Monday, April 27, 2009

Bald eagles, Elvis sightings and the weatherman

DH and I planned a little weekend away to Ann Arbor. That is, I did all the strategic planning and DH just installed and programmed the new portable GPS system in the car and drove us to our destination. The reason for choosing Ann Arbor will be revealed at the end, but for now, just know that it was special and meaningful.

The weather couldn't have started out more perfectly with blue skies and temps in the 80's. It's what we've been craving for months as winter dragged on and on.

We took the leisurely route through the countryside for half the way and saw several interesting little villages and towns. Near Toledo I just happened to look out my side window and saw a bald eagle soaring across the highway!! It was so beautiful. It happened so fast that I wasn't able to get a picture. Then a few miles down the road we drove by a beautiful mosque which was the Islam Center of Greater Toledo.

I took this picture from their website.

We arrived at our hotel, Weber's Inn, which was very nice. Even had an LCD television, although we never did figure out how to get the program schedule on the screen.

As soon as we unpacked, we headed for downtown AA to check it out and to drive around University of Michigan's campus to have a look-see. Probably not a good idea on the first warm spring day, on a Friday afternoon at a BIG college campus known for it's partying. We quickly decided to park the car back in the downtown area and walk instead. That wasn't easy either, but we managed to shove our way through the crowds. We had dinner on the sidewalk at the Parthenon, a nice little Greek restaurant in the heart of the downtown area. The people watching was fun and the food was good, but their website needs a little tweaking. It's kinda, ahem, boring.

We had an early evening as David had just arrived home from a ten-day business trip to Europe the evening before and the jet lag was getting to him. The next morning we were both awake at 4:30. To him it felt like 11:30 and time to get up! For my part it was the usual insomnia and being in a strange room. We waited until a reasonable time (6:00) and headed to the only full-service restaurant we knew would be open at that ungodly hour, Bob Evans. It was the friendliest staff and patrons I have ever encountered north of the Mason-Dixon line. In fact, all the Michiganders we met were incredibly helpful and friendly.

We headed a few miles north to the Pinckney State Recreation Area for a little hiking. When we arrived we found a race about to commence with 500 registered runners!

We did our 3.3 mile hike on a different trail.

The trees and bushes were just barely leafing out due to the slow spring. The only flowers blooming were hepatica

and marsh marigold

It was pretty swampy in the park and the skunk cabbage was starting to unfurl its leaves.

There were lots of these peepers.

But millions of these little swarmers.

After our hike, we went over to the lakeside and a few minutes later the winning runner came through the finish line, a forty-year-old guy who had not an ounce of fat on his entire body.

These girls were cooling off in the very cold water after their race. They got fourth and fifth place finishes in their class.

On the drive back to AA, I spotted a house with a statue of Elvis displayed in the living room bay window! And attached to the inside of the storm door was a life-size cutout of the King of Rock & Roll! And I thought my sister had an Elvis fixation!

We had lunch at Zingerman's World Famous Delicatessen and I must say, its reputation is not exaggerated. I wish it hadn't been so crowded so I could have explored everything in there. Oy vey!

After lunch we explored historic Kerrytown

We were both ready for a swim by now, so we went back to the hotel. We were by the pool when a man and his daughter came in to swim. I looked at him surreptiously several times, thinking I know this guy, when all of a sudden it hit me. He's our local weatherman at Columbus' WCMH-Channel 4 News, Jym Ganahl! Small world and nice to meetcha, Jym!

Now for the big reveal. The real reason for choosing Ann Arbor. To meet my blog friends, Ruth and Don. We had a lovely dinner at the Prickly Pear, some ice cream at Kilwin's and wonderful conversation while getting to know each other better. We already knew each other pretty well through our blogs, but seeing our friends face-to-face was the ultimate treat. Ruth and Don were just as I imagined they would be. Friendly, warm and inviting. Clever, funny and so easy to be with. This was the highlight of our trip and I hope it will be the first of many meetings between us. Thank you, Ruthie and Don, for giving us a reason to return to Michigan!

A little addendum: since I was such a dolt and forgot to take a photo of Ruth and Don, you can find one here at synch-ro-nizing. For my bloggy friends who haven't seen them.


Ruth said...

I'm so glad I checked here before leaving for work! I wanted to see if you'd posted yet about your weekend (and our meeting). I have more comments to answer from my last post before I can post mine, but it's ready to go.

This is a fine rundown of your weekend, after hearing about it from your own mouth in person. The photos are great, and can you believe between us there is only one photo to show for our meet-up? Well you will see it posted soon (glad you liked it). It was such a treat to meet you and David in person, after our blog adventures.

Susan said...

Hi Ruthie!

We had such a grand time with you and Don! Too bad the storm ran us away so early!

I know, I can't believe we carried that stupid camera around and never got around to taking a picture of you guys! What kind of photographer is that? Sheesh! I'm gonna blame it on the suddenness of the storm.

We loved meeting you two as well. I hope it will be the beginning of a long friendship.

Can't wait to see your post!

Char said...

there is something so stirring about seeing a bald eagle on the wing...beautiful.

sounds like a fantastic weekend.

Susan said...

Char, we had a lovely weekend. Nice and relaxing. It's good to get away from time to time.

CottageGirl said...

So great that you guys got together! You both are so interesting, intelligent and write so beautifully, I bet it it was quite an engaging evening!

I am sad, however, that you all didn't take pics (besides the one Ruth took of your reflection!)

Great blog!

VioletSky said...

Oh how neat that you all got to meet! I thought of Ruth as soon as you mentioned Ann Arbor.

A client of mine just returned from her weekend in Ann Arbor and loved the place, and with such great people to meet up with, I'm hoping to make my way down there.

Susan said...

Oh, CG, we had such a wonderful visit! I'm sure we could have talked for hours and hours more, but we got thunderstormed out and had to run for our cars! That's the reason for not getting any pictures. Had the camera, but we were so busy talking, and then it was too late. :(

Thank you for the sweet comment you made on Ruth's blog, too. I feel honored to be one of your favorite blog friends. Maybe we'll meet up someday, too! Wouldn't that be fun?

Susan said...

Sanna, we had so much fun! Ruth and Don are so easy to be with, we just started talking a mile a minute and didn't stop the whole time.

Ann Arbor is really charming with lots of shops and great restaurants and we did a lot of exploring outside the city, too. It was a lovely area.

If you make it down there someday, maybe we could all meet. That would be so much fun. You are definitely on my list of bloggy friends to meet. Love your wacky sense of humor (kinda like mine)!

VioletSky said...

Yes, great! I definitely plan to visit.

Actually, I have a round-the-world tour of blogmeets in my head (which would need to be done before Absolute Vanilla leaves South Africa) but I think MI is the most doable of the out-of-province trips, truth be told.

Ruth said...

Peeking in - that would be so fun, Sanna!

VioletSky said...

Ruth, I'm guessing after this wedding your hosting!?

Oliag said...

I read Ruth's post first so I knew what was coming...yet you made the whole weekend sound like so much fun...I love a good road trip! ..and I completely understand about not getting any pics...I am never comfortable taking other people's pictures...always thinking they won't like it...but I do love Ruth's pic of you!

As I wrote to Ruth...I'm Jealous!

Susan said...

Oliag, I wish you could have been there, too! Wouldn't it be fun to do a blog friend convention! Would we be able to get a word in edgewise? Goodness, the words would be flying back and forth! We would definitely have a formal photo session so it wouldn't end up like this meet-up. Amazingly, we were only together for about 3 hours, but it seemed as if we had known each other forever.

I think I'm a little like you in being hesitant to take other people's pictures. I always feel like I won't be able to do them justice. I had seen photos of Ruth on her blog, but she was even more beautiful in person. Hmmmm, that gives me an idea...I'll change her link to a post of hers with a photo!

Delphine said...

Ah Susan I am so glad you had as good a time as Ruth at your first meeting with each other! You are so lucky, most of my blogging friends are on the other side of the world ( or seemingly so). I enjoyed reading about your trip, perhaps one day I will get into a plane!

Susan said...

Delphine, thank you, and you would be most welcome if you ever get brave enough to fly across the big pond.

Ruth said...

Aw, that was a sweet idea, Susie.

JackeeG4glamorous said...

AWESOME! A bloggy meet! I think that if we correspond more, I could soon be gathering eggs, and sharing photography tips with you over a gentle cup of coffee on your farm.

Susan said...

Absolutely, Jackee! You have an open invitation! I would love to make an omelet and a great pot of coffee for you! Come on down!