Louisville, KY

Our stop in Louisville was very short, and specifically, to see The Byrds 50th Anniversary Tour of Sweetheart of the Rodeo.  As many of you may already know, Dave attended the Kentucky Derby for many, many, many years, so we drove around the area and Kristine got to see a ‘fly-by’ version of a typical Derby weekend.

We took a drive by a favorite lunch spot, Barrel of Fun.  Dave and the derby guys would stop by here annually for lunch after golf. After several annual visits, they got to know the owner, Mark, and were mentioned in a local newspaper article – ‘annual visit from the guys from Chicago’.

From there, we went to Churchill Downs for a tour of the grounds. Although the tour was very informative, it was limited as to where on the track we could go.  Dave was a little disappointed that he couldn’t show Kristine more of the grounds – where they sat, how they would sneak in with the ‘forbidden’ chairs, etc. – so as we were walking back to the car, Dave saw a gate left open by the maintenance crew, and we snuck in for a ‘private’ back scenes tour! Very cool!

We stopped by the Louisville Slugger Museum but didn’t do a tour – limited on time.  But there was some cool stuff in the lobby, player signature plates on the wall, etc.  And, of course, they had a gift shop that we had to take a trip through! The museum has the World’s Largest Baseball Bat, but not to be confused with the World’s Largest WOODEN Baseball Bat we saw in, Fargo, ND back in July 2018.

And then onto the main event, The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo Tour!  The show was held at the Historic Brown Theater, and we had 2nd row orchestra pit seats!  The Byrds were Roger McGuinn (the only original member) and Chris Hillman, and they were backed by Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Superlatives!  Unfortunately, it was also the 1st Anniversary of Tom Petty’s death, very sad for Kristine.  But, Tom had a connection to The Byrds, and produced Chris Hillman’s most recent CD, Ridin’ My Time; in fact, Chris recorded Tom’s Wildflower song on this CD.  They gave Tom a shout-out, and Kristine felt like it was agood way to honor the 1st anniversary.  The show was AWESOME!  So much so, we looked at their schedule and plan to see the show again next month in Dallas!

A very nice visit to Louisville!

On to Tennessee for the month of October, first stop, Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/Great Smokey Mountains.

Chicago 2018 – Round 2

We came back to Chicago because last year we played in a couple of charity golf tournaments and wanted to play in them again this year.  The first one was in support of Fenwick High School (Dave attended this high school) and the other one was for Rush University Medical Center.

This was the 12th year for this tournament and Dave’s sister, Jeanne, has volunteered at all 12 tournaments, even coming in from South Dakota the last two years!  During dinner after the tournament, Jeanne was recognized for her efforts and given a plaque.

Since we’ve been to Chicago a few times now, we’re running out of ‘touristy’ things to do . . . but if you look hard enough, you can always find something!

The historic marker for the beginning of Route 66 is in downtown Chicago!  And while we were downtown, we had lunch at The Berghoff, this restaurant is known for its ‘rude’ waitresses.  We also stopped in at The Art Institute of Chicago, we need our ‘culture’ every now and then!

We visited with Dave’s mom a few times as well as Tom & Nancy Silvasy.  And besides the golf tournaments, we got in a couple of additional rounds of golf.

Now we’re heading south to Kentucky, and then to Tennessee, before making our annual pilgrimage west for the winter!

South Haven, MI

Although we liked the west coast of Michigan, the main reason we came through here is because Dave’s good friend, Tom Silvasy, and his wife, Nancy, have a family lake house in Grand Junction.  Tom & Nancy came out from the Chicago area for the weekend we were there, and another friend, Jack Griffin, and his wife, Deb, also came out for the weekend.

We had a great time boating on the lake, bbq’ing and, generally, just hanging out and catching up.  And Nancy was very pleased to be able to finally show off her hard work renovating the house over the last couple of years, she did an awesome job!  In the past, the house was too small to host anyone outside of family, so it was a big deal to finally be able to have friends join them at the lake house. We are honored to be included in the inaugural ‘friends’ visit!

Grand Junction is the Blueberry Capital of the World!  Unfortunately, we were a little late for the season, plus the season was a few weeks short this year.  As it turns out, the soil and climate conditions good for blueberries is also good for wine, West Michigan has started a nice wine industry as well.

West Michigan is also known for its apples.  We went to Crane Orchards, they had many activity options; apple picking, wine tasting and a corn maze!  Our first corn maze of the season! There was also a restaurant where we picked up some apple dumplings to take back for later.  We tasted blueberry wine as well as wines they had.  We picked several varieties of apples and Kristine made applesauce to share with the group at Tom & Nancy’s house.

Overall, we had a very nice time in Michigan, although we would like to come back and spend some time in the Northern part of Michigan.

Back to Chicago for Round 2!

Detroit, MI

The RV park where we stayed was actually in Ypsilanti, which was closer to Ann Arbor than Detroit.  Ann Arbor is primarily a college town (University of Michigan) and reminded Kristine of Berkeley, CA.  School hadn’t started yet but it would be in the next week or so as we saw parents dropping students off.  We walked down Liberty & State Streets, looked in on some used CD stores and had lunch.

The Ford Museum is in a suburb of Detroit, Dearborn, and Henry Ford IS Dearborn.  There is a Ford Factory Plant (Rogue Factory, named for being on the Rogue River) as well as a museum of innovation and a historical town. The factory and the supporting facilities take up most of Dearborn and is the largest employer in the area.  As you drive around the area, Henry Ford’s name is on everything, from schools to medical facilities.

We went through the museum (very informative) and took the factory tour.  On the tour we got to see F150 trucks being built, they build about 1,250 trucks a day!  The F150 truck is all they build at this factory. The factory is VERY innovative from conveyor belts and robotics to greenery on the roof (also known as a Living Roof) – the greenery helps insulate the building from both heat and cold and saves approx. $2M/yr in heating/cooling cost as well as it helped clean up the air quality in the area.  The plant is also ’self contained’ as they make all their parts starting with the metal sheets used to create many of the parts; this was done so that outside vendors could never cause production schedule issues, Ford controls everything it needs for production.

We watched games at two of the Detroit sports stadiums – Tigers (baseball) and Lions (football). The night we went to the baseball game, they were having a celebration honoring the 50th Anniversary of the winning 1968
World Series Team.  Very cool to see! And Jose Feliciano sang the national anthem! We also went by the old hockey arena, Joe Louis Arena – The Mighty Joe! Sad that we were never able to see a hockey game there.

The Detroit downtown and waterfront areas are very nice and clean.  Canada is just across the river, mostly casinos and hotels in the immediate area, we decided not to go into Canada this time.

And besides golfing a couple of times, we also drove around the outskirts of Detroit, stopped by the Motown Museum and saw the 8 Mile Road wall (there’s a movie called 8 Mile that is roughly based on this area), in the past the road had separated the predominantly black intercity of Detroit and the white suburban neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are no longer segregated, and although brightly painted murals have been painted on the wall along the neighborhood park, the area is still predominantly black, low income and rundown.

After a full week in the Detroit area, we’re heading to the west side of Michigan, South Haven, for a week.

Cincinnati OH

A big heat wave came through Cincinnati while we were visiting – with close to 100% humidity!  The RV park was on a lake and they provided paddle boats, but it was too hot to do even that!

The Downtown Riverfront has been updated and is very nice, it has water features, hanging swings, a workout course, as well as the stadiums for both the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals – we attended a Reds game.  The Great American Ballpark was very nice.

We visited the Cincinnati Zoo and fed the giraffes.  It started off as a pleasant morning walk but as the humidity started kicking in . . . we were glad to be near the end!  Overall we enjoyed the zoo, it was clean and the animals seemed happy although the weather seemed to be taking a toll on them as well.

We were in Cincinnati over Labor Day weekend, and they have a big festival to celebrate the end of summer.  The festival is concluded with a music synchronized fireworks show that is shot off from three locations, the two bridges that go over the Ohio River, a barge in the river & from the banks, it lasted about 30 minutes.  It was a really awesome show! (coming from Kristine who is a fireworks connoisseur!)

And as usual, we golfed a couple of times while in the area – where we stayed was right on the Ohio/Indiana border, so we ended up golfing at one of the Casinos in Indiana.

Now up to Michigan, first Detroit/Ann Arbor area and then west to the South Haven/Grand Junction area.

Cleveland Rocks!

Cleveland Rocks!!!!

We had an awesome time in Cleveland and were pleasantly surprised to see what a great city it is!  The weather wasn’t great, kind of rainy, but we were able to work around it.

First stop . . . . Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!!  Long Live Rock!!! We spent over 3 hrs here!  Lots of history and great nostalgia.  Kristine shed a tear for Tom Petty. The gift shop was awesome, we left a sizable donation!

The Rock Hall is on the bank of Lake Eerie.  Also along the bank is FirstEngery Stadium (where the Cleveland Browns play) and Cleveland Cliffs – a large steel ship that was built and maintained in the harbor.  The ire ore that was primarily used in Cleveland steel came from MN (possibly Hibbing?!)

Cleveland’s theater district, Playhouse Square, is the largest performing arts center outside of New York (only Lincoln Center is larger)!  Hamilton was playing while we were in town and we were able to get tickets!  Great show, highly recommend it!

We visited the house where they filmed The Christmas Story – look closely, you can e the Leg Lamp!  We didn’t want to go on the guided tour, so we couldn’t see inside the house but we picked up some souvenirs in the gift shop!  Kristine loves her pink bunny slippers!

We also visited the Polka Hall of Fame.  Dave was very fond of Frankie Yankovic.  For a brief period of time, when Dave was around 10, he took accordion lessons!  Didn’t last long.

We golfed a couple of days, and on the last day we took a drive down to Canton, OH to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Very interesting, and tied well with what we learned at the Green Bay museum.

On to Cincinnati.

Chicago 2018 – Round 1

On the way down to Chicago, we made a quick stop in Madison, WI to have the RV serviced, basic maintenance, oil change, tires checked, etc.  Everything checked out fine. We did a little sightseeing while in Madison but nothing to write home about!

We were in Chicago for just a quick visit, we’re coming back in September.  Dave’s good friend, Tom, his mom, Betty, celebrated a special birthday – 90! We wanted to stop by and celebrate with her.

While in town, we visited Dave’s mom a couple of times.

Unfortunately, the morning after we arrived, Dave woke up with a tooth issue.  We were successful in finding an excellent dentist but unfortunately Dave had to have a tooth pulled.

After visiting the ‘moms’ and taking care of Dave’s tooth, we didn’t have much time left to do anything else.  We did fit in a quick visit to the United Center to see the Stan Mitika memorial and Michael Jordan statue – and did a little shopping at the team store!

See you again next month Chicago!

Green Bay, WI

We actually stayed in Oshkosh while we were in the Green Bay area. We also visited Appleton.  Not much to see in Oshkosh or Appleton, so we spent most of our time in Green Bay.

Green Bay IS Packer town!  If you’re not a Packers fan, I hope you have something else to do to entertain yourself!  Lambeau Field (oldest continuously operating NFL stadium) is in the middle of a neighborhood (Village of Ashwaubenon), and everywhere you go throughout Green Bay you see the Packers Pride!  We visited the Packer Hall of Fame & Museum that were at the stadium.  Very interesting to see how the Packers helped shape football during the initial years.  The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the U.S.

Green Bay has Bay Beach Amusement Park located on the east bank of the Fox River where it feeds into Green Bay. There is a rollercoaster called Zippin Pippin (yes, we rode it!), it’s claim to fame is that it’s the oldest running wooden rollercoaster and that Elvis Presley rode it for 2 hrs straight a week before he died.  As it turns out, the wooden rollercoaster was originally constructed in Memphis and eventually became part of an amusement park called Libertyland.  Elvis did ride it just before his death as reported, but in Memphis, not Green Bay.  Eventually Libertyland closed and the rollercoaster sat unused for over 5 yrs., during that time a lot of the wood became unsalvageable.  As it turns out, Green Bay bought the rights to the name & plans for the Zippin Pippin but used all new materials to construct it in 2010 – so we’re a little confused about how they can call it one of the oldest running wooden rollercoasters, it’s practically new!

We also visited the zoo in Green Bay.  Dave fed the giraffes.

And we’re back to golfing regularly now, we usually play a couple of rounds at each place we stop.  The courses are generally well maintained, very affordable, with available tee times!

Duluth MN

We were really looking forward to our visit to Duluth, we were there for only a few days, but unfortunately it rained most of the time we were there.

Duluth is a port city on Lake Superior and has an aerial lift bridge.  We were told by several people that we should get a shipping schedule and watch the ships come in & out.  Unfortunately, it was very rainy (so not really a fun activity!) and it didn’t look like there was much ship activity.

There was a nice path along Lake Superior that we could have gone biking riding on, and we had hoped to do so, but, again, too rainy.

We took a drive around the area.  We went to Eveleth, home of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and the largest Hockey Stick in the U.S.!

Then we headed west to Hibbing, home of the largest iron ore mining pit and childhood home of Bob Dylan!  It was discovered that the original town of Hibbing was on top of a large amount of ire ore, so they moved the town; ultimately, the town was moved three times!

Bob Dylan was actually born in Duluth but grew up in Hibbing.  They had a walking tour that showed, not only his childhood home, but also the bowling alley where he hung out and the building where his dad worked while he was growing up. Duluth also has a street and manhole covers that have dedications to Bob Dylan.

Overall, we really enjoyed our visit to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and could see us going back there for a longer visit.

St. Paul, MN

St. Paul is the Capital of Minnesota but also the childhood home of Charles Schulz! (he was actually born in Minneapolis)

There were various Peanuts characters throughout the area.

St. Paul was also the birthplace of Hamm’s Beer!

Nice city but as we’ve seen (and mentioned) State Capital cities don’t seem to have a lot going on besides the government stuff, and, usually,  a convention/event center.