Tuesday, March 29, 2011




One of the last websites I clicked on Monday night was the radar weather site for the U.S.  I was totally surprised to see a large amount of unexpected rain approaching from the west.  Figured we had better get ourselves an early start in the morning & make some fast tracks out of there to the northeast.

With a full tank of gas & under heavily clouded skies, we rolled out about 6:20 a.m. this morning heading north on I-57.  The rain never did catch us & we actually finished up our day under beautiful sunny skies.

Had it in my mind to at least reach Lansing Michigan if we could.  We have made it all the way home from the Effingham area before but that was before & I like to think I’m a little bit smarter about that now.  As expected, traffic picked up substantially the closer we got to Chicago.  We were aiming to bounce of the east side of Chicago through Gary Indiana. 

Didn’t take us long to become entangled in the Octopus’s many twisted tentacles of Interstates, Turnpikes, on & off ramps, constructions zones, roads, streets & suburbs.  At one point we were heading for downtown Chicago & at any moment I fully expected to see Oprah Winfrey’s limo go flying by.  We did end up making a U-turn in an abandoned Dairy Queen parking lot somewhere in Gary before getting ourselves picked up, dusted off & back up on I-80 ready for round two!!  Not sure exactly how we did it but we eventually found us northbound on I-94 heading for Kalamazoo. 

We are sooooo fortunate that we do not have to live in or be anywhere near a large city!!  Regardless of where a big city is, it is still a big city & for us, big cities are simply places to be avoided at all costs.  Been there & did that big city & big city traffic stuff years ago.  No patience for that kind of nonsense anymore. 

Finally made it to the Lansing Michigan area around 4 & pushed past the city a bit more to a town called Durand.  Needed gas, so while I filled up the rig Kelly asked the lady in the store if she knew of a good place to boon dock for the night.  Lady suggested a large parking lot beside a grocery store just down the street. The grocery store had gone out of business so that parking lot where this post is being composed tonight. 

Saw our first skiff of snow here in Durand but it is melting quickly.  In fact, the water you see in the photo under the rig is from the last vestiges of a few small snow banks in the parking lot.  The outside air is cool but the sun streaming through the rig’s windows have us all toasty warm & cozy inside.

We are 85 miles from the border which will take us about an hour & half to reach once we leave in the morning.  The border is always a high stress factor coming or going.  Last year I stumbled with the rig’s license plate number.  How is a 66 year old very tired guy supposed to remember his license plate number.  It’s hard enough to remember my own name & where I am at any particular moment let alone my confusing alphabetically numbered license plate number.  That stumble caused the kid in the booth to ‘pink slip’ us for a border check.  He directed us towards a compound area near a building.  As I pulled the rig in 2 young border guards came out of the building.  One headed towards the rear of the rig & the other fella walked around to my driver’s side window.  I hung my scraggly worn & weary travel head out the window, handed him the pink slip & waited for the worst.  He looked at the slip & then looked back at me.  I could see the pity in his eyes as he just silently waved us through.  Now, with a little bit of luck I am sure I look even more scragglier this year than last.  So, with that thought in mind we will head for the border in the morning & throw ourselves upon the mercy of the border guards & hopefully pity will remain foremost in their hearts once again………..:))

About 25 minutes from the border on our way home is the little town of Forrest.  We always look forward to our very first pail full of Tim Horton coffee here every year.  Five months is a long time without our sweet Timmy's.  As Jackie Gleason’s character, Ralph Kramden used to say in the Honeymooners……“How sweet it is.”

Had an email from a reader this morning wondering if we were the only one’s at Cracker Barrel & did we feel safe.  Answer to that question is yes & yes.  Parking lot was quiet & well lit.  I especially liked the quiet part.  It’s very rare we do not feel comfortable somewhere & if we do, we just move. 




A Mexican fellow is trying to cross the border to America when a border guard stops him.

The border guard says to the Mexican guy that before he can cross he has to make a sentence for every word that the border guard gives him.

The border guard tells him that he has to use the words green, pink, and yellow.

The Mexican agrees and says, “Ok I’m ready.”

The border guard says,”Ok go ahead.”

The Mexican says,” The telephone goes green green green….. I pink it up…… And I say yellow!”


Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.

BLOGGER WEBSITE http://thebayfieldbunch.com/
OUR PHOTO ALBUMS http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy/
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. I thought you were on I-57 last night at Cracker Barrel. Did you switch over to I-55, or was that a typo? Only reason I'm so picky is that I'll be heading up I-57 towards Chicago at the beginning of May, and was thinking about doing my first ever overnight at a CB. I'll be moving a lot slower than you guys, but thought you were on 57. I think I ate at a CB once in the 80's in AZ, but haven't since. :)

  2. Everybody from Michigan knows that the custom officers at Port Huron are the worst on the entire border. They pink slip 5 times more vehicles then any other crossing point.
    If we're just in the car we go down to Marine City and take the ferry across, never a problem there.

  3. I think I talked to that fella from your "Groaner's Corner" last time I had to call tech support.

    Travel safe and smile pretty for the border guards!

  4. Hmmm... so you actually thought about this and decided to do battle with Chicago instead of Indy???

    What am I missing in the calculation???

  5. We just returned from our trial trip before our 4 1/2 month trip starts next month. I was very surprised at how easy crossing the border with a trailer was. We will have to cross 4 times with our plan this summer so knock on wood they will all go just as smoothly and may your cross home be uneventful ;)

    No Timmies I forgot about that .... How will I survive.? LOL Luckily we will me in Ontario and Nova Scotia at the end of July and August so I can get my fix then ;) enjoy your first cup and thanks for all the wonderful posts full of information and beautiful pictures. I really enjoy your blog and has inspired some of our trip route. Now I just need to figure out how we are going to do Internet and satellite on our trip!

  6. I would think the boarder guards see enough tired returning snowbirds. I never remember my license number either!

  7. Cheers to your first Tim Horton's coffee tomorrow!!!..five months is a long time!..and good luck with the border crossing!!..not that it would be so bad to have to stay in the USA and head south again!

  8. I'm sure glad the weather has been cooperating for you. I can't imagine driving through the Chicago area. We go lots of extra miles to avoid cities. We did get through DC okay but we were kind of familiar with the area because we both used to live there. Good luck at the border crossing. Toni and Doug just sailed through about a month ago when they had to go back to Canada.

  9. Yeah! Close to home for the Bayfield Bunch. Wishing you a good night in the USofA...then smooth sailing through the border....and home.

    Don't overdose on the Tim's coffee...but remember to 'roll up the rim to win'

  10. Isn't it awful you have to dread the border crossings into your own country, either way, If your Canadian going home and the same if your an American going back and encountering the US guards.What ever happened to the good old days when Grandpa would give the Guard in New York a bottle of Canadian Mist and say here a present for you, and the guard would take it and smile and wave you through.If you go through Ohio there are now several Tim Hortons along the interstate, they haven't made it to IL IN or MO yet. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

  11. McGuyver takes 80/94 when he drives us to Indy..If I go alone, I go down Rt47 to Forest and cut across Rt24 to I-65...nothing by little towns and cornfields..I cannot do the big city traffic anymore!
    You two should be up and on the road by this time..Have a safe trip and let's just bide our time until next fall, eh??

  12. Hope you will be lucky at the border, we weren't asked the number of our plate, just how much we had spent ect.

  13. Al, you are really making great progress on your way back home. Slow down, or you will have to shovel snow in order to get in your driveway!

    That rain you saw coming from the West? That's what we've had here now for several days. Sorry you had to see it coming your way, but we will be happy if it moves anywhere!

    Border crossings are never easy, are they? I remember the last time we came back home from Canada, they had razor wire, automatic weapons, dogs, mirrors on "sticks" for looking under vehicles, and X-ray machines, or something like that. For the most part, we just sat in line and moved forward when we could. Pity the poor people who were routed for further inspection!

    I agree with you concerning big city life. We are blessed that we've been able to avoid living like that. When I was working, I had to fly into some of them, and that was bad enough. I've only had to drive in them a few times, and only on the West Coast, for the most part. Can't imagine what it would be like back East.

    Think we will probably contain ourselves to travels no further East than New Mexico!

    You should come and visit us in Oregon some time, Al. We'll find some very nice places you would enjoy.

    Hope Max is doing better. Don't drink too much of that coffee, or you'll never get to sleep again!

    Glad you're almost back home safely. Looking forward to your continued writing and photos.

    Thanks again for sharing. You are truly one of our inspirations!

  14. Are the Tim Hortons in Michigan different from the "Timmies" in Ontario? I've really enjoyed your blog and we're planning on seeing some of the places you've been in the southwest U.S. in 2012.

  15. Now you can get to work on those WINDOW's!!! Enjoyed the trip with you Al. At least you don't have a house to close up down here in AZ,,,,,YET!!!:-)