sisters." So they voted for Trumpster.  Who cares.
   Two cool exchanges during the day:  Swept down upon by a very gregarious Pentecostal Holiness fellow at Love's Truck Stop.  Had a homemade teardrop trailer made from high-end marine plywood---sanded, varnished---very, very cool. He and spouse built it from scratch. They're off o the west coast and scenic points en route.   He said, "Just look around at all this beauty (Love's ???) and you know an all-powerful God did this." I smiled, and subtly nodded. What are you going to do? He was so nice; so filled with happiness and spirt.
   Meanwhile, inside Love's restroom,  Ann met a bubbly gal who said, 'I just retired and hung up my housecoat. I've bought me a Gypsy (trailer) and I'm off to see  America.
    Tomorrow, shooting up to  the shore of Lake Mich.  Supposed to be a spectacular setting.  Yippee....

Friday, July 14, 2017



July 16,2017

   Got my fingers crossed.  Major I.T. Glitches. Hence, no recent posts. 
   In upper Ill. Parked next to a big rig.  It's like Little Toot-Toot next to an ocean liner. Cool breeze; ultra neat farms--all raising corn and soybeans.  Walked out into the countryside.  No sign of Homo sapiens;  ++ beware of dog signs; perfectly cropped lawns & adjacent road shoulders.  A bit unwelcoming; almost creep , but  while at the same time picturesque.
   At lunch, met a local mega farmer who lives back in the country, way, way out in the middle of 1000's of acres of corn and soybeans. I said, "What in the world do you do  out there?" He said, "Live, what more can you do?" The farmer said,  "You're not from around here.  I can tell."  I said, "No. North Carolina." He said, "I've only left once and that was for Marine Corps basic training at Parris Island. I don't want to go anywhere.  I'm gonna stay here and watch the corn and beans grow."  Driving down the Interstate after lunch I'm thinking "maybe that farmer dude is in a deep state, metaphysically.  He's finding contentment amongst the corn and beans  (why is this space here? It won't go away! Jeez....)

, while we're looking for/seeking contentment gallivanting all over the country. What the heck is contentment, anyhow?  Simply a state of mind? A "second hand emotion," like love?  (Per Tina Turner)
   To change the subject, last night a cluster of 62-year-old high school  women classmates at Anderson High, Anderson, Indiana were having their annual bash. One lives in Kokomo, Ind., one lives in. Alabama & one from Anderson. One was having a birthday. We went over. I played Happy B'Day on my harmonica & we partied down.  Somehow, health insurance came up and one of the delightful women said, "Don't worry, Trump won't let you down."
   A cool wind is piping up. And was just now outside and she had a chill.  
   Hey, Bob Hughes, you said to go north till you're butter don't melt.  It's getting cool, but the butter's still mighty soft.   
   I'll attempt to attach some photos.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12th '17

   The pathological narcissist was driving us nuts, we'd spent a year rehabbing from broken limbs, etc., etc., so it was way past time to get the hell outta Dodge.  North was the only direction to go in light of the heat.  How far, where, how long were immaterial. My friend Bob Hughes said, "Go north till the butter don't melt." Sounded like a sound gauge to me, but I'm thinking this'll  be way north in Canada.  Just have to see how this plays out. We brought our passports. 
   We've been out since Monday, the 10th. Night one put us in Kanawha State Forest,  W.Va.  Google sent us  up a 7 mile steep dirt road with fierce ruts into the back side of the park. WHEW!  Nice setting; no people;  down in a thick forested hollow. We discovered the front entrance upon leaving.
   Tuesday, the 11th put us in Alum Creek State Park Delaware, Ohio. Nice spot backed up to a huge lake.Lots of frogs at night. Nice....
   Tonight, July 12th we're at Mounds State Park, Indiana.  Great setting.  We're staying two nights---a good plan when trailering: travel two, stay two.  
   We're bushed, but we're essentially away from current events i.e.,Trump being down the rabbit hole with, and being played for a sucker by Vladimir Putin, etc.  Who knows what tomorrow may bring....
Dick 'n Ann