Hot Fudge Road Trips

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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby ldodger » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:29 am

frank - up in grand blanc wrote:Memphis is off of the list of summer vacation destinations this year.



Wow, five minutes watching that and I didn't understand one thing that was said. That poor child. Apparently, Janika and Shanika (the screamers names) haven't learned anger management skills.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby ldodger » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:51 am

I've been watching those tiny house shows on cable. The idea appeals to me. Mentioned it to betterhalf and he says, "We live in an 800 square foot house. It's tiny enough!" I'm pretty sure my interest stems from the ability to just pick up and go. At least the tiny house concept has started the conversation about betterhalf's retirement (I retired in 2010). We've discussed living on a trawler while making the great circle loop cruise. I would also like to travel the US and experience the beauty of this country.

A month or so ago, betterhalf suggested we test whether or not we can live in such close quarters by renting a travel trailer. Apparently, renting one is rather expensive. betterhalf and I visited the local motor home/travel trailer sales yard just to see what they were like. I thought they were fine, but wasn't willing to put out the money for a new trailer. We found a used one that was an excellent price. Even though we didn't plan to make a purchase, for the price and condition of the trailer, we thought we would just jump into this trailer thing with both feet. For the price of renting, we could get our money back after a few trips. As a result, we're the owners of a used, but well-maintained travel trailer. We suspect it wasn't used much as a lot of the items in the trailer were still factory wrapped. It's really the first time we've made such a large purchase on a whim--together.

The last couple of weekends, we've camped in the driveway. Laugh all you like, but we didn't have a clue as to how everything in the trailer worked. We now have enough confidence to take her out on the road the next couple of days. betterhalf is a little nervous about hauling the thing, but he's a great driver. He's towed our boat a million times, so I'm pretty sure he'll do fine. Where are we going? Toledo. We wanted something pretty close we could get to without much hassle, yet far enough away to be an "adventure." I've always wanted to check out the Toledo Zoo and their arboretum. betterhalf would like to check out Tony Packo's. At first, we thought we'd go to Point Pelee, but betterhalf was nervous about borders and the like.

At any rate, we'll know by the end of this short trip whether or not we like the concept of trailering/camping. I'm not one of those folks who like to sit around the campfire, and I understand that's pretty popular with the camping set. I hope I can find some activities I'll like to do. Wish us luck.

I do know we won't plan to camp in Memphis anytime soon.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby frank - up in grand blanc » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:39 am

^ Seeing the country as a gypsy -going where you like, when you like- has a lot of appeal to me. Homeless shelters and bed bug-infested motels hold no appeal, but the freedom of the road while bringing your house with you sounds awesome. Monster RVs. tour buses, and long trailers are off of my list: I don't want to drive something that, and I don't like the idea of looking like a tourist everywhere I go. Instead, there are high-end conversion vans which are pricey but they bring the advantage of being relatively small, inconspicuous, and can include their own bathroom. With a pair of bicycles attached to the back I believe that there is enough anonymity, economy, and agility to allow me and my wife to see every damn thing that we want to see in north America. Years ago on a New Year's day -before kids- we had what I consider to have been one of the best road trips ever: with bags packed we drove down Telegraph and agreed that when we got to 94 we'd flip a coin to decide if we'd drive west or east. How utterly cool to have the freedom to do that. What are you hungry for: a Philly cheese steak or KC barbecue? Want to sit out January in lawn chairs in a campground along the gulf coast? Or how about hitting the historical museums along the migration route taken by the wagon trains? Retirement is still years away, and when it comes I sure as shit won't be sitting around wondering what I'll do to occupy my time.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby middle aged female » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:14 pm

frank - up in grand blanc wrote:^ Seeing the country as a gypsy -going where you like, when you like- has a lot of appeal to me. Homeless shelters and bed bug-infested motels hold no appeal, but the freedom of the road while bringing your house with you sounds awesome. Monster RVs. tour buses, and long trailers are off of my list: I don't want to drive something that, and I don't like the idea of looking like a tourist everywhere I go. Instead, there are high-end conversion vans which are pricey but they bring the advantage of being relatively small, inconspicuous, and can include their own bathroom. With a pair of bicycles attached to the back I believe that there is enough anonymity, economy, and agility to allow me and my wife to see every damn thing that we want to see in north America. Years ago on a New Year's day -before kids- we had what I consider to have been one of the best road trips ever: with bags packed we drove down Telegraph and agreed that when we got to 94 we'd flip a coin to decide if we'd drive west or east. How utterly cool to have the freedom to do that. What are you hungry for: a Philly cheese steak or KC barbecue? Want to sit out January in lawn chairs in a campground along the gulf coast? Or how about hitting the historical museums along the migration route taken by the wagon trains? Retirement is still years away, and when it comes I sure as shit won't be sitting around wondering what I'll do to occupy my time.

Friends of mine sold their house on Burns St in Indian Village last fall, bought a brand new Fifth Wheel, custom built to their specs, put their furniture in storage, got a "home address" in South Dakota and hit the road.
They went to Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky for their inaugural trip last fall and came back to Michigan where they parked the RV at a cousins farm and lived in it for Christmas, then got back on the road and have been all down the Gulf Coast, New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Florida, back up through GA, SC, NC and back over to Indiana for a tune up on the 5th Wheel, up to SD to check their mail and just got back into Port Huron for a month and then will be setting out for the West come August.
My God, I would kill to do that. But my husband really hates driving that much.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby pdtpuck » Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:22 pm

middle aged female wrote:
frank - up in grand blanc wrote:^ Seeing the country as a gypsy -going where you like, when you like- has a lot of appeal to me. Homeless shelters and bed bug-infested motels hold no appeal, but the freedom of the road while bringing your house with you sounds awesome. Monster RVs. tour buses, and long trailers are off of my list: I don't want to drive something that, and I don't like the idea of looking like a tourist everywhere I go. Instead, there are high-end conversion vans which are pricey but they bring the advantage of being relatively small, inconspicuous, and can include their own bathroom. With a pair of bicycles attached to the back I believe that there is enough anonymity, economy, and agility to allow me and my wife to see every damn thing that we want to see in north America. Years ago on a New Year's day -before kids- we had what I consider to have been one of the best road trips ever: with bags packed we drove down Telegraph and agreed that when we got to 94 we'd flip a coin to decide if we'd drive west or east. How utterly cool to have the freedom to do that. What are you hungry for: a Philly cheese steak or KC barbecue? Want to sit out January in lawn chairs in a campground along the gulf coast? Or how about hitting the historical museums along the migration route taken by the wagon trains? Retirement is still years away, and when it comes I sure as shit won't be sitting around wondering what I'll do to occupy my time.

Friends of mine sold their house on Burns St in Indian Village last fall, bought a brand new Fifth Wheel, custom built to their specs, put their furniture in storage, got a "home address" in South Dakota and hit the road.
They went to Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky for their inaugural trip last fall and came back to Michigan where they parked the RV at a cousins farm and lived in it for Christmas, then got back on the road and have been all down the Gulf Coast, New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Florida, back up through GA, SC, NC and back over to Indiana for a tune up on the 5th Wheel, up to SD to check their mail and just got back into Port Huron for a month and then will be setting out for the West come August.
My God, I would kill to do that. But my husband really hates driving that much.

The wife and I bought a 24-footer primarily to park at the fishing club we belong to, but it's manageable enough to take out on the road if we so desire (and right now, that's a big N-O as we're both back in college...). We got ousr fairly reasonable, too. We didn't know a thing about RVing either. KInd of fun to cast fate to the wind and just go for it. So far, so good. Haven't had any major problems that I couldn't contend with, and it's small/light enough my current truck handles it just fine without having to sink $75k in a brand new dually diesel monstrosity.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby Mud Bug » Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:58 am

I agree, the concept of gallivanting about the country in a RV sounds fun and free but I suspect that after the initial joy dissipates, it really ain't all that.

Seems like the general formula is winter in Florida or Arizona, in massive RV parks filled with active seniors. Tennis and shuffleboard in the morning. Margaritas at 5:00. Bed by 9:00. Grandkids can visit, but only for two days. And the day you need a walker or an oxygen tank, you're asked to leave.

Summers are spent in the sun-kissed warmth of Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, or the Upper Peninsula. Many National Parks and National Forests host "work campers" who get free parking with hook up if they help out with campground maintenance or work a few hours in a visitor center. I know folks who did this and had mixed experiences. Some enjoyed living in crown jewels like the Grand Tetons for a summer then off to Yosemite the next year. Others found it tiresome to get ordered around by someone half their age wearing a cracker jack badge.

RVs have made huge leaps over the years regarding usable space and efficiency but I can't help but think it would get claustrophobic to actually live in one. Plus it seems like would be a pain to deal with septic issues. I can barely stand the smell of a porta-potty and I'm only in there for two minutes.

My biggest issue would probably be other RVers. I get the impression there's a code out there that says, 'Stop in anytime, friendly RVer. My wheeled home is your home too. Let's share a drink and some stories from the road.' I'd get a reputation pretty quick as the guy who doesn't seem very interested in the chit chat and doesn't pretend to be friendly if he thinks you're a bore.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby ldodger » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:05 pm

betterhalf and I did fairly well for our first trip out. Michigan roads are sure shitty--I would cringe every time we'd hit a bump or rough patch. betterhalf took it all in stride.

The weekend was fun. The first night out, we went for dinner at Tony Packo's. I expected something different--I was pleasantly surprised. Wait staff was excellent. Even though the food isn't exactly my style, it was good.

We'd planned to go to the botanical gardens, but there was some sort of art show in progress. Parking was blocks away. I didn't want betterhalf to stress about parking, so I told him we could return some other time. Personally, it would have been a frustrating visit--I want to see the flowers, forget the art. Too many people around to have any fun.

We visited the Toledo Zoo. It's a fairly nice place, but I've noticed parents don't let their kids walk anymore. All kids were towed in these cart things. I can understand it for toddlers--they'd tire quickly. But kids four and older were being pulled along as if they were royalty. One mother aske her daughter where she wanted to go next--the kid just pointed in the direction she would like to go. betterhalf and I discussed it later, the point of taking kids out (other than the learning experience) is to run their little asses off so they'll be tired later. I'm pretty sure betterhalf and I would be on the neglectful parents list if we would have been parents.

I heard a few kids telling their parents to, "shut up." That wouldn't have worked in my house. I'd be missing teeth.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby middle aged female » Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:22 pm

Mud Bug wrote:I agree, the concept of gallivanting about the country in a RV sounds fun and free but I suspect that after the initial joy dissipates, it really ain't all that.

Seems like the general formula is winter in Florida or Arizona, in massive RV parks filled with active seniors. Tennis and shuffleboard in the morning. Margaritas at 5:00. Bed by 9:00. Grandkids can visit, but only for two days. And the day you need a walker or an oxygen tank, you're asked to leave.

Summers are spent in the sun-kissed warmth of Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, or the Upper Peninsula. Many National Parks and National Forests host "work campers" who get free parking with hook up if they help out with campground maintenance or work a few hours in a visitor center. I know folks who did this and had mixed experiences. Some enjoyed living in crown jewels like the Grand Tetons for a summer then off to Yosemite the next year. Others found it tiresome to get ordered around by someone half their age wearing a cracker jack badge.

RVs have made huge leaps over the years regarding usable space and efficiency but I can't help but think it would get claustrophobic to actually live in one. Plus it seems like would be a pain to deal with septic issues. I can barely stand the smell of a porta-potty and I'm only in there for two minutes.

My biggest issue would probably be other RVers. I get the impression there's a code out there that says, 'Stop in anytime, friendly RVer. My wheeled home is your home too. Let's share a drink and some stories from the road.' I'd get a reputation pretty quick as the guy who doesn't seem very interested in the chit chat and doesn't pretend to be friendly if he thinks you're a bore.

My friends who are doing the RV thing for the next three years aren't driving to one place and wintering; they are driving to state parks, settling in for at most two weeks and then moving on to the next spot that attracts their attention. That is the way I would want to do it if I could; parking in a giant lot with a bunch of seniors wouldn't be y idea of a good time.
The inside of their RV is roughly the size of the main floor in my bungalow, so I don't think claustrophobia would be a problem. They have a couple TVs, DVD player for movies and an internet hub in their truck to give them access everywhere. They have made friends at some or their stops and at others, not. They tend to park the RV then drive to nearby towns to check out the restaurants, shops and whatnot. They've been at it nearly a year now and still love every minute
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:21 pm

Had an appointment in downtown Chicago this morning and stuck around for the Chicago Architecture Foundation river tour. Do this the next time you're in Chicago (if you haven't already).
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby ldodger » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:18 am

The Suburban Avenger wrote:Had an appointment in downtown Chicago this morning and stuck around for the Chicago Architecture Foundation river tour. Do this the next time you're in Chicago (if you haven't already).


CAF does a great job with its tour program. I've been on that tour before, and will be taking it again in late August.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby frank - up in grand blanc » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:13 pm

ldodger wrote:
The Suburban Avenger wrote:Had an appointment in downtown Chicago this morning and stuck around for the Chicago Architecture Foundation river tour. Do this the next time you're in Chicago (if you haven't already).


CAF does a great job with its tour program. I've been on that tour before, and will be taking it again in late August.


I was in Chicago with part of the family a couple of weeks ago and successfully dodged the boat tour. My wife and I took the twins for an outing to commemorate their graduation from high school, and because we have different ideas about what comprises a family vacation things teetered on the precipice of showdown. I've traveled a lot for business so for me a fun trip is one where I go native and have an organic experience with the people and place. You can go to a museum anytime, right, so what's special about cultural icons if everyone does it? My wife feels differently, and then throw in the fact that i can be pretty cheap about paying admission prices and there's a brew ready for detonation. Well, it was damn hot on the day that we arrived that I relented and we "did" the aquarium but this was more about having and air conditioned experience than a desire on my part to see fish. The architecture tour... I've heard that it is well worth the time but I'd feel like a fool riding around on a damn boat, just like I'd feel like a fool riding on the open-top tour bus.

What did we do? Got the kids into the Billy Goat to sample a burger: i believe that they're lousy but it was hot out (see above) and wanted a couple of beers. On day 2 the John Hancock tower (or whatever they're calling it) was socked in with fog so I dodged the 'fraidy cat of heights bullet. Instead we got up to Wicker Park and banged around for a while with the hipsters.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby Toolbox » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:57 pm

frank - up in grand blanc wrote:
ldodger wrote:The architecture tour... I've heard that it is well worth the time but I'd feel like a fool riding around on a damn boat...


And then the Dave Matthews tour bus drives over the bridge the boat is passing under....


http://www.redeyechicago.com/viral/rede ... story.html

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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby ldodger » Sat Jul 02, 2016 10:04 am

Toolbox wrote:
frank - up in grand blanc wrote:
ldodger wrote:The architecture tour... I've heard that it is well worth the time but I'd feel like a fool riding around on a damn boat...


And then the Dave Matthews tour bus drives over the bridge the boat is passing under....


http://www.redeyechicago.com/viral/rede ... story.html

Image


Every time I've been to Chicago on a tour, the driver will mention that incident. My God, the fines that were levied.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby MICHIGAN » Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:25 pm

On the annual trip to Leelanau this year we stopped in Watkins Glen. 1st actually went to the state park, then to the track. Bunch of Porsches and dune buggies running the circuit. I want to get back there and see some real road racing. Also stopped at Niagara Falls, the youngest didn't remember being there and since neither of the other two would take off from their internships for the trip, he got to choose. Niagara Falls is pretty cool I have to say.

In Michigan, I tried the wine tasting again. There are some real highs and some real lows, and I won't mention names, but man some of it was brutal to drink. Also tubed down the Platte River for the 1st time ( I don't know why we tubed instead of kayaks but whatever), sorry Beav but never again, it was so damned crowded.

Ate in Port Huron, which is looking pretty good. They are dumping some dollars into the downtown, which I like to see.

I did get Ms. Michigan to agree to a stop in Detroit next year, specifically to check out Grosse Pointe and perhaps eat at the GPYC.

End of report.
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Re: Hot Fudge Road Trips

Postby The Beav » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:31 am

Don't apologize to me, SRosa and I can barely handle the crowds up there anymore. We spent a good hour walking around the fish hatchery on 31 & 669. Saw the group of eagles that live there. All of a sudden half a dozen cars pull up. WTF? Even the least likely tourist area in all of NW Michigan is becoming crowded.

If the UP wasn't so damn far north... Anyways, we found a decent breakfast spot in Maple City, but even that sleepy fruit farm town is becoming crowded because of that silly La Bécasse.

Thank god for the trailer. We hid out there and swam a bit, read a ton and basically acted like 70 year olds.
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