Great times around the Great Lakes

As we arrived in the furnace otherwise known as Kansas in July it was apparent that we have lost our patience for high heat and even HIGHER humidity! Colorado spoiled us in many ways. The air was drier and the temperatures were just as we like them in the 70’s!

Traveling across Kansas was familiar in more ways than the flat scenery. The crosswind out of the south made the drive even less fun for my Handsome Chauffeur! His grip on the wheel was so tight his knuckles were white! The sun was beating on us through our 8’x4′ UNTINTED windshield gave us the feeling of the ants under a magnifying glass that someone use to do as a little boy… karma is real people….because we indeed felt like we were ants frying! Our dash air conditioners were unable to keep up with the heat and we were beyond uncomfortable! To add to the drama of the 600 mile journey was the SCREECHING noise that we “thought” had been repaired in Colorado was back with VENGEANCE. Needless to say, we were not only uncomfortable,BUT uneasy about what was wrong with our engine. We were incredibly HAPPY when we pulled into our dear friend’s driveway. Ahhhhh Kansas the land of familiarity and people we love!

First things first, we had to get our fix of wings from our favorite restaurant. We ate at this establishment most every Wednesday for the 20 years we lived in Kansas. This place was where we met friends, shared life and laughs with more times than we can count. It is where we came up for our Blog name We Be Winging it… not only because we thought we would travel without a plan BUT also to sample wings across this great nation.Our time in Kansas was filled to the brim with work for my Handsome Chauffeur. He spent hours investigating the internet, all the while having full use of a very well equipped garage of our friend. The guys were able to diagnosis where the screaming noise was coming from. The beauty of being in Kansas and having this challenge was that we knew where we needed to go and get the job done ….CORRECTLY this time! Off to Kansas City, Missouri to have the repairs done.

We spent an entire day in the Truck Driver’s lounge of a large diesel repair facility. To say the time spent with all these truck drivers was educational is an understatement. Oh the stories I heard!!! Living life behind a windshield ,working full time, these folks sure do have experiences!!

After six hours of waiting and being educated by my new found friends, our Mobile Condo had a new exhaust manifold gasket and she was no longer screeching! We began our northward journey towards Wisconsin and our first Great Lake stop on Lake Michigan!

We grew up in the midst of Lake Michigan. Thinking back we really didn’t spend all that much time on the lake. Now my Handsome Father-in-law makes his home upon Lake Michigan living aboard his beautiful boat 4-5 months a year escaping the HOT season at his other home in Tucson, AZ.

Not only did we get to visit our Dad and Judy, our kiddos from Tennessee flew to Wisconsin to visit us! We had a great time camping and making memories!Our visit to Wisconsin flew by. Soon it was time to follow the shores of Lake Michigan to our next destination near to the shores of Lake Superior.

The road heading north along the shore of Lake Michigan is very familiar to us as we have made the trek through Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan many many times in the past to see our family aka as Yoopers.

As we traveled the 2 lane highways along Lake Michigan enjoying the scent is of pine trees and the beautiful White Birch trees the coolness of the weather was so refreshing.

We took off on our Harley to explorer the back roads and many waterfalls with a stop by beautiful Lake SuperiorTime flew by visiting with family on the shores of Crooked Lake. Fishing for dinner and fires lakesideSoon we were on the road again to an area of Michigan we had never visited. Next stop St Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, and Mackinac Island!

We hopped on the “scooter” and headed north.This is the closest I had ever been to Canada. Alas, we didn’t take our passports with us so we had to see Canada from the shores of the USA.

Sault Ste. Marie is a beautiful mariner city filled with history. We spent time at the locks learning the history and importance of the locks.

A ferry ride across Lake Huron with our bicycles in tow took us to the BEAUTIFUL Mackinaw Island. We rode around the entire island along with HUNDREDS of other bicyclists stopping here and there to take in the splendor of it all! Everywhere along the shore were cairns (stacked rocks) that people went to great lengths to commentate their trip to the IslandYou cannot go to Mackinac Island without a visit to the Gorgeous Grand Hotel!Built in the 19th century and famous for the world’s largest porch. The building and grounds were SPECTACULAR! After riding around the island we were ready to sit and enjoy an adult beverage. We made our way through the halls of this amazing hotel to the upper most bar to take in the majestic views while quenching our thirst.

Our visit to the Upper Pennisula of Michigan came to an end. We enjoyed the beauty of the lakes, the cool nights around our campfire and the rides through the woods. We were ready to start our journey south.

Southward bound would take us over the Mackinac Bridge. Oh the stories we heard about going over the bridge had this Nervous Navigator a wee bit distressed! The night prior to our travels I was praying for no wind or minimal winds and NO FOG! Wellllll this is the warning we were greeted with the morning of our departureOH MY LANDS! To say I was NERVOUS was a BIG understatement! I was terrified! The Mackinac Bridge is a suspension bridge over the Straits of Mackinac where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan come together. The bridge connects the Upper Peninsula to Lower Michigan. It is 26,372 ft ( roughly 5 miles). It’s the 5th longest suspension bridge in THE WORLD! The 4 lanes that move traffic both direction are a total of only 54 ft wide! Mid way over the bridge it is 200 feet above the water with the depth below water reaching 230 feet!

So we joined lots of folks heading south Flashers flashing per instructions traveling at 20 miles per hour it seems like an ETERNITY going across. I know I was holding my breath. My calm cool Handsome Chauffeur kept telling me to open my eyes, but I just couldn’t for any length of time FINALLY we were back on land in lower Michigan! Prayers answered and regular breathing resumed.

We had never really spent time in lower Michigan. We were excited to explore and meet up with some friends we made our first year out as Nomads who call Michigan home in the summer. We also were excited to see the town our Dad first called home when his family immigrated from Germany.

We spent time golfing, taking rides on sand dunes, riding our motorcycle and eating FABULOUS cherry pie!

One more Great Lake to see on this journey took us further south to Ohio and the shores of Lake ErieWe have made some fabulous memories on the shores of Lake Erie over the years with our family. Northern Ohio has lots to offer us. We not only love the Lake, but riding roller coasters and good old Rock and Roll hold special places in our hearts too.

First stop was Cedar Point to ride roller coasters. We had the time of our lives AGAIN! We spent 10 hours in the park and only got to ride 6 coasters. The lines were LONG! The rides were an adrenaline RUSH that lasted only minutes, but OH SO WORTH IT! We actually were a wee bit thankful to wait in line for the next ride as long as we did because it took a bit to get our equilibrium back from being tossed and turned. I guess our age is starting to show as we don’t rebound as quickly. Still our minds are willing and our bodies say ” do you know how old you are” by rebelling on the quickness of recovery between rides.

Another all time favorite place to visit in Ohio is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We have made 4 trips to this museum and EVERY time we get goosebumps when we enter. The day we visited this time was unfortunately the day Aretha Franklin passed away. It was a somber time. Her music was piped in everywhere. She held the distinction of being the very FIRST female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The tribute was amazing

We also toured Johnny Cash’s bus. We also completely agree with his statement and feel the same about our Mobile Condo.Before we left the Lake Erie area we had the best time visiting with my Aunt and Uncle. Nothing beats spending time with family on the road.

We starting heading further south in Ohio to visit the Air Force Museum. This was such a great place… so rich with history. As a retired member of the Air Force, my Handsome Chauffeur truly enjoyed our time there. We especially enjoyed the exhibit regarding the missile system he worked with during his time in service.Another exhibit that really tugged on our heart strings was the actual Air Force One that was President Kennedy’s plane. We learned that this plane returned him to Washington after the assignation. What truly was amazing is that his Secret Service detail would not hear of his body being transported in the belly of the aircraft. They actually took saws and enlarged an area in the airplane that would allow his casket to be flown inside with his security detail and his wife sitting at his side.

As our 2018 travel season wrapped up we made a trip through Kentucky and Tennessee. Again traveling the back country roads on our motorcycle. While riding in Kentucky we came upon a huge Marina. They had amazing houseboats. These homes on water had been featured on HGTV. The builders were so gracious and gave us private tours. These homes are amazing! Who knows someday we may give up wheels for propellers on our home!One more beautiful waterfall before we left KentuckyOur hearts were fluttering as our travels were taking further south to Tennessee where our kids and grandbabies lives.

We spent days playing in the park, swimming in the swimming pool and just having tons of FUN.

Soon it was time to head further south to our winter home of Tampa, Florida. Our travels in 2018 took us close to 8000 miles in the Mobile Condo… hundreds additional miles on our Harley exploring areas. In total we made 27 stops in the 7 months since we left Florida. We went as far west as Tucson, AZ , as far north as the Canadian border and back south to Tampa. We had a glorious adventure. We were ready to be “planted” until Spring of 2019… to rest, rejuvenate and plan our next adventures.

As we reflect on our season and plan for the next we remind ourselves of how incredibly blessed we are…We are looking forward to what 2019 holds for us… more adventures await!

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