August was a busy RV travel month, the rest of the year would turn out just as busy. A truck-in in Rensselaer Indiana, a trip to Adler Planetarium in Chicago, and a daughter pick-up in Minnesota. It was a rolling RV Life for the rest of 2022.
C.A.V.E Truck-in, Rensselaer Indiana
September led me across the border to Jasper County Fairgrounds in Rensselaer Indiana for a weekend of fun and frivolity and looking at beautiful vans. I met so many people I had never met before, including Dominick, who walked away from the band to make meFrwnch Bread Pizza. It had been a long drive, and I had not stopped to eat. I got there after the food vendor had closed and had not gone to the grocery store. Dominick has this great pizza oven set up and made me the best pizza. Oh, my stars, it was sooo good. Thanks, my new friend!
I decided to pop over to my friend Dave’s place and visit with him, Molly and Maggie. While having a lovely visit I went to start the van and nothing. Not even a click. What???? I knew exactly what it was. The starter. I called Dave at work and asked if he could recommend a garage. He said, “Ya, me.” He came home from work and spent the afternoon putting a starter on my van. Turned the key and woohoo! We were rolling again. Thank you, my friend! 💜
Have you had a deep-dish pizza from the Chicago area? After a hot day fixing the van, it was the perfect ending. Eating hint: One piece will do ya!! So very good!
My friend Howard was having a 70th birthday party in Mundelein, Illinois. I was in Illinois, you know I had to go. I have known Howard for close to 30 years. He is a wonderful man who gives the greatest hugs. It was a wonderful evening spent with friends.
Back to Canada to hug my kids, grandkids, and friends then a trip east. I had made an appointment to do tours at the Sharron Temple and Base31 that I had missed in August. On my tour, I found a place called Primitive Designs in Port Hope Ontario. I have never quite seen a place like this before. As you drive in there are steel sculptures everywhere. Beautiful, magnificent, large sculptures. You can not help but stop and look.
A few of my favorites.
They also had an amazing array of antiques and crafts for your home. From beautiful wooden furniture to unique handcrafted displays and accessories, they have it all. I almost wished I had a backyard. I would have taken something home. If you are in the area, give it a visit. You will be glad you did. They are seasonal so make sure of opening hours on their website before you go.
In October I had a surprise visit from a Roadtrek friend. I met Holly in one of the Roadtrek Facebook groups. We chatted many times online but never in person. She happened to be passing through Ontario on a road trip to the east coast. What a wonderful time we had chatting and touring Niagara Region. Visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, and dinner with the aliens at the Flying Saucer. It was so nice to meet Holly in person. Special thanks to my friend Dan who gave us a relaxing place to have coffee and chat.
October meant Halloween! A few friends got together at Bronte Creek campground and had a Halloween Campout. It was fun watching the kids all dressed in costumes go from campsite to campsite collecting candy.
Funny story… My friend Matt was there with his Scooby Van, parked with my Hugh and his M&M van. As I drive in parents and kids are starting to wander out to collect candy. A few dads were standing on the road. One said to the other, “you know we are sending our kids to strangers’ vans to get free candy.” I laughed and said, ” but Scooby is there so they will be ok.” They laughed and agreed.
It was a fun weekend spent with friends.
October also is the month I put my 1969 Econoline away for her winter’s nap. Sprinkled with whole cloves to keep the mice away, she will sit in a nice warm building until spring. Sleep well darlin!
My friend Diane wanted to go to a Halloween-themed craft show, Frightmare in the Falls, in Niagara Falls. Halloween is Diane’s favorite time of year. She decorates their house where some people will not enter. Sounds like fun. Let’s go. Walking in you were greeted by horror movie vehicles as well as a variety of antique hearses.
I also got to meet Marky Ramone of the band The Ramones. It was interesting sitting and chatting for a few minutes. I thanked him for making me bounce because I know I cannot listen to a Ramones song without bouncing. Lol.
November brought me back across the border for a daughter pick-up up in Minnesota. I had never been to Minnesota so I was very excited to go. Crossing in Sarnia Ontario on the Bluewater Bridge, across Michigan, through Illinois.
A stop in Illinois to see my friend Dave and Molly and Maggie. I had told them I wanted to take them to the Adler Planetarium. I love science and the stars. The following Saturday Molly, Maggie, and I were off to Adler Planetarium. I was so excited. Like most trips it turned into a Chipmunk Adventure with a reminder….always take your van with you.
It all started so wonderfully. A great drive to Chicago’s waterfront. It was windy but this is the windy city right? I parked at Dave’s work at one of the large hotels on the waterfront and we grabbed a cab to the Planetarium. The girls had been there before and told me I would love it. They were right. It was interesting and intriguing. Want to read a little more on Adler Planetarium, hit the link and check out my blog.
After a great tour through the Planetarium, it was time to go. This is where things went a little awry.
I stopped at the desk and asked to phone a taxi. They did not know the cab number. They googled it and wrote it on a piece of paper. I called and got an automated service. They asked for the address. I asked the people at the desk for the exact address. They did not know. Hahahaha! What? I got the address and tried to give it to the automated service. It hung up on me. I tried again. This time it transferred me to a person. Yea! She asked for the pickup point. I told her “The Adler Planetarium.” She told me she did not know where that was. What??? It is a Chicago cab company, right? It is a world-renowned Planetarium with the third-largest telescope in the world. I gave her the address to both the Planetarium and the hotel where my van was parked. The cab would be here in 20 min.
We went outside to wait for the cab. We stepped outside and got the true meaning of “the windy city.” As we tried to make it up the steps of the Planetarium the wind was so strong ( gusting to 80 mph) I thought it was going to blow Maggie off the stairs. After huddling in the corner (it was a cold wind), it had been over 40 minutes since I called the cab. My phone rang and it was the cab company. Our cab was delayed but would be there in 20 minutes. After another 40 minutes and a trip to the washroom, my phone rings again. It is the cab company’s automated service telling me a cab was not coming. OMG! This is crazy. How the heck do I get myself and the girls back to my van? I called Dave and he called an Uber. Finally, we arrived back at the van and I hugged her and told her I would never leave her again. Lesson learned.
With a warm goodbye and see you next time up into Wisconsin, and the Minnesota border. I got lucky with the weather for November in Minnesota, it was beautiful.
I had to take a walk through the Mall of America in Minneapolis. I had never seen an amusement park in a mall before. It was both interesting and amusing as you walked under a Rollercoaster.
One thing I did not realize was that the Mississippi River starts in Minnesota. When I saw signs that I was crossing the Mississippi River I had to Google it. Sure enough, when they say it is the “Mighty Mississippi ” they mean it. I should have guessed because even in Minnesota they have a Mississippi Riverboat.
After picking up my daughter, Katelyn at her fiances, we headed across the top to go back by way of Upper Michigan. Upper Michigan is beautiful at any time of the year. With vast forests and scenic lakes, it is a wonderful place to explore or just pass through. To get to lower Michigan or into “the mit”, you need to cross the Mackinac Bridge. It is a beautiful Bridge crossing the joining of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
On the east side of Michigan, there is a little town called Frankenmuth. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland boasts that it is the world’s largest Christmas store. I must say I believe they are right. Anything and everything Christmas was in this huge 7.35-acre store. From the moment you enter, you have no doubt you have reached Santa’s workshop in the North Pole.
December was spent with family and friends. A quick trip back to the US for Kim and my annual shopping trip and of course breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
Thanks for coming down memory lane, and remembering 2022. A year filled with travel, fun, family, and friends. Here is to 2023 being filled with even more Chipmunk Adventures.
See you next week.