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May 11, 2009


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Suggested caption for the Fred & Hank hunchback photo: "Slowly we turned, step by step, inch by inch ..."

Just so you know ahead of time, Grand Rapids is home to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is in Ann Arbor. He's the only president with this sort of setup.

I hope you enjoy the Ford Museum as much as I did. I've been to it twice.


Sorry you're going to miss Milwaukee, but make enjoy the Lincoln museum in Springfield - pretty cool (not to mention to visit the family gravesite). Will take you a few hours, but well worth it.

If you'd like to go to the Cubs game on Tuesday at Wrigley, let me know via email. My brother has season tickets and may not be using them. Game starts at 7:05 PM local time.

Is there something fishy going on here? The Sergeant Floyd Memorial looks extremely familiar - not unlike a certain memorial in Washington, D.C. I'm starting to wonder if you are really on this trip or if this is like the "landing on the moon" that conspiracy theorists believe was really just a fake - shot at a secret t.v. studio. Is it possible you have been in your livingroom this whole time?

Theory regarding the hunch-backed (guilty-looking) dogs on the picnic table: they know they are not supposed to be on top of a picnic table so they are afraid they'll get caught any minute... except since you put them there, they are very confused.

Omaha = steak.
And you ate... fish?
Carp isn't even the best-available, bottom-scum-sucking fish. You probably could have had catfish.

Since you like small-town "capitals," and you'll be drving by it, you should check out South Haven, MI, the blueberry capital of the world. While you're there you can try the grand Michigan delicacy that is blue moon ice cream (it's not blueberry flavored, the two things are unrelated). Go to Sherman's for it. It's great.

I noticed that you're still in the "B" songs after your switch to an alphabetical play-off. TIP: it looks like if you plan to end your trip at noon on Sep. 15 2009, you'll roll in to your driveway while playing "Ziggy Stardust."

Calculation: You've been averaging a rate of 5.5 days per letter-of-the-alphabet (starting April 30), which leaves 24 letters. Assuming you start on "C" tomorrow, and subtracting the negligible "X" song titles (leaving 23 letters), multiply 23 by 5.5, resulting in 126.5 days -- halfway through Sep. 15.

Let me know if you end up near the Trib Tower or if you go to the game tomorrow night (I'm going).

Another vote for the Lincoln Museum. We really enjoyed it and acquired a tie with the Gettysburg Address printed on it as well as a Lincoln head on a stick with a mobile jaw. Seriously. Where else could you get those valuable items?

Did Hank sneak out for some sort of wild beagle party last night? He looks whipped in every picture.

I love the Sgt. Floyd Memorial photo! Also, the picture of the boys on the picnic table is hysterical-- love it!

Thank god you didn't do this:

Funyun Capital of the World: Perry, GA. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF5i6QXgR8c
You gotta love the Internets!

Happy Anniversary tomorrow, May 12! Love, Pam, Jack, Matt, Ben, Nate, Josh, Ozzy & Kobe

Since you'll be missing Beaglefest


this weekend in Chicago, if you're into seafaring vehicles on land, there is a real German submarine at the Museum of Science & Industry.


It's mostly a museum for kids, but I still love the coal ride.

So you know for sure about the ice cream claims, I think you need to head to Waterbury, Vermont to see how the Ben & Jerry's plant competes.
And then you want to buy gift certificates to give away as prizes for your FHMA tour wrap up trivia game.

In Ohio, if you go out on the lake (Erie that is) and go fishing, and all you catch is carp, you still say you didn't catch anything. If you pull in an enormous carp it is equivalent to the booby prize. We don't even take pictures of them before we throw them back. They are the fish equivalent to an old boot. I guess they don't know that in Omaha.

Chicago is great--so much to see, it's difficult to be there for such a short time. It's my favorite American big city. Mark a longer stay there along with a trip along Lake Michigan (and Huron and Superior, for that matter) down for a future trip if you don't get there this time--South Haven, Grand Haven, Saugatuck, Manistee (where James Earl Jones got his start in acting!), Ludington, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Traverse City (Cherry Capital of the World), Petoskey, Charlevoix/Walloon Lake (where Hemmingway spent a great deal of his childhood) and Holland. Hopefully, you'll at least get a chance to stop and see a Michigan beach on Lake Michigan. Warren Dunes would be on your way to GR. Before your next cross-country trip, I'll come up with lots of ideas for the Michigan leg. Scritches to Hank and Fred!

Love the chapel pic. They look so angelic. Not. :) We have one of those nearby on a country road south of Lansing:


Most all the members of my family are ice cream connoisseurs. John lived in Burlington, VT a few years back and still remembers visiting the original Ben & Jerry's. Here in Michigan, I recommend these local companies: Mooville in Vermontville, MI(http://www.moo-ville.com/, and yes, Vermontville has its own Maple Syrup festival!), House of Flavors in Ludington, MI (http://www.houseofflavors.com/), Miller's Ice Cream, originally from Eaton Rapids, MI, Melting Moments, here in East Lansing, MI (http://www.meltingmoments.com/), and my all-time favorite homemade ice cream (besides my Grandma's): MSU Dairy, on the campus of Michigan State University (http://dairystore.msu.edu/). Also fun in my hometown of Marshall (junction of I 69 and I 94): Hi Lite Drive Drive in; they have home made root beer and onion rings to die for! It's an old-fashioned curb service drive in. When I was a kid, a lot of the high school girls worked there in the summer. It was within walking distance from our house and we used to go there a lot.

And re: modern rest stops. You don't want to visit the primitive ones! We still have a few of these in Ohio. I guess they would make kitschy places to visit but you definitely don't want to go to one if you need to GO! Ohio is slowly replacing all of them. Most of the primitive stops are along state routes in very rural areas. I remember one on the way home from where we camp in central/southern Ohio that did not even have doors on the latrines! I turned around and got right back in the car. http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Facilities/Facilities/RestAreas/Documents/OhioRestAreaTravelerServices.pdf

You use carp to make gefilte fish. Nuff said.

Jim -
Sorry we missed you in KC, probably the best WWI memorial in county is the the Liberty Memorial...I guess I missed a few days of the blog. Did you get a chance to catch up with Jim Spencer and the guys in Columbia, MO?
The blog is great, and great to read about your journey.

countRy... best in the country (also the county).

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