CHAPTER “20”….DAY 16…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

TUESDAY AUGUST 30, 2016…..DAY SIXTEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 498.2    TOTAL MILES: 2371.1

As I promised myself I dragged my body from the really, comfy bed that the Quality Inn had provided. I shuffled around the room managing to prepare me for the day. I had packed the bike for the trip at Brett & Angela’s house so it was ready to go. All I had to do was get dressed, throw on my backpack, fire up the scooter, and hit the road. Being lively at 4:00 in the morning isn’t the easiest thing UNTIL one puts themselves one a motorcycle. That seems to inject life and vitality.

For some reason Michigan has found it cost effective (under the guise of “safety”) to put in a Roundabout instead of a traffic light. If they only did this once or twice it would be fine….I suppose. Michigan has decided to put them all over the place. If there is one thing that I have learned since first passing my driver’s test and getting a license back in the early 1800s (give or take) it is that leaving safety up to individual drivers is like asking Dean Martin to guard the Scotch supply. Thankfully, the 5 Roundabout intersections that I hit were with pre-4:30 AM traffic and there was not much in the way of cars and trucks AIMING for me. I made it through those intersections and more miles of construction as I worked my way south out of Michigan.

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Michigan’s Roundabouts

 

 

I wound through Toledo and onto the Ohio Turnpike. We pause here for a political commentary….”I feel that one of the biggest insults there is to the American driver today is to have a TOLL ROAD!!! It is no secret that government at ALL levels is renowned for its waste of OUR money. I do not accept that there is a shortage of cash to keep our highways, byways, bridges, and overpasses safe and in good condition. Tolls should be abolished and NOT offset by an increase of other taxes.” I am Don Bova and I approve this message!!!  That being said I proceeded to get my ticket on the Ohio Turnpike and had the money ready in my tank bag for when I left the highway.

It was a bit cool in the morning but not unbearable and as I rode due east I did have the rising sun blasting my eyeballs. Still it was a great ride. I stopped for gas along the Turnpike in a Service Area. While there I sucked down some Starbuck’s coffee and gave Lisa her wake-up call. A couple of truckers walked by where I was sitting and they asked me about my trip. With enthusiasm I told of my previous 2 weeks and the routes I had taken. I also added that I was on my way to Florida. They asked me if I was worried about the storm.

Storm? STOR…RUM??? I have been on the road for 2 weeks and haven’t watched any news, weather, or sports. I haven’t picked up a newspaper or listened to the radio. The only radar I have looked has been centered where I was standing and how it would affect me the rest of the day. STORM?? I checked….hmmm, there is a tropical disturbance there. Number 9 they are calling it. It looks like I will be able to squeak by it when the time comes. Now I had something new to think about……a storm…..crap!!!

Being the trooper that I am I rode on. The ride through Ohio was fantastic. The weather and traffic was near perfect as I rolled along I-77 south from Cleveland to Marietta, OH. At Marietta I crossed the Ohio River into West Virginia. There was a quick stop for gas at Love’s a bit south of Parkersburg in Fairplain, WV. I slurped down some water and folded up some dollar bills to go through the toll booths south of Charleston……no political statements this time.

My destination was Beckley, WV where I would spend the night with my cousin. All was great until I was about 10 miles north of Beckley. It was sunny and bright as I rode along the curvy 1-77 through the mountains. I went around a curve AND…………the sun was gone. WHOOSH….I was in a downpour. Where the heck did that come from??? I rode for about 2 minutes, went around a curve AND…….the rain stopped and the sun was shining. I rode for about another 2 minutes, went around a curve AND….WHOOSH….there was NO sun and I was in a downpour. As I neared the Harper Rd Exit in Beckley I rode out of the rain and into the sun. Marcia, my cousin, lives about a mile off of I-77 and the Harper Rd Exit and when I pulled in her driveway it was a BEE-YOU-TEE-FULL day. The last 15 minutes of my day had been sun-WHOOSH-sun-WHOOSH-sun!!!

Marcia greeted me as I parked the bike in her garage. Since we were both hungry, tired, and had to be up and out by 7:00 tomorrow I carried my stuff into the house and off we little%20sicily%20ribbon%20cutting%20bwent to have supper…..even though it was only 3:00 in the afternoon. We swung by a local hardware store where she bought some needs for her house. Then we went to a small place called Little Sicily. Marcia knew the owner and we were treated like royalty. It probably helped that it was 3:30 in the afternoon and we were the only two people in the place…..but it was nice nevertheless. I had a Stromboli and it was great.

Back at Marcia’s house she pulled out a cupcake Birthday Cake including candles. Since they don’t make many cupcakes near big enough to hold ALL the candles it would take for my birthday she did her best. There were plenty enough……for one thing it took me TWO

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Huffing and Puffing didn’t help!!

 

blows to put them out.   That shoots the crap out of that birthday wish.

 

I got a fork and did major damage to the cake. I followed that with a quick Skype to Lisa and I told her all the things that I have just told you. Marcia and I discussed some Family Tree stuff and it was time for bed. I don’t handle the 3:30 AM starts as well as I used to.

I went upstairs to an empty bedroom and was asleep in minutes. Before I went to sleep though I took another gander at the STORM. Still Tropical Depression 9 but its path was now going directly across my path. I had a feeling that I might have to adjust some of my timing. I did not , however, let that disturb my slumber. I slept the night away….not getting up even once (and at my age that is saying a lot!!). Talk to you tomorrow!!

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

CHAPTER “19”….DAY 15…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

MONDAY AUGUST 29, 2016…..DAY FIFTEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 91.2    TOTAL MILES: 1872.9

I woke up today facing my last full day in Michigan in this 2016 trip. I can assure you that it was not to be a day of boredom. In starting the day I was foolishly thinking that the day would be a nice restful day prior to my 4:00 departure tomorrow heading south………silly me!!!

The activity at Brett and Angela’s was early and intense. All of us invaders were to be heading out sometime in the morning.   Angela wisely stayed up WAY late (early?) and was able to miss most of the commotion of rounding up kids, packing, rounding up kids, saying goodbye, and rounding up kids.

The first to be leaving would be me and Lisa. Lisa had an 11:00 flight out of Bishop Airport in Flint, MI. She had a rental and would be driving herself. I, because I am the loving and considerate husband that women worldwide yearn for, said that I would ride to the airport and she could follow me. She is not real familiar with driving around Southeast Michigan and even though she knew that she would get there without issue was glad that she had the benefit of just following someone.

Saying goodbye to my kids and now also to my grandkids has ALWAYS been an extremely hard thing for me to do. This has not lessened over the years but in fact if anything it has grown harder for me. I know that they love seeing us and that they look forward to each and every visit. Still, I can see as my kids get older and more involved in their lives and the lives of their children the emotion of saying goodbye and the separation is not what it used to be. That doesn’t soften the blow to my heart at all. I do NOT like saying goodbye to ANY of them EVER!! Still, it had to be done. We loaded up the car, I strapped bags onto the bike, I donned my gear, and after the goodbye marathon we pulled out of the driveway and headed toward Bishop.

There was a lot of construction around the Bishop access road……as there was throughout Michigan…..and I came across a sign that designated the exit to Bishop Airport. Lisa also saw the sign. However, Lisa did NOT see the little sign on top it that sign that said “Bishop Airport Use I-69 West”. I did see it and rode past the original exit to the I-69 exit. Not knowing what the heck I was doing Lisa was pounding the steering wheel and calling me names and swearing that if she missed her flight because I took the wrong exit she would make me eat green vegetables every single day for a month. Even though I am a good husband and rarely admit to being right I was, in fact, correct this time. I made all the right merges and turns and, voila, we were in the airport. I headed around to the departure lane and Lisa to the rental return lane.

As I downshifted something didn’t feel right. I downshifted again and I thought that it felt REALLY wrong. I swung into the lane and had to upshift and that REALLY, REALLY felt goofy. I pulled over to have a look and sure enough……things were NOT right. The bolt that holds the shifter arm on was…GONE!! Yikes. The arm was barely hanging one. It would not have fallen off completely because the linkage would hold it but if it fell off the rod I would not shift at all. I stared at it for a while. I guess I was thinking that if I stared at it long enough it would do the I Dream Jeanie thing and fix itself. Since that didn’t seem to be happening I started looking around the bike. I found a bolt that held on a piece of trim that had the same size threads. Although it wasn’t long enough to be an actual replacement it did fit and it would hold everything together until I could come up with something better………I hoped!!

By this time Lisa had come out and was waving at me. Since all appeared to be semi handled I started up and rode up to where she was standing. I told her about my issue, she told me about trying to get through car rental people and the airport, and then we told each other goodbye and that we would see each other in 5 days. Off she disappeared into the terminal and off I rode to find an appropriate bolt.

I made my way back to I-75 and went south to the U.S. 23 fork. I followed 23 south to the M-59 exit and whipped east back to Waterford. My very, first stop was at Bowman’s. That is the power sport place that is located right across the street from my hotel. It is also the first place that I stopped at to look for a new helmet. I mentioned that in Chapter 10. This time I walked in and told my tale of woes to the gentleman behind the counter. He hopped on his computer and ran my Yamaha into his system. I didn’t expect him to have THE bolt or THE washer……and he didn’t….BUT…..he wrote down the dimensions and specs and sent me around back to the service area. The guys back there were great. They were on me like ants on sugar and had me a bolt with a washer all Loc Tite’d and installed in minutes. I

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My NEW Bolt!!!

 

was as good as new. The best part was as I pulled out my wallet the guy waved me off and said there wouldn’t be any charge. SUPER…..I would have bought them lunch but….well, there was 6 of them so……………….! I was up and ready to go. Thank you Bowman’s!!!

 

I went from there to the Burger King across the street and had a couple more of their Classic Grilled Hot Dogs. I can’t help it. I am a nut for hot dogs. Two dogs, fries, and a Coke and I was good to go. I didn’t go very far. I weaved through a couple of parking lots and made my way back into the Waterford Quality Inn. I checked in. I did messages and caught up on some emails before I took a well-deserved two hour nap. It was delightful!!!

I woke up in time to shower up and make myself as presentable as is possible with only “landfill” clothing and following two weeks on the road. For sure I have looked better but you can bet your bottom dollar that I have looked WAY worse many a time!

The plan was to go to the Lion’s Den. It is a reasonably popular restaurant in Waterford located on M-59. It has been there for a LONG time. I suppose that I could Google it and tell you exactly but I know that it has been there for well over 30 years. The deal was this…a gal named Coni who I have known since Mr. Pfeiffer’s 7th grade class at Crary Junior High School in Waterford was born on August 29. My birthday is August 31. For the last several years I have gotten a lot of mileage out of her being OLDER than me. When I announced my dates for this adventure she said that would be great because we could celebrate our birthdays together.

Coni’s boyfriend, Rick who I have known for a long time, contacted me last week and said that he wanted to have a surprise gathering of her friends for her birthday. It would be 7:00, Monday Aug. 29 at the Lion’s Den. Well sure….I’m all in!! Then he told me that he was going to tell her that he was taking her out for dinner for her birthday to the Lion’s Den. He said that she would probably message me asking me to join them. She did

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Lion’s Den Waterford, MI

 

message me…..TWICE. I did NOT reply to either one. At the same time I was inviting people. She walked into a huge scream of “SURPRISE!!!” from a choir of about 25-30 people. After the normal shocked responses she looked at me and said “So this is why you didn’t answer me” and I just kept the silly grin on my face.

 

It was a fun night. I know many of Coni’s friends so there was some great conversation. Still, I knew that I would be getting up at 3:30 in the morning and would be on the road by 4:00. I had to leave early and get myself to bed.

My last day in Michigan was certainly a bitter/sweet day. It was good and bad, happy and sad……it was life!!! See you tomorrow!!

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

CHAPTER “18”….DAY 14…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

SUNDAY AUGUST 28, 2016…..DAY FOURTEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 1781.7

Last night there was some LATE night gathering around the campfire. The “campfire” consists of a pretty good sized fire pit constructed by Brett. It is quite a distance from the house and close to the shoreline of the lake. I will admit to you, without shame, that I was not a partaker of the late night/early morning hours of flame watching, joke sharing, and the mandatory gossip of those not present. I am very well versed in playing my part as a grandpa and I found my way into the bed shortly after 10:00. I have stories aplenty describing the post 10:00 activities of my younger years that I don’t have to try (key word now is “try”) to add to the stories or to relive them by telling them……besides they look at me now and don’t believe I did any of that stuff………..OR…..by today’s standards “that stuff” is boring!! Regardless, I was long asleep before the embers of that fire cooled.

When morning arrived I was again first up. In warehousing we call that FIFO….First In First Out. I got the coffee brewing and went to work pounding on the computer. I correctly guessed that I would have much more alone time due to the previous night’s fire pit attendance. Although the donuts were viciously attacked yesterday morning I concluded that I had damaged everyone’s health enough with the mountain of donuts I had already brought into the house the previous two mornings. My task was the computer that lay in front of me and I went at it with a vengeance.

My blogging dedication was quickly squashed as the younger generation was quickly crawling out from the woodwork and grumbling about the meager donut selection. I was not swayed by the whining or the “Please Grandpa” begging from the sad little (and big) faces. I held my ground long enough for Kristen and Monique to start the waffle iron. It did not take long for the remainder of the donuts to disappear and for the waffles to seemingly appear and disappear in the same moment.

After Lisa’s birthday “celebration” the day before we found ourselves in another birthday spotlight. Kristen’s son and my second oldest grand turned 15 just hours before. Now that he was here we sang Happy Birthday to him (the quality did not improve at all from yesterday’s attempt…..may have even gotten worse) which he didn’t care about, we gave him a card that he really didn’t care about, and inside the card was $40 which he DID care about.

To continue the celebration of Isaac’s birthday we rounded up everyone to go out to Zap Zone in Waterford, MI. Zap Zone has laser tag, bumper cars, a trampoline area, gobs of arcade games that spit out tickets if you “win”. Angela was the smart one of the group and stayed at home with Maverick. The rest of us……7 adults & 7 kids…..piled into three cars received_10157350943385514.jpegand made our way over to Zap Zone. I will warn you that it looks really harmless when you walk in HOWEVER there’s a huge invisible vacuum that you can’t see or hear that sucks the money right out of your pocket. For starters it was $20 for 100 tokens….so when 7 adults (who all like the games) walk up there with 7 kids (who all LOVE the games) you can only imagine how many twenty dollar bills hit the counter. Then all but 2 played laser tag and some played twice….and laser tag was extra. EVERYONE rode the bumper cars and some twice….and bumper cars were extra. Half of us jumped on the trampolines….and the trampolines were extra. A few played received_10157350943455514.jpegGlow Golf….and Glow Golf was extra. I’m not even going to mention the sodas, waters, snacks, and pizza we bought. However if I were to mention those thing I would tell you that we paid arcade prices for them. After we all put second mortgages on our homes we proceeded to have a REALLY great time. For the finally the kids were able to take the thousands of tickets they “won” that cost hundreds of dollars to “win” them over to the prize counter and get prizes worth 50 cents to a dollar. Hmmm, I wonder if they buy their stuff from Oriental Trading also!!??!

The kids gathered their treasures and we headed for the cars. Our next stop was back up in Ortonville to the Cook Farm Dairy where we loaded up on some of the best ice cream that you will get. Not only was the ice cream devilishly delicious it also helped to fill the void left by me not buying donuts in the morning. We had ice cream cones or cups, sundaes, and shakes. At Cook’s they milk their cows and make much of what they sell. That VERY fresh flavor is something that is difficult to describe and in fact NOT being able to describe it actually describes it best. They also let customers roam around a couple of their barns and pet calves, cows, and pigs. After delighting ourselves at Cooks we got our full, sticky, and happy selves back into the cars (I was ok with it because we had a rental) and back to the house we went.

Although I am sure that Angela enjoyed the QUIET for the few hours we were gone she wasn’t sitting around doing nothing. The girl had whipped up a dinner that made us forget all about Cooks ice cream. She had lasagna and a bacon/bean dish that was fantastic. I’ll tell you this much……There would be no leaving Brett and Angela’s house lighter than we were when we arrived.

So we went into the evening with a wonderful dinner. We watched the kids swim and kayak. A semi-friendly euchre game was started and David, the oldest grandchild of the received_1753513538236016.jpeggroup and quickly approaching the age of 18, got a slight initiation into adulthood sitting at the table and having witty jabs coming at him from three sides faster than he (or anyone else for that matter) could respond. The night was full of fun and laughter. Even with each of us knowing that in the morning we would all be packing and heading out the night was a special time of cousins, children, grandchildren, AND Grammy and Grandpa!!

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

CHAPTER “17”….DAY 13…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

SATURDAY AUGUST 27, 2016…..DAY THIRTEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 1781.7

Here I am the first and ONLY person up at my nephew’s house. I didn’t stay up for my eldest daughter’s arrival but with little effort in observation I could tell by various items lying around that they did in fact make the trip and had arrived. My first task at hand was to make the all-important pot of coffee. That led to a couple of related tasks….like finding the filters and the coffee. I secured both of those items and then I spent WAY too much time trying to figure out which button to press to power up the coffee maker.

Now it was time to sit at the computer and try to pound out some emails and make a desperate attempt at catching up on the blog. For the three or four of you that are actually reading this you already know how terribly behind I am. I also knew that once there was any movement from the other lifeforms in the house I wouldn’t be able to continue writing. Unfortunately those lifeforms started to stir as soon as the coffee smell permeated through the house and the typing ceased shortly thereafter. My nephew was first up…..well, actually it was his 2 year old son, Maverick, who was the first but he quickly made it clear that he required his dad be up also. Yep…..that pretty much sealed the deal and stopped my typing for the day!!

Next to make an appearance was my eldest daughter’s partner in crime, Bryan. I had already taken an inventory of the remaining donuts from yesterday’s stash and taking into consideration that we now were adding two adults and, more importantly, two teenage boys I made the executive decision that we needed to repopulate the donut box. Bryan said that they also needed a couple of things also so off the two of us went for the grocery store….or as I prefer to call it The Donut Shop!!! We had about a dozen left from yesterday so I added two dozen more……that should be enough…..right? I also bought a small cake and a couple of number shaped candles for a little birthday celebration to be held later. When shopping at home in Florida we ALWAYS take our cart to the “cart corral” in the parking lot or back to the store and I would venture to say that 75% of the other people do also. So when we emptied our cart of goodies into the car I pushed it back to the store (there was no “corral”) and you would think that I was a returning war hero. Apparently, returning carts is not a common practice there. I got out of there before they gave me the key to the city!!

By the time that we returned the entire group was up. I can’t say that they were all awake but they were out of bed and doing their best to at least be giving the appearance of functioning. Added to the mix were now Kristen, my eldest offspring, & Bryan, along with my grandkids, David, Isaac, and Sunny, and Bryan’s son, Brodie. Walking into the house holding boxes filled with 2 dozen fresh donuts made me fear for my life. At the same time Kristen and Monique were busy fixing a good and healthy breakfast. The breakfast, I might add, was fast becoming the dessert for the donuts!!! There was definitely a whole new activity and chatter level with these added six bodies in the house.

The next thing that I did was get out the “Grandpa Boxes”. I shipped ahead some boxes that were either dropped shipped from an internet purchase or boxes that I ship myself. I won’t bore you with all the details of the little things in the boxes but the main box comes from Oriental Trading Co.   From Oriental Trading you can buy all kinds of bulk trinkets, play things, and party favors for a REALLY good price. Don’t expect Niemen Marcus quality while paying Oriental Trading prices but you can create LOADS of fun for LITTLE money. I make sure that I get plenty of doodads that make obnoxious noises like bags of whistles and flutes. I also had bags of little airplanes, small inflatable balls, fake coins, flashlight keyrings, funny glasses….AND MORE…..and I only spent about $50 or $60. In years past when we would all meet at a campground somewhere in Northern Michigan I would get everyone…adults and kids, matching t-shirts. It would be great because if you looked down the road and saw a neon green shirt odds were there were one of ours. This year because we are going to be confined in a fenced in lakefront yard I bought sailor hats from Windy City Novelties. I also brought multi sizes and colors of Sharpies so everyone could 20160827_133613.jpgdraw on their hats…..The only rule is that they HAVE TO wear the hats for our group pictures. After that it doesn’t matter. One last box was filled with things we bought at the Daytona Flea Market. NONE of this stuff is made to last. I feel that if it makes it all the way through the two days it will be considered a bonus!!

Once we got through passing out the contents of the “Grandpa’s Boxes” the noise and rowdiness levels escalated….A LOT…by both kids AND adults. Somehow we were still able to herd everyone together for the group photos. As I mentioned above it was required BY ME that everyone WILL wear their sailor hat for the pictures. Once the picture taking is done it really doesn’t matter what happens to ANYTHING. It is all made for fun for the weekend and from all appearances the concept of fun seemed to be successful. wp-1472832785393.jpg

That brings us to the birthday celebration. Several chapters ago I mentioned that I was missing Lisa’s birthday. Since knowing Lisa I have only missed two of her birthdays and both times it was because I was attending a special event in Michigan. OBVIOUSLY a wife’s birthday is a bigger event than anything else but there are certain conflicts of timing that have to be negotiated delicately. I did “OK” with my long distance handling of THE day but now that we were together I decided that there needed to be a wee bit more.

The little cake I had bought earlier was given to my daughter. She was going to write something on it and put on the number shaped candles. She did all of that and was having her daughter carry the cake from the 5th wheel to the dining area inside the house. I was in the house so I didn’t get to see this as it happened but the poor little thing dropped the cake. She was devastated as you can imagine an 8 year old being. My daughter did her best to QUICKLY repair what she could (which wasn’t much). All the time I was standing there in the house trying to keep everyone from running off and not having a clue why it was taking so daggone long!! She made it with the severely mangled cake with a blue, smeared, and unreadable “GRAMMY” written on the cake. We sang Happy Birthday……..which sounded just about as bad as the cake looked. Lisa also got a t-shirt that read “I’M NOT ARGUING   I’M JUST EXPLAINING WHY I AM RIGHT” (appropriate I might add). We all 20160902_121917.jpgdipped our fingers into the frosting and I do believe that the remainder of the cake went to the great oven in the sky.

The rest of the day was filled with a little rain, a lot of swimming, a bit of wave running, a little kayaking, some burgers and beans and corn, a beer or two, and a raging campfire that I slept through.

You know what……life really doesn’t get much better than this!!!!

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

CHAPTER “16”….DAY 12…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

FRIDAY AUGUST 26, 2016…..DAY TWELVE!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 1781.7

WHAT???? No breakfast waiting for me in the lobby??? WT….?? Oops, I forgot that I’m not in a hotel. Let’s see…..I was up this morning before anyone else so I fired up the computer to see what I could get accomplished. As it turned out…..NOT MUCH!! Others started shuffling out one by one. It became obvious that the first task at hand was to run to the grocery store and buy up some donuts. I did just that grabbing two dozen donuts grabbing a good mixture of everything that they had.

For some reason when I came back to the house NOTHING looked familiar and I went right on by it. When I hit the end of the pavement even I could figure out that I missed their house. So I turned around and headed back. THERE IT WAS!! I saw it…….as I drove by it. I didn’t want the donuts to be “day old” before I ever got them to the house. Another turn around and I pulled in. Since nobody saw me going back and forth I didn’t bother to tell them. Shhhh….don’t let them know about it.

The adults (and that term is based on ages and not on maturity levels…..including mine) hovered around the dining area talking while the kids sounded as if they were totally destroying the upstairs. No one came through the ceiling so I am assuming that all is still reasonably in one piece. My daughter said that she would like to take the kids to the movies to see Pete’s Dragon. Everyone seemed ok with it so a quick look at movie times and locations and it was decided that the 1:50 show at the Oxford 7 in Oxford, MI would be the right movie. While that was going on Lisa was calling her “bestie”.   They were very best friends in Richardson, TX through graduation and a decade and a half of adulthood. Lisa moved to Florida with me and now of all places Valerie was only a few miles from us in Michigan. After a few choices thrown back and forth it was decided to meet at the Clarkston, MI Elias Bros. Big Boy at 6:30.

Having all the times and locations set we now had to focus on the process of extracting each of the kids from the Thunderdome raging on the second floor. Surprisingly all the 3rd generation was herded out and the make-over of converting them from wild animals to semi-civilized human being moved along at a good rate. The goal of leaving at 1:00 was only missed by 20 minutes and that was considered a victory. We were piled into two vehicles and headed to the theater….possibly should be recorded in some kind record book. Brett and Angela elected to not go to the movies and kept their 2 year old Maverick at home with them.

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We got to Oxford and only missed the theater once.   Based on my history on this trip only missing something once was a pretty good feat. We sat through Pete’s Dragon and I have to tell you that every one of us thought that it was pretty darn good. Neither Lisa nor I saw the original cartoon version so we didn’t have anything to compare it too. Not many people go to a motorcycle trip blog for their movie reviews but if you happen to be one of those…..it got 7 thumbs up!

We got back to the house and the kids had a couple of hours to get in some swimming. At the same time the guys went to work on the wave runner that seemed to have moisture in the gas line or something that was hindering the proper gas flow.   Everyone was successful.   The kids got to swim and the wave runner is running fine.

Now our goal was set to leave at 6:10 for our Big Boy dinner. This was getting 6 adults and 4 kids from wave running repair or swimming to being fit to be seen in public at a restaurant. We also were doing it in three separate vehicles. Since Lisa was meeting a friend we wanted our freedom to stay later without making them sit around, Brett and Angela wanted the option to leave if Maverick wasn’t content to sit around while there was after dinner chit chat, and that left Dylan and Monique to drive their own car whether they wanted to or not. The arrangement actually turned out to work perfectly.

My focus now had to turn to Lisa. Lisa and Valerie have not seen each other for what we estimated to be 16 years…give or take. We were in the car heading towards Clarkston and she confided in me that she was scared. She said “what if we don’t have anything to talk about?” and then “what will I say to her?” I understood her concern because she really has wp-1472507194772.jpgnever faced this problem. Seeing someone that she hasn’t seen for years and years is not something that she has ever done before. I told her that it would not be a problem whatsoever.   I gave her that reassuring smile and said that I have been doing it for ten days and it has all gone well. I told her that it would flow out of her and Valerie and that they would have to force the evening to stop.

It went PERFECT. The little gal that waited on all of us was fantastic. When the meal was done Brett and Angela scooted out with Trent and Maverick. A little while later Dylan and Monique also left for the night so that they could start the process of bedding the kids. Just as I predicted the two gals chatted away and had to force the night to end. It was super for everyone.  It was extra super for me.  I grew up with the Elias Bros. Big Boy chain in Michigan and I LOVE the Big Boy sandwich.  They are getting rare and very hard to find……I was a happy camper while they hashed through old times

Back at the house we got word that my eldest daughter was just leaving Pellston, MI and heading down. She was later than planned because both of her teenage boys are on the Pellston High football team and tonight was their first game.   They were now on the road and would be arriving around 1:30 AM or so with 2 adults and 4 kids to add into the mix. Brett and Angela’s house would never be the same.

As for me and Lisa……well, we said that we would see them in the morning. We said our goodnights, did our circuit of kissing and hugging everyone, and meandered back to the bedroom.   Zzzzzzzzzzz………..

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

CHAPTER “15”….DAY 11…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

THURSDAY AUGUST 25, 2016…..DAY ELEVEN!!   MILES TODAY: 24.3    TOTAL MILES: 1781.7

Up until now you might be thinking that I am having a great vacation and having more fun and meeting with more friends than anyone should be allowed. You would, of course, be totally correct. You have read of my ride north, meeting & greeting with old friends for lunch or dinner, three separate wonderful reunion events…albeit with OLD people, and more. I have seen dear friends that I have not seen in 35 years or more. I have met with dear old (really OLD) friends that are actually a part of me. I have seen and talked to old (again…really OLD) flames and the high school crushes that never knew they were a crush (sigh!!). This trip has been the best………..AND YET………..THE BEST WAS STILL TO COME!!!

I started my morning with the Quality Inn breakfast. While I ate I did a little typing and “kind of” listened to the TV hanging from the wall. The weather person (who we all know from experience is ALWAYS right of course) was talking about two separate storms rolling through Southeast Michigan.   Not one but TWO storms. One would make its appearance in the morning and another in the afternoon. My plan was to mill around town until about 5:30 or 6:00 and then head out to my nephew’s house in Ortonville for the beginning of my GREAT weekend. However because of the TWO storms that were certainly going to mess with our lives………BECAUSE THE TV WEATHER PERSON PREDICTED IT…..I was starting to adjust my thinking and sent a message to my nephew’s wife if it was ok if I rolled in around noon.

Due to the TV’s prophecy of DOOM the breakfast gal came over and said that maybe I should move my bike under the hotel’s main door canopy. I told her that I was checking out after 7 nights for a weekend in Ortonville before heading back to Florida. She draped her arm over my shoulders, wished me well, told me to be safe, and how wonderful it was to have me at her breakfast every morning.   I thought to myself that if I was WONDERFUL….how pathetic the rest of the people must be. Still, I was touched and I did thank her very much.

There was another older gentleman who turned and asked “did you say that you rode up from Florida? Where are you going from here?”   He was a mine inspector and has spent lots of time in Beckley, WV…

where I am going. He has a brother in Simpsonville, SC…where I am going. He lives up I-85 from Atlanta near Commerce….where I am going. I guess that is one of those proverbial Small World things.

I went back up to the room and finished up my packing. You would think that with being gone as long as I have things would have gotten a lot lighter but for some reason it seemed heavier. I grabbed one of the hotel’s luggage carts and carted my bags and helmets and jacket and whatever else was mine down to the bike. There was a guy standing near the bike having a cigarette and I gave him as cheerful a “Good Morning” as I could. That is generally all most people need to have their engine started and he was no exception. He was from Tennessee and rode bikes until he broke his wrist falling down some stairs. He still wants to but can’t do it.

I hit the button and fired up the Yamaha and headed out of the hotel parking lot completely loaded. My first stop was at my old barber’s place. Mike bought the shop in 1966 and I went to him a few times before I was drafted into the Army. I left the Army in late 1969 and the hair styles of the day pretty much ended my stops at a barber shop for

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Mike’s Barber Shop Waterford, MI

 

several years.   When I started to trim up again I went back to Mike’s. Until last year I had not been to Mike’s since 1984. It was great seeing him and made part of my plan to stop and see him. He was on vacation so I had to wait until my LAST day because that was his FIRST day back. I pulled in and it was a lucky time because there was no one else there and Mike and I chit chatted for a good hour or so. I snapped a couple of pictures and he gave me some fresh jalapenos (YUM!!!) and I got ready to head out.

 

Then it was time to start the next segment of the trip. I took a run north from Waterford up M-15 to Ortonville. It was about 12:30 when I got to the house of my Nephew, son of my younger sister. Brett has a beautiful house on the banks of Lake Louise in Ortonville with his wife, Angela, and sons Trent and Maverick. Both Brett and Angela work from home and for those of you who think that working from home is all about watching TV and eating bon-bons…..that is NOT the case. They stay good and busy.

When Brett finished his latest conference call and counted down the seconds to the time when he could log off we headed out and attached his fifth wheel hitch to the pick-up so that he could move the fifth wheel nearer the house. The unit was going to be used by one of my daughters and her family when they got here.

We no sooner finished up with that when my wife pulled up. Lisa had flown up from Daytona to Flint, MI and was spending the weekend with me and the kids. After a week and a half she was a sight for sore eyes.   The reunion was warm and sweet.   We all retired back into the house for a great dinner that Angela had prepared for us. I love the road and I love traveling around staying in hotels where I can lounge and make man noises while not upsetting anyone. I love going in restaurants of all kinds and having servers of all shapes, sizes, sex, and personalities bring me exactly (most of the time) what I asked for. Yep, I love all of that but there is still nothing like sitting at the table with family and eating a home cooked meal.

We sat around chit chatting and “touring” their house.   It was the first time I had been to this house. There was a bit more lounging and talking before Lisa said that after her day of traveling she had to get to bed. We were waiting for the arrival of one of my daughters and her family. They were driving down from Levering, MI roughly 3 hours north.

Around 11:30 they pulled in. There is NOTHING in my life more special than seeing my kids. It has been that way since it all began in 1979 and will continue to follow that pattern throughout the remainder of my term of breathing.   My daughter, Monique, came in with her husband, Dylan, and their heavy eyed kids Ivan and Nan who somehow stayed awake long enough to greet before going back to sleep.

There are not many things that will keep this OLD guy up past midnight but this was one. ….but even a reunion with an offspring will eventually lose out to the bed. And so ends my 11th day on the road……

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

CHAPTER “14”….DAY 10…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 24, 2016…..DAY TEN!!   MILES TODAY: 23.9   TOTAL MILES: 1757.4

Every once in a while you get people that in the hotel breakfast area that are worthy of mention.   This morning was the same for me. I got up, called Lisa for her wake-up, got dressed, and headed down to the breakfast room in the lobby. About the same time that I got there another fellow came in about my age. Like me he got his coffee and a sampling of the various breakfast foods available. Nothing remarkable there (even though I just remarked about it)!! About 10 minutes later in walks another gentleman who was also about the same age as me. He rounded up his breakfast choices and sat down. Then they started comparing what each of them had on their last blood work results and what each of their doctors had to say about the same blood work results. If it would have been a passing comment like “oh yeah, I went to the doctor yesterday and things looked ok” and then onto other subject matter I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. However these two people had a lengthy 20 “lay person” discussion on blood results, medications, good and bad cholesterol levels, and doctor comments. It was almost like they were having a contest to see who had the best (worst) health report. I would tell you more about how funny it all sounded but you see…I have this bad arthritis in my hands and ALL the doctors in Florida say I shouldn’t type too much.

When I first arrived here in Waterford I was asked what kind of get gatherings I would have. My answer also included a breakfast. This is the same breakfast that Bernie and his two daughters came to a day early. I scheduled this breakfast for Wednesday August 24 at 9:30.   This would allow me time to do my “first breakfast” at the hotel, do any typing that I had to do, and take care of anything else that might have come up. After the “first breakfast” I was pretty free so I typed some and worked on my packing some because Wednesday night was going to be my last night for this stay at the Waterford Quality Inn.wp-1472128403988.jpg

Pretty much at 9:30 on the dot I pulled into the Highland Grille and went in to see all my adoring fans. I counted them and there were exactly…………and I counted twice just to be positive……..zero people there.   This wasn’t a total surprise. There had been so much activity over the past few days it really didn’t shock me that I was there by myself. If you want to get technical (and to save face I do) there were THREE people that met me for breakfast………..they just came a day early. Not to be deterred I sat and ordered me a meal and ate quietly with only the occasional “would you like me to top off your coffee” to interrupt the silence. To be sure, I would have loved to have shared that time with some others. After all that is why I am in Waterford. At the same time it was nice to have a meal that was quiet, reflective, and unhurried. The food was good and I never ran out of coffee.

I left the Highland Grille and may the 2 mile shot over to the Waterford Cemetery. This is always one of my must stops when I do my pilgrimage back to the old home town. It is almost in the center of the township. There are many people I know who were buried wp-1472128450138.jpgthere.   My brother-in-law’s burial site is there. He is my younger sister’s husband and father of the nephew that I will be spending the weekend with. I knew him before he met my sister…..in fact, I introduced them but that would be a blog story in itself and I will save that for another time. I used to ride with him back in the 1973-1976 window of time. He was a good friend loved by many and died too young. Another death WAY too young was a mother of three daughters that I knew in the very early 70’s. She was a special lady and her girls were precious. She would have been so proud to see one of her granddaughters getting married this summer. There are more…classmates, neighbors, Vietnam casualties, wp-1472304540290.jpgchildren of friends.   On one side of the Waterford Cemetery is the Veteran’s Memorial. A spot dedicated to all Waterford vets. As well as the monument the sidewalk is lined with bricks with the names of different vets from the area. For a few bucks a piece the vet’s name was engraved, will be there forever, and it helped to finance the memorial. All and all this hallowed ground called Waterford Cemetery is a must stop for me and it humbles me to wander its grasses.

I left the Waterford Cemetery and set my sights on Pontiac and into the neighborhood where I bought my first house. It is remarkably the same as it was 34 years ago. One of the remarkable parts is Tom and Pat who lived across the street from me with their two kids. They were living there when I bought the house and they are still living there….empty nesting. Their daughter, Dorothy, was one of the first babysitters we used for our children and my oldest is now 37!! It is fun to stop and visit with Tom and Pat. Even though most everyone and their children have moved on and found new places to live across the country they have kept tabs on a lot of them and are a wealth of knowledge. I didn’t have a ton of time but I spent an hour with Tom and Pat and it was an hour well spent.

Back on the scooter I zipped back out of Pontiac, across Waterford, and into White Lake. I was returning to Dave & Amy’s to meet up with school chum, Steve. I had met with Steve last Friday for lunch (you can read about that in Chapter 9) at Leo’s Coney Island. While we were eating a fast rain blast came. It rained HARD for about 10 minutes. I like it when Ma Nature pounds out the rain when I am inside and stops it before I am back outside.   We did some good chit chatting and when we got done eating Steve invited me over to his house that was only a mile or so from the restaurant. This would give me a chance to see his wife, Pat, who I hadn’t seen yet. Now…..as you read this you will be able to take a big sigh of relief because for the next 3 hours Steve and I solved ALL the world’s problems….except the blood work issues of the two guys at breakfast!! We started with local and wound up taking care of international problems. Now all there is for the world leaders to do is to call either me or Steve and we will be tickled to death to fill them in on just what it is they have to do. If they are reading this be advised that for the next few days you may have to call Steve because I’ll be on the road.

All that problem and issue solving was exhausting so I said goodbye to Steve and Pat and headed back to the hotel. On the way I had visions of all the writing and packing that I would get done. The visions dissolved as soon as I stepped into the room. I mustered the energy to Skype with Lisa and hit the bed for my last night before I spend the weekend with the kids and grands.

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.