Saturday, September 8, 2012


How could I be so lucky?  My traveling life is superb and I am very very happy.

We got on the road from Escanaba after the fog cleared this fine Sept. 4th morning , and we headed to Marquette, college town for Northern MI University... Gorgeous brick buildings, on the Lake Superior waterfront, and we had a "Sneeches Break" in a waterfront park to eat fabulous salads from The Waterfront Restaurant!  SO excellent.  After lunch, we moved on to Copper Harbor and skidded in just in time by 8:30 pm, closing time,to grab the last 2 bedroom camper cabin in Fort Wilkins Historical Park and bought two bundles of firewood and immediately decided to stay 2 days, since we could see the rainstorms coming in!  What a great place to hole up, right ON THE WATER of Lake Fanny Hooe.  Our cabin also came with a row boat and a big fire pit and grill!  True, we had to pee outside, but who's all nature!  We got to grill local steaks, eat outside and enjoy a covered porch in the rain...time to read and relax for two whole days.  Life is so good!

After two lazy days off, we drove to Eagle Harbor/Eagle River...oh my, don't make me ever leave!

Big Sand Bay Beach caused me to pull over and gape in awe...a windsurfer entertained us with his flips and antics and I was amazed at the sheer beauty of this Heavenly Place!  We drove a little further south to find an even More amazing beach with picnic tables sitting ON the beach at the water's one there on this fine Sept. 5th afternoon!  Somebody pinch me!

Hated to move away from this spot, but I made many notes of where I will stay when I return for a two week vacation to enjoy this place without moving on!

Next up was the beautiful drive down to Ontonagon, where we would choose the pet friendly SUNSHINE MOTEL, with it's beach access and it's proximity to The Porcupine Mountains, and we ended up staying two days, because owners Bruce and Kay were stupendous!  They built a fire pit for all the travelers and we had drinks and conversations until the rainstorm drove us all inside for the night!  There are such good people in the world!

Arose with ease the next morning and took off for a nice long day-trip through The Porcupine Mountains and got to stop at the gorgeous Lake of The Clouds to see this beautiful overlook.  We could see for miles and the colors are just starting to change up here, which adds to the beauty.  Then we went onward to Presque Isle to see the gorgeous waterfalls of that area of the park and then took a new way home, called " get to the closest gas station"!  Bingo's on Hwy. 28 was the place, and we returned to The Sunshine Motel to see Sneeches before taking off to town (Octonagon) for a great thin-crust pizza at Northwoods Cafe!  Home to sleep.

Today is Sept. 8th, 2012 already!  Where does the time go?

We decided to head back through The Porcupines to enjoy The Summit Peak, and I'm glad we did!  What a gorgeous climbing hike through the woods to a beautiful overlook and then on to the Tower to see the entire area below from this Eagles viewpoint at the top!  Its a must for travelers who are in this area!

Then off we go, storm clouds threatening us from the West.  We decided on Ironwood, but 20 miles out, George took the storm route and continued in the direction of Montana on Hwy. 2, brave soul, and I hightailed it on Hwy. 2 for higher ground East of there.  Hard to say goodbye to my traveling partner, "Wingman", but our separate lives call to us from separate directions!  I chose the sunny direction, by the way, and am safely tucked in here in Iron Mountain with Sneeches, the Wonder Kitten, at another Pet-Friendly establishment!

My next stop on my way home to Lakeview,  MI was Brevort, where Minerva Luella Sneetches, my 11 week old kitten and traveling companion, got to go walking on her leash on the beach.  You should have seen how big her eyes got when she saw all that sand!!!  We arrived in the beautiful town of St. Ignace, near the bridge, where Sneetches and I chose the pet-friendly Driftwood Motel, right across from the beach.  What a great place, with fabulous friendly people as their workers and their guests, and a really great sports bar to watch football!  I made new friends while there and will return next year to walk across the Mackinac Bridge again on Labor Day and see everyone again!  I'm getting quite brave riding a Harley Trike across the Mackinac Bridge for the 3rd time as I leave St. Ignace and head for home! I believe I conquered my fear of heights while WALKING OVER IT on Sept. 3rd, 2012!!!!

As I headed into the lower peninsula, I couldn't help shouting with glee as I headed immediately toward Lake Michigan and found the greatest little road (after all, it was only 1 lane wide) called Hwy. 119 which I followed for 20 miles through "The Tunnel of Trees"...I stopped several times because I encountered no other cars...just two other bikers, enjoying the same scenery.  I just had to get off and admire the view and to tell myself that this has to be one of the treasures of the state of MI!  Oh MY...I loved it and will definitely return to ride this one again!

Next up was a ride through Petoskey, Charlevoix, Traverse City, and then I ended the day with a stay in another sweet motel near Interlochen.  After touring this campus the next morning, I could see just how fortunate kids would be to be able to study music and the arts in this location.  No one was around, so I stood on the large performing arts stage and pretended the audience was in their seats, waiting to see me!  LOL~  Wouldn't THAT be nice?

Then I headed home and arrived safely from this fabulous journey on my Harley Trike, and I'm sure Minerva Luella Sneetches loved getting home too.  When a Harley goes by the house, I see her stop, stare and take a few steps in that direction...

How does it get better than this?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Sept. 3, 2012

Sneeches the Wonder Kitten, insisted that we bust it back on the trikes from Munising to St. Ignace to do the Mackinac Bridge walk, so we did.  This was an unscheduled event that we simply couldn't pass up, as we are RIGHT HERE AT THE RIGHT TIME, and I'm glad we said yes! was yet another opportunity, to confront my fear of heights...for a whole 5 miles and two hours!  How could I resist?

Off we sped on the trikes, arriving in St. Ignace close to sunset to the rip off rate of $300/night at The Voyager Motel, in order to grab the last room there and to be 1/2 mile away from the start of the walk!  Note to self:  plan ahead for next year.  However, not even knowing this walk was happening in the first place, I feel lucky to have done it at all!  And it was great fun!  We joined thousands of other walkers of all types and situations to cross this bridge in the sunshine with the glistening dark blue water hundreds of feet below us, boaters cheering us on and cars honking and waving at us from the opposite side of the bridge, as we enjoyed two lanes all to ourselves.  It went well, and I have now conquered my fear of heights (she says hopefully)!  Yay for me.  Sadly, no pets were allowed, so Sneeches had to hear about the walk vicariously.  

After the walk, we resumed our Harley ride to see the remainder of the U.P. by heading out on beautiful Hwy. 2, running along the beautiful sandy beaches outside of St. Ignace as we sped toward Escanaba.  We stopped for a local treat of pasties along the way and ate at a picnic overlook on Lake MI, and then continued the journey toward Escanaba.  

About 30 miles shy of Escanaba, we got hit by a thunderstorm so severe that we had to pull off under a rain shelter at a rest stop and wait out the worst of it!  Yikes, I hate lightening.  Sneeches the Wonder Kitten, didn't like it either, so we waited it out for about an hour, bikes covered and rain gear donned!  We met other area riders heading our way, and one woman joined us for the remaining 30 miles to Escanaba in the light rain.  We headed to the waterfront in Ludington for a look around and then attempted to find an unbooked hotel that allowed superior beings known as pets!  Finally found one called America's Best Inn  and got checked in before the second storm hit, and got tucked inside just in time.  We ordered pizza and stayed in to relax last night, listening to the rain beat down.  Riding in adverse conditions can be tiring, and a good night's sleep feels so good.

Next stop is Marquette and Copper Harbor, but heavy fog this morning is allowing me all the time I need to type up this blog and watch Sneeches nap with a smile on her face, while allowing the sun to do it's job!

Life is VERY VERY GOOD, and I am appreciating this gorgeous first peek at the Upper Peninsula of MI, as well as getting reacquainted with the lower peninsula, too.  I left my childhood farm in Eaton Rapids, MI at the age of 18 years old and headed to Chicago and after 5 years there, I have been living mostly on the West Coast for the past 40 years.  I came back to MI one year ago and bought a cabin on Townline Lake in Lakeview and am getting to know my old state quite well!  Let the big adventures continue!

UP... In The Upper Peninsula

This particular journey started out on a sunny morning in Lakeview MI as friend, George, packed up his army green Harley Trike and I packed up my flaming red Harley trike ( Ms. Scarlet Ruby O'Gould) to head out along the Lake MI coastline toward the Upper Peninsula of MI.  No reservations, wide open roads ahead, camping gear stashed everywhere and a very special passenger in my rear passenger seat...10 week old kitten, Miss Minerva Luella Sneeches, taking her first long trip on the Trike!  

I could tell that Sneeches was an adventurer when she showed up on my doorstep at 5 weeks old in a shoebox.  After admiring her three colored tiny calico body, and telling her that she was too tiny to be without her Mommy, I explained to her that I am an adventurer and already had some big trips planned on my Harley!  She didn't bat an eye!  So here she is with me today, flying down the blue highways, visiting towns throughout MI's Upper Peninsula, traveling along as if she's done this for lifetimes!

At our first lunch stop, Pentwater, we stopped by a nice waterfront park near the yacht club, as I was sure shed like to have her kitten food lunch in style.  We got burgers to go, and she got out of her travel cage and got to run around on her leash!  She met small children to love up on her and barely had time to squeeze in eating!  We ordered burgers to go from Teddy Bear's on the main drag and they were fabulous!

Then off we roared to Frankfort, MI!  Great stop there at Little Betsie River Campground where she was quickly noticed by neighbors, Pam and Chris, who became fast friends.  We shared adult beverages together the first night, moved tents to their larger quieter site the next morning, and enjoyed a great meal with them the next night.  Sneeches got all the loving she could handle!

While at Frankfort, we climbed the Sleeping Bear Dunes, saw the Betsie River Lighthouse, explored the area and enjoyed 2 great days!  Gorgeous sunsets over the harbor were the highlight.  There are such good people everywhere!

The next morning, we set out for the base of the Mackinac Bridge, to a waterfront campground called Mackinac's Mill Creek Campground and got set up for the evening.  The highlight was the campfire late into the night, Bose portable iPhone stereo playing the best music, and two sweet kids in a tent next to us who were enamored with Sneeches and " babysat" her for hours!  Such good people in the world!

The next morning, both Sneeches and I had a pep talk with each other to gear up for the very windy ride across the 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula side of MI.  Now heights are not my favorite thing, but I manned up because Sneeches said it would be a piece of cake.  I stayed off the "grates" and it was.  We crossed without incident, and we're taking a lunch break in St. Ignace before we knew it...celebrating that the 20 mph winds couldn't budge our fully loaded trikes even a little bit!  

After lunch, we struck out for Detour and Drummond Island!  Perfect timing put us on the small car ferry to cross from Detour to the island immediately and we exited onto the island for the 12 mile ride to the yacht club for a break.  What a sweet little island, set back in time, when life was simp,Eric,  and so easy to enjoy...

After ferrying back to Detour, we set out at light speed for a late arrival into Sault Ste. Marie!  On an off chance that I knew somebody well who just might be up there, I texted Roger LeLievre, Publisher of Know Your Ships (I am the Advertising Director of his publication) and he WAS there!  We agreed to meet for lunch and a boat ride the next day, following our Soo Locks Boat Tour of the American and Canadian Locks!  So we checked into the Ojibway Ramada who agreed to a very late check-out the next day, and Sneeches enjoyed a huge room with me while George got some peace and quiet next door!  We romped and played, did laundry, and enjoyed a great meal and cocktails for the evening at our hotel.

What fun this adventure is!  The Soo Locks are fabulous, raising our tour boat up 21' and lowering it again!  And getting to see this working shipping waterfront!  Wow.  Brave people to handle this critically important aspect of our lives.  When we returned to our hotel, Roger met up with us and treated us to a great lunch at The Lockview!  As he told us, it's been there forever!  Then we headed out of town along the St. Mary's River, a wide deep shipping lane, and got to see his waterfront sweet cabin, and go for a ride on the river, meeting up with The Algoma Spirit, a massive ship, heading to port to pick up her load of slag to take to points along the shore to build roads.  We waved at the Captain, a friend of Rogers's, and then made our way back to his cabin.  

Next stop, Curley's Motel in Paradise.  How fun to say you live in Paradise.  It's now Aug. 31st, and a Blue Moon is shining brightly overhead.  We grabbed a quick dinner and watched a little of the MSU vs. Boise State game before settling in rocking chairs outside of our rooms to listen to music and see the Moon.  Sneeches made more friends and the motel owner asked if she could babysit her the next day while we visited Whitefish Point to see The Great Shipwrecks Museum, and we said yes!   What a great Museum and what a sad history of the sailors who have lost their lives.  Over 400 ships, so far, didn't make it around the gales and the shoals of Whitefish Point, and most are still at the bottom of this Great Lake Superior.

We snatched Sneeches and headed out to Tahquemenon Falls with her to see the Upper and Lower Falls.  She trotted alongside us as if she'd been leash trained forever.  Such an amazing little, am I ever grateful for her resilience, adaptability and spunk!  Beautiful stop along the way on this trip...

Next stop, Munising!  Here, we grabbed a Super 8 motel for the night, just outside of town.  The town was sold-out for this Labor Day holiday weekend, but we managed to smuggle Sneeches into this NO PETS ALLOWED last room open, and she promised to be REAL QUIET!  She was, and we escaped the next morning without being jailed!

We boarded the 10 am Pictured Rocks Cruise, after leaving Sneeches in. Pet holding area to converse with the dogs and to set them straight about cats, and we took off for a sunny beautiful cruise along the gorgeous shoreline of Lake Superior!  Couldn't have been a better day for it!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

4 Months of Exploring

I'll start this entry with a Rumi quote:  "Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love".  I really love to travel!

The past four months have been such a pleasure...seeing places I've never seen, enjoying experiences that are all new, and so much EXPLORING for my very curious mobile addict self!

Where do I start...I guess with New Year's Eve!  I flew from my MI cabin to Phoenix, AZ to begin a stay in Gold Canyon...but of course, I didn't actually STAY in Gold Canyon!  Its a sweet place, 35 miles East of Phoenix on Hwy. 60...kind of a new community with a great nearby hiking spot called "Silly Mountain", which is fun for a day hike.  Then there is the drive up to "Lost Dutchman Gold Mine" trail to hike and watch the stars come out, one by one, in the blackest clearest sky I've ever seen!  Got to enjoy a Full Moon night there, and watch the moon rise up from behind the Superstition Mountains and dazzle me beyond my imagination!  Gold Canyon has less congestion of "snow birds" than usually congregate for the winter months.  My friend, George Orr, was willing to put up with me and my extreme need for change, and so we enjoyed getting to know Gold Canyon for 2 weeks before setting out for a birthday party of good friend, Sherri Bellefeuille, in Tucson, which meant the chance to explore Tucson thoroughly.   I loved the outdoor life there, and hikes with Shelly Mottaz and her parents through Madera Canyon, followed by hikes through Sabino Canyon!  I worked up an appetite!  The Huevos Rancheros at Teresa's Mosaic Restaurant were off the charts GREAT.  Did I mention that I love huge varieties of foods as well as places?  Anyway...the Sabino Canyon and 7 Falls hikes were so beautiful that its hard to think of a better place.  I had to go back to Tucson several times because it surprised me with its beauty and variety.  The Desert Museum there really is a Zoo of the most beautiful felt like I was on a hike through the gorgeous local desert and getting to see a huge variety of plants and animals I had never seen before was a delight!  And don't even get me started on the Loewes Ventana Canyon Resort...can I live there forever please?  While there on another trip, I got to see my first rodeo ever.  I think the locals sitting next to me found it amusing that I kept shouting "don't hurt that baby calf" in the calf roping event and I admit I couldn't quit screaming during the bull riding and bucking bronco events!

Some of the other delights in the Phoenix area included seeing "The Rat Pack is Back" in Mesa's Performing Arts Center and having GREAT Thai food at Nunthaporn's Thai a block away!  I even had my picture taken with Frank Sinatra himself (close enough)!  I also loved PLUSH Salon for my hair streaks and spa days and my daily trips to the RV Resort swimming pool to bask in the sun and relax and read.  I've been taking my time with the "Steve Jobs" book by Walter Isaacson, all 630 pages of it.  I remember that I used to think Jobs was an elitist with an attitude problem...that is until I began using his beautiful creations...the iPhone, the iPad, the Mini Mac, and now this stunning MacBook Pro that I'm typing on this very minute.  Steve, I miss your genius and YOU, honey pie.  Peaceful journeys to you.  And I thank you.

Back to my travels:  I zipped over to Seattle at the end of January to work with my most valued clients from Microsoft and from West Seattle, wedging in nightly visits to catch up with friends and walk Alki Beach, shop at my friends, The Montano's, brand new "Jakes-Life Is Good Store" in Kirkland, WA.  After all, my one and only precious new granddaughter, Lisette, was about to celebrate her 1st birthday, and what is better than to remind her and everyone around her that "Life Is Good"!   So after finishing with my clients (I'm a Life Coach and Personal Organizer) I zipped up to spend a week with my precious kids in Bellingham.  Zachary is now 20, a full-time college student with a full time job at Bellingham Fitness and his own apartment.  He's very, very grownup and so precious.   I tell him often he's the love of my life.  He has such great spirit and future vision and so many big plans that will expand his world.  I wish I was around more to watch, but he doesn't need my help all that much anymore... he does love free airline passes to Tucson to see friend, though, and I can help him with that!  And then there is my daughter, Lizzie, who is 37, her hubby Jason, and their precious daughter, Lisette, who just turned 1 year old at the beginning of February.  That baby girl has me wrapped around her tiny little finger.  She is the absolute smartest child I've ever met, and I've met MANY.  Lizzie is teaching her sign language as well as English and she speaks and understands everything so well at the age of 1!  Wow.  What a great visit!  Thank you, sweet child of mine.

Next, I returned to Gold Canyon for a brief few days of relaxation before zipping off with George for 2 weeks in New Orleans to be part of Mardi Gras as well as the music scene on Frenchman Street.  Staying a Le Richilieu (where Paul McCartney just stayed for 2 months to produce his latest CD which released a couple months ago) was such a great hotel experience and it is located smack dab in The French Quarter within walking distance to the world famous Frenchman Street a couple blocks away...stumbling distance from the front door.  May I say how happy I was about that???  :)

OK...I admit it...during the parade down Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday, I couldn't help but admit that the transvestite walking past me (caught on my iPhone video) had me fooled.  I thought she was the most stunning woman I've seen in a long time.  The picture I sent of her/him to my son had him commenting the same!  :)

New Orleans is a kick!  Such great food (I admit that I've been eating my way across America during the last 4 months and it shows).  My deceased father--in-law used to say "chicken today, feathers tomorrow"...and I agree.  When I get back to my MI cabin in a couple weeks, I'm putting myself on an all you can eat veggies diet!  Anyway...back to New Orleans!  The FOOD!  Oh My!  Thank you people of New Orleans for entertaining everyone in such an exquisite way.  Who couldn't love Big Al at "Funky Pirate"?  Or all the little old clubs on Frenchman Street, such as "The 3 Muses and The Spotted Cat, all with such a great variety musicians playing music until 4 a.m.  And the sights!  What fun!  Taking the old Paddle Boat Natchez down The Mississippi River was amazing, as was the Aquarium and the trolleys (which we rode daily end to end) looking for Streetcar Named Desire #922.  Never did see it!  My absolute favorite was the Movie Tour, which had us seated in an air conditioned van, stopping in at least 25 different locations throughout New Orleans, with film clips showing on our personal DVD players in front of our seats, highlighting the many famous movies filmed in New Orleans!  Afterwards, we revisited many of the places (such as the cafe where scenes from the film "JFK" was filmed.  We got to see several film crews while we were there, and even saw Tim Robbins during a walk about with his crew, getting ready for filming his next film.

I earned beads and also left beads for the long departed black magic voodoo gypsies in the above ground graveyards we visited and also chatted up locals about why they rebuilt after Hurricane Katrine and stayed in a location clearly BELOW sea-level.  What a city!

We got to extend our NOLA visit by staying in The Garden District of New Orleans in order to meet up with Donna and John Swanson and 22 of their dearest friends to celebrate Donna's 60th birthday!  While there, we all saw Sandra Bulloch's house, as well as John Goodman's nearby and the house owned previously by Anne Rice.   From the sidelines with doughnuts in my hand, I watched her and all her friends run the New Orleans Marathon (she has a goal to complete a marathon in every state, with only 13 left to go) and this marathon was her 77th!  What a non-stop party we had...every night!  Such a great add-on to an already great trip!!!

From New Orleans came a quick flight down to Ft. Myers and visits with family and friends in Florida.  I've lived in FL previously and owned a home in Osprey near Sarasota and I loved it there so much.  I always drive past my old house each year during my FL visits, and look at it wistfully as it sits on a canal with a boat dock and the swimming pool I designed, and I admit I have regrets that I stood at that crossroads in the year 2000 and let it slip away because someone else' dreams were more important than mine at that time.  Yet I also realize that I wouldn't be who I am without having moved on from that sweet house (I've moved 38 times so far) and into the life I presently live.  I've discovered you can't make a mistake in can only take paths and choose roads and hope for the best outcomes.  Anyway...back to FL.  I always have to stop in to Pop's Sunset Grill in Nokomis on Casey Key and look for my personal pet dolphin that I named Pretty Boy back in 1999...he was sadly missing from my sunset that evening, but I know he's still hanging around, hoping for a handout, flirting with the boaters cruising through the intracoastal waterway.  From there, we headed to my absolute favorite FL location...Anna Maria Island, off Bradenton.  Sitting on that beautiful white sand beach and looking at that aqua water had me wondering why I don't live there!  Oh yes, I remember...its as Hot as Hades there in the summer time!!!  How easily I forget!  Anyway,  5 heavenly days in Anna Maria Island, with sunsets every evening from the tiki bar at my all time favorite restaurant ON THE SAND called The Gulf Drive Cafe (the Gyros are out of this world) made me wish I could live there forever and watch amazing sunsets every single night, with an ice cold glass of something in my hand!

From there, I visited my friend, Roberta, in Naples and we had a couple of fun days together to catch up and play.  Then on from there to Venice to spend a week with my parents and sister, Mischelle, who had flown down from MI (broken arm and all) to join me!  We had so much fun...I love my dear family so much and am so glad I moved back to MI (after being gone for 40 years and 38 moves!) and that I am lucky enough to get to enjoy time now with all of my brothers and sisters and my parents!

After FL, I zipped back to Gold Canyon and we ventured out to the interior roads of AZ we hadn't explored yet which happened because we were sitting in a hot tub with a bunch of Harley bikers who told us we were insane if we didn't go see the "little Grand Canyon" before we left Gold Canyon to begin our travels to the REAL Grand Canyon and beyond.  So this took us on a nice long drive down Hwy. 60 with a stop in Winkleman first, and then the amazing drive up through the Salt Canyon (quite like the real Grand Canyon) to Show Low, Holbrook, and Winslow AZ ("Standing on the Corner of Winslow AZ.   Such a fine sight to see").  LOVED that town...had breakfast at the affordable luxury La Posada Hotel, which is a MUST!  Best food ever (green chilies omelet to die for).  Not only is the hotel a beautiful place to stay, but the artist who saved it (Tina Mion) has all of her paintings and artwork displayed there, and now owns it with her husband, Allan Affeldt.  What a striking and unforgettable place!  From there, we went onward to Payson and "Tortillia Flats", and then back to Gold Canyon.  Wow.  Loved this little trip to acquaint me with just how afraid of heights one person can be...especially if one is hugging the road on a Harley Davidson Trike!  Note to self:  think twice before taking this ride!

Quick goodbye cocktail parties followed as we departed from Gold Canyon after 4 months at Canyons RV Resort for an extensive trip to see The Grand Canyon (OK...WOW) to enjoy some hikes there as well as  the scenery, great weather, photography and wildlife.  Then onward to Jackson Hole and the magnificent Tetons...which is where I sit right now, wondering "how does it get better than this".  (I've learned NOT to answer that, as it leaves room for it to be answered FOR me).  Yet ahead, there's still Yellowstone, and my absolute favorite Ennis, MT, and Missoula and then another visit to Glacier National Park.  Oh My...The Places I'll Go.