And the road goes on forever...

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Happy Holidays!


Here's hoping everyone finds a little joy and peace this holiday season! Let's look ahead to a new and better year....

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Going to the Dark Side


Ah, the winter of our discontent continues, stuck inside by Covid protocol, even if not by winter weather.

Any time that happens, I seem to move to thoughts of rearranging furniture or changing things up. I’ve often heard it said if one chooses to go bold with décor do it in a small room where the impact either won’t be huge or is easily changed. To that end, I decided to paint my small half bath off our master bedroom. Yes, I know; who in this day and age only has a half bath rather than a sumptuous spa master loaded with deep soaking tub, clear frameless tiled walk-in shower, two sinks, furniture-like linen closet and window which looks out to some garden oasis? I spend very little time in the bathroom so a fancy one has very little priority in my life. This house was built on a strict budget with the idea we don’t need that much space, but as we age, we will need low utility bills, lower taxes, low maintenance and low upkeep. The last thing I want to do in my 70’s and 80’s is clean a huge house!

So, my tiny half bath went from a mild pastel aqua and seashore décor to a deep charcoal grey/brown with white ceiling and cabinetry. And man, does it now pop! I love the change! See for yourself.

Decor is yet to be determined and I need to replace the aqua paisley rug to something more suitable. It's strange that the dark color actually accentuated the tall ceiling even more (we have nine foot ceilings). Starting with the color choice:

No turning back now:

It's not all been about me remodeling either! Marc's been hard at work on several projects at once. He finally decided to move forward with building our pantry off our hallway, which sits over the basement stairwell. And while he was at it, he got busy enclosing the stairs with a backplate and completed the sheetrock, taping and mudding of the stairwell. He still needs to build a faceplate and doors for the pantry but we are already using it and it is so much handier than running down into the basement all the time. 

The Humane Society that I volunteer for has had a tough time this year with its fundraising activities, since all major events have been cancelled, so we brainstorm every month via Zoom as to what we can do instead. Coming up in January will be a large online auction of craft items, to which I will be donating many of my handmade items: jewelry, fabric baskets, and art quilts. I suggested Marc join in with his handmade bird houses, which he makes out of all his scrap lumber. 

Still needing to add more to our yard, he literally started a production line of bird houses and has had fun embellishing them. We will be donating three to the shelter cause, two of which will be his cork creations. I made a joke to him one day: "Oh, how the mighty have fallen. You've gone from building 100,000 square foot assisted living facilities to bird houses!" Ain't life a bitch sometimes.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Fall 2020, Part 2


From Moose Rapids, we took off headed north and hit Lake Superior at the town of Baraga. We passed several campgrounds I had noted but earlier calls had ascertained that some were down rugged, long dirt roads and not being sure of access or turn around space, we bypassed. And thus, a few miles later we headed east on highway M26 on the lower Keweenaw Peninsula. Our destination was a small state forest campground of nine sites, situated on a lovely small lake.

We easily found it down a nice dirt road and were thrilled to see only one other camper there; a family in a popup enjoying a last weekend of camping. Although we passed a fair share of RVers out enjoying leaf peeping in the Yooper, the campgrounds were all blissfully mostly empty. It might have been the weather forecast. The entire trip held temps mainly in the 40’s and 50’s, with some periods of heavy rain. We don’t mind this kind of Fall camping however, finding the days when we must remain inside a cozy experience of cooking, reading, game playing, snuggly naps, and playing with the cats. Having changed out the RV furniture to comfy recliners, and having the ability to then turn the chairs to whichever window features the best view is the bomb as they say!

As an aside, we thoroughly enjoyed this small state forest campground and definitely want to return with the kayaks at a future date. Especially now knowing they stock it with Rainbow trout!

(Yes, this is often my lap during colder weather as all three cats feel a need to spend time with me at the same moment!)

We chose the very best Fall sunny day to drive into the peninsula’s largest town of Houghton/Hancock (pop. 8000) and are so glad we did! Cresting the hill and looking down into town I was gob smacked at the charm of it all, as white houses stood out against a brilliantly colored hillside spilling down to glistening water. It totally reminded me of New England! It only got better as we approached the old downtown section, which the town has preserved in a neat fashion, with riverside parks, free parking and marvelous old stone buildings. Even though it was a Sunday and most shops closed, we could sense that the place had a real heart and soul and liveliness to it, not seen in many towns of the UP. Maybe that’s because it has a couple of renown universities. 

From downtown, we wandered across the famous old lift bridge, spanning Portage Lake, dredged in 1860. This is actually a canal made for shipping purposes, which allowed larger ships access from both Lake Huron to the east and Lake Superior to the west. This bridge is pretty fascinating as it features the main deck (car travel) and a lower one for rail traffic. Now however, the lower deck is used only during winter for snowmobile traffic—how cool is that?

This area is historically an old mining town, at one time the largest producer of copper in the country, and we were able to freely visit a couple of the ghosts of yesteryear. We always love exploring old ruins and this was no exception! We finished up our lovely sojourn in Houghton with a take-out fresh lake fish sandwich; I had whitefish and Marc had the perch, both deep fried and so yummy!


(This section of the Atlantic mine ran from 1845-1945.)

This was to be our last good weather day in the UP and although we stayed until Tuesday as now the only campers at Emily Lake, we decided to take two days heading home. At this point we were only about two hours from the WI border, crossing into Land ‘O Lakes near Eagle River; always a beautiful little town. We decided to check out a county campground at Jack Lake, out of Antigo, which was due to close that weekend. We had our pick of sites so got one snuggled up as close as possible to the charming lake. If a person could snag a few spots lakeside, some of which are first-come, some reserved, it would make for good kayaking right from camp. However, at $30/night with electric (water and dump station available), it’s not a place we would normally choose to stay given the cost and likely fullness of sites during summer. Turns were fairly tight for a rig our size and I suspect it would normally be full of families as there were many amenities, including boat launch, hiking trails, disc golf and playground. It is however, conveniently close to home at around a two-hour drive.

Arriving home, we cleaned and buttoned up the RV for winter storage and did the same thing to the garden. Our weather is rapidly turning cold and we suspect we are not far from our first snowfall, which just might arrive by Sunday. The Northwoods has already gotten its fair share and we made our escape from the UP just in time to miss their first snowfall. Alas, sorry to see season’s end but we experienced some good camping trips this summer and now must bundle up and in for our long winter.

On the home front, Marc is still unemployed and enjoying semi-retirement. He has made the conscious choice not to work at this time, due to rampant Covid numbers in this state. He has several home projects to tackle this winter hopefully, but all in all, we suspect a long, quiet winter so my updates may be few and far between. Rest assured however, when there is something to share, I will be back!