2017-05-11 (Day 1/9) Trip to Michigan-Holland and Mackinac Island. (8 nights)

2017-05-11 Trip to Michigan – specifically Holland and Mackinac Island. (8 nights)
I have to start this post by telling the reader that I tend to have too-much-detail. On this trip, I took over 700 pictures and have tried to only include the ‘high-points’. However, the trip was so great, it is hard to cut-down content, so I tend to just include it. Instead of having one big post of the trip, I’ve separated the trip into days. This will help with my management of the content as well as cause the page to load faster. The many pictures causes the internet load time to be longer. I started this blog-post as one large document, and after discovering that the management of the many pictures was difficult, I broke the posts into days. However, I didn’t return to the text and revise it. It is best to read this post as a story and start with day 1 and read each day afterward. 

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I found a ‘bus-group’ (i.e., Motorcoach) and signed up to travel with them to Michigan. The group was mostly retired women, total in the group was 45. The tour director, Cathy Stokes, owns and operates “Seniors On the Go Tours”. We had an EXCELLENT trip and it was all due to Cathy and her planning. She has been planning trips for many years and started her own company about 17 years ago.

(Note: I use the ‘gallery’ feature of wordpress to organize and display pictures. To see the complete picture, click on it and use the left and right arrows to view the pictures in the gallery.) 

The pictures above are from the whole trip. Each day (in the following posts) has more information about the trip and more pictures. 
2017-05-11 Thursday – GAAtlanta
We left Lawrenceville about 7:15AM and encountered immediate, awful Atlanta traffic. A bridge on Interstate-85 had collapsed a few weeks previously, and the area suffered the results from the collapse for about 8 weeks – until the replacement bridge was complete. It took the bus driver over an hour to drive us out of the metro area. I didn’t mind because I wasn’t the one having to drive. I found that having someone else drive was a tremendous asset – AND – having someone else plan the trip was a real dream. We stopped at a semi-fast food restaurant near the interstate for lunch and had a couple of ‘rest-stop’ breaks on the way. Our first night was in Scottsburg,IN at a Holiday Inn Express. My roommate, Sue, and I had a room near the front desk. We ate Kentucky Fried Chicken for supper in the hotel room. I walked to the nearby restaurant for the food and returned with it.

2017-04-10 From GA,Atlanta to AL,Stevenson (about a 3 hour drive)

2017/04/10 – 04/19 — From GA,Atlanta to AL,Stevenson
I am on an email group-list of people who meet-up and camp-out. For the last 3 years, we’ve had a ‘spring’ gathering near Stevenosn, Alabama. I travel to Chattanooga, then turn southwest and drive another 45 minutes to Stevenson. The group actually camps a little past Stevenson, but the camping location is on a dirt road without a Garmin GPS address. So, I program the GPS for the Shop-Rite grocery store in Stevenson and use a hand-written Google map direction to the campsite. We had about 15 people in the camp on Easter Sunday. One of the group members suggested a pot-luck meal. Everyone brought a dish, with the group co-ordinating the contents. We were able to hear many songbirds each day and especially enjoyed watching the large birds in the area. In addition, we saw several barges on the river and many beautiful sunsets. I had a great time and hope that the others who came enjoyed themselves too.

2017-01-25 GAAtlanta – Very warm days (so far) this winter

It has been a very warm winter so far this year in Atlanta. The high temperature today was 70, and it was sunny. I went to visit my son, his wife and two children = Pumpkin/girl, age 2years 10months. -and- Peanut/boy, age 1year 2months.  I rode with my son to pick them up from the day care center and walked inside with him to pick up the children. (They play outside in warm weather and play inside when the weather is bad.)  After we returned to his house, we took them to a nearby playground. All of us enjoyed it. I have stayed in Atlanta the last two winters because of wanting to go visit with the children and watch them grow-up. I notice changes in their development each time I visit.
     Today, Pumpkin is really talking a lot and is able to tell you what she wants. She wants to slide down the pole and sliding board. She likes swinging and walking on the balance bar. She attempts to throw balls in the basketball hoop – today, she found a golf ball in the playground and my son held her close to the top of the basketball hoop so that she could attempt to throw it in. She likes riding in her stroller and putting a pacifier in her mouth. Near sunset, she was chilly and wanted her blanket to keep warm.
     Peanut is afraid to try and walk alone but can stand and balance without falling. He’s afraid of falling and will always sit on the ground and crawl. This afternoon, he crawled down the hill of the driveway chasing a beachball. He’s fast and can almost crawl faster than I can walk. He’s able to go anywhere in the house that he wants. He is also able to climb on things. Today, at the playground, he climbed up the stairs to the sliding-board and I put him on the top of the sliding-board with his body completely flat and let him slide to the bottom – where my son ‘caught’ him and helped him return to the top so he could slide again. He was giggling all the way down and squirmed in my sons arms to return and slide-down again. He is beginning to learn to communicate and recognized “Ma-ma” when she came home from work.
    Both of the children love the iPhone – in particular, the YouTube app playing “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”. Pumpkin learned long ago to push the icons on the video and have them play different songs. Peanut has recently learned to push the ‘start’ button on the iPhone and have the lighted display screen start. He likes holding it and often pushes the wrong-thing and stops the video from playing. He’s patient about an adult holding the phone and having the video play again. They learn everything so fast and the repetition of the children’s songs has helped them know more about our world.

We did have some cold weather and ice about 3 weeks ago and the forecast for the next few weeks includes more cold weather. I think that our warm winter has been ‘record breaking’ with the temperatures and know that it is winter and we will have some cold weather soon. However, I have really enjoyed staying in Atlanta, so far, this winter. 

<Feel free to leave comments about this blog below. (Please forgive any typing mistakes and mis-spelling.)  Also, I have another blog, about a 1971 MGB car. The website url is: http://PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com  .>

2016-10-22 GAAtlanta – Just a quick post about “Life”

Life and time go on, whether you like it or not. Just HAD to add that because that is what is on-my-mind today.
My latest trip (and camping) was to TNCopperhill. I’ve previously been there and posted pictures on my blog. After several days of this trip, my cellphone battery became completely drained and I was unable to take any pictures. While camping, I used my van inverter in an attempt to charge it. Maybe something is wrong with my van electrical system, or maybe the phone was ‘so-dead’, it wouldn’t charge. At any rate, at home I was able to charge it. Charging took a long time, but eventually, all was well. (Note: the case of the phone is called “Mophie” which contains an ‘extra battery’ that was also completely drained.)
I DO have several observations and comments about the trip: We had member be the ‘host’ and post the dates of a Get-ToGether (GTG) on an internet forum. Many people who came were people who I had previously met. Also, of course, there were several new people. I didn’t count the number who attended, but my estimate is that 15 were there on Saturday for the ‘pig-roast’. The weather was ‘cool-at-night’ when I arrived. Each day was a little warmer and the temperature was PERFECT on my last day. I was there for a week enjoying watching the butterflies – and the tree leaves change color and fall to the ground. We didn’t have any rain – Georgia has a drought again this year. I returned to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon and didn’t enjoy all the traffic from others visiting the area and returning to the city.
By the way, after returning from the camping trip, my younger son gave me his old cell phone (an iPhone6-larger screen). The next day, I went to the apple store, and the new one is now activated. At the store, I uploaded all of the data from the old iPhone and then downloaded the data to the new phone. I had pictures in the storage that took a long time for the process. It took over an hour for the download, and the upload was about 20 minutes. (I suspect that the upload is really checking the apple cloud to determine if the data already exists or not. If the data is already there, there is no need for an additional upload of the duplicate data.) Now, I have to learn new features, such as the fingertouch security and the associated ‘wallet’. Anyway, I really like the new iPhone and am still adapting to it. (Note: I was taught in Sunday School that the use of the word “LOVE” is inappropriate as a description of the cellphone. People are not supposed to ‘love’ a phone, that is – people are only supposed to love other people. They are supposed to ‘like’ a cellphone – it is incapable of ‘feeling’.)
A story: One of the campers had 3 dogs who were kept in a pen near her camper. She was visiting the campfire one day and there were many discussions about dogs because everyone there, except one other person and me, owned a pet. At the end of the discussion, she said that she needed to go tend to her ‘children’. I had to interrupt and tell her my viewpoint of her statement. I told her that I have grandchildren and what she needed to tend to were NOT children. I took an exception to her statement. Yes, I realize that pets are companions and are similar to children in the respect that many people consider them to be family. However, they are NOT human and in my opinion, they should NOT be referred to as children. Maybe I’m too much into semantics, but our communications with others depends on our proper wording in order to be accurate. If you agree or disagree, I would appreciate your opinion.
Observation – I HAD to share the following about our current society: Many years ago, I was shopping in a grocery store and heard someone loudly talking. I rounded the aisle corner and there was only one person in the aisle and they continued to talk. My first reaction was: What’s up with this? Well, their back was to me and as I walked closer and passed them, I saw that they had earbuds and a wire down their front with a microphone on the wire. The line of conversation that I overheard went something like this: “What brand of ketchup do you like?” At that time, I had an ’emergency cellphone’ in my car and would NEVER consider using it for a casual conversation – the monthly plans were expensive and talking for very long would cost more than a bottle of ketchup was worth. I guess that I didn’t realize that ‘times-were-changing’. Maybe the grocery-store cellphone-caller had a different usage plan than I had and it was cheaper for them on the cellphone than what I was used to. Well, fast forward to cell phones of today: Yesterday, I was in a grocery-store and there were MANY people talking on cellphones. I didn’t overhear any conversations, but I could tell that the people talking were used to long discussions of topics deeper than the brand of ketchup to buy. Cellphone usage is now commonplace and I may soon join in the fray. After all, I can now accurately state that “I’m addicted to the internet”. Today, I downloaded an app that allows you to scan bar-codes and to quickly compare the price of items. (I have to disclose that when I am camping, I try to not use the internet much because I want to spend my time visiting with friends. However, at the nightly campfire on this trip, others would bring their cellphones and read messages. In my opinion, the rich conversation that we had a few years ago has greatly diminished. I can’t help but wonder what the future will bring.)
Final paragraph – for those interested in group camping and ‘vanning’ :=> Vandwellers_GTG is the name of the Yahoo email-group that I follow. There is an associated Facebook group called “Friends Who Like SE GTG”, but I much prefer email. The Facebook ‘wall’ rolls and I never know if I’ve read all of the messages or not. A favorite website that I read about van building is: CheapRVLiving.com. Also, there are many pictures about building a van for camping at yahoogroups Vandwellers_Construction.

Added later as an update to the post: When camping, another in the group told us about her recent summer experience of being a bus driver in Alaska. We talked about the movie, “Into the Wild”. During the last several days, I’ve watched some video on YouTube about the movie and today, I found the following article from Wikipedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_McCandless.

 

As always, feel free to leave your comments. Please ‘be polite’ and do not enter spam. 

2016-07-30 GAAtlanta-Continuation of ‘old’ website

2016-07-30 GAAtlanta-Continuation of ‘old’ website (and migration to a new name).

cropped-2011-01-10_GAAtlantaVannaWhitewhitecargoFordEconolinevan-640x480.jpg

The ‘old’ website was: http://www.PuddinInVannaWhite.wordpress.com

The NEW website is:

http://www.PuddinInVannaWhite.com  (Note: No “WordPress” in the middle of the name.) Updates will only be made to the ‘new’ website.

I used the wordpress website in order to ‘learn’ how to blog. I started the blog several years ago, and since that time, things have changed and evolved. My son has helped me establish the ‘new’ website and I now have web-stuff to learn. No problem = because when I first started the blog, there were a lot of things to learn and try. This time, there is a lot of similarity between the old-way and new-way.  I’m still using the wordpress software, just having to learn new hosting and platform differences. Wish me luck – hope that you enjoyed the blog and continue to read it. (Note: the ability to ‘subscribe’ and receive an email after I update the blog is not available at this time. Maybe that feature will be something that I learn later.)

(With the ‘wordpress’ website, I was able to pick a theme when starting the code and I haven’t learned how to do that yet. Also, with the old website, I wrote the text to use and the website made it much smaller to read. Since the ‘new-way’ of coding doesn’t do that, I will discontinue my heading of using <Ctrl> and <+> to make the font-type larger, and <Ctrl> and <-> to make the font-type smaller.

My son uploaded the ‘old’ website content to the new name using an import/export program. I don’t believe that the ‘gallery’ of pictures feature works – another learning thing for me. Also, the right-index of blog dates has moved to the bottom of the website. When creating the ‘old’ website, I used a ‘theme’ from a list of choices. On the ‘new’ website, the default background/text is used. At my computer, I use the Google-Chrome-webbrowser and use the ‘Hacker-Vision’ store app to change the background to black and the text to white. I will probably not change the website defaults for viewing. Lots of differences between the websites, but the content and pictures are still available.)