Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tulips, Ice Cream and Storms

I know, that sounds like an interesting combination doesn't it? But it pretty much sums up the last two days .

Wednesday was a beautiful day, warm and partly cloudy, and was a full day off for both of us.  One of our objectives in this lifestyle is not just to work in different areas of the country, but to explore those areas as well. So I've been looking at the various attractions in Michigan for things to do on our days off. A two-hour drive to the west from where we are is the town of Holland, Michigan, and every year they have the Tulip Time Festival. It sounded interesting, so we decided to make a day trip over there to see the tulips. Not knowing if the dogs would be allowed in the different attractions, I arranged for them to stay at the Dog House Resort and Spa for the day, getting badly needed baths and haircuts.

I will say the tulip festival was very interesting. The entire town, for the most part, shuts down for the week. There's no school for the kids, the main street is closed in the afternoons as there's a parade most every day, dutch cultural dancing exhibits, two carnivals, with all the associated carnival food vendors simply everywhere, bands, fireworks....you name it, they really go to town! What really struck us, though, was so many people dressed in old Dutch costumes; not just parade participants or dancers, but it seemed as if all the citizens were dressed up as well! The town was just beautiful as well, everything clean and neat as a pin, and of course, thousands of beds of tulips planted everywhere.

Tulip fields at Windmill Island Gardens.

This is a re-creation of a traditional street in the Netherlands, created by local craftsmen. Inside is an entire model village also created by the same craftsmen.
The Posthouse museum is an exact replica of a 14th century wayside inn. Inside you can view a 12 minute presentation about Windmills, The Netherlands and their own windmill,  "De Zwaan".
This is a 249-year old working windmill, brought over from the Netherlands in 1964. It's called "De Zwaan", meaning graceful bird.

Who knew there are so many different types of tulips?
Before the parade starts, there is the "sweeping of the streets"; it seems as if everyone in the town heads out into the parade route, brandishing brooms and buckets of water, and proceeds to scrub the streets clean. You can see in this picture how crowded it was, and how so many people are dressed up in traditional dutch clothing.

We did stay and watch the parade, it was about an hour and a half long, with several floats, civic groups, of course the honor guards and kids, clubs, and so many school marching bands. They were very good! It was a lot of fun to watch, really reminded me of a good old-fashioned small town event.

We then headed back to get our truck; as you can imagine, parking was at a premium, and it seemed as if anyone who had a piece of land anywhere near town had parking available...for a price :-). We decided we would park in a lot that the Boy Scouts were working, it's always good to support an organization like that. And from the looks of it, they made a pretty good sum from parking cars that day :-). Although the kid parking us did joke he should charge us double for the "monster truck" :-). It was still a bit early to pick up the pups, so we headed off the Holland State Park, on the coast of Lake Michigan, to catch our first sight of one of the Great Lakes.

The red lighthouse where the channel from Lake Macatawa meets with Lake Michigan.
The channel heading into lake Michigan...and the endless horizon beyond. The Great Lakes really are awesome. If you didn't know you were on a lakeshore, you's swear you were right on the ocean. The road leading out to the park was just chock full of marinas, docks, bait shops, all the acoutrements for a day of fishing.
I saw these ducks, and from a distance i thought the one was a mallard, but I'm not so sure; if it is, it was the hugest mallard I've ever seen! And couldn't find a duck resembling the one on the left in my bird book, so if anyone knows what types of ducks these are, let me know!

That pretty much ended our day at Holland. We picked up the pups, and headed back to Waldenwoods, and phoned home to wish Ma a happy birthday. It certainly sounded like there was a swinging party going on there!

Thursday was back to work for me. I had to finish updating the inventory in the computer, and get some of my orders going, especially ice cream. Ice cream makes up approximately 80% of the store profit, so we have to be ready to scoop those flavors! I had it all delivered today, Friday, and the store was officially opened for business today. My last workamper arrived and started this week, Lorraine, and we get along great. We now have the store all spiffied up, the kitchen is spotless, and we're ready to go :-). Unfortunately, the weather this weekend is not supposed to be great, a bit of rain, and as I'm writing we are in the middle of our third night in a row of some really good thunderstorms. It can definitely rain here! Florida type rain, pouring so hard you can't see out the windows. Oh well, it was expected, as the temperature yesterday and today were a quite unseasonable 85 degrees and humid. The cold front is zipping in now, and the highs on Sunday are supposed to be in the upper 40's!

Once I get the store fully stocked, I'll take a few pictures so everyone can see it; it's really cute, actually, painted blue and white with a summer beachy feel. Makes you want to buy ice cream ;-).

Al is pulling some late hours rangering, it seems like he's going to be doing the late night shifts most of the time. He's finding the different duties quite interesting...I'm waiting for his first unruly wedding! Being on the ambulance corps for so many years though, I guess he knows how to deal with, shall we say, slightly disorderly folks? Overall, it's been fun, and the people we are working with are great. So far, so good :-)!


  1. Sounds like quite an experience :)

    Glad you're enjoying your positions :)

    Have always heard of Holland and always wanted to travel there...thanks for the trip.

  2. Wow, now that's what workcamping is all about. You get out an learn about the area of the country you call home for the season.

    What a neat festival...beautiful town, people and tulips!!!

  3. Sounds like you are experiencing much of what you had expected. The trip to Holland was beautiful. The flowers truly lovely and so interesting to see a whole town immersed in fun of their festival week. I've always said that there is so much to see in this country! So glad you are enjoying your new "life". Stay well. Lucia

  4. What a nice day you must have had at the Tulip Festival and such beautiful pictures, Karen. I just love tulips and to see sooooo many different kinds, it must have been awesome. I remember the first time we saw the Great Lakes. As you mentioned, it is mind-boggling to see a lake that you would swear was the ocean. We actually had to go and taste the water to see if it actually was fresh water instead of salt water. Just magnificent.

    Enjoy your summer and keep up all your great posts.

  5. What a lovely town! Reminds me of Solvang, CA - and love the tulip pictures :)

  6. Your pictures are spectacular! Always have wanted to go to Holland as well. Thanks for taking us there. Sounds like you are enjoying it there.

    Laura Raber

  7. How are things going with the dogs? What do you do with them when you both have to be out for the day working? As you know we have 2 goldens which is causing us some concern as to workkamping. I have been curious about how it is going for you.

    I am glad you guys are enjoying yourselves. We will be joining you on the road in 10 days.

  8. Beautiful day off. Loved all the pictures from the tulip festival. Waiting to see pictures of your shop.

  9. What a great day. Wish I could have been with you. I love the tulip festival and the way the town goes all out for you. Looks like you'll have some great spots to explore especially around the great lakes.