Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's Fall!
I do love this time of year...the colors this year have been spectacular, and are lasting a very long time. We've had wonderful weather throughout the summer and fall, with the exception of the hurricane-fed rain in September. Maybe it's a reward for the very long and snowy winter we had last year.

There's been little knitting...I hope to get back into the swing of things soon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Guess who's TWO!

Happy Birthday, Robby!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Visit from Friends

Dear friends came from Ohio to spend a weekend with us and see our new house... For some of them, it was their first visit to Michigan. For some, it was their first time visiting us. For all, it was their first visit to our new home.

They travelled first-class in this HUGE motor home.

We took them to visit the Davis Mercantile in Shipshewana, where I work.

We rode the carousel on the third floor of the Mercantile.

We took a ride in a horse-drawn buggy.

We had a picnic at Bonneyville Mill County Park...

We had a wonderful time! Talking, laughing, playing, sitting around the bonfire and making S'mores, "Star-tipping"...(don't ask...). There's nothing to beat a weekend with friends.

Then they loaded the crew back into the motor home and headed back to Ohio...(sigh). It was so good to see you all. I can hardly wait for our next visit!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good times, good friends, great riding!

It was that time of year again...time to load up the BigYellowBike and head off to the gathering in Harrison, Arkansas. This is my favorite bike event of the entire year. Harrison is where I get to see most of my chat-room friends and enjoy some great mountain riding in beautiful country. Last year when we came home from Arkansas, we put the bike away and I never got another chance to ride until winter was over and April here.

Day One, Wednesday, October 1st, Michigan to Indiana:
We'd packed our bags the night before, and loaded up the bike and trailer as soon as I came home from work. I put on layers and layers of clothes (we really need to get some heated riding gear!) and we headed out for our friend Ross's house to spend the night. Ross was our first friend from the Wing forum. He has become a dear friend and treasured riding companion. After supper with Ross (5Ross) and his wife, Joyce, we went to bed early to rest up for the following day's ride. This was what I wore to keep warm: wool socks, long underwear pants and shirt, jeans, riding pants, turtleneck dickey, long-sleeved T-shirt, light sweater, riding jacket, rain suit to keep out the wind, leather gloves, boots and helmet (of course).
Day Two, Thursday, October 2nd, Indiana to Missouri:
Up early, coffee, and pile on the layers again to head on down the road. Ross told me I should have started MUCH earlier getting dressed, but we made it on the road just ten minutes behind schedule! It was a brisk 39-41 degrees when we started our morning ride, and warmed steadily as we headed south. We stopped a bit down the road for a hot breakfast, then continued toward Kentucky, peeling off layers as we rode. Early in the afternoon, we hit Owensboro, Kentucky to meet Steve (Polecat) for lunch at Moonlight BBQ. Another dear friend from the forum, Steve spent two weeks with us last spring, helping with the building of our new house.

From Kentucky, we twisted and twined about, riding the back roads, crossing and recrossing the Ohio River by bridge and ferry. Steve planned our route, and he did a great job. We saw some glorious country and spent a wonderful afternoon with good friends. We rode in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and ended up for the night in Charleston, Missouri.

Day Three, Friday, October 3, Missouri to Harrison, AR:
We loaded up and all the bikes got their tires checked and air pressure adjusted, and we were off again. More great roads, another ferry ride at Bull Shoals. We met up with a group of Texans from the forum at the ferry, but the boat was full and they waited for the next trip. We arrived in Harrison to find that the GPS coordinates for our motel led us to a semi parking lot, but after a bit of scouting found the Days Inn and checked into our rooms. As the afternoon passed, more of the group arrived and the hugs, laughter and fun began.

Day Four, Saturday, October 4th, Riding in the Mountains:

We awoke to leaden skies and rain, and passed the morning catching up and trading stories. When the rain stopped, fourteen bikes headed out, led by Rickey and Denise, to ride the twisties. Rickey knows the roads in these parts like the back of his hand, and made sure we had enough hills and curves to keep things interesting all day. We took on Push Mountain Road, passed the FrigNditch (no one fell in on this ride, John!), stopped for lunch at JoJo's, rode some more, then headed back to the motel to kick tires and eat pizza. We had visitors from the main gathering at the Holiday Inn Express and some of the group rode over there for a bit, but most of us never left the Days Inn except to ride.

Day Five, Sunday, October 5th, Fond Farewells and Northward-Bound:

It's always hard to part with friends, but all good things must end, and so did the Harrison Gathering for 2008. Snoopy and Boyd were the first to leave before the sun was up, followed by JP, William, and Michael. Before long it was our turn to go. With hugs all around and more than a couple of tears (on my part), we headed toward home.

Some years back, my family spent some time in Branson, MO, working a quilt show for a shop where I worked. We had a wonderful time there, and Rich and I decided to take a cruise up Hwy. 76, Branson's main street, to see how the place had changed. We were relieved to see a lot of familiar sights amongst all the changes. We travelled along the Mississippi River to Hannibal, where we'd spent a lovely couple of days with our son in his younger years. A short walk through the shops, a quick visit to the Mark Twain Book Store to pick up a gift, and back on the road again.

We made it to St. Charles, MO, before stopping for the day.

Day Six, Monday, October 6th, Missouri to Illinois:
I called a friend of mine from the forum who lives in St. Charles. Sheila and her grandson, Jude, met us for breakfast, then led us to her house for a quick tour. Sheila brightens the dreariest day with her smile and wit, and it's always a pleasure to spend time with her.

From there, it was an uneventful day of riding...until we lost a front brake pad on the BigYellowBike. Rich was able to guide us safely into a gas-station parking lot, where he inspected the damage. Two men, Harley riders, stopped to offer help. They drove Rich to a Honda dealership, waited for him to buy the needed parts, then brought him back to the gas station where I was waiting with the bike and trailer. A quick fix, and then back on the road again, but we had lost too much time to make it all the way home to Michigan, so checked into a motel for the night in Gilman, Illinois.
Day Seven, Tuesday, October 7th, Home, Home Again:
We arrived back home in Michigan on Tuesday afternoon, tired but happy that we got to spend time with good friends in beautiful surroundings. Here's to our next Gathering...all of you, ride safe! and keep the shiny side up. I hope the winter will pass quickly and we will see you again in the spring.
Pictures from our ride:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Wonderful Ride
Six days, nine different states, and just over 2,000 miles.
We headed out on the BigYellowBike last Thursday morning, bound for Hendersonville, NC, to see some good friends and eat a little BBQ. The first day out, we left Michigan, heading southeast through Indiana and crossing the Ohio River near Cincinatti, Ohio. We made it as far as Manchester, Kentucky before stopping for the night.

Friday, Day Two: Kentucky to North Carolina
Friday morning we left Kentucky, and arrived at Gatlinburg, TN, around noon. There we met up with some of our friends from the GL1800riders board and rode over the Smokies to Cherokee, NC, for lunch.

Riding with WimpyHonda, TNCharlie, PidJones and friends on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Directline Parts sponsors our bike forum, and they threw a BBQ at their North Carolina warehouse for any forum members who wanted to attend. We got to see lots of old friends, and meet some new friends. And then, there was this guy...

Our friend Polecat, and some guy in a furry bear suit... Don't know what that was all about.

We had a wonderful time at the BBQ. We've missed the last two years, due to the birth of our grandson in '06 and his first birthday in '07. This year, Grandpa decreed that the second birthday would have to be celebrated another day, because we were not going to miss it again.

Saturday, Day Three: North Carolina to Alabama

We left our motel at 8:00 Saturday morning to ride with a group of our friends to Dillard, Georgia, to eat breakfast at the Dillard House. If you're in the area, you must try this place! Meals are served family-style, so take your big appetite with you.

From left: Glen "BusterCrabbe", Lowell "Snoopy", Scott "Shadowslayer", Boyd "Stroller", Jay "Jay1021", Marian (Jay's wife), Becky and Rich, Ross "5Ross", David "Sailor", and Ralph "Ralph2".

Snoopy's brother, Boyd

Snoopy and son, Scott


Beautiful bikes...
We ate too much and talked a lot, but then it was time to say good-bye and begin the next leg of our trip. Our friends' destinations included South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. Jay & Marian and 5Ross rode with Rich & I through Georgia for a bit. We got in behind a group of riders on Harleys in the North Georgia mountains. One of them had some trouble, and his bike went down just before we rounded a curve. There were a few small parts scattered across the road and the bike was in the ditch, but the rider was up and walking by the time we got there. There were several bikes and a pickup truck stopped to help, so we went on our way. After a beautiful ride, Jay and Ross split off and started for Indiana, and Rich and I continued toward Alabama.

Rich plots our course on the iWay

Saturday evening we arrived in Tuscumbia, Alabama, to spend a wonderful evening with good friends. We know John and William from our forum and chat room, and they came up to visit us last May. It was a great pleasure to meet their wives, Debbie and Nina, for the first time! Mr. William and Ms. Nina welcomed us into their lovely home for the night, fed us, entertained us, and treated us like family. We are truly blessed to know these folks.

Sunday, Day Four: Alabama to Tennessee
After a tasty sausage-and-biscuit breakfast, William presented us with two jars of Ms. Nina's homemade pear preserves. Nina left for church, and William set me on the back of his Valkyrie and rode off with me to Mississippi, with Rich following on the BigYellowBike. We then rode through Tuscumbia, past the birthplace of Helen Keller and through a park with a wondrous fountain synchronized to music before picking John up at his home in Florence.

From there, William and John took us here. This place, known only as "The Wall" is a place of sorrow and gladness, a memorial to a Native American woman called Te-lah-nay, built by her great-great-grandson, Tom Hendrix. This is a special place, deserving of much more than a note in my trip report, and I will write more about it on another day. Suffice it to say that this was one of the highlights of this trip, if not one of the most special places I have ever visited. There is a stone from our home in this wall that was carried by John in the saddlebags of his VTX after his visit to Michigan last May.
Mr. William on his Valkyrie

John and Rich at The Wall

William and John rode with us for a time along the Natchez Trace and into Tennessee, then left us to return home. I hated to see them ride off, but am looking forward to seeing them both again very, very soon.
Rich and I continued on our way, stopping in Clarksville, Tennessee, for the night. Rich plotted our route for the following day in our motel room.

Monday, Day Five: Tennessee to Indiana

A fairly uneventful day...good roads, great weather. We rode all day until we hit Indianapolis. Only three more hours to get home, but after a long day riding, we decided to stop for the night. As it was early, we decided to head into downtown Indy for a bit. We parked the bike on a side street, made a quick stop at Border's, then walked around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. We've rounded it many times on our trips to Indianapolis, but never stopped to look at it before. We walked for a bit, stopped for a drink at a sidewalk pub, then headed back to the motel.

Tuesday, Day Six: Home again, home

Today was an easy ride through Northern Indiana and home. We stopped at Max Pitt's in Peru, Indiana and looked at a lot of motorcycles. We got home late in the afternoon, spent some time with our son, his girlfriend, and our grandson, went to supper with a friend, and that was the end of our wonderful trip. Good friends, good times, good riding.

Thank you to IWing and RonBien for the pictures I stole...Thank you, Hal, for the wonderful BBQ and the excuse to make this trip...Thank you, thank you, thank you, Nina, William, Debbie and John, for the wonderful hospitality.

We arrived back home on Tuesday afternoon, tired but happy and looking forward to our next ride. We'd never traveled on the bike in Georgia, before, and had never been in Alabama or Mississippi at all. Now our "States Visited" map looks like this:

Free, personalized travel maps at

Monday, September 15, 2008

We had a little rain....
Hurricane Ike pushed some precipitation up our way over the weekend. Reports are that we got 15 inches of rain.
It was this deep...

Ok, not really...this is my "Reporter in Floodwaters" picture. I was on my knees. :)

It was really only THIS deep.

It was cold, too.

Our little stream only had a couple of inches of water in it Friday. This was how it looked at midday Sunday. The river flowing from the top to the bottom of the picture is usually a grassy path leading into the marsh behind our house.
The stream has retreated back into its banks today, but there is still plenty of standing water in the yard. It was a lot of rain, but I'm glad I'm here and not in Texas this weekend!