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Frankenmuth  Rally  -  June, 2004

This is a summary of our trip to Pittsburgh, then on to Mackinaw City and Frankenmuth, Michigan, then to Niagara Falls, Canada and then a few days in Bath, New York. During this trip we met up with friends from the Branson, Missouri Rally -2003....namely Larry & Judy Ulmer, Terry & Cherly Nance, Larry & Anne Brandt and Gary & Pat Hostetter.

             
 

Friday, June 11, 2004 

At 5:45 am this morning, with 24,965 miles on the odometer, we departed home heading  West on the first leg of our journey for the Frankenmuth Rally. The weather the past two days had been unseasonably hot & humid with highs in the mid 90’s, but toady was another story. At the time I writing this journal, 8:10 pm, the all day rain has finally stopped and the outside temp is 59 degrees. We will be staying overnight in Pittsburgh boon docking in the parking lot of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. This location is a short 50 yards from the apartment complex where both my mother and mother in-law live, so both Diana and I were able to enjoy a short visit with our Moms.

 All went well on the trip today. Before the trip I had some concerns about the motorhomes’s engine cooling system, but even the steepest hills on the Pennsylvania Turnpike did not cause the engine to overheat. This was our first long trip towing 4 down and that went well too. However, I do need to call Roadmaster regarding the safety chains for the tow bar. Since I added the riser for the receiver, the safety chains are now about 6 inches too short.

             
 

   
             
 

Saturday, June 12, 2004 

Today’s journey began with a 6:45 am departure from Pittsburgh and ended 378 miles later in Frankenmuth at approximately 4:00 pm at Jellystone Campground. The weather was in the mid 70’s with partly cloudy skies. The drive from Pennsylvania, through Ohio and into Michigan went smoothly with one exception. While traveling through the toll gate on the Ohio Turnpike, I managed to hit the toll booth with the mirror on the passenger side of the motorhome. Fortunately no damage was done to the fiberglass body and the mirror was easily reattached to the motorhome.               

             
 

Sunday, June 13, 2004 

Since we only had to drive 205 miles to our next destination, we were able to sleep in this morning till 6:45 am and departed the campground at 8:00 am. We arrived at Mill Creek Campground at 1:30 pm and the Texans Larry & Judy Ulmer and Terry and Cheryl Nance were waiting for us. The last time we saw then was last July when we first met at the Branson Rally.  

We spent the remainder the afternoon sitting around talking about camping and sharing laughter with each other. We all had dinner at the Ulmer’s fifth wheeler and  enjoyed a very tasty dish  prepared by Judy…..chicken spaghetti.

             
 

             
 

Monday, June 14, 2004 

We shopped and walked through downtown Mackinaw City. While touring the city we ate a local favorite…..pasties. Before going into the pastie store we thought we would be eating some sort of baked pastry. But to our surprise it was chipped beef, onions, potatoes and rutabaga wrapped in a crust and baked until golden brown.

Later in the day I went back into Mackinaw with Larry and Terry to fly stunt kites. Larry let me use one of his kites and it reminded me twenty years ago when I flew kites with my kids while we vacationed in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. We would have stayed longer to fly the kites but the wind died down and an afternoon shower brought an end to our fun.

             
 

       
 

Tuesday, June 15, 2004 

The main event for today was an early 9:00 am ferry boat ride to Mackinac Island. The air was chilly but the sky was clear blue and Lake Huron was smooth as glass. After a short 18 minute ferry ride we arrived at the island and immediately boarded a horse drawn carriage to enjoy a 2 hour narrated ride through the island. This was the week of the Lilac Festival and the entire island was in full bloom and aroma of lilacs everywhere you looked. We all enjoyed lunch at the Village Inn and all six of us made the same selection from the menu…..Michigan White Fish & Chips. Diana and I returned to the mainland on the 2:30 pm ferry so we could take care of Rebecca, our 14 year old miniature Schnauzer.

             
 

             
   

 
             
 

Wednesday, June 16, 2004 

My words cannot describe the natural beauty of this area. The visit to Mackinac Island yesterday was fantastic and filled with lots and lots of natural beauty. This morning we ventured across the 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge. While traveling the bridge we were able to get a bird’s eye view of Lake Huron on our right and Lake Michigan on our left. We have marveled at the beautiful aqua colors of the lake water and the cleanliness of the water. In fact the water is so clear that I could see the lake bottom in depths of 20 feet.

 After crossing the Mackinac Bridge we arrived at St. Ignace where we stopped to do some laundry. While the clothes were washing we took a short walk to the marina just across the street from the laundry. What a great way to pass the time while waiting for the washing machine to complete its job. 

After diner Diana and I went into Mackinaw City to visit the shops. Diana bought a few apparel items and she made me buy a stunt kite for myself.

             
 

Thursday, June 17, 2004

 This was our day to travel from Mackinaw to Frankenmuth, a 205 mile drive. We departed around 8:00 am and traveled in a convoy with Terry Nance and Larry Ulmer. We all arrived safely in Frankenmuth around 2:00 pm after several roadside stops and a visit to a Wal-Mart Supercenter at mile marker 212 on I75.

             
   
             
   

 
             
 

             
         
     

   
             
 

             
   

 
             
 

             
 

 Tuesday, June 22, 2004 

Once we arrived at Frankenmuth our days have been so busy that I haven’t had time to update this journal on a daily basis. The rally afforded us the opportunity to meet a few more new folks and to enjoy the many shops in Frankenmuth. We had a great lunch at the Frankenmuth Brewery and a so-so dinner at Zedner’s. The weather was very pleasant…..mid70’s each day and into the mid 50’s at night. On Father’s Day we relaxed around the campground and Terry, Larry and I flew our stunt kites in the large field adjoining the campground. 

Yesterday we left Frankenmuth and traveled 280 miles to Niagara Falls, Canada. As we crossed the border we somehow got into the wrong lane. Therefore, this required a mandatory search of our motorhome. We were asked several questions, such as, any firearms on board, how many people, the purpose of our visit, how long are we staying and any alcohol on board. Then we were directed to pull through the gate and to another area where the entire inside of the motorhome was searched. During the search we were told to take the dog and wait outside. After about 10 minutes I went into the motorhome and the security agent was searching under our bed. At that point she asked me to leave and wait outside. We then had to go into the building where another agent asked us several questions but never looked at our birth certificates or ID. He then told us to never again get into the wrong lane. I felt like telling him that the lanes were poorly marked but decided that might be a bad idea.

Today, we enjoyed the walking tour behind the Niagara Falls, then we rode the Maid of the Mist. By this time we were hungry and wet so we walked to the Skylon where we enjoyed a nice lunch while enjoying a 360 degree, revolving view of Niagara Falls.

             
 

             
   

 
             
   

   
             
 

             
 

             
 

 

             
       
 

             
 

             
 

Saturday, June 26, 2004 

Well a few days have elapsed and again the daily pace has been so rapid that I haven’t had the time and energy to update the trip journal. On Friday, June 25th, we departed from Niagara Falls, Canada and crossed into United States over the Peace Bridge at Fort Erie. Fortunately reentry into the US was much simpler than our entering into Canada last week. The border crossing guard only asked about firearms and alcohol and then told us to be on our way. I was surprised it was so easy. The guard did not even look at the identification papers that I handed her and asked no questions about pets or beef products. 

We are now at Hickory Hill Camp Resort located in the extremely small community of Bath, New York. It was a short 170 mile drive from Niagara Falls and we travel in a convoy with Larry, Terry and Gary. Last night was our final time to be with our travel companions and bidding farewell was difficult. 

Early this morning Larry, Terry and Gary departed at 8:00 am to travel approximately 230 miles to Larry and Pat’s home in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania.  Once there they will stay for about 8 days while taking day trips to Washington DC, Lancaster and other tourist attractions in the area. We plan to join them for dinner one evening while they are touring in the Lancaster Amish Country. 

Today we felt lonesome without our Texas friends Terry/Cheryl and Larry/Judy. We drove about 22 miles to visit the Corning Museum in Corning, New York. This museum is well worth the visit and downtown Corning is a step back in time. The same can be said about the village of Bath. The downtown business area is a short 2 blocks long. I should also mention that Hickory Hill Camp Resort is a very nice facility. The grounds are neatly maintained with beautiful views of the forest covered hills in the distance. We will stay here until Monday and then embark on our final 275 mile drive home. 

             
 

             
 

Sunday, June 27, 2004 

This was a day of relaxation. We were surprised to meet a friend from Florida while taking a walk through the campground…….Peggy from Rock Crusher Canyon Campground. What an unusual coincidence. We spent the day just “vegging”.