2014 Winter – Spring

Gulf Shores - Orange Beach

Gulf Shores – Orange Beach

June is here already. It seems like just last week there was a snow drift in the driveway that needed to be moved. The last five months is just a blur. What I did not realize is when one stops working full time, time speeds up. The last post here was the “Larry and Jan Christmas Letter”. I had good intentions to do a couple of more by now. The timing is probably ok anyway as we were grounded in TC until late March. Not much of interest happened other than the routine of daily life, catching up on some reading, the never ending genealogy project and oh yes, I finally finished scanning all the old photos. Would you believe there are over 100,000 photos that now have to be edited and organized?

Christmas Eve after church

Christmas Eve after church

Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning

Our Christmas Tree is Outside

Our Christmas Tree is Outside

Christmas Scones by Larry

Christmas Scones by Larry

Jan and I had a quiet Christmas at home. We even did a Christmas tree although it was outside on the front deck. Coping with not being able to travel long distances demanded some adjustments to our way of life as we wanted it.

Paul and Marty's New Year Visit

Paul and Marty’s New Year Visit

Paul Does Bimimbap

Paul Does Bimimbap

New Year Celebration Meal

New Year Celebration Meal

Paul on Snow Shoes

Paul on Snow Shoes

It was great to have Paul and Marty here in January. It was good to catch up, have some good food which also included a trip to Grand Rapids with stops at the San Chez Tapas Restaurant and Founders Brewery. Oh yes, there was a stop at fields Fabrics. These all are favorite hangouts for this crowd.

The Annual Christmas Photo for the Snyder Group

The Annual Christmas Photo for the Snyder Group

Here is a picture of the Snyder tribe at the Christmas gathering…all looking good but just a bit more mature!

Last Morning Staying on the Neitzke Family Homestead

Last Morning Staying on the Neitzke Family Homestead

Iconic Shot of the Engine House at the Farm

Iconic Shot of the Engine House at the Farm

In January we made the last trip to the Neitzke family farm to finish the projects there. Sadly In March Jan lost her sister, Donna. We miss her and finding carrying on life without her will take some time to accept.

The Snow at the Top of the Hill just kept getting deeper

The Snow at the Top of the Hill just kept getting deeper

The winter of 2014 was one for the record book

The winter of 2014 was one for the record book

The big red machine kept busy this winter

The big red machine kept busy this winter

The winter view of West Bay is always great when the sunshines

The winter view of West Bay is always great when the sunshines

Back yard winter scene

Back yard winter scene

After awhile the fence was completely buried

After awhile the fence was completely buried

The shadows on the snow add dimension to the winter scene

The shadows on the snow add dimension to the winter scene

The little creek in back of the house...

The little creek in back of the house…

Lots of traffic in the woods even in the winter

Lots of traffic in the woods even in the winter

There is always that artistic shot!

There is always that artistic shot!

View along West Bay on a nice winter day walk

View along West Bay on a nice winter day walk

This was the winter that would not end. Many winter records were shattered with all the snow and cold weather. The Bay froze which had not happened since 2007. It was a good decision to get “that” snow blower as we would not have been able to deal with the amount of snow that befell us. The upside was there was sun and lots of excellent snow for skiing. It was also a great time to get out with the camera.

Getting ready to head south...which translated to digging out the RV

Getting ready to head south…which translated to digging out the RV

First night on the road...Yes, we finally left the snow behind

First night on the road…Yes, we finally left the snow behind

The good news was I got the medical go ahead to hit the road mid March. The bad news was the RV was stilled buried in snow and frozen in the ice. It took considerable intestinal fortitude to break it out of its winter bondage, however we were determined. Finally by the third week of March we got on the road heading south to Gulf Shores, Alabama. We had reservations at the Island Retreat RV Park. The park is in a central location, on the bike trail, next to the lagoon for kayaking and close to the beach. There is a large state park with an excellent trail system for biking and hiking.

Would you believe over 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours

Would you believe over 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours

The RV had to be rescued from this lake!

The RV had to be rescued from this lake!

The weather was interesting there this winter and bit unusual. The first couple of weeks there was over 12 inches of rain. Just before we left Mother Nature dropped another 17 inches of rain which flooded the RV Park where we stayed. Even my Alaska boots were not high enough to wade through the water to get to the truck.

The Townhouse at Gulf Shores

The Townhouse at Gulf Shores

The Great Room

The Great Room

The ceilings are over 20 Feet

The ceilings are over 20 Feet

Jan checking out the new kitchen

Jan checking out the new kitchen

We fell in love with the Gulf Shores area. The small town look and feel along with big beaches and other activities drew us in to thinking we would like to live there. To make a long story short, before we knew it, we had bought a townhouse. It is about the same size as our Traverse City home. The plan is to mix it up a bit. Winters in Gulf Shores, summers in Traverse City with several “bucket list” trips with the old RV. These changes all come under the heading of a less demanding travel schedule and a snow blower is not required equipment.

We are looking for plenty of folks to stop and see us in our new house in Gulf Shores. However the caution that I extend right now for the first three months this fall is if you do stop by bring your work clothes. Since the house is empty this is a good opportunity to take on all the upgrades to make it “ours”.

Looking across the lagoon...3000 feet to the Gulf

Looking across the lagoon…3000 feet to the Gulf

This is Lefty...a friend found along the bike trail on a daily basis...

This is Lefty…a friend found along the bike trail on a daily basis…

Alabama tourist site

Alabama tourist site

Mobile Botanical Gardens in the spring

Mobile Botanical Gardens in the spring

On the trail

On the trail

Alabama in March

Alabama in March

Chanute Kansas landmark

Chanute Kansas landmark

Hannibal Missouri

Hannibal Missouri

Cool livestock bridge in Kansas

Cool livestock bridge in Kansas

Jan paint Tom's fence

Jan paint Tom’s fence

Mississip River

Mississip River

There are not a lot of travel pictures so far this year. I did make friends with an Alligator called Lefty…who lost his left eye and front leg. He is a common sight along a favorite bike trail. After Gulf Shores, Jan and I headed to Chanute, Kansas for RV service. Once we got there we found additional repairs had to be made so we left it and headed back to Michigan. Two weeks later we went back (2,000 miles round trip) to pick it up. It is now ready to rock and roll again. The plan is the RV comes out of storage in September with the goal to be in Gulf Shores by the first of November.

New fence

New fence

First time building a cedar fence

First time building a cedar fence

Spring things do green up in Michigan

Spring things do green up in Michigan

Lots to do after several years being on the road in the summer...

Lots to do after several years being on the road in the summer…

It is great to be back in Traverse City this summer. Jan and I took on replacing the 35 year old cedar fence. It looks great. We find after being on the road for an extended period of time it translates to more work to get things back where we want them. There are lots of projects in play for the summer.

Morning coffee entertain this summer

Morning coffee entertain this summer

The Cherries look good this year

The Cherries look good this year

Here is a sample of TC in the spring!

Here is a sample of TC in the spring!

Life in Northern Michigan is great. The Cherry blossoms were spectacular. We are enjoying the sunrises over West Bay and just watching the changing weather over the water every day is a pleasure. We plan to spend time enjoying the Bay Region this summer.

Have a safe and happy summer. Stop and see us and please do keep in touch.

God bless,

Larry and Jan

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