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Larry’s Blog: On The Road Through Small Towns, USA

Editor’s note: we’re three blogs in on Larry and Sue Langley’s epic motorhome adventure — 10 Weeks, 34 States, 14,000 Miles And Still Married. We pick up with the intrepid travelers as they leave Montana with their trusty pooch, Maggie May. Now, to Larry.

We’ll cover our travel from Flathead Lake in Montana through North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Upstate New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont before we hit the Maine Coast near Canada. We were especially looking forward to Maine, and getting there turned out to be pretty awesome, too.

I should mention that our Corgi, Maggie May, is a great traveler. We set up a box between our two seats, cover it with towels, and she loves it. From there she can go onto Sue’s lap for sightseeing, or just relax and curl up and sleep.

So, we looked at our maps and decided to drive East on Highway 2 through Montana, North Dakota and into Minnesota before dropping into Michigan.

Lots of smoke due to numerous fires in Montana, but finally got out and then North Dakota.

Pretty flat and boring but got a good look at numerous fracking units. While they capture oil that was previously not able to be recovered, lots of controversy over the chemicals used.

But we did discover a pretty good size lake, Devils Lake, and explored and found a nice campsite.

Nice, but our priority now was to get to Minnesota and all those lakes. I guess it’s obvious that I’m partial to water. Any water. Streams, rivers, lakes, ocean, doesn’t matter to me. Grew up near the ocean and now living near Bass Lake, gotta have my H2O!

Found many nice overnight camping spots at launch ramps, especially, but sometimes just a spot in a forest would do nicely.

Every morning we’d get the map out and choose what route to take. We knew the direction — east at this time — but we tried to stay off the Interstate or main roads. Back roads were the key to our enjoyment.

I read a lot about how God is dead and the country is going to hell. Well, it’s not in Small Towns, USA.

We totally enjoyed the winding back roads and trips through the little towns of mid-America. Each town looked to be well kept, usually had a war memorial, and when we found a little out-of-the-way café, it was home cooking at its best.

And the lawns. Well-mowed at almost every house or business. Didn’t matter if it was a quarter-acre or 20 acres, it was mowed to look like a putting green. Ride-along lawn mowers were the big deal and we saw plenty. Sue remarked that she would just settle for the parts replacement business, there were so many!

Highlights: Lakes in Minnesota, Great Lakes in Michigan, spectacular upper New York, leaves turning in New Hampshire and Vermont. Couldn’t believe the weather. We were in the warm season and it didn’t turn cold until we hit Maine — go figure!

We stopped for lunch at some little scenic town in New York. Bench by the lake, lots of people out enjoying the great weather. Fishing boats heading out, water skiers and two float planes that took tourists for a nice ride.

Was sitting there with Maggie eating my sandwich when I got into a conversation with a guy sitting on the same bench.  Mentioned our trip and he asked what was the best part so far. Took a minute to respond and then told him “Right here with this great view, couldn’t be better!”  He laughed and agreed, it was nice.

Left off a lot as we ventured from Michigan down to Ohio to meet up with some of Sue’s Flea Market Gardening (FMG) friends for a visit to FMG member Laura Goines Little Shop Antiques and Garden. Nine FMG ladies showed up, some from as far away as Iowa.

Laura’s business was pretty spectacular, hundreds of vintage items and so many plants and flowers. Took hours going through all.

Should mention that Laura’s hubby Randy had his own business on the property, maker of fine furniture. His shop also had vintage woodworking equipment that Randy had scouted out at auctions, and so forth. His stacks of all different kinds of wood were also impressive. His furniture was super-high quality — you can tell it was not cookie cutter stuff. Great visit that everyone enjoyed.

From there, we traveled 60 miles to Columbus to take in a major motorcycle expo later in the week. Just wanted to hook up with old pals from the industry I worked in until I retired. Neat show but then we headed northeast to Lake Erie to continue our journey.

Next up: East Coast including our favorite state — Maine. Lobster heaven? You bet!

 

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