Ohio to Arizona 2022

After our trip to Massachusetts the summer quickly came to an end!

The leaves began to change. We had a whirlwind of activity as we saw friends before we left Ohio. This was our view at Michael’s house.

Lorraine & Jim, Carol & Gary, & Rosemary

As  we prepared to leave, I went up on the roof to check things out and was met with a huge surprise: There was a big blank space on the roof and the wires for our solar panels were hanging loose. Someone, sometime had stolen one of our solar panels! Since I don’t go up there very often, we have no idea when or where that happened, but one is gone – and the bolts were loosened and missing from another one. We will look for a replacement in Phoenix.

When we are traveling across the country we often see small points of interest along the road and say, “We ought to stop there sometime.” Well, we decided that this trip we would do just that! We planned out a trip seeing many sights, family, and friends covering nearly 3,000 miles with 32 stops over 19 days. It was ambitious, it was fun, it was exhausting!

Since we would be traveling right past the entrance, we stopped at Ottawa NWR and saw several of our friends there including Julia, Rebecca, Trevor, Phoebe, Jessica and Jason. It was like we had never left! They are such warm and wonderful people.

Then it was on to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to see some of my cousins, most of whom I had not seen for more years than I care to admit.

Roger, Ruth, Riley, us, and Sharon

Our next stop was the RV Hall of Fame & Museum in Elkhart, IN. Elkhart is known as the RV Capital of the World with as much as 80% of the world’s RVs are manufactured in this area of northern Indiana. The Hall of Fame is quite understandably very RV friendly, and we ‘boondocked’ in their spacious overnight parking area. They had a large variety of items on display, some old, some new.

Early American Travel Trailer
Earl travel trailer w Model T Ford
Early Motor coach
Family Camping – Sleeps four
A newer motorcoach

Then it was on to the Indiana Dunes National Park. It was a cold, windy, and rainy day, but we did a little investigating anyhow. We will have to go back when the weather is better!  Surrounded by the park is a small community of Beverly Shores. This was a resort community that included several houses from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair Homes of Tomorrow. Most were transported by barge the 36 miles from Chicago and relocated here after the fair closed.

Florida Tropical House
Wieboldt-Rostone House


The wind was blowing and the sand was flying, so we didn’t stay long at the beach. But you could see Gary, IN, and Chicago’s downtown above the breaking waves.Then we headed to Madison, WI, skirting the Windy City and it’s downtown freeway traffic. There we met our friend Rachel for some food, fun, Wingspan, and sightseeing. She took us to the First Unitarian Society Meeting House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright late in his life. The Unitarian Meeting House, completed in 1951, shares many hallmarks of Wright’s other Usonian structures. It is a single-story building featuring wide overhanging eaves, a low and unobtrusive entryway, large fireplaces, and a concrete floor. Its most distinctive feature is the soaring glass and wood “prow” on its southern exposure, which Wright said symbolized aspiration.

The seats or pews were all unadorned wood with removable pads, in keeping with Wright’s style. They could be folded and moved to allow for maximum flexible use of the space.

As with many of Wright’s designs, the main auditorium was  configured as a triangle and the window glass abuts the wall without a frame.


The hallway to the classrooms included triangular tables and foldable benches that can be arranged in various configurations. Of course, plenty of natural light fills the space.

This space also serves as a gallery for a variety of original oriental artworks which Wright donated.

We spent another day with Rachel touring downtown Madison and visiting the state Capitol building. (We enjoyed a delicious lunch along the way.)

From the Lantern Balcony (or observation deck) there is a great view of the two lakes which Madison is built between.

After we left Madison it was only a short drive to the International Crane Foundation. This is an organization that works to combine research, captive breeding and reintroduction, landscape restoration and education to safeguard the world’s 15 crane species. Ten of these species are threatened with extinction. This is the only place in the world where all 15 species of crane can be seen in one place. It has also been at the forefront of efforts to save the Whooping Crane, including captive breeding and re-introduction of birds to wild populations. There are currently 807 total Whooping Cranes with 506 migrating from Wood Buffalo National Park (Canada) to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (Texas), and a second, reintroduced flock, migrating from refuges in Wisconsin down east of the Mississippi to Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

We won’t test your endurance with every picture of all 15 species, but here are a few:

Whooping Crane
Siberian Crane
White-naped Crane – Most of the world’s White-naped Cranes depend on the wetlands in the Korean Demilitarized Zone
Sarus Crane
Blue Crane – the birds really liked the picture of the crane on the wall.
Black Crowned Crane
Demoiselle Crane
Wattled Crane
Grey Crowned Crane – This fellow was standing next to the fence and Judith struck up a conversation with him, I thought we might have to leave her there.
Black-necked Crane

That night we stayed at a cute little winery, part of the Harvest Hosts program, called Burr Oak Winery. A very pleasant husband and wife operated the place, we had ample parking space, and some very good wine.

Out just beyond where we were parked was the tree from which the winery was named, the burr oak.

Our next stop was Nededa National Wildlife Refuge. It was a lovely stop and we enjoyed watching the birds at the feeder while we ate our lunch. This is one of the locations where the Whooping Cranes breed during the summer. However, our energy level was beginning to wane and we were not up for a longer hike. We “may” have seen some in the distance, but they were really too far away for a definitive identification.

We were pretty confident about this fellow, though.

There were also Sandhill Cranes and Trumpeter Swans in the fields.

Sandhill Crane taking flight
Trumpeter Swan in flight

Other small birds at the feeder kept us entertained as well.

American Goldfinches – Black-capped Chickadee – Downey Woodpecker
Downey Woodpecker
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch – two American Goldfinches

From here we headed to Kearney, Nebraska, the Sandhill Crane Capital of the World. Now we knew that the big show is in the early spring, but we figured “If they stop there to rest and feed on the way north, surely some will stop on the way south, too, right?” Well, that answer is, “Wrong!” We visited Rowe Sanctuary outside of Kearney, toured the lovely facility and spoke with a delightful lady there, but we didn’t see any cranes!

Then we traveled through southern Nebraska and Kansas. Can you say “CORN”. Field after field, mile after mile! But we finally arrived at the home of our friends John & Betty. It was like coming home. We had a wonderful visit, ate too much, and taught them how to play Wingspan!

The one major thing that I did NOT do as a Boy Scout was to go to Philmont Ranch. While we have visited New Mexico numerous times, we had never made the effort to go up to the mountains in the northeastern part of the state. However, this time we were coming (more or less) right past it, so we took the small detour to stop. Of course it was a Sunday, so some things were closed. But the Museum was open and a very helpful young lady was there to assist us.

A tradition is that, after hiking Philmont, a scout might drape their shoes over the entrance sign.

We had planned to spend a couple days in Santa Fe to visit Beau, Lucy, and Soren, but Beau developed Covid, so we will see them another time.

We arrived in Arizona on Halloween!

We found that this summer was unusually wet (for the Sonoran Desert) and our Mesquite tree had really grown!

We got it trimmed up, and are enjoying the 70 – 75 degree days. Judith has gotten into the swing of things with MahJongg and Gourding. She made a trip to the gourd farm to pick up a few supplies.

She has joined in the more advanced classes and is teaching the “beginner gourding” class.

I have been playing with the pictures and doing some genealogy. And Tooie is enjoying her videos and watching the hummingbirds.

Our plan is to remain here in southern Arizona until mid-April, except for a quick jaunt to Cancun and another quick trip to Baja.

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