We left Michigan after a fun-filled two weeks visiting Michael and his family. We crossed the border into Canada at Huron, Michigan and drove to Niagara Falls, Ontario. We visited the Falls twenty years ago but only the American side. We decided to try to duplicate one of the pictures from that trip. The people we asked to take our picture had just as much fun taking it as we did.
The RV Park we stayed at was on the main bus line into the Falls area and as you can see below we had some interesting neighbors. I wanted to go over and meet them, but Josie did not like that idea. We feel the view of the Falls is better from the Canadian side, but the tourist area above the cliff walk is so tacky it is beyond description. We had dinner one evening at Trip Advisor's number two rated restaurant for Niagara Falls, The Tide and Vine. It only seats 25 people counting the bar. We had a fantastic meal of Prince Edward Island oysters with freshly grated horseradish, followed by a 1 1/2 pound lobster. Mike Langley one of the owners is a Guinness world record holder for oyster shucking. It was fun sitting at the bar and watching him work. I thought about my chef friend Tommy Ney many times during the meal. He would love this place.
After only three days in Canada we drove back into the US and spent the next week at Hickory Ridge Golf and RV Resort in Holley, New York. Holley is located between Buffalo and Rochester about 15 miles south of Lake Ontario. On our first full day in the area we drove over to the town of LeRoy the home of Jell-o. We toured the small but very informative Jell-o museum. We found it curious they never mentioned how Jell-o is made. If you don't know and you like Jell-o don't look it up. Once Kraft Foods bought the company they moved all production to Dover, Delaware. We then drove up to Brockport, New York for a nice lunch at the Stonehouse Brewery, right on the Erie Canal. We crossed over the canal many times while traveling in the area. I was able to get in three rounds of golf while here. You were able to pick up a cart at the RV Park and use it along with an RV Park discount on greens fees.
Since this part of the state is on the south shore of Lake Ontario, there are numerous orchards, and we picked our own cherries and apricots. Many of the farms in the area have quilt patterns painted on their barns. These paintings are copies of quilts that at one time or another were made by members of their family. On the recommendation of our friends Terri and Matt Albright, who are from Buffalo, we bought a three pound bag of the locally made Sahlen's Hotdogs and a bottle of Woebers mustard. These dogs are fantastic on the grill. I had tried them before when my friend Aaron Decker brought them to an ODU tailgate, but this was the first time Josie had tried them. Terri and Matt also suggested going to Anderson's Frozen Custard and trying their "Beef on Weck" a fantastic roast beef sandwich on a Kimmelweck roll. We had ours with horseradish sauce and we devoured it. But we did leave room for one of their tasty frozen custard sundaes. We then drove up to the shore of Lake Ontario where we could see the skyline of Toronto, Canada across the lake. This is a nice area to visit in the summer but we never want to be anywhere in the winter where the snow is so high the fire hydrant markers are taller than Josie. We will leave in the morning and drive to Saratoga Springs, New York to try our luck at the track.
We drove south from the shores of Lake Superior and over the Mackinaw Bridge. It is the highest bridge we had crossed in our travels. Josie took a picture with my phone and you can see her thumb in the picture. We stopped for lunch at Gobblers of Gaylord and as the name implies they specialize in turkey dinners. We have stopped here many times in our travels and it has been fantastic every time. We set up camp at a Resort called Ranch Rudolf. Josie's daughter in law Katy's family has been coming here for the 4th of July for 42 years. They would join us later in the week. We had a few days of cool damp weather but we were able to get together with a birding friend and his wife who live in nearby Grayling, Michigan. It was great seeing Calvin and Charlene, and having dinner with them.
On Thursday Josie's son Michael, his wife Katy and their two daughters Abby and Anne, one of their friends Ava and their dog Sully arrived. We had a great time setting up their condo sized tent. The next day Josie and the girls went horseback riding and had a lot of fun. It was Anne's first time on a horse. The girls had so much fun they rode again the next day. That afternoon we tubed down the river and had a great time, despite the cold water. That evening we were treated to a pizza dinner, complements of the Katy's parents John and Erin. On the 4th we canoed the river with many of the people from the resort. They stop along the way for snacks and adult beverages. Pictured below are Mike and his family and Katy's sister Bridget (nice coconuts) and her family, husband Eric, sons
(LtoR) Aidan, Luke and Kellen. I also promised Luke I would put a picture of him and his tube on the blog. I was so bad at guiding the canoe that at the second refueling stop they delegated me to a tube. Less foul language that way.
On the evening of the 4th we had a cookout at Eric and Bridget's site and then everyone prepared for the evenings competition. Josie was going to enter the wheel barrel race but could not make it more than three steps. Abby and her friend Ava entered and were running second when they fell. Luke and Kellen competed in the cherry pit spitting contest and Aidan competed in the hot dog eating contest. After the games there were s'mores to make and then we were treated to a great fireworks show.
We left a day after everyone else and headed for Ortonville, Michigan 50 miles north of Detroit. On the way we stopped and had an all you can eat chicken dinner at Zehnder's of Frankenmuth. This is a tradition with us and we have been there many times. Great food and always lots of doggy bags. The weather turned wet and cooler so we sat around Mike and Katy's cottage on Lake Orion and played board games. Anne took a nap with Sully who is bigger than she is. The next day Josie and I had Lobster Mac and Cheese at the Clarkston Union Diner. It was featured on one of the Diner, Drive Ins and Dives shows. Well worth the trip. We stopped at a beer store on the way home and found Virginia"s Blue Mountain Beer on the shelf. We are getting closer to Virginia.
One day we drove into Detroit and met Josie's friend Gloria at the Motown Historical Museum. Gloria stays at Pueblo El Mirage where we spent last winter and she taught Josie how to play Mah Jonng. The tour of Hitsville was very interesting. One great story was when Stevie Wonder was recording they would leave a dime on top of the candy machine for him. His favorite candy bar was Baby Ruth so they made sure the candy man would always put the Baby Ruths in the fourth slot from the right so Stevie would know what knob to pull. We then drove to the Greektown section of downtown Detroit and ate at Gloria's son's restaurant, The Firebird Tavern. We tried a few of their flavorful appetizers, pimento cheese with toast points and a huge soft pretzel. For the rest of our Lunch I had the Fried Green Tomato BLT, and Josie split a Philly Cheese steak with Gloria. We then worked off all those calories walking around the General Motor's Renaissance Center on the riverfront. On our way home we spotted a billboard on I-75 with Josie's son Michael featured on it.
The next day we went to Abby's skating practical. She was practicing a triple jump so she was hooked into a harness. She is already doing a double with ease. From there we went over to the cottage on the lake and the girls made a cherry dump cake for desert with Grandma Jo's guidance. We enjoyed the lake the next few days and got out on the pontoon boat. The first day Captain Sully took the bow and guided us around the lake. The next day we left Sully behind and Josie tried to get him to go inside but he just laid down so Grandma Jo game him a scolding. We had a great visit with Mike and his family. We were amazed how tall Abby and Ann have gotten. Tomorrow we drive over to Niagara Falls Canada for a short visit.