Thursday, June 18, 2015

Traveling Fun

Last week we left and headed north on a road trip.  You can see pictures from our trip HERE.

We left at 6:15 am and rather than stay on the interstate, we took a smaller road through Cumberland Gap National Park. It may have taken us about 10-15 minutes longer (and 15 miles shorter) but Don was much more relaxed since their wasn’t as much traffic. Plus the scenery was beautiful. We had hoped to get up to Fort Wayne, IN for the night but after some research, we discovered that there was a National Museum of the Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH. So, I found a coupon for the Drury Inn and we stopped there only to find out that they were fully booked. We then went to a Hawthorn by Wyndham with another coupon but really didn’t like the looks of it so we ended up booking a room at the Hampton Inn near the Dayton Mall. After dinner at Bob Evans (which was pretty good or we were both pretty hungry), we decided to walk around the mall for some exercise. We walked past the Dayton Drones store on the first lap and decided to stop there on the 2nd lap. After a lengthy discussion, we ended up buying 2 drones and having Matt give us flying lessons. It is pretty cool!

We got to the National Museum of the Air Force (free admission, free parking) at 9am when it opened.  We did have to go to a metal detector and there was a military guard with a huge gun in his hands observing us as we went through it. We spent about 3 ½ hours walking through it rather quickly, which was about 3 miles in the 3 buildings. Then we walked to the outside exhibits for another mile.  I don’t know which one of us looked old and tired but it was worrisome when the 90 year old volunteer told us that if we got tired we could get a scooter for free. We could have spent another day here because there was so much to see and read. 

We left there and headed to Auburn, IN where our Hampton Inn was located. We got there at 4pm and had time to clean up and then head to Don Hall’s Old Gas House restaurant in Fort Wayne to meet up with our friends Debbie and Mike. We haven’t seen them in 6 months since our last cruise.  The prime rib was fabulous and we had a great time. Unfortunately the horse and carriage ride was cancelled due to extreme heat so instead we went to their local baseball game to see the Fort Wayne Tin Caps (A-team for the Padres) and had fun. We even enjoyed the apple dumpling and apple crisp for dessert. They drove us back to our car around 9:30pm and we were back to our hotel a little after 10pm. It was a fun day but I was tired.

We checked out of our hotel at 8:15 and got to the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN at 9:30am. We spent about 2 hours there and it was a lot of fun. We saw campers from the early 1920s to present day. It was well worth the entrance fee. Then we headed north to Grand Rapids. We got a room at theComfort Inn Airport for $69. Then we drove downtown and walked around. There was a Relay for Life going on along the river and we also went into the Ford Presidential Museum store. Then we came back to have a bite to eat at the Steak and Shake. In the evening, Rista (Susan) and Mr. Chicken (Scott) came by to knit with me.

We left the hotel at 8:00 and stopped at Walmart for some things. Then we got to the Ford Presidential Museum by 9am. It was interesting but involved a lot of reading! We left there at 10:30 and headed to the coast of Lake Michigan and The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We drove the 8 mile loop road there and saw the sand dunes. At one point, we even walked a little in the dunes.  By 3:30, we headed east to look for a hotel room and finally stopped in Grayling, MI at a Super 8.

We headed north to go across the Mackinac Bridge, which was beautiful. The toll was $4.  Lake Michigan was on one side and Lake Huron was on the other! Then we headed up to the Soo Locks in Sault St. Marie, MI. The parking meter was .25/30 minutes so we put .50 in the meter for an hour. After going to the visitor center, and going to the observation platform, we went to a gift shop across the street. I think it is amazing how these locks work! We were there about 45 minutes. After that we went to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior. We walked to an overlook to see Miner’s Castle and then the lower overlook to see the pictured cliffs. While we were there we watched a ranger give 4 young adults citations for climbing over the barrier even though it clearly states you will be prosecuted if you do. Then we left there and arrived at Green Bay, Wisconsin and stayed at the Comfort Suites on Bond St. ($94/night).

We went to the National Train Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  It was nice because with AAA we got in  Buy One Get One Free and then paid $2 each for a train ride. There was the Dwight Eisenhower and the Big Boy which was cool but I still think we liked the Transportation museum in Spencer, NC better. We left there around 10:30 and headed to Chicago.

Things I Learned:

  • Exercise is good after riding in a car for 12 hours.
  • When traveling you need to be flexible.
  • Start looking for lodging before you get tired and cranky in case it takes longer than expected.
  • Drones are not as expensive as I thought.
  • Personal customer service can really sell a product.
  • It takes 2 days to see all of the National Museum of the Air Force.
  • There are a few other parks in Dayton, OH that I would like to see on a return trip
  • In the spring of 2016, they will have a 4th building open that features 3 or 4 Presidential airplanes (Kennedy, Ford, Roosevelt, and possibly Obama)
  • The Sand Dunes on Lake Michigan dropped straight down about a 60 – 70 degree angle.
  • The Soo Locks help ships move from Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes.
  • I have now seen all 5 Great Lakes.
  • Rangers really will enforce the rules if they catch you breaking them!
  • The white furry things flying around were cottonwood seeds.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

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