Category Archives: Christmas Greetings

Holiday Message 2016

Christmas greetings from Larry and Jan to all our friends and family!

The setting for our life-style are our base camps in the south, Gulf Shores and in the north, Traverse City. The retirement strategy (at least weather-wise) is to be somewhere that does not require a snow blower. So far that is still working out! Michigan is still home base, at least at this time. We are still enjoying and love our time on the road. We tend to get restless after a couple of months in one place though. The bulk of our time is spent on our many hobbies, planning for the next trip and spending time on the road.

It is migration time...getting ready to head back north!

It is migration time…getting ready to head back north!

Back home in the north...the snow is gone but Lake Michigan is still very cold

Back home in the north…the snow is gone but Lake Michigan is still very cold

Life on the road takes to the big cities...this time New York City in the Spring

Life on the road takes to the big cities…this time New York City in the Spring

...or you can find us in the woods...this year following  the Atlantic Coast north in the spring and south along the Pacific coast in the summer...

…or you can find us in the woods…this year following the Atlantic Coast north in the spring and south along the Pacific coast in the summer…

Here are pictures of Larry and Jan captured at various points along the trail. The big milestone this year was our 50th wedding anniversary celebrated on Padre Island on the Gulf of Mexico. We find that retirement is a fulltime job and now cannot figure out how we ever had time to work!

Two road warriors...celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary in Texas on North Padre Island

Two road warriors…celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary in Texas on North Padre Island

Great day in the Redwoods National Park...these huge trees are intimidating!

Great day in the Redwoods National Park…these huge trees are intimidating!

Wow!  Hard climb but the view is worth it!

Wow! Hard climb but the view is worth it!

Still having fun...

Still having fun…

Some views just never wear out...

Some views just never wear out…

Showing off at the beach...a favorite haunt!

Showing off at the beach…a favorite haunt!

One old cowboy hanging out in the desert

One old cowboy hanging out in the desert

This next section is devoted to family. These pictures taken in Michigan, Alabama, New York and Pennsylvania. We love to have folks come to see us or catching up with them along the way.

Visitors from the north and south...Larry and Amy

Visitors from the north and south…Larry and Amy

Aunt Laura and Larry hanging out after lunch at the Red Mesa...

Aunt Laura and Larry hanging out after lunch at the Red Mesa…

Spending quality time with Paul in Pennsylvania

Spending quality time with Paul in Pennsylvania

Jan and Paul taking in the sights at Longwood Gardens

Jan and Paul taking in the sights at Longwood Gardens

Karl and Cully on their home turf in NYC, they can always find great places to eat!

Karl and Cully on their home turf in NYC, they can always find great places to eat!

Jan and Karl liked this place as it was truly  Vegan

Jan and Karl liked this place as it was truly Vegan

Larry and Karl...seems I have to look up to him now...

Larry and Karl…seems I have to look up to him now…

Mark in front of his Kingston hangout...yes those are Mark colors!

Mark in front of his Kingston hangout…yes those are Mark colors!

Hike along the Hudson - Mark, Jan and Kevin

Hike along the Hudson – Mark, Jan and Kevin

Fiona is good at getting the family together in Brooklyn

Fiona is good at getting the family together in Brooklyn

John enjoying the beaches at Gulf Shores

John enjoying the beaches at Gulf Shores

Jan, Fiona and John taking a stroll on the Gulf Coast of course Larry is always behind the camera

Jan, Fiona and John taking a stroll on the Gulf Coast of course Larry is always behind the camera

John and Fiona ready to head back to the big city via New Orleans

John and Fiona ready to head back to the big city via New Orleans

The pictures that follow are taken while at the base camps in Michigan and Alabama. We love the Grand Traverse region and all that it has to offer. Being in the south in Alabama, we have learned what a Yankee is! Although where we live on the Island the Yankees do outnumber those who hail from Dixie, at least this time of the year.

Love those Cherry blossoms...always try to be back for the spring show

Love those Cherry blossoms…always try to be back for the spring show

It is easy to find great views of Lake Michigan...much bluer than the Gulf of Mexico

It is easy to find great views of Lake Michigan…much bluer than the Gulf of Mexico

When in Traverse City in July it is hard to escape the National Cherry Festival

When in Traverse City in July it is hard to escape the National Cherry Festival

This year we did all three shows for the Blue Angels...

This year we did all three shows for the Blue Angels…

The red spires are iconic to Traverse Commons...always a photo opt!

The red spires are iconic to Traverse Commons…always a photo opt!

In all our travels we have not found a better farm market experience

In all our travels we have not found a better farm market experience

Great playground for snowbirds

Great playground for snowbirds

Lefty still comes out most days...note the offspring in the background.  She was a bit on the feisty side on this day

Lefty still comes out most days…note the offspring in the background. She was a bit on the feisty side on this day

If you come to Mobile for a festival you will find plenty of colorful southern dress

If you come to Mobile for a festival you will find plenty of colorful southern dress

Loves these kites...looks like a great hobby - stay tuned as this may become the next diversion for us...

Loves these kites..looks like a great hobby – stay tuned as this may become the next diversion for us…

Our travels this year took us up the East coast in the spring. We spent four weeks on the road starting in Florida heading north to New York and then Michigan. There were many stops along the way, some were repeats others new adventures. Mid-summer we headed out for 9 weeks hitting Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and Texas. Check out the link on the web site for all the details. The photos that follow are just some of the highlights of our time on the road…

Traveling along the coast in the south...you can find lots of view like this

Traveling along the coast in the south…you can find lots of view like this

Just loved the colorful houses in Savannah

Just loved the colorful houses in Savannah

Yes, the Atlantic is just over the bridge

Yes, the Atlantic is just over the bridge

Hanging out in Charleston is a rewarding experience

Hanging out in Charleston is a rewarding experience

Colorful tourist hangout long the Cape Hatteras Seashores

Colorful tourist hangout long the Cape Hatteras Seashores

The east coast has plenty of history...here is an educational walk in the footsteps of the Wright Brothers

The east coast has plenty of history…here is an educational walk in the footsteps of the Wright Brothers

Colonial Williamsburg will hold your interest for several days if you let it.

Colonial Williamsburg will hold your interest for several days if you let it.

Longwood spring display...a very favorite stop when we are in Pennsylvania

Longwood spring display…a very favorite stop when we are in Pennsylvania

Brandywine Creek...everything in Pennsylvania and Delaware has a Brandywine label

Brandywine Creek…everything in Pennsylvania and Delaware has a Brandywine label

The Highline City Park is fun anytime of the year...always plenty of content for the photographer

The Highline City Park is fun anytime of the year…always plenty of content for the photographer

What is a trip to the Big Apple without a stop at Macy's

What is a trip to the Big Apple without a stop at Macy’s

New York State has lots of these stops, you just have to seek them out!

New York State has lots of these stops, you just have to seek them out!

Niagara Falls is one place you will find plenty of tourists

Niagara Falls is one place you will find plenty of tourists

The Mackinac Bridge is the gateway to the north and an escape route to the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and if you are brave, Canada

The Mackinac Bridge is the gateway to the north and an escape route to the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and if you are brave, Canada

Glacier a favorite National Park...it is already calling us back

Glacier a favorite National Park…it is already calling us back

Love catching these views...mountains, Lakes and Glaciers in the backdrop

Love catching these views…mountains, Lakes and Glaciers in the backdrop

Humbling view...this was a great all day hike

Humbling view…this was a great all day hike

Glacier melt adds to any view and/or photo

Glacier melt adds to any view and/or photo

Amazing that these glacier falls run all year...however the glaciers are getting much smaller so enjoy them while you can...

Amazing that these glacier falls run all year…however the glaciers are getting much smaller so enjoy them while you can…

Mountain flowers and long views feed one's soul

Mountain flowers and long views feed one’s soul

Mirror image comes about when the sun aligns just right...

Mirror image comes about when the sun aligns just right…

Nice view, it rained shortly after this shot...of course we are in a rain forest

Nice view, it rained shortly after this shot…of course we are in a rain forest

This scene stuck with me a long time...being there was a rewarding experience

This scene stuck with me a long time…being there was a rewarding experience

Jan enjoyed the many hikes in the Rain Forest of Washington

Jan enjoyed the many hikes in the Rain Forest of Washington

Breath taking views along the Oregon Coast.  What do you think!

Breath taking views along the Oregon Coast. What do you think!

Crater Lake's Phantom Ship stands out for sure!

Crater Lake’s Phantom Ship stands out for sure!

Crater Lake experience exceeded our expectations

Crater Lake experience exceeded our expectations

Lassen is truly a different experience and strange part of the world...

Lassen is truly a different experience and strange part of the world…

Mountains in Lassen are all volcanic and very active today

Mountains in Lassen are all volcanic and very active today

Exploring a highly thermal area in Northern California

Exploring a highly thermal area in Northern California

Yosemite National Park was a bucket list stop

Yosemite National Park was a bucket list stop

Yosemite icon...

Yosemite icon…

Half Dome gets a lot of attention...fun experience

Half Dome gets a lot of attention…fun experience

After Yosemite, Sequoia is next up!

After Yosemite, Sequoia is next up!

These large Sequoia trees are awesome

These large Sequoia trees are awesome

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are side by side...however getting from one to the other is an entire days adventure...

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are side by side…however getting from one to the other is an entire days adventure…

The mountains are always different in size and color...Kings Canyon was no exception

The mountains are always different in size and color…Kings Canyon was no exception

Heading south from Northern California you get to the desert...Death Valley held our interest for several days

Heading south from Northern California you get to the desert…Death Valley held our interest for several days

Just the name of the Devils Corn field conjures interesting images in one's mind...

Just the name of the Devils Corn field conjures interesting images in one’s mind…

Finding mountains and colorful rocks in the desert was easy...a truly new experience for us!  No glaciers to be found in this part of the world...

Finding mountains and colorful rocks in the desert was easy…a truly new experience for us! No glaciers to be found in this part of the world…

Joshua Tree continues our exploration of National Parks...this was a return visit for us

Joshua Tree continues our exploration of National Parks…this was a return visit for us

Love the Joshua Trees which are actually a Yucca Palm.  The rocks have that Southwestern US look and feel, don't you think?

Love the Joshua Trees which are actually a Yucca Palm. The rocks have that Southwestern US look and feel, don’t you think?

Saguaro National Park at San Antonio is a great place to learn about cactus...

Saguaro National Park at San Antonio is a great place to learn about cactus…

Moving south...Big Bend is an adventure in the desert, the mountains and the Rio Grande River for the hiker and photographer

Moving south…Big Bend is an adventure in the desert, the mountains and the Rio Grande River for the hiker and photographer

...of course the Big Bend  mountains had to be documented using the old Nikon!

…of course the Big Bend mountains had to be documented using the old Nikon!

Rio Grande River winds it way through Santa Elena Canyon...getting to the trail you have to wade across the river...yes there were pictures!

Rio Grande River winds it way through Santa Elena Canyon…getting to the trail you have to wade across the river…yes there were pictures!

San Antonio River Walk...where you can find plenty of entertainment

San Antonio River Walk…where you can find plenty of entertainment

San Antonio Missions very interesting...management shared with the church and federal government...odd bedfellows for sure...Only President Carter could have carried this off!

San Antonio Missions very interesting…management shared with the church and federal government…odd bedfellows for sure…Only President Carter could have carried this off!

Padre Island a place we truly enjoy...

Padre Island a place we truly enjoy…

70 plus miles of undeveloped beaches on North Padre

70 plus miles of undeveloped beaches on North Padre

Jan and I love our morning and evening walks. For the photographer catching that colorful sunrise or sunset is a compulsion and a technical challenge. Many of you already know I love those photos…a few to follow…

What is a blog post without a sunrise and sunset shots...Sunrise Gulf Shores

What is a blog post without a sunrise and sunset shots…Sunrise Gulf Shores

Sunrise Gulf Coast

Sunrise Gulf Coast

Sunset Gulf Shores

Sunset Gulf Shores

Sunset Gulf Coast...

Sunset Gulf Coast…

Lake Michigan - Grand Traverse West Bay sunrise

Lake Michigan – Grand Traverse West Bay sunrise

West Bay color in the morning

West Bay color in the morning

Great early morning shot...

Great early morning shot…

Merry Christmas Everyone,

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Holiday Greeting 2016

We love the sunrises over Grand Traverse Bay

We love the sunrises over Grand Traverse Bay

This is Jan's Color...for sure!

This is Jan’s Color…for sure!

Love those early morning walks on the beach

Love those early morning walks on the beach

Morning light show

Morning light show

Jan and I wish all our friends and family happy holidays from beautiful Gulf Shores, Alabama. Again this year the two of us want to take time out to touch base with those important in our lives. We send our very best to everyone this very special time of the year. The plan is to change up the mode of our holiday communication by foregoing the traditional Christmas Cards this year by going digital. Our web site allows for two way communication so let us know what is up in your life.

This has been a good year for us. Life in Traverse City is still great. Our decision to spend our winters on the Alabama Gulf Coast is standing the test of time. We are getting in touch with the South and the life-style in this part of the world. The community has welcomed us in true southern style and we continue to make many new friends all the time. Of course Michigan still calls us back every spring; especially when it starts to get really warm here.

After the first of the year we finally got to take a breath after finishing up the renovation and outfitting the new digs. Once that was checked off the list, the transition to being coastal snowbirds came easily. When we arrived back in October it seemed like home right off. However once March arrives our thoughts will turn to heading north so the cycle continues.

Our summer was great enjoying our time in Northwest Michigan. There was so much to do we just ran out of time. Our late summer/early fall trip to Utah exceeded our expectations. If you have not done so, check out our web site for a blow by blow account of the trip. Right now our winter plans are on hold for at least two months or more as Larry recovers from major surgery on his shoulder two weeks ago. On that front things are looking good so it just gets down to physical therapy, patience and time.

Our travel plans are starting to take shape for 2016. On the short list are a month trip up the East coast in the spring and a two month trip to the Pacific Northwest late summer/early fall. We love to have guests so if you are near us do stop in…we always have an extra bed or two.

If you come this way you will find there is plenty to do. If you like the beach, you will find the sun, surf and sand to your liking. Everyone here takes a week off during Mardi Gras. If you like to party there is plenty to do. Last winter we made trips to the National Naval Museum (home to the Blue Angels) and the USS Alabama. If you come this way we would love to go again.

Snyder winter hang out

Snyder winter hang out

One of our winter past times -  would you believe mid 80's December

One of our winter past times – would you believe mid 80’s December

Mardi Gras is colorful...Gulf Shores has a large parade

Mardi Gras is colorful…Gulf Shores has a large parade

The Blue Angels live close by...caught this shot on a walk on the beach

The Blue Angels live close by…caught this shot on a walk on the beach

USS Alabama...Nice experience, great views

USS Alabama…Nice experience, great views

As I stated earlier, our life in Michigan moves fast. There was lots to do around the homestead. We tried to get everything on the list done but the bike trails, the sand dunes and the micro-breweries seem to call us away all too easily. It was great to get together with the Snyder’s at brother Dale’s cottage and we hope we can do it again next year. We love the yard in Michigan and wish that we could duplicate here in the south but living in Condo limits us on that front.

Rainbows over the water are always a treat...

Rainbows over the water are always a treat…

The Snyder summer gathering...

The Snyder summer gathering…

Over the summer made several trips to Sleeping Bear National Park, love that Lake Michigan color

Over the summer made several trips to Sleeping Bear National Park, love that Lake Michigan color

Still getting our hands dirty...

Still getting our hands dirty…

The flower beds always look good just about the time we decide to leave

The flower beds always look good just about the time we decide to leave

Those of you that are close to us already have heard about the new Rpod which did not work and the last minute purchase of our Airstream. By the way we love it and it was worth all the pain and agony we went through.

Our summer hang out with the ill fated Rpod in the foreground

Our summer hang out with the ill fated Rpod in the foreground

Last photo before we head out...packed and ready to rock and roll...

Last photo before we head out…packed and ready to rock and roll…

Here is a collage of photos from our trip. We loved Utah and had a great time getting there and the final leg back to the Gulf Coast in October. The side benefit of the trip was catching up with Brother John and Brother Duane along the way.

Crossing the Big MAC means we are on the road again...

Crossing the Big MAC means we are on the road again…

Our hang out on the road has wheels...photo in Zion National Park, Utah

Our hang out on the road has wheels…photo in Zion National Park, Utah

We loved the Rocky Mountain National Park...coming back down the trail

We loved the Rocky Mountain National Park…coming back down the trail

Here we are at 14,000 feet on Mt Evan, Colorado

Here we are at 14,000 feet on Mt Evan, Colorado

Rocky Mountain day hike...

Rocky Mountain day hike…

South Utah was an adventure...here we are in Temple Square in Salt Lake

South Utah was an adventure…here we are in Temple Square in Salt Lake

Dead Horse Point State Park...a favorite...love the Colorado River plus it is more fun at sunset

Dead Horse Point State Park…a favorite…love the Colorado River plus it is more fun at sunset

Adventure in Canyon Land National Park

Adventure in Canyon Land National Park

Love the red rock formation...Canyon Land

Love the red rock formation…Canyon Land

Bryce Canyon National Park is a favorite...fun Hoo Doos

Bryce Canyon National Park is a favorite…fun Hoo Doos

Bryce Canyon a must see!

Bryce Canyon a must see!

The arches and bridges were never boring to look at...

The arches and bridges were never boring to look at…

Bryce Hoo Doos...love that red rock

Bryce Hoo Doos…love that red rock

Zion National Park Patriarchs;  The peaks of Abraham - Isaac - Jacob.  Yes there is a story

Zion National Park Patriarchs; The peaks of Abraham – Isaac – Jacob. Yes there is a story

Jan top of Inspiration Point...our highest and steepest climb!

Jan top of Inspiration Point…our highest and steepest climb!

Larry on Zion Inspiration Point...had lunch and ready to head back down the trail

Larry on Zion Inspiration Point…had lunch and ready to head back down the trail

Grand Canyon...love the South Rim Trail views

Grand Canyon…love the South Rim Trail views

Mesa Verde National Park a unique experience

Mesa Verde National Park a unique experience

Santa Fe was very colorful and educational experience

Santa Fe was very colorful and educational experience

Well here we are back on the coast. Going to the beach every chance we get.

Gulf Coast sand keeps calling us....Mississippi Bay City Beach

Gulf Coast sand keeps calling us….Mississippi Bay City Beach

Status update...the black sling takes away from looking good on the beach!

Status update…the black sling takes away from looking good on the beach!

Happy Holidays to all of you as Jan and I celebrate the reason for the season!

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

2013 Christmas Greetings From Larry and Jan!

It is said variety is the spice of life! From our experiences this year, we find living the RV life-style is certainly a cool way to find adventure and have new experiences. We started the year as campground hosts at the National Seashore Park on Padre Island near Corpus Christi. Our campground was on the Inter-coastal waterway side of the island (Laguna Madre). One of the best wind-surfing locations in the US which draws lots of interesting folks. The weather was great (no snow). Our days were spent biking, hiking and on the water.

Padre Island National Seashore - Camp Ground Hosts

Padre Island National Seashore – Camp Ground Hosts

Not wanting to stay in one place too long, we headed out the middle of March spending some quality time in Galveston, New Orleans and Gulf Shores. In April we found ourselves back in Traverse City where we washed off the Texas dust and packed for a summer on the road heading north to Alaska, a trip we wanted to make for years. By mid-May, we were in Canada making our way around the North Shore of Lake Superior. The theme for this adventure was slow down, stop early and explore.

The Northwest Territories called us and we made it all the way to Yellowknife…that is as far as one can drive in the summer (the ice road being closed). Being early spring, there was a major washout on our planned route which translated to a 750 mile back-tracking adventure, lesson learned. Not having enough of the northern exposure, we caught the Alaska Highway, then the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay where we arrived one day short of the summer solstice. Yes, Jan and I waded in the Arctic Ocean. Two things that I can say about the trip…Padre Island was a long ways south and the Dalton Highway is definitely a once in a life time adventure! We can now check off the list all the Canadian providences and territories except Nunavut.

Alaskan Highway - Dawson Creek, BC

Alaskan Highway – Dawson Creek, BC

Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories

"The" Dalton Highway

“The” Dalton Highway

Arctic Circle on the way to Prudhoe Bay

Arctic Circle on the way to Prudhoe Bay

Finally we got down to experiencing Alaska. Our objective was not to leave any stone unturned, of course limited only by places that are accessible to one pulling a RV. The major stops were Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, and Kenai Peninsula, Valdez, the Inter-coastal waterway, Juneau, Sitka, Skagway and then back to the Alaska Highway. This took us a couple of months. By mid-August, we were off for a two week adventure in the National Parks in the Canadian Rockies, but it was not meant to be. In British Columbia, Canada, Larry was struck with a blood clot which dramatically took over our lives. After a fairly long delay in Canada we headed back to Michigan arriving mid-September.

North to Alaska

North to Alaska

Fairbanks at Midnight

Fairbanks at Midnight

Alaskan Glacier...one of many!

Alaskan Glacier…one of many!

Kluane Lake...great stop over

Kluane Lake…great stop over

Top of the World View...

Top of the World View…

Muncho Lake

Muncho Lake

Alaskan Inter-Coastal Waterway

Alaskan Inter-Coastal Waterway

Denali (Mt McKinley)

Denali (Mt McKinley)

White Pass Steam Train...Skagway to Whitehorse

White Pass Steam Train…Skagway to Whitehorse

Summer in Alaska

Summer in Alaska

Alaska...Bears and Salmon

Alaska…Bears and Salmon

Native Totem Poles

Native Totem Poles

Fireweed Color

Fireweed Color

To make a long story short, we are sidelined in Traverse City until March. Winter travel plans had to be revised along with securing a snow blower to deal with that dreaded white “stuff” which keeps coming every day. However, you have to admit winter paints a beautiful picture. Right now we are on track to spend April in Gulf Shores, Alabama with a side trip to Kansas for a much needed visit to the RV factory for a major repair. Next summer will be enjoying our home in Traverse City and then looking for adventure in Utah for a couple of months starting in August. Next winter will be spent in a way to give the snow blower a rest!

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Home away from home

Home away from home

Jan lost her Mother in February. She had a long journey and was 100 years old. We miss her and life will certainly not to be the same now that she is gone along with the ties to the historic family farm. Karl, Mark and Cully made the trip from NYC to visit us in October. It was so great to have them here and share what Northwest Michigan has to offer. We are looking forward to a visit from Paul and Marty in January. Good news, Paul is now Dr Paul having completed his PHD work and Fiona has finished her Masters. We plan a trip east next year to catch them on their home turf and take in some city life. It was fun to catch up with the “Snyder’s”at a gathering at brother Dale’s cottage this fall…picture attached.

Mark on the trail

Mark on the trail

Karl at Sleep Bear

Karl at Sleep Bear

Sand Dune...Cully, Karl, Jan

Sand Dune…Cully, Karl, Jan

Snyder's Fall Gathering

Snyder’s Fall Gathering

So as you can see…life is still good here! Keep in touch.

At the Arctic on the first day of Summer!

At the Arctic on the first day of Summer!

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Traverse City – 2013/2014!