Sunday, July 31, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 56 Partly Sunny High 78) 

Catching up on our recent stay in North Utica Illinois. The day after visiting Bob's aunt and cousins we had a little time since we were meeting Jo's nephew later in the day. We sometimes forget that some people still work. So we took the opportunity to do some unplanned sightseeing.

First of all of course we had to eat. We had heard good things about Nonie's Bakery and Cafe in North Utica Illinois and it turns out we heard right. Jo had the cranberry walnut french toast with bacon. Bob had the biscuits and gravy with eggs and he added sausage. Everything was wonderful. The bread is fresh baked there. The sausage is ground there. Most everything is made there and is fresh. If we ever are in the area we will be back.

About half way thru the meal we decided it was blog worthy so we took a photo.

After we had finished eating we commented that it was a little cooler than the previous days so we thought we would take cousin Jim's advice and see Starved Rock State Park. Here is Starved Rock from across the Illinois River.

We walked around a little in the park and decided we would try to walk to the top of Starved Rock. But for that we would need water, the unplanned nature of this day, which we thought we could buy from one of the vending machines. First the vending machine wouldn't take any of our dollar bills so we went and got quarters. When I told the cashier the vending machine wasn't taking dollars bills she didn't seem that interested. The good news is that the machine took quarters, the bad news is that it took only one and that one jammed.

Since it was getting hotter and we didn't want to walk without water we decided to head to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center across the river which is where we got the picture above. We found out about the I and M canal that was built in the early 1800s connecting Illinois and Michigan that was a boon to the commerce in that time frame.

We then walked outside and got a picture of the dam 

and the lock. 

We had just missed a barge going through which would have neat. We were surprised to see white pelicans on the river and flying overhead. We did get a picture of one of them overhead.

Starved Rock State Park is worth another visit as it is full of waterfalls and canyons. Here is an example from the web.

Definitely on our list to see next time in the area when we have water with us, along with Nonie's Bakery and Cafe.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, July 29, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 51 Mostly Sunny High 74) 

We plan to see a few movies during our stay in Houghton and "Star Trek: Beyond" was the first we saw.

This is the third movie of the reboot with the younger cast (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, et. al.). It's a good science fiction movie carrying on the Star Trek franchise that began in 1966. Two things stood out to us.

The first was how they treated the death of Leonard Nimoy who's Ambassador Spock character figured heavily into the reboot and the alternate timeline. Commander Spock hears about Ambassador Spock's death and is moved. While going through the Ambassador's personal effects he comes across a picture of the original cast from their movies. A touching moment.

We also liked the tie in to the "Enterprise" TV series with a similar designed ship to the NX-01, the USS Franklin makes an appearance. The USS Franklin was the first Warp 4 starship while the NX-01 Enterprise was the first Warp 5 starship.

Both of those kind of an homage to the past which is always good to us. There also was a reference to a giant hand in space which was also a referral to an original series episode. Like all good "Star Trek" offerings this movie had action, comedy, and Kirk saves the entire galaxy, so what else is new.

One reviewer compared it to "Guardians of the Galaxy" and we could see the similarity but the GOTG was much better. The 4th movie has been announced it will be interesting to see how they deal with the death of the actor who played Chekov.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 61 Partly Sunny High 72) 

We never knew that Houghton Michigan was the birthplace of professional hockey.

We toured Dee Stadium and found out the story.

The area around Houghton was known as Copper Country due the vast amount of copper mined in the area. Seeking to provide entertainment to the miners in the winter hockey teams were started in the late 1890s. Mining was booming so in the fall of 1902 a local entrepreneur named James Dee, along with other locals, funded the construction of the Amphidrome, which opened just after Christmas in 1902. The Amphidrome burned to the ground in 1927 so we got this image from the web.

James Dee had bigger plans and worked with a local dentist named John L. 'Doc' Gibson, who was from Canada, to recruit Canadians with the promise of payment, thus the professional International Hockey League was formed. The first league game was played on December 9, 1904 and the league lasted 3 seasons.

A recession hit driving down the price of copper which dried up the funding for the professional league. The Dee Stadium, built the year after Amphridrome burnt down on the same site and named for James Dee and is the museum for the first professional hockey league. There was a great film in the museum, which was free by the way. Along with the film there were display cases. They have a lot of artifacts from that era, we were a little surprised to see skates that had keys like we had when growing up. Here is an example of the display cases which because of the glass are hard to photograph.

Hockey is still popular in the area. A hockey player from the area, Rod Paavola, from nearby Hancock, was on the 1960 USA Hockey Team that won the gold medal in the Olympics.

A historical marker for the Amphidrome sits outside the Dee Stadium.

There is so much history in this area, another great day in the UP.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, July 25, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 61 Mostly Sunny High 78) 

After Mass Saturday night at St. Ignatius in Houghton we drove to Calumet Michigan to attend the Blooze Brothers show in the historic Calumet Theatre.

We blogged about the Calumet Theatre and its history before and have seen a show there. Here is a view of the historic theatre from the web.

The Blooze Brothers are a Blue Brothers tribute band that if you believe their website they are "Chicago's most requested and exciting tribute and show band". We don't know if that's true but we do know we had a good time. Here is the 1974 Dodge Monaco bloozemobile parked out front.

They allowed photos to be taken during the show so here are Jake and Elwood Blooze.

They of course played songs from the Blues Brothers movies but also Motown, 60s, 70s, and Chicago bands like "Ides of March" and of course "Chicago". The band was incredible, especially the horn section, which was evident during the Chicago songs especially. The lead singer, Shiela, was great. Here she is with Jake and Elwood.

Although they had some sound problems the first act, a microphone that didn't work and one that had feedback in one area of the stage. The band sound was too loud and the singers sound was too low so it was difficult to understand the words. It was still a great show and they fixed the sound problems so the second act was much better. If you get the chance to see the Blooze Brothers we highly recommend this show because they haven't been caught yet.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 60 Mostly Cloudy High 80) 

Lazy Acres RV Park in Center Point Iowa, near Cedar Rapids, is one of our favorite RV parks. That being said both times we have been there it has been for a very short time. We hope to stay longer the next time.

GPS had a very easy time getting us to this park. It is just off of I-380 north of Cedar Rapids Iowa and we were brought right here. Even though we were close to the Interstate the road noise was barely noticeable. The roads and the sites are gravel. We had a good line of sight for our roof mounted satellite dish and the Verizon 4g/cellular signals were strong. Being close to Cedar Rapids means the over the air television signals should have been good but we weren't here long so we just used our DirecTV dish. There is a small pond.

The owners, Myron and Esther Lown, are the nicest people and keep the park immaculately clean.

Here is our Lifestyle from the front.

To the right, we were at the end of a row.

To the left.

From the rear

Since we were at the end of a row here is a photo showing the park.

Myron was a former homebuilder so he is always adding stuff to the park. Here is a play area.

Miniature golf.

He has a four seat ride that he runs around the campground but I never got a good shot of. 

We hope to be back.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 64 A Blend of Sun and Clouds High 87) 

As promised here is an update on the decals on the Lifestyle. Here are the decals on the front cap.

We were so happy to get a RV with full body paint because we thought that meant no longer having to deal with decals. Bob was very disappointed to learn long after we took possession that the big Lifestyle on each side was a decal along with the circular pattern on the front cap and a smaller circular on on the rear cap.

When Bob mentioned decals to Michele Henry from Phoenix Commercial Paint she immediately jumped up on the truck, we were still hooked up because we were heading to Quadra the next morning, and looked at the front decals. She quickly delivered the bad news that the circular pattern was already breaking down. She said that they should be replaced and she started right in on the front cap. The letters came off fairly easily but the circular pattern required a hair dryer.

Over the next two day Bob and Michele peeled off all of the decals and cleaned up the residual glue with alcohol. Here are a couple in-process photos. This is from the passenger side removing "Lifestyle".

The front cap

When the Lifestyle was in her shop getting the door ding fixed she hand glazed the area where the alcohol was since it dulled the area a little. Here is the front cap sans decals.

The passenger side with "Lifestyle" gone.

We are extremely happy that we won't have to deal with decaying decals down the road. We got them off soon enough that no pattern remains. In closing we would like to say that one sure way to get people to ask about your RV is to have one with no decals. It has only been a short time and yet we have had more questions about our RV than the entire year before. 

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 54 Sunny High 78) 

We had an incredible day yesterday; great weather, food and sightseeing. We went to the Copper Country Firefighters History Museum in nearby Calumet Michigan.

Originally the Red Jacket Fire Station built in 1898, the station is typical of the Romanesque architectural style of Calumet's buildings of that era. Constructed of the Lake Superior red sandstone quarried at Jacobsville 25 miles east of Calumet like a lot of buildings in the area including the Catholic church in Houghton we just blogged about. Jim, a retired firefighter, took us on a tour.

There are fire trucks on display.

Hand drawn carts

You know it is snow country when you see a fire sled from 1900 that was horse drawn.

Upstairs were the quarters for the firefighters with the pole visible.

Would you jump out of a fire if this was held below you?

This was a good museum in an incredible building and we recommend you visit if in the area. Before we went to the museum we ate lunch at Carmelita's Southwest Restaurant just a short walk from the museum. We went mainly so Jo could get a thimbleberry maragarita that she last had in 2013 when our friends Bob and Wilma and Jim and Sharon came to Houghton for a visit. 

After we got the food we know that we will be going back not only for the margarita but also for the food. Jo had the fresh fish baja tacos and Bob had the spicy pork burrito with green sauce. Both were excellent.

Finally the weather, this is for all our followers but especially for those in the Kansas City area and the "desert rats" in the valley of the sun in Arizona. Here is the temperature while we were having fun.

We stopped at a grocery store in Calumet which is where that temperature picture was taken. We then came back to the park and sat outside and read until the breeze coming off the Portage River was too cold and we headed inside.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, July 18, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 53 Sunny High 72) 

The Upper Peninsula has some of the most beautiful churches we have ever seen. St. Ignatius Loyala in Houghton is in that group. The parish was founded in 1859 and construction began in 1898 on this church, the fifth for the parish which was finished in 1902. We went to Mass there yesterday.

St. Ignatius Loyola Church is an imposing Neo-Gothic structure located on the hillside above downtown Houghton. Hillside is right, there are a lot of steps from the street using this entrance. Here is a better shot of the exterior from the Copper County Explorer.

It is constructed of red Jacobsville sandstone with a symmetrical gabled facade centering on a square topped with a spire. The tower belfry contains a single brass bell, cast in 1860 by the Jones and Hitchcock Company of Troy New York. Stained glass windows, created by Gavin Art Glass Works of Milwaukee Wisconsin were installed in the church in 1907. An elaborate Gothic altar adorns the nave. Here the view facing the altar.

The main altars

A closeup of the Gothic altar

Towards the choir loft

The side altars

Some of the stained glass.

Some of the statues

We have been in different churches across this great country and this is one of the most beautiful.

We were surprised yesterday when our friends Bob and Carol stopped by for a brief visit. We originally met Bob and Carol here at the City of Houghton RV Park and they were at The Soo when we were there this year. We had a pleasant chat sitting outside and then they had to head out.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo