Blogs, random thoughts, travel

  • Great Lakes Trip

    Rather than incorporate our last big trip into a book, I have decided to share it in a series of blogs.  (Translation:  There hasn’t been much happening around here and I’ve run out of things to write about!).

    Throughout last year we had been making small trips in Wanda—rarely more than three or four nights on the road and mostly within the Carolinas.  We were craving a longer adventure and decided upon a trip to the Great Lakes. 

  • Wolves!

    Anytime we can mix wildlife with our travels is a win-win in my opinion.  On our trip to Lake Superior this past fall we had great sightings of bison, beavers, and bald eagles.  But breaking with alliteration, one of the most memorable was WOLVES!

  • I'm a Worrier

    Camped somewhere in the forests of Wisconsin I worried that the banjo-playing young man with a large chained dog, whose camp we used for a U-turn, would walk through the woods and find us while we slept.  I’m not sure if I was concerned what harm he might do to us or if he would just play his banjo all night. 
  • Border Crossings

    Eventually a woman leaned out of a window and waved me forward.  I asked if I did something wrong at the scanner but she ignored my question. I handed her our passports showing we were US citizens.  She still asked where we were going and did we have a reservation for tonight?  (I’m thinking: ‘I’m an American, does it really matter where I’m going?’ but of course did my best to come up with the name of a state park we were going to camp in that night.)  Then she asked ‘was this a camper with a bed and was anyone sleeping in the back?’  I replied it was just the two of us.  I was not about to let her know there was a passenger with Chihuahua Mexican-heritage, without a passport, snoring on the floorboard between our seats! Annie may have lived on the streets for a while, but she could not have survived serving time in a border holding cell at this point in her privileged life. 
  • Radio Reflections

    When I was a preteen, I discovered KTSA which played “Top 40” music.  I still remember it was 550 on the AM dial.  You could call in requests via a TOLL-FREE phone number IF you were willing to dial eleven digits on a rotary phone and then, IF the call was answered, stay on hold for 15-50 minutes.  People will say that Country music also existed at this time, but I’m not sure anyone in my family was aware of this.  I was also probably in college before I realized there were FM stations available on the radio dial.
  • Veterans Making Rookie Mistakes

    Our plan was to walk the shoreline to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.  An online map I consulted offered a confusing trail, that looked like a road, that began in a campground somewhere behind us.  No, we were still going with our idea to walk the shoreline.  I grabbed a light backpack to carry the Nikon camera.  We debated going barefoot since it was going to be a walk on the sand but ultimately we each grabbed some waterproof shoes and tossed them in the backpack.   
  • Impromptu Blue Ridge Parkway Trip

    We said we would stop at just one overlook but that’s like eating one potato chip.  I found myself pulling into each one that offered a view.  The leaves in this lower elevation area were just beginning to change colors. I have a favorite tree on the Parkway at the Craggy Dome Overlook and it was my goal to get there.
  • No Place Like Home

    When we travel in our van Wanda, we travel with our own toilet and accoutrements.  That means “home quality” toilet paper wherever we go.  But now that the panic of the pandemic has subsided, we have taken to using other facilities as well. On the last trip I was reminded of the poor quality of toilet paper in state parks.  A friend who once traveled to Russia described their toilet paper as “wax paper at best”. I would say that most state parks use a Russian supplier who leans more towards tissue paper quality.  
  • Travel Notes


    While driving through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we were treated on three or four occasions to pairs of white swans living in small lakes or beaver ponds, but one time we did a double take when we saw a flock of pink plastic flamingoes on a pond in the middle of nowhere!

  • A Drive-Thru Experience to Remember

    On our recent trip to the Great Lakes, we entered into Culver Country.  Culver’s is a Wisconsin-based frozen-custard-and-more fast-food franchise founded in 1984.  They do have stores in twenty-six states but this was our first time to visit one.  (We also visited our first White Castle’s franchise on this trip but Jenni said we should never mention that again.)

  • You Meet the Nicest People

    The man in the Ford Transit van came out and we struck up a conversation.  I was as mesmerized by his Minnesota accent as he may have been by my southern drawl.  (Asking ‘where y’all headed?’ tends to indicate I ain’t from around there).  
  • Oops I Did It Again

    With much less trepidation than the first time around, I published a second book this week. “Living With Wanda 2: Campervan Adventures Continue” is now available on Amazon as a Kindle eBook or in paperback.