Grand Baby, Gardens and RVs

How lucky am I to have three of my favorite things within two days!  Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI is super beautiful, super interesting and best shared with a 10 month old grandson!  Viewing the gardens is a lot like going to the zoo, except instead of animal exhibits there are large sculptures set along winding paths.  There is a Japanese Garden with a lake, arched bridges, waterfalls and serene beauty everywhere.  There is a large conservatory with rooms that vary from desert to tropical plantings.  We felt we had perfect weather, as it threatened to rain but never actually did, therefore the clouds and cool weather kept the crowds away but allowed us to wander without crowds of people blocking the views.  Meijer Gardens is very big!  Despite exploring for several hours or more we still left a couple sections unexplored.  Hopefully we will return one day to take in the rest.

meijer garden john with PJ & Jim

On Wednesday, May 23, we continued on to Elkhart, Indiana, RV Capital of the World!  80% of the RVs you see on the road today are produced in the Elkhart area.  First stop for us was a giant RV Surplus store where we found a small sackful of RV do-hickeys needed for small repairs or improvements in our RV.  From there we moved on to the RV & Motor Home Hall of Fame.  Spent about three hours viewing RVs dating back to the early 1900’s.  So interesting to see how RV’s have evolved through the years.  My favorite was a custom built Model AA House Car from 1931.  My Dad has told us about the “caravan” that his father built around that same time.  I imagine it may have looked very similar except Grandpa’s version had a hidden bathtub accessed via a hatch in the floor.  I apologize for the dark pictures the lighting was rather dim and I am not the best photographer.  You can make out the wooden cabinets and drawers outfitting the inside.

Another favorite was a flashback to the 70’s Travco motor home, complete with gold shag carpet, a built in blender and harvest gold refrigerator.  Once our tour was complete we retreated to our FREE campsite!  The museum allows free overnight parking with ticket purchase.  Fortunately it was a lovely comfortable 70 degree evening that chilled off to the low 60’s so our lack of electricity to run the air conditioner was not a problem.  No hookups in the parking lot means our only electricity comes from our RV battery and the generator.  Our generator will run the coffee pot and microwave but isn’t big enough to run the AC.  I used our camper’s propane stove to cook dinner and breakfast.  It was a nice break from paying campground fees.

This morning we moved 258 miles to Fisherman’s Corner ACOE (Army Core of Engineers) campground located on the Mississippi River on the Illinois side.  HOT HOT HOT!!!  Eighty eight and sunny, we are glad for air conditioning now!  Sitting inside we have a nice peeking view of the river through the trees.  Tomorrow we go on a tour of the John Deere Tractor Factory!

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