National Corvette Museum

During our working years, one of our favorite places to stop on the way from Michigan to Florida has always been the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. To clarify that, it was not for the cars, but for the fact that the lawn was the first green grass we saw in April during spring break. Katie and Dakota, our first two golden retrievers, loved to roll in the lush expanse.

Fast forward to last February, when a sinkhole opened up in the main display area and swallowed several prized Corvettes. The museum board decided, after recovering the cars, that they were going to fill the hole this November and restore the speedsters to their former glory. Well, not wanting to miss a prime opportunity, we made the pilgrimage to look beyond the lawn.

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Most of the museum is intact. There are a multitude of displays dedicated to the history of the sports car.

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We had to sign a waiver at the ticket counter to enter the museum and view the sinkhole. While we had viewed news reports and videos, we really had no idea the power nature had on these cars.

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The sinkhole itself was gigantic. It took up about half of the main display area. Standing at it’s edge, we questioned the logic of our presence there. Could the floor under our feet give out?

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To the side, there were several of the damaged cars.

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Some were mangled beyond recognition.

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Mother Nature certainly won the battle on a few of them.

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We enjoyed our tour. It certainly would mean more to a Corvette owner, but it was very well done and was worth the price of admission. And your toes will love the nice green lawn!

Artprize

Since 2009, Grand Rapids, Michigan has held an international art competition named ArtPrize. The entire downtown, along with venues outside the core city, becomes a ‘canvas’ for thousands of artists from around the globe. There are several prizes awarded by different methods, but the main prize of $200,000 is decided by the public. Votes are cast on cell phones as the viewers tour the city. It doesn’t matter if it is the county courthouse, a coffee shop, the local bar, the chamber of commerce, even the Grand River itself; art is present in some shape or form. The entire city is filled with people, which is a huge plus for the local businesses.

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The photo above was taken outside the Gerald Ford Museum. Jerry’s statue, a permanent fixture, is being stared at by a piece named “Gravity”.

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This is a horse made of industrial metal scrap. Very interesting.

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Our next door neighbor in the campground created this one. It is called Seewall Child, and it is quite detailed. Her and her husband were very passionate about her work, and they install an interactive version of these at children’s hospitals. This was installed at a local pizzeria for the competition. We had a pizza while we were there, and at least 50 people streamed through the building, just to see the art. Some grabbed a slice from the counter.

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This is a piece called Intersections, and it was at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. What is seen on the walls is a projection of a single light bulb through the metal cube in the center of the room. Outstanding.

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Our reflection on the wall. People were having a lot of fun with this.

Our favorite was called Connected. Thirty three artists were paired with thirty three storytellers and they were given a word to work with, such as love, courage, passion, etc. The result was one of the most emotional experiences we have had in quite awhile. While we were reading a piece written by a woman who was dying of cancer, her daughter came up and spoke with us. She had just arrived from Miami to view this exhibit, which also included a panel by her and one written by her dad. We spoke of how losing a parent always seems like such a natural part of life, until it happens to you.

The great thing about ArtPrize is that it engages the community. For 2-1/2 weeks each fall, the town is as alive as Times Square. Deborah Norville from Inside Edition happened to be in town for a separate speaking engagement and had no idea what she walked into. She was blown away.

If you ever are in the Midwest in late September and early October, get to Grand Rapids to experience ArtPrize. You will be so very glad you did.

Paradise in a Corn Field

On Saturday we visited Jim’s aunt and uncle in Donaldson, Indiana. Jim’s aunt is a nun in the order Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ that has its roots in Germany. She had the honor of being in charge of her order in the United States, and was also the first non German born member of the council that leads her order world wide.

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Diana is standing in front of the mother house. It always amazes us because you drive Indiana country roads through acres of corn fields to reach this bit of paradise. There is a full size cathedral, a small college campus, retreat center, retirement homes with several levels of care, lake, cemetery, cattle farm, and art center. Jim’s uncle has an apartment in the independent living portion that is open to the public.

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Above is a conference center where groups of any faiths may hold meetings.

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This is the independent living home for the retired sisters. To the left in the background of this picture is the cemetery for all of the US nuns in PHJC.

We enjoyed spending time with family in this little slice of heaven.

A New Chapter Begins…

Today, after 30 years of home ownership, we closed on the sale of our home and have moved forward into a new chapter of our lives.  We are now officially full time RVers!  This past week has been a flurry of packing, sorting, storing and cleaning. For a while, it seemed as if our stuff was appearing out of nowhere in our home, and progress was increasingly harder to come by.  One dear friend likened it to sweeping the dust in a circle and not quite being able to get it into the dust pan.  But Thursday evening came, and we knew we were headed to the finish line.

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Mom Belisle used to paint landscapes, and we knew she was panting the Thursday evening sky from Heaven to assure us all was well.  We were able to get everything done, shy of sweeping the garage floor.  That was done this morning, and the circle of dust was in the pan.

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We hooked up the rig, loaded Jenny in the truck and headed on our way!

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The clock on the truck showed 9:26 AM on 9-26-14.  We then headed to Woodchip campground and set up in our spot.

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This is the spot we will be setting up for this winter, so you all have an idea what it looks like without snow.

Following our setting up, we headed to closing.  All was said and done by noon, and we were free to enjoy the rest of this beautiful autumn day!

Safe travels to all!

RV-Dreams rally

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This past week, we attended the RV-Dreams fall educational rally in Goshen, Indiana.  It was held at the Elkhart County 4H Fairgrounds, which was a nice facility for this type of get together.  The rally itself was extremely informative and a lot of fun.  RV-Dreams is owned by Howard and Linda Payne, a charming couple we first met in Grand Rapids this past winter at an RV show.  They have been full time RVing for just shy of 10 years, and have chronicled every bit of it on their website RV-Dreams.com.  Although we were planning this lifestyle for years, they can certainly be credited for our accelerated move into it.  We highly suggest that you follow their journeys, as they know their stuff.  Salt of the earth folks, for sure.

We met so many wonderful people at the rally, and we are sure that we will keep in touch with them in our travels. Of those that we weren’t able to get to know, we are sure we will catch up down the road. One of the nice features of the rally was the “open rig walk-throughs”. A lot of us opened our rigs for people to look at, which was very informative.  Another feature of the rally was tours of the local RV manufacturers.  We took a tour of the DRV facility, which we found to be extremely educational.

The last night of the rally was a catered dinner, followed by a glow party.

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We hadn’t danced that much in years!  Definitely a great time!

On the final morning, we had a catered breakfast, followed by a goodbye speech by Howard and Linda.

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Linda sang “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.  Howard tried to join in, but was a little choked up…as were most of the rest of us.

As we pulled out, we had our rig weighed by them. They are safety specialists with RVSEF, and they weigh each individual wheel.  We were pleasantly surprised that we were only heavy on one tire in the entire rig, and we can easily remedy that with a shift in our cargo.  Howard gave us recommendations for tire inflation, which we will be sure to follow closely.  It was a huge relief to know our truck and 5th wheel are correctly sized for each other, and that we also don’t have to jettison weight.  We came fully loaded for what we feel we need on the road, including our kayaks and bikes.

We will be finishing up packing the house this next week in preparation for our closing on Friday. We may be a little busy up until then, so we will try to post an update after that.

Safe travels to all!

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