This is the fella that cost me my belt. We were visiting Trunk Bay in the Virgin Islands National Park, where I used the outdoor changing stall that he was also occupying. I had changed into my suit and was photographing him, when another person knocked on the door, wanting to also change his clothes. In the resulting hubbub I forgot my belt that was hanging on a hook in the stall. That was the last time that we have visited a National Park. Last weekend, Anne rectified my mistake when she gifted me a new belt for Father’s Day.
Also in that Father’s Day haul was a t-shirt that lists all 61 National Parks, along with this t-shirt came a fabric marker that I used to color in the 28 parks that we have visited. Leaving 33 more parks yet to go. There are a few low hanging fruit left to pick, like Cuyahoga Valley and Indiana Dunes. About half of the yet to be seen National parks are in the Continental United States. Then in the next tier of increasing difficulty to visit are the Alaskan and Pacific island parks. I’m not saying that I am going to try and collect all 61. That smacks a bit too much like tilting at windmills. Still, there are some that I yet plan on visiting and running up my park score totals a bit more before all is said and done.
These days we content ourselves with visiting nearby Forest Park. This park is not a National Park, but it is the largest city park in the US. Yesterday, we rode our bicycles in it for the first time in way too long a time, where we bumped into friend and fellow Kaldi’s cyclist Mary. We snagged an invite from her for a socially distant happy hour this Saturday, in her and Bill’s backyard. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Today, we returned to the park, but drove instead of biked. We saw Mary again, riding her bicycle still.
In the Judy Garland movie, Meet Me in St. Louis, her character takes the trolley out-of-town to Skinker’s Swamp, future site of the 1904 Worlds Fair. After the fair, the city redesignated the land as Forest Park, but much of it was still a swamp. Today, we followed the winding water features that are all that remain of the original river that once flowed through the park. Bushes and brush lines many of these waterways, providing cover for wildlife. We didn’t see anything that was amazing, but there were plenty of the usual suspects sighted.
As we near the halfway mark of 2020, 2019 is looking pretty good about now. We didn’t know how good we really had it back then. The last six months have been a wakeup call. Below please find a more conventional photo of the Bean. Actually, this week has been pretty good, nice weather allowed plenty of walks, just me and my Covid cutie. Cough on me, baby! Yea, that’s the way I like it.
The boys are preparing to go to the Cabin. David and Maren will leave for their vacation first and drive via upstate New York, visit Maren’s folks and scout out future wedding venues there. Later Dan and Britt will drive straight through to Michigan and actually arrive at the cabin first. They’ll all meet up together at the cabin for a week or two. We plan on going to the cabin, but later next month. Big shout to Jane for all of the help that she has provided us in this endeavor!
I made good on my promise to myself and got outside to do home improvement. Not much today, but baby steps, baby steps. I power washed the back porch and then went on to wash the RAV4 exterior and the WeatherTech floor mats. It is still more than a month, before we will leave town, but I couldn’t wait to start getting ready. I might gas up the car tomorrow, even though we still have almost half of the tank that was last filled in March. I might also get some cash from the money machine. The three worn dollar bills that have been in my wallet for the last few months are feeling lonely and neglected. There is a lot of logistics to work through yet, but anticipation is half the joy of a vacation. At least it was when I used to have only a few weeks off every year.
Our plan is to drive straight to the cabin with only the minimum of gas and potty stops. It looks like all the pertinent state rest stops are open and should be safest to use, of course with masks. Since we won’t be going through Oregon, we can also pump our own gas. Hand sanitizer should help with that. Once at the cabin we plan on being self contained for the few weeks that we will be there. Hauling all of the food, supplies and other crap that we’ll need up there will test the cargo capacity of our new SUV. We won’t be bringing the bicycles or much camping gear, so it should be feasible to fit everything in the car that we want to bring.
On the way back, Anne wants to swing by Ann Arbor and visit her father. We’ll see. I’ll leave that up to Anne and her sisters, Mothers J&J. We will have been quarantined for more than two weeks by then, not that we are out clubbing every night now. Anyway, it will be nice to hit the road and see and do something new.