Saturday, August 13, 2016


Well, I can’t claim Summer of 2016 has flown by, but the pace has proven perfectly pleasant. The passage of time only feels slow when I consider how long it’s been since the GDB wheels have turned down unknown roads.

This is my first summer home in 4 years and I’m kinda digging it! And for all the reasons I suspected I would (see previous post re: tomatoes).

While the swampy summer weather has been expectedly and truly horrific, time spent on the front row couch at the Olympics and Tour de France has provided pure and decadent indulgence.  A daily super-sized bag of CheetosTM would have really been icing on the cake (sorry for the disgusting metaphor), but the hostile weather conditions and subsequent inability to hike AT ALL have forced me to cut back on the intake. Sigh.

But we’ve completely enjoyed all the luscious fruits and vegetables of summer. Including our cute little jalapeno plant. See - even the pepper plants are sweating!

John splits ‘em, fills ‘em with pineapple cream cheese, wraps ‘em in bacon, bakes ‘em, and feeds ‘em to his wife.  

The best part of a summer at home has been - no contest - watching John adapt to retirement. Which took about 20 minutes. We figure he’s doing it right as he rarely knows what day it is without consulting a calendar.  His usual response to a pop quiz: Hmm … I know it ends in D-A-Y.

The days are mainly filled by catering to Doris’ every desire, doing something artsy every afternoon, and keeping up with a hefty teaching load.

Perry versus Doris

Currently, our sleepy summer college town is awaking from hibernation as classes start next week.  Another sure sign summer is winding down: the sounds of the Auburn University marching band practice.

I leave for the Great Lakes in about 3 weeks and have completed my usual trip planning. That is, I’ve made a list of National Park sites. 

The rest of the planning happens as I go.  And I love it that way! Trip prep amounts to downloading an abundance of books and music, packing the van with some edibles and wearables, and placing the key in the ignition.

Here’s the highlight list for the Great Great Lakes Journey, in no particular order.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Isle Royale National Park
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Voyageurs National Park
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Aviation Heritage National Historic Park

With all that, the prospect of temperatures compatible with human life is the biggest attraction of all. Note: as I write this, it’s a lovely 73 degrees. In International Falls, MN.

BTW, I appreciate suggestions regarding what to see along the way through TN, KY, IL, WI, MN, MI, and IN.

Stay tuned!


  1. Anxious to follow you around on this trip. I haven't been to that area of the country at all, so it will be great to see it through your eyes.

    Virtual hugs,


  2. Since you are heading up through the UP, Pictured Rocks National Seashore and Keweenaw National Historic Site. One must be a National Site completist, after all.

  3. In Minnesota go to Itasca State Park and walk across the headwaters of the Mississippi River. If you go through Duluth, stop for a meal at Grandma's Saloon & Deli where you can eat on the upstairs deck and watch the bridge open for huge ships from all over the world. Also visit the maritime museum there. Pipestone National Monument is also in Minnesota but way down in the SW corner so not exactly on your route. But neither is Itasca.

  4. Porcupines State Park should have some good hiking. Tahquamanon Falls, Fort Michilimackinac for some history. The Soo locks for an up close view of the big ships. The Jampot in Eagle Harbor for great baked goods.

  5. I'm looking forward to your next trek, but happy you're enjoying your summer. Kind of nice to be there for the beginning of John's retirement. :)

  6. Oh, good. I'll be waiting for an education on an area that's un known to me.
    Have fun..stay safe!

  7. New territory for us too so really looking forward to your trip, esp the UP.

  8. Looking forward to following you on your travels and seeing all the places you visit. All the best.

  9. So jealous of your husband being retired!!! And I definitely do not miss the humidity of the east coast, although i miss the nearness of things (relatively speaking.)

    How many courses will you be teaching this fall? I'm considering taking an online Bio class this fall - not sure yet.The idea of grant writing and doing writing in general appeals to me. Wish I had taken your class!

  10. Can't wait for you to get on the road again! I just got home from a 7 week journey to the PNW, from my home in AZ through Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana, hitting up Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon along the way. It was fabulous!! Retirement is bliss. :)


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