Rollin’ Again!

Long time, no read, eh?  It’s been a long homespell for us this summer, as we tackled projects long neglected.  Since returning from our last trip in early April, here’s the short list of what we’ve been up to.

John’s folks moved into an independent-living apartment in December.  All the stuff they didn’t take with them was part of a massive estate sale in April.wpid-20150417_075936.jpg Then, we got everything cleaned and shined, and the house is now on the market.  There’s an offer pending, and we’re hopeful that this time it will result in a sale.  Frank and Verna Crankshaw (John’s folks) also celebrated 70 years of marriage this summer.  Can you imagine?

There’s always lots of bike-related stuff for us in the early summer months.  I’m a volunteer for the Rapid Wheelmen 100 Grand Bicycle Tour, and the MSU Grand Fondo.  The New Belgium Clips Beer & Film Tour also comes to town in early summer.wpid-20150611_095228.jpg Love volunteering for these events, as I know what a PITA it can be to wrangle volunteers.  These events all give a big boost to our local cycling community, so it’s fun to give a bit.  Cycling is a big part of our lives (John and I met in the Rapid Wheelmen Bicycle Club).

John’s involved with the National 24 Hour Challenge, both on a Director level, and as crew chief for a variety of riders.  This year, he crewed for the top female rider (423 miles) and also for the woman who set a new record in the 70-74 year age catetory (298 miles).  Three or four of the other riders on his team set personal records.  It was a huge year for him and his team.

We finally got our back yard in shape by adding a new patio. Old back yard…..wpid-20150705_073124.jpg Wow – what an improvement. New back yard….wpid-20150711_191312.jpg Of course, the completion also meant that he could finally get a Big Green Egg grill.  Wish we would have done this years ago – our backyard dinners have been fantastic!  We loved our Weber charcoal grill, but John’s really at the top of his game with the Egg.

We bussed to a Detroit Tiger game. wpid-20150719_122556.jpg (the stands were full – this was early pre-game)  I’m a huge baseball fan, and the Tigers are breaking my heart (and spirit) this year.  They just suck!  Going to a game is still special, though.  Got tickets again later this month, and we’re hoping for better results, although it’s not too promising.  They are hard to love right now

Our clutter reduction program continues.  Spent the worst two days of my life having a garage sale.  Made a measly $200, but took about two truckloads of leftover stuff to Goodwill.  Good riddance!  The struggle to simplify took a big leap forward.

While John was camping/cycling with his guy friends, I had a girls’ weekend at a friend’s cottage.wpid-20150619_151000.jpg Visited an elk ranch!wpid-20150620_120431.jpgThese enormous antlers grow within a period of just a few months.  Impressive antlers like these begin to grow in late March, and this photo was taken in late June. These enormous bulls were docile enough to eat oats from our hands – but when the fuzzy coating begins to drop off the antlers and rutting season begins, it’s another story. The bulls become very aggressive, and playtime is over!

But, finally…..the Fireball is ready to roll again tomorrow.  We’re heading out for two weeks – first to driveway camp at a friend’s cottage for a few days, then on to our favorite campground at Nordhouse Dunes for 10 days..  The first weekend of the Nordhouse trip is tied in with the Night Shift – a wacky 100 mile nighttime road ride.  We’re the support/chuckwagon for this motley group, and it’s a blast.  After that, we’ll be home for a few days, then off to Brighton Recreation Area (on the east side of the state), camping, taking in another Tigers game, and visiting some long-lost relatives.  Both John and I have a bad Camping Jones right now – time to roll!

Hopefully, at the end of the month, roofers will finally come to put a new lid on Chez Crankshaw.  Ice buildup/backup for the last couple of years has damaged some of our interior walls, and we’re hoping that new roof + insulation will fix this.

All this is prep for a two-month trip to the mid-Atlantic states in September/October.  Can’t wait to visit Boston and Providence.  We’re trying to decide if we’re brave enough to camp near NYC to take in the sights for a week.  Our camp style is to hang outdoors and bike/hike.  Not sure if we’ve got the grit to brave the big city, but there’s so much I want to see.  We are still debating……stay tuned.





30 thoughts on “Rollin’ Again!

  1. So what am I thinking, you ask? I’m thinking I hope you really do a little time in nyc. If you’re just touristing around you don’t need a special wardrobe – that’s my opinion anyway. Go down to the tip of Manhattan and take the Governor’s Island Ferry over to that little island – the whole island is a park, and looks back at the NYC endless skyline – and over to Jersey on one side and Brooklyn on the other. Not bad. And on Governor’s Island you sure wouldn’t want to be dressed in anything other than comfort clothes. Same is true, I believe for walking around so many parts of the city – little Italy, lower east side, SoHo Chelsea , and lots of museums. Mid town and above – ok that probably gets a little fancier, in places. But the museums, and such…. I don’t know anything about where to camp but someone here said check out sites in New Jersey? Anywhere an hour away from the city should be good, and you’d just need transportation to whatever train station serves that area. Yes, it IS a lot to think about; guess I can see why you might think twice. It’s just that if you should decide “yes” – it could be done, and maybe with less stress than you might think?


    • Sorry to take so long to reply to your comment. We’ve been camping, and have not had any phone or WiFi for over a week. Good, but it does make me a bit anxious, sometimes.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on NYC. Guess we’ve pretty much decided to forego it this trip, although it could be in the cards again. John says “Let’s just fly out, and stay in a hotel”, but in my heart, I know he really does not mean that. His tolerance for true sightseeing and museum-going is pretty limited. We’re going to spend extra time in the Boston area, and along the shoreline there. Somehow, that seems to be a bit more manageable. Hope to camp within 20 miles or so of the city, then cycle in every day. Looking forward to sopping up a bit of history there.

      Don’t know why I’m having such a difficult time planning this trip. If we don’t lay some plans very soon, even rough plans, it could get tricky!

      Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts. Guess we’ll have to wait to see if we’re making the best decision or not.


      • Oh, your Boston plans and staying by the shore sounds pretty wonderful too! Don’t mind me and my quick-to-share opinions. (Your Comment invitation “So what are you thinking?” is just too tempting!! And clever – I like it!)

        Also – though you do a lot more traveling than I do – I do travel and sometimes just can’t seem to get excited or get organized for some trips. But those times usually turn out to be exciting and wonderful once underway. I’m about 100% sure that’s going to be the case for you and the trip you’re planning now. It will be fun to read about it – looking forward to it!


  2. Ready to roll…yeah! Always wanted to cook on a green egg…heard they amazing. I always enjoyed a garage sale, well the visiting part, not the getting ready for it. Sure is nice to move it all out…freeing! Enjoy your getaway!


  3. Your last statement re: throw in the towel rang such an familiar bell, I have to chime in. That feeling was ever present all last summer..2014. Could not vision ever getting through with the getting rid of stuff phase. But hang in there! We are done and it is so worth it! And if we could do it, everyone else can!

    Loved the photo of the new patio and would love to see of few more angles. I think that is just what we need in our new back yard.
    Have fun and enjoy your time away! And I believe I have heard a campground where people stay when they visit NYC.


    • Lynn, I remember the ‘before’ photos of your basement, and it gives me hope. But, the gaps we created by getting rid of stuff seem to have oozed full of new crap. Endless!

      I emailed you a couple photos. Our driveway was full of heavy equipment for two days – everytime I think about John and I tackling that project ourselves, I fall over laughing.

      Think I’ve just about talked myself out of NYC, for now. We just don’t carry the right kinds of clothes to make ourselves presentable. Maybe a separate, shorter trip sometime?


  4. Judy, John, Jezzy! You’re coming our way! We’re just 65 something miles south of Boston, on the Cape. You’ve got to come and visit!!!!! You’re welcome to camp in the driveway, I’d have you stay inside, but the two resident cats wouldn’t take lightly to a canine in their space! If you’d like to hitch up the fireball here, just let us know and we can clam, beach it, and show you the local sights. We have a few things planned, so just let me know when you’d be passin’ through to make sure we’re here! What fun, we’ve missed your blog and this would almost be a reunion T@da rally, 2nd year! Hope to hear from you and glad you’re on the road again! Sandi and John from the Cape


    • Sandi, we would love to hook up with you and John. The T@B rally is Sept 24-27, and we’ll be pushing your way after that, I think. Will get back to you to hammer out a couple of days that will work for your schedule. I’m really looking forward to being a Boston tourist as well – hard to believe that I’ve never been in that area of the country at all.

      Maybe you should haul the big rig out to the rally, too. Once a T@Bber, always a T@Bber, right?


  5. Whew, you’ve been a couple of busy non-campers now onto being busy campers. Whether in a dense forest or dense city, it’s all an adventure to be embraced. Safe travels.


      • I’ve totally lost my interest in cities. I had the best of intentions to take the train into Chicago for a little architectural photography during our IL trip, but don’t have enough of an interest to bother. Obviously been there, done that plenty in the past. I used to go to NYC for the day shopping (during my airline days) and now? Someone would have to pay ME to visit. I do believe you have a dilemma on your hands. Good luck :-)


  6. What a beautiful back yard. I’m glad Jezzy approves (or at least, she looks as though she does in the photo). It’s such a good feeling to get things cleaned up and ship-shape around the house. We need to do a lot more of that here, and I’m getting concerns over our roof also!

    There are some very beautiful parts of upstate New Jersey that are not too far from NYC. We’ve never camped there, but try looking around Pompton Lakes or Mahwah to see if there are any campgrounds. I’ll check, too. That’s the area where Chuck grew up–it was within an hour of NYC but he did quite a bit of camping as a kid. I can’t imagine a more beautiful time to visit the mid-Atlantic than September and October. Babe is under wraps in the storage lot and we most likely won’t be able to get out again until late September, when Chuck has a century ride in Blowing Rock, NC. It’s breaking my heart!

    Happy travels to you all!


    • The home front repairs never seen to end, do they? BTW, you house photos look charming – exactly where I would picture you and Chuck living.

      So unsure about NYC. We travel like gypsies, and would need to purchase entire new wardrobes (where would we store them?) for a City trip. Problems, problems.


  7. I’ve only been to NYC on business, and it was a brief visit both times. I don’t worry at all about navigating the city once we get there – it’s the logistics of getting there with a trailer and a dog that give me pause. I know there’s a ‘campground’ in Liberty Harbor that would be super convenient, even though it’s just a parking lot for a hundred dollars a night. Although John expressed an interest in seeing the WTC, pounding the pavement for several days is something for which he has no enthusiasm. Don’t want this to be a big undoing for us. Yet, I really want to go? I think so, anyway. Still under discussion.

    Making retirement plans is exciting. Such a big life change. And, I have to admit (I’m now in my third year of not working), that it is totally different than I thought it would be – both in good ways and bad. Guess you could say that ours plans are still evolving. As I write this, our planned departure time is about two hours from now, and its absolutely pouring! Maybe this plan will have to bear a bit of modification, too – I’ve got an interesting book calling me (Between the World and Me)

    Eventually, things will clear up. Right?

    Thanks, Robin.


    • Since the hubs hates big cities, my thought for NYC would be to take him directly to the Museum of Natural History and a bike ride in Central Park. There are also some terrific bike tours and I had planned on taking a Brooklyn tour but got another offer. You are probably aware of the various companies offering tours but this is the one we considered as we liked their offerings:

      I did love Brooklyn and was lucky enough to have a guided tour from a resident, and one day walked the Upper West Side by myself, which was great fun. And Highline Park is a “must” and think your spouse would also enjoy that.

      We decided to “remodel” the trailer, taking out the queen bed and putting in a twin, then we’ll put a small recliner or easy chair in the vacant area. I’ll sleep on the dinette, which works fine for me. We have beach plans next week so we’ll try it out and see how it works. It was either that or replacing the trailer with a bigger model, and we really didn’t want to spend the $. We may migrate to a Ram 2500 diesel but we need to drive one first. That would make it easier to pull the trailer. Or, keep what we have and buy me a new Toyota Camry for motel trips. I’m OK either way. :-)

      Can’t wait to hear more about your travels!



      • After nearly three years with our camper, we are still making mods to it, trying to squeeze out a few more square inches of storage, and find ways to give us a bit of relaxation room. Jezzy is a huge space hog as well, and we find that we have to make adjustments to accommodate her. I’ll bet that you will find that you find your camping style evolves, the more you use your trailer.

        Thanks for the sightseeing tips. Still haven’t decided what to do.


  8. Love your new patio! My sister has a Big Green Egg and loves it! The meals I’ve had using it are scrumptious!!! Glad to hear John (and you) are enjoying yours!

    Your trip to the northeast sounds great! If you go to NYC – don’t think about it as camping because it definitely won’t be the camping you two are used to. But being able to stay in the Fireball will be a nice respite for you each evening. Think of the Fireball as your “Hilton” and all will be fine!

    Glad to see you back!! I’ve been waiting to hear from the Campshaws.


    • Hi, Susan. The thing that tripped off our NE tour is a rally in Western Massachusetts in late September. Seems a shame to get so close and not go to the City, right? John is distinctly unenthused about the prospect, and leaving Jezzy for very long periods every day is not ideal. Not worth it if it becomes too much of a hassle.

      But, we are both excited about hanging around Boston for a bit. If we don’t get to NYC, there are plenty of other fun spots to visit. We’ll see…..


  9. Don’t forget all the work you did volunteering for the Rapid Wheelmen Time Trials. You were great, Judy. Thanks so much!!!


    • Thanks, Carolyn. Every year I plan to race the Time Trials more, but I never seem to get to it. Guess it’s better just to volunteer so that those who really want to race, can.

      I think we will be back for the last TT. See you then.


  10. Don’t you hate it when the life you have to live gets in the way of the life that you want to live?

    The new backyard looks great, I imagine that it took a good chunk of time to do that improvement. I hope that since you were stuck at home, that you had plenty of chances to enjoy it.

    Have fun up at the dunes, that’s a bit too crowded for me since it was designated a wilderness, but I used to go there quite a bit. Funny how that works, no one new of it until it was officially declared to be a wilderness.


    • Hi, Jerry. You don’t think we did the patio ourselves, do you? Ha! We considered it, but were nervous about the logistics. After the brick place told us that we have to remove 8″ of dirt to start, we honestly couldn’t figure out how we could accomplish the job. There were two strong young guys here doing the work, and they had to use pickaxes to chop out tree roots lurking beneath the surface. Probably that would have undone us.

      But worktime is over, and now I’m ready to play. You are right about Nordhouse. But, even though the campground can be full, the sites are bigger than anywhere else, so we don’t feel like we’re right on top of anyone. And with miles of solitary shoreline for our feet, and dirt roads for our mountain bikes, its a spot we love.

      Maybe I’ll see a Piping Plover up there. At least now, I know what to look for!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. So glad to hear you will soon be back on the road. We are still fine-tuning how (and in what) we want to do in our retirement travels but we are slowly figuring it out. My next blog post about our July trip is due to be published soon.

    Don’t be afraid of New York City. I went for the first time in 2009 (book expo) and was scared to death but had the time of my life. I have been 4 times since and with every visit I get more comfortable with traveling there. I’d be glad to give you any advice. I’ve explored the City with friends, tours, and even by myself. It’s a fantastic place. OTH, my spouse never accompanied me and has absolutely no desire to ever visit.



  12. Have a great trip out! Your summer has been kind of like ours- only we’ve been trying to get the yard in shape. Lots of years of undergrowth to try to think out and haul away. Not fun! And Happy Anniversary to your in-laws! Camille


    • It’s a constant battle, isn’t it, Camille? I’ve lived in this house for over 20 years, and there’s still plenty of things to repair, spiff up, or tear out. Sigh…..the more that needs to be done, the more I want to just throw in the towel, and run away in the Fireball. No wonder so little gets done.

      Thanks for checking in.

      Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s