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July 18, 2017

Oh Why, oh why - Oh-High-oh ???

Dayton, Ohio where a couple preacher’s kids taught the world to fly, is also the home of National Cash Register (NCR), DELCO, Frigidaire and others.  At one time more patent applications were filed from Dayton per capita than any other city in the nation.  It has earned the nickname The City of Invention.  Eight US presidents are from Ohio.  There is a lot of history here, but why are we here?

Fran’s father built the family home in Kettering, while he worked at Frigidaire.  It was in this house that Fran and her 5 siblings were raised.  A few years ago we were in a position to keep the home in the family, and purchased the property from her mother’s estate.  In addition to our home in San Diego and the beach house in San Felipe we also have this ‘money pit’, with so much sentimental value and so many treasured memories it is priceless.

Although the house represents a physical anchor, the family in the area is also an emotional anchor.  Fran’s brother Billy stays here as our ‘caretaker’ to keep the house occupied, her brother Joe is a few blocks away and in exchange for keeping his work equipment in the garage maintains our yard and uses his skills to perform repairs when he is available.  Nephews Steve and Kenny are nearby with their families, we have the use of car.  Niece Lora has bought her own home not far away in Columbus, niece Katie is pregnant and great-niece Cora has a new addition to the clan.  We are now great-great a aunt and uncle.

Say hello to the first of the next generation SWAYZE DEE!  GrandPa Steve and mother Cora bookend Great-GrandPa Bill holding Swayze.  Cora looks more confident than Bill!  Four generations!
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Cora with her husband Evan live on a section of the family farm.   Together they farm 800 acres near Greenville OH mostly soybean and corn.
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But 40 acres are left as maple woodlands.  On this section they tap the maple trees in the spring.  It takes about 5 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.  They generated 15 gallons of syrup last year, in their little ‘sugar shack’.  And I can tell you it is the best we have ever had! 
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As I blogged previously HERE Greenville is the home of Annie Oakley … and Wayman’s Corner B&B.  Fran’s Grandfather built this home.  This is the first trip to the corner for Bill, but Joe and Fran have been here before.  Fran had a couple more old pictures to give to the owner, Vicky.
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He also built the one the owners now live in.  He also purchased the corner property, but never built there.  The Root's’ now are taking great care of all 3 parcels.
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So yupper Dayton Ohio is HUMID – Fran calls the evenings balmy, I disagree they are indeed muggy!

Each trip we do a bit of work on the old house, we installed gutters and concrete to improve drainage in 2015, this trip we can address other concerns and improve the ability to sit outside on those ‘balmy’ evenings.  After power washing the porch I installed an overhead fan, the breeze makes the humidity more tolerable and helps keep the bugs away.
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The Fraze Pavillion is an easy walk away, tonight Boz Skaggs is performing.  Fran and Billy went, but I’m sitting here on the porch just listening … Tomorrow it’s the music of the Eagles, I’ll be there and Fran can listen from the porch Smile ….

This weekend at the Fraze is the Kickin Chicken Wingfest.  With free concerts!  Even the hottest of the hot wings are more tame than those at the Anchor Bar and elsewhere.  But it is an older crowd…
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With free concerts!  Altho the band was good this gal cannot sing Aretha!  Still a free event draws a crowd.
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Another issue I hope to address is the dead ash tree in the back yard.  This majestic tree fell victim to the Emerald Ash Borer.  A family of 3 hawks eat there breakfast in this old tree.
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There are now treatments that have offered some success in saving the ash trees.  Chemicals are fed into the tree while the sap is running and have provided a reasonable success in  saving the tree.
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Fran’s mother and I would sit on the porch, with our morning coffee and look for an albino squirrel.  She’d be pleased to know the tradition continues.
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Fran enjoys tennis with her brother Joe, with a little coaching from brother Billy, they win the tiebreaker.
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There’ll be lots more tennis for them while we're here, more concerts and events at the Fraze.

July 14, 2017

Mission Bay - ad-hoc meeting


My last update on the De Anza Revitalization Plan was after the previous ad-hoc committee meeting, which I was able to attend in Nov 2016.  That blog can be reviewed HERE.  My personal choice was Alternative 3, which allowed for the greatest tidal flow and options for non-motorized water sports.
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Despite this alternative plan receiving the vast majority of support (4x the other contenders) it has been dropped.

Our travel commitment did not allow for attendance at the final public meeting of the ad-hoc committee on June 29th.   My information presented is from the website and an email from a friend who did attend.  The two remaining alternatives were presented as slight modifications of the previous concepts.
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But have been renumbered to add to the confusion.
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Both of the final draft plans include baseball, basketball, volleyball, golf and tennis.  Both plans include ~38 acres of wetlands and, drum-roll …, 40 acres of guest housing – in the form of an RV park.  For reference the existing Mission Bay RV Resort is ~26 acres and coincidentally Campland on the Bay as it is now occupies 40 acres.  As I reported previously the existing Campland location will remain in operation during the revitalization project and then that property will be added to the Kendall Marsh as wetlands.

I would like to have attended as I think both plans lack facilities for the tennis courts.  Placing the courts  closer to the golf clubhouse and its restaurant would allow those facilities to be shared.

The project updates can be found at the De Anza Revitalization Plan web site.  The handout presented at the meeting is a brief overview, the presentation goes into greater details.

Woot Woot!!!  A contract has been awarded to replace the abandoned visitor center with a restaurant.   Mission Bay Park remains an alcohol free park, but Shoreline Mission Bay will offer a counter-service with wine and local craft beers on tap.

And for the coffee addicts, a Starbucks will soon be open at the top of the Clairemont Drive hill in the old McDonald's location, and another will be opening at the forthcoming trolley stop at bottom of Clairemont Drive.  I expect both the Starbucks and Sprouts (replacing Keil’s) at the top of the hill to be open by the time we return home in September.  Sprouts is a local grocery that specializes in farm fresh produce, but it is not a full service grocery.

If you are not bored yet, check out the plans for Morena Blvd.  Where’s Morena?, if you've been to Coronado Brewing – it’s safe for now - or had tacos at Off Shore - it may not survive - you've driven on Morena.  If you've bought gifts at Toys-R-Us, that is all gone replaced by up to 10 story condominium buildings.  This is another meeting we missed.

Both the Baypark Boardwalk and Morena plans are far enough out that I will get a say soon.  But it’s wise to review now and prepare for the next meeting.  If you have any questions I’ll try to get an answer, if your review of the city’s offerings merits a comment please do so.

It’s Great’n Dayton ... we'll be here a few more weeks.

July 10, 2017

WI to OH - the last few days on the road


The Mercedes Sprinter chassis makes for a nice sized RV while providing excellent gas mileage.  The downside is there are few non-dealer options for service as it has one of the most technically advanced drive trains on the planet.  Our 2008 chassis allows for up to 5% bio-diesel, but a lot of the stations in Midwest are up to 20%, well they do grow a lot of corn here.  Looking south from the Effigy Mounds is the bridge to Wisconsin and 5% bio-diesel.

We have not visited WI before, but still need to be in Ohio in a couple days, so it will be a very quick visit. 
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In order to add a new state sticker to our map we need to do something unique to the state and spend the night.  We’ve not collected Lake Michigan either, a quick decision is to head east to my father’s birthplace – Beaver Dam, WI.  It’s over 50 years since I’ve been here, but with the aid of GPS, we find the house easily on Haskell Street just below the dam.

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I’m not sure if the dam was ever really made by a beaver, it’s always been concrete to me.  Fishing for walleye is a common pastime below the dam.  I’ve never caught one, but this fella has just landed a nice one that is visible in his net.

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That short visit qualifies as unique, it’s a short drive to Port Washington, WI where I can put my toes in Lake Michigan and also add the lake to our map.
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Vines to Cellar is a bulk winery, buy grapes from all over and create their own label, with no vintner notes.  I asked to sample a dry red from local grapes, he responded they only have one and turned to open the refrigerator door.  I should have run away then!  With all the options that lined the wall, how bad could it be?  Pretty gawd-awful.

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To add Wisconsin to our state map we still needed to find a place to stay overnight.  Not all that easy traveling on the holiday weekend.  Happy Acres Kampground is a ‘family’ campground with lots of activities for all the kids that are there.  We were given an unlevel site just as the sky opened for another cloudburst.  Not the ideal place, but on a wet holiday weekend it worked ok.

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We drove through Chicago and into Indiana without stopping.  Indiana‘s McCormick’s Creek State Park charges a day-use fee ($7) to drive to the campground, which (unlike or CO experience) did have an open site.  An electric only site in a massive and beautiful state park for a total $31.  We unloaded our toad just to get around to see some of the options in the park.
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With its large public pool near the campground and historic inn about a mile away, with a tennis wall for practice.  This is where Fran will be, at the tennis wall, while I get Rufus ready for the last day of travel.
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There is only one trail listed on the park map as “Rugged”, Trail #3 ia a 1 mile loop from the inn to McCormick’s Creek Falls and back.  There longer trails, but listed as easy to moderate.  Allowing time for one trail, we choose to make it rugged Trail #3.  It starts out easy enough,
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but then there is a long staircase leading to the creek.
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The trail then disappears with the sign saying to “follow the creek up-stream”.  It is wet and slippery but starts out with a wide shoulder.
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But then is blocked with fallen trees, and finally disappears altogether.
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We have to pass through Bloomington, IN, where the Golden Globe and Academy Award winning Breaking Away was filmed.  A drive through the campus shows off the granite stones that were taken for the local quarry, the courthouse where Moocher gets married, the home of Dave Stoller, and with a bit of luck the sorority where Dave serenades Katrina.  We do make it to the end of East Empire Mill Road where the quarry is located, but alas there is no parking spot to leave the RV and continue on foot.  Note that Fran is snapping the few pictures on her phone while I’m driving around, so there is a bit of window reflection.  A more complete list of filming locations can be found HERE.
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Today we stop at Oliver Winery, Indiana’s oldest winery and vineyard.  The line on the right are those waiting to get into the tasting room ~45 minute wait! – it is a holiday weekend ….   I’m sure the wine is better than the previous stop, and a few folks have a mixed case in their basket, but we need to move on.
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We take a walk through their gardens, where the granite is taken from the same quarry we did not get to see.
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We are finally in Ohio on July 4th, 23 days after leaving San Diego … that could be a record, we do not normally travel this fast!  But wait till you see our return trip … 1800 miles in 7 days!  We could skip the Turtles concert or the eclipse, or put the pedal-to-the-metal.
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