Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Almost time to leave for the Great Southwest!

It is almost time to set out on our latest adventure. This time, we will be joined by Sunny and so all three of us will explore this area of our country together. We had a great CHRISTmas! We spent CHRISTmas Eve at our daughter Richelle's and on CHRISTmas morning, the kids and grandkid came to our home. The ONLY way to celebrate this holiday! Carol had a bad cold and we didn't get to see her dad on CHRISTmas and I caught if from her, I guess. She spent a lot of late CHRISTmas in bed and the next day and I spent yesterday mostly in bed. We are recovering now, hopefully, and still hope to leave Sunday or Monday. The only delaying factor should be the weather. When we see that we can make it to Berea, KY on our first leg of the trip, withoug snow, we are out of here. We love our home and close proximity to our children and grandchildren but are ready to explore. Traveling with a new (to us) Greyhound may prove very interesting but we eagerly await seeing how it goes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas to all!

'tis CHRISTmas Eve day and Carol and I wish you all a Merry CHRISTmas and the Happiest of New Years. We will be joining most of the kids and grandkids tonight at Daughter Richelle's and then tomorrow, after opening their presents from Santa, they will come to our home. Later in the afternoon, we will go to Westland to visit with Carol's dad and sisters. We are so blessed to have so many family members so nearby. The huge storm that is ravaging so much of the midwest now is supposed to turn to freezing rain and sleet - ugh to travel!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Great Day!

Sunny is getting used to us and coming out of her shell. She was romping around today playing with her toys. We took her to see the Vet - Nothing wrong but we wanted her to see that going there won't always be a bad experience. The staff at the Vet's office showered her with love and she returned it ten fold! Tonight we attended granddaughter Brianna's Choir concert and it was great and she was tremendous! We were gone for a little over 3 hours leaving Sunny alone for the first time and there were no problems. She was so happy to see us that, when we released her from her crate, she ran into the front room and spun around in a circle a couple of times, almost knocking things over with her wagging tail. All in all - a GREAT DAY! Now it is less than three weeks until we leave for Texas. Because the temps have been so cold here, I am sure that Sunny is as ready to escape as we are.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunny's getting used to us!

Sunny is getting familiar with us and our home. She, like all Greyhounds, sleeps a lot in her crate but comes out to see us whenever she gets curious about what she hears us doing. If she hears the leash rattle, she comes with her tail a-wag. Carol and I went shopping today at Toys-R-Us and took Sunny. This was the first car ride since we brought her from her foster home so she was quite apprehensive at first. When we arrived at the store, Carol went in and I waited in the car with Sunny. She missed Carol and would alternate between lying on the rear seat and jumping up to investigate any noise she heard in the parking lot. I would have taken her for a stroll around the area but the cold and wind made it not a great idea. Maybe next time. She soon calmed down and enjoyed the trip. She is so comfortable around home that we are very pleased. She slept through the entire night and eats regularly and voraciously. Look at this photo - does she looked stressed to you? Not to us either. Getting closer to Christmas and then the great journey to the Southwest. We never traveled with a pet before, let along one this big, so we eagerly await the adventure. When we told Sunny we were going to Texas and Arizona, she asked us what the hold-up was!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunny's Home, Sunny's Home!

Today we went to Ann Arbor to pick up Sunny up from her foster home. It was a rainy, starting to be sleety day but Mark and Mary Varney have been fostering Sunny since September and have done a great job so the day turned warm instantly, when we arrived. Sunny was awake all the way home but was quiet and probably wondering what her new home was going to be like. Once home, she wandered the home going repeatedly into all the rooms and after a half hour or so, went to the family room and played with some of her toys for a while. She then crashed on her mat in the family room where she nervously has been sleeping for some time. What a good girl she is. This is going to be great. The organization GEM,, has been great throughout this entire process. They assure the good health of the hound and are set to continue follow-up for a long time to be sure that all is well. The Varney's are now left with only Ernie, a 90 pound GIANT Greyhound. Everyone we have met from GEM has been really great with and for us. We appreciate all that they have done and are looking forward to meeting with many more as time goes by. In the meantime, SUNNY IS HOME! Yesterday we saw children and grandchildren and today Sunny - Life is Good!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our first visit with our soon to be new Retired Racing Greyhound

Today was a beautiful day - brisk, cold and sunny. The sky even had a bit of a rainbow in the frozen crystals high up. The sunny day was the ideal time for us to meet Sunny. After meeting with this beautiful 6 year old retired Racing Greyhound for a couple of hours in the home of the foster people, we had love at first sight! She is intelligent, fun and should be just right for us. We will be picking her up Monday and bringing her home. We just hope that she gets comfortable with us quickly because we all are leaving for Texas the first of January. We know that she will enjoy this trip because she does not like this cold weather any more than we do.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Now we wait!

We had our "in home" interview today with the GEM (Greyhounds of Eastern Michigan representatives. All seemed to go well. They were here for about four hours. The process for adopting a Retired Racing Greyhound seems to us to be nearly as complicated and thorough as adopting a child. When we decided to go this route we did not have any idea of the complexities but we are very happy that they do it this way. When we will see other Greyhounds in the future we will have a good idea that the owners will have been chosen carefully so that the hound has a good home. Now, we wait for a telephone call that should come tomorrow telling us that we can go visit and possibly select our new addition to our family. We were advised that there is a good chance that we will be able to see Sunny, who we have described before. If we are able and willing to adopt Sunny, we may rename her Sunshine. Carol had an Uncle Sonny and she says this is a little girl so Sunshine will be her name. Tomorrow we will know more.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Moving right along!

We have scheduled our home interview for this Friday. Allison, a representative of GEM, will talk with us and check out our home "through dog eyes." These gentle giants are apparently very inquisitive and check out all that they can. We will have to make our home "dog proof" just as new parents must make their home "child proof." If all turns out well, we will be allowed to set up an appointment with the foster caregivers that are housing Sunny. We will then go there and spend some time getting to know the hound. We then wait 24 hours and and then, if all has gone well, we can finalize the adoption. That should give us two weeks or so to allow us and the beauty to get to know each other before we go on our next great adventure, the journey to Texas and Arizona.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gonna do it!

We attended the Meet and Greet yesterday for GEM Greyhounds and really liked what we saw and heard. We submitted an application for adoption for one of them and now we wait for a couple of days before they will get back with us. We never knew that the process was so involved. The GEM (Greyhounds of Eastern Michigan) Adoption Society will perform an "in home" interview of us and then bring the dog that we have chosen to meet us. The Greyhounds that are being adopted have been taken from tracks after their racing days are over. The one that we really like is pictured here. Her name now is Sunny for her disposition but we may change her name to Sunshine. Sunshine is 6 years old and hopefully we will know by the end of the week if she will be ours. If so, we have been advised that there should be no problems with our leaving with her the first of January for our journey to Texas and Arizona. Other owners have said that wherever we are, the dog will be fine. She will consider wherever we are to be her home. Now we have to make the house "dog proof." Just like small children, we will have to ensure that there are no items within reach of the dog that would harm it or make our life miserable, either. Now we wait!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is there a Greyhound in our future?

About 4 weeks and we are out of here and on our way to Texas! We have been thinking and talking about maybe getting a dog for several years, now, and the thought of adopting a Racing Greyhound has been discussed as a way to do this. Whe traveling, we have seen people who have adopted these retired athletes and they say they love them. They are so gentle and athletic looking that we have really liked what we have seen. We have talked with owners who RV and they say that the dogs love to travel and do it well. We also like the short hair and relative lack of shedding. Saturday we are to attend a "Meet and Greet" in Flint sponsored by the area Adopted Racing Greyhound Society, GEM. WE have been reading the "required reading" books and will get "up close and personal" with the Greyhounds and their owners. It probably would not be fair to either us or a dog to do this until we return in May or so. We'll see!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Goodrich, MI Benchmark Alpacas

We had our granddaughter Meagon with us for the weekend so decided to go to Benchmark Alpaca Farm in Goodrich, MI. We were met by co-owner Barrie Lynn Wood who gave us a detailed tour of the facilities. WOW!!! What an education it was. There are over 100 Alpacas here and they are raised and used mostly for breeding and sale. The fleece from the Alpaca is beautiful, super dense and soft making it extremely warm when used in clothing or blankets/quilt stuffing. The Alpaca is originally from the Andes Mountains in South America. They are a prey and not a preditor so do not warm up to people easily. Of course, any animal seems to warm up to Meagon so she had her hands on them frequently. She was advised not to pet the Alpaca like a dog but to burrow her fingers into the thick fleece and massage the skin. This got the Alpacas following Meagon for more massages. I had the perfect day surrounded by two of my beauties, a friendly, informative host and wonderful, soft Alpacas. Mrs. Wood told Meagon as we were leaving that, if she ever needed any research on South America (where Alpacas are from) or Alpacas, she should revisit, call or email her and she would help. This is the place that I will recommend if asked by someone where they could learn about and/or want to get started in raising Alpacas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flint, MI Grandma's Recipes

We stumbled into another "hidden" restaurant last night, Grandma's Recipes on Richfield Rd. This is not far from our home RV park in Davison. From the outside, it sure does not look like much but, once inside, it was immediately known that this was going to be good. The waitresses are all friendly and efficient and the food seems home cooked. The prices are reasonable and who could ask for anything more in a restaurant? Because of the large size of the portions, there was no room for the home made desserts so I guess we'll just have to come back. Since we won't be traveling again until January, we will continue exploring our own "back yard" for these great jewels in the rough.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Clarkston, MI

Today I had a real taste for broasted chicken. Thought we would try the Chicken Shack in Clarkston and discovered we would have done better at Mickey Ds. The chicken seemed OK but the "broasted taters" were soggy and after eating only a few, have a real heavy feeling belly. Wont be long now until we can feast on some Texas BBQ and fresh seafood. (of course, there will be other items than seafood for Carol) COMEONFIRSTOFJANUARY so we can be on our way. Family getting together Thanksgiving at Renee's. This always has been a great time! Richelle brought the kids over for a while yesterday - Sure brightens up our household!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Grand Blanc, MI

This was a great weekend! Saturday night we saw two of our daughters and five of our grandchildren at a soccer game. Our granddaughter, Meagon, was playing and the rest came to watch. What a game - another future superstar? Planning goes on for our winter "recon tour" of Texas and Arizona. Discovered another Montana Owners Club couple that will be in Rockport, TX at the same time as we will. 'tis truly a small world. A week ago we got a call from the Flint Tourist Bureau saying that they read our blog and wanted to hook us up with a local newspaper reporter. We met with the reporter in a coffee shop and a real nice article was placed in the local weekly paper. We were blown away by the attention and are getting calls from neighbors kidding us about being "celebrities." Whodathunkit?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Elsie and Rockford, MI

Today was beautiful - 72 and sunny. Probably the last of the nice days for the year. We were not going to be stuck at home, beautiful and it and the countryside around here are so off we went. First stop was Elsie, MI where we found an interesting statue of Elsie the Cow. I always thought Elsie was a girl cow but it appears that this statue is a bull. I asked a passerby about this he/she cow and he laughed and said that this has been a topic of conversation for a long time around there. Elsie is all ready for Christmas with a wreath hanging from the neck. We then took country roads further west ending at Rosie's Diner in Rockford, MI. This is a throwback to the diners of the 1940s and 50s that I remember. I won't say "we" because Carol won't admit remembering anything in the 1940s. The food was just like I remember the diner food being back then, fast, good and reasonably priced. I had a great cheeseburger and Carol had a fried egg sandwich. We both thought we had great fare. They came with home-made chips. Be brought home some of the meals. Oh, yeah - what would a stop at a diner be without a malt or shake so we shared a Chocolate hand made shake. Fabulous! next time, and there WILL be a next time, we will try the home made pies. Took country roads both ways and it was a very interesting and relaxing day. Been too long since we have done this. This is how we see the area when we travel so we will check out our own home state while we are here before leaving for Texas in early January.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grand Blanc, MI Plans for Sunday

We are real fond of and The Food Channel's Guy's Drive-ins, Diners and Dives so Sunday we will travel to Elsie, MI to see and photograph Elsie The Cow. This is supposedly a large statue to the cow in the center of town. That should be so exciting that we will have to then travel to Rockford, MI and have lunch and "unwind" at Rosie's Diner, a throwback to the 40s and 50s. We have eaten at a few of the other featured dives and diners from this show so this could pan out to be a real experience. We have seen most of the RoadsideAmerica sites between there and here but will undoubtedly come across some other interesting item along the way.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grand Blanc, MI Plans are filling in!

We were given some suggestions regarding routing and have found a better way to go from San Antonio to Tucson. Steve and Vicki Reigle, our full timer friends from the Montana Owners Club, recommended using US-90, instead of I-10. Along this route is the town of Brackettville, TX, where John Wayne filmed The Alamo and other westerns. The sets are still there to see. Also, there is Langtry, TX, the home of judge Roy Bean. Then we cross the Pecos River near where it joins with the Rio Grande. Also, near this route, is Big Ben NP, where we would also like to spend some time. At this rate, we may not leave Texas this year but it will be interesting, nevertheless.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Grand Blanc, MI

The plans for the first of the year are taking shape. We plan on spending the last two weeks of January in Rockport, TX. We are meeting some friends there and will check out the Gulf Coast, including Padre Island. We plan to go next to the Rio Grande Valley to a campground in Edinberg, TX for a week or so. From there, we head north to the San Antonio and Hill area for a couple of weeks or so. It looks like we will then meander west to the Tuscon area, on up to Phoenix area, the Grand Canyon and then to Vegas. From there, we will head to Utah. There is much to see in the many National Parks in Utah and we want to see as much as we can. Depending on the weather, we will then head either on up I-15 to Glacier National Park in MT, or through Denver and then to Casper, WY on our way home. We just hope that this is not too ambitious for the time we have - so much to see and do, so little time to do it all in.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kensington Metropark colors

Been trying to kick a nasty head cold so today we went for probably our last color tour. We decided to go to Kensington Metropark near Brighton, MI, where we have our Memorial tree. Years ago, we heard of people purchasing memorial trees for loved ones that had passed and we decided that this was a good idea so we purchased a small Mountain Ash that, over the years, has grown into a much larger tree. We wanted to purchase the tree early so that we could enjoy it before we fertilized it with our ashes. The times we came to our tree to eat a picnic lunch or dinner and reflect on the events of the day were too many to count but we always left feeling better than when we first arrived. The first photo shows our tree on the left with the view over the woods toward Ann Arbor in the background. It is the smaller red leaved tree. The sun was not shining today but some of the colors were still brilliant and beautiful. Carol likes to take shots from immediately underneath the tree looking up and here are a couple of her wonderful masterpieces.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Brighton, MI High School Football

Our grandson, Devin Cash, played his last game last night with the Brighton High School Jr Varsity team. He has been stellar this year as a middle linebacker and, since they won this game, he is undefeated in his two high school years. Congratulations, Devin. We love you and are so proud of your accomplishments!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Grand Blanc, MI Fading colors and falling leaves

Our color is about gone from the woods. There is a beautiful little stream meandering through one of our favorite area parks that is giving it one more shot. They were bright now they are fading rapidly and falling. There seems to be more migrating birds in some of the trees than leaves. They are calling to us "Jim, Carol - come to Texas with us," so we decided to join them in January.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Grand Blanc, MI Colors and Turkeys

The leaves in Mid-Michigan have started to explode with color. Love this time of year when individual trees will have several colors of leaves at the same time. Last Sunday, we took these shots of the colors and will try for an update tomorrow. The turkeys are roaming our yard again, forgetting that Thanksgiving is approaching rapidly and also just how tasty they really are.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Grand Blanc, MI Travel Preps

Finally got appointments for alignment and tires for the Montana. Monday, we pull her out of storage for alignment in the morning and tires in the afternoon. Then I see that a new weather forcast is showing possibilities of snow for Monday. Oh, well. That will make the January trip to Texas feel even better (if I can wait, that is). Our retirement package is shrinking, our health care insurance is costing more for less coverage and our taxes will surely go up but at least we will be able to play in the snow! BOO!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Grand Blanc, MI

Finally got the Montana winterized and moved from the campground to storage. Sorry to say, that's it for Monty travel this year. Now we plan for Texas and Arizona. COME ON JANUARY!!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Davison, MI Still Raining!

Since it is still raining, we will probably watch the Michigan - Michigan State Game and winterize the rig tomorrow. Supposed to be less rain then and none Monday so why not wait 'til Monday? Talking myself into waiting, aren't I?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Davison, MI

We were going to clean and winterize the rig today and take it to storage until January but it is raining, big time. We extended our stay here by a day and may add a day or more, waiting for the weather to dry. The wait is not bad, though, because our "condo on wheels" is quite comfortable and we are near enough to home to be able to still transfer some of the contents. Retirement has made me soft! On the other hand, why not soften up a bit?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Goshen, IN to Davison, MI

Yesterday, after spending two nights at Camp Keystone, we traveled home. We can't say enough nice things about the people in the service center and how we were taken care of. They were great! We had to scrap our plans for Nashville, IN after the Opry House burned to the ground last weekend - so we decided to come on home and get ready for our next great adventure. We had the perfect farewell from this beautiful Amish country when we pulled up behind this typical Amish black buggy with the familiar orange triangle on the rear. Carol's love of horses was rewarded when she saw this beauty looking at her from across the fence. She just had to take the shot and it came out great. See the little baby horse to the left? We swear we heard it calling "Hey, momma. Lookey here. I'm way over here!" Lived most of my 69 years in this state and still can't figure out what the "Pure" in this sign means. Beautiful state - we love it - but, Pure? We are now set up in our home park in Davison, MI. We will take a few days to unload it and then take it to storage until we leave for Texas in January.