Greetings from michigan friday - looking ...

Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
Trip End Apr 01, 2003

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Flag of United States  , Michigan
Thursday, August 1, 2002

Greetings from Michigan,

Friday - Looking for some R&R from all the sight seeing, we chilled out by the campsite's lake. Sunbathing and swimming was followed by salmon on the grill and s'mores by an open fire.

Saturday - First stop was the Fish Ladder Park to hopefully see the salmon swimming upstream. An artist built a fish ladder to assist the spawning salmon swim up the damn during their mating season.

Afterwards, we drove to the Gerald R. Ford museum. The AAA book said it would take us about one and a half hours to go through the museum. We spent the next four hours learning about his life from childhood to the office of the president and afterwards. We really enjoyed learning about him and found it fascinating, even though most of the events occurred before we were born. Jenn purchased a replica of the Bill of Rights, because it is important to know of your freedoms. I would like to quote New Hampshire's motto, "Live free or die." It is my favorite state motto.

We ate our packed lunch in the park outside the museum as young skateboarders rode their boards over every surface they could find. It was like watching the X-Games live. That night, Jenn cooked her very first bar-b-q and made us the best tasting cheeseburgers ever.

Sunday - The first stop of our busy day was the DeKlomp Wooden Shoe Factory in Holland, MI. We learned all about the clog's place in Dutch culture and we got to watch how they are made. It took only 13 minutes to make a pair of clogs. The reason clogs are worn instead of ordinary sneakers is because the water and mud found in the streets of Holland will not damage the shoes. They do not look comfortable and the secret is to wear a whole lot of socks. We bought a single small clog and filled it with wooden colorful tulips. We hung it on our wall and it added some needed color and character to our house.

Our second destination was Windmill Island Park. It was a replica of a small Holland village; complete with shops, a carrousel, and an authentic windmill that was shipped over from Holland. We watched Dutch women do a traditional dance in full costume in front of the windmill. The fact that they were all wearing clogs was impressive. We then stepped into the fudge factory and the candle shop. Inside the candle shop, we watched them dip the candle many times into various buckets holding hot colored wax. Then they carved the most intricate designs into the candle. They told us that it takes about 2 years to learn the techniques and all the various designs.

The day ended with our most exciting adventure yet. We headed north to the coast of Lake Michigan and rented a Jeep for an hour. We drove the little Jeep to the largest sand dunes we have ever seen. The first dune we attempted to climb was the only one we sank into. Luckily, these 2 fellows from another Jeep got out and helped us dig the car out. Once we got the car out from being stuck, the only thing we could do was to put it in reverse and drive back down the dune backwards! Later, Jenn took us down some dunes that felt as if we were going down a 90 degree vertical drop. Yahoooo!

When it was my turn to drive, I got a little out of control. I stepped on the gas a little too hard as we came down a dune, and did not see the small sand speed bumps waiting for us at the bottom. The first one we hit sent all four wheels of the Jeep into the air. The second, third, fourth, and fifth times made the Jeep sway from side to side as it bounced through the air. I was afraid that the Jeep was going to roll over and Jenn was screaming at me to stop it. Finally, I managed to gain control of the Jeep and pulled it off to the side where we assessed the situation. Jenn's neck was a little sore, but she wanted to continue. What a trooper. So we picked up our sunglasses off of the floor, laughed it off, and drove up the next dune.

Monday - Took the day off to run some errands, but went to the movies at night and saw Signs. Although it is rated PG-13, the movie was scary. We left the movie theater after midnight and headed back to the campsite under a clear and starry night. We noticed that directly behind our RV was a corn field, and if you saw the movie then you would understand our fears.

Tuesday - Took a tour of restored airplanes at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. Then we watched a restored prop plane from the 1940's take off and do a couple of close fly-bys. Before the plane took off, each of us got to climb up and take a look into the cockpit. One of the volunteers enjoyed telling us fascinating stories of what it was like when he was a NAVY pilot during WWII.

We then visited Tony the Tiger's hometown in Battle Creek, MI at a place called Kellogg's Cereal City. Here we learned all about the creation and history of the corn flake. We got to see a mock assembly line of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, and of course, they had free samples for us at the end. We even got to meet Tony the Tiger himself. We had a lot of fun acting like little kids and thought the entire experience was grrreat!

Wednesday - This is the only time we spent in Indiana. We went to the Indiana Dunes State Park for some hiking through its sand dune environments. The hiking did not last too long because it was very strenuous to hike up a sand dune, however, going down a sand dune makes it all worth it. We would run as fast as we could towards the edge where we would leap as high as we could into the air. The soft sand was there to catch us and we continued jumping the rest of the way down. On the other side of the dune, we caught our breath on the shore of Lake Michigan. We were able to see in the distance to our left the tall buildings of Chicago waiting for us.

Laughter ever after,
Love Dave & Jenn
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