Friday, July 20, 2012

Petoskey to Paris

We moved from the UP to the Mitt of Michigan and spent the weekend at the Odawa Casino in Petoskey.  They provide free RV parking, but no hook ups.  It was a new casino and there was a new winner, as I hit the nickle slot for $160.00.  We are learning to love these casinos stops.  Next I fulfilled a promise and took Nanc to Paris for the second time in the 12 months.
 To get to the Mitt we had to drive across Mighty Mac which is just a bit intimidating with all the construction vehicles on one side and the oncoming traffic on the other.  At least we were in the middle lane and not driving on the edge.
 Petoskey is a neat, old money town on the shores of Lake Michigan with many beautiful summer "cottages" where the rich from Chicago and Detroit come to escape the heat.  We took advantage of a nice bike trail around the bay to see some of the homes and enjoyed the views of the lake. We toured replicas of the Nina and Pinta that stopped as part of a tour around the lakes.  It really gives you a new respect for the sailors who ventured out on the high seas in these tiny sailing ships.  Most of the crew are volunteer and they are always looking for crew members.  Nanc said NO!!
 Our stop in Paris was to see Tony and MaryBeth who served as tour guides of the area.  We drove to Grand Rapids and visited the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.
There are many sculptures from a variety of artists in the park.
 The sculptures came in all sizes and shapes.
 A few more of our favorites.
The most impressive work at the park is the world's largest equestrian statue, the 24 foot, 15 ton American Horse.  The horse was originally sculpted by Leonardo da Vinci as commissioned by the Duke of Milan in 1482.  It was never built beyond the clay model after a war with France required that the bronze be used for war material.  The project was finally completed 500 years later when Fred Meijer commissioned Nina Akaum to cast two, one to be placed in Grand Rapids and the other called Il Cavallo for Milan.  This sculpture alone is worth a visit to the gardens. 
 Nanc, Jim, MaryBeth and Tony with Fred and Lena Meijer.
 A variety of water lilies at the waterfalls pond.
Just a few of the great numbers of beautiful flowers in the garden.  I don't know what most of them are but enjoyed them all.  There was a whole room of carnivorous plants that was very interesting.
 Tony and MaryBeth introduced us to Geo caching.  We were doing a hike at the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary and not finding many blooms so they suggested we look for a geocache.  These are small items that people have hidden all over the place and then leave clues on the Internet to lead you to them.  We used the GPS on Tony's phone to get close to the location and then we all searched frantically to see who would spot it first.  I'm happy to report that I found the first one and also another one the next day.  I downloaded an app and we may be hooked on the neat and different way to get into the woods.   
A final stop in Grand Rapids was the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.  This is the Ford statue at the entrance and the burial site of the President and his wife, Betty.  We did not have time to visit the museum so we have added it to our to do list when we return.

No comments: