Sunday, October 31, 2010



Campbellsville, Kentucky. Bluegrass Wireless

Stopped in to pick up a charge cord and there they all were ! Clark Kent complete with Daily Planet press pass and famious "S" tee shirt, 80's girl, Nurse, Cat lady complete with tail, Zebra lady who had lost an ear ring in her hair earlier and the other 80's girl. The Leprechaun lady with green skin , lucky charms and striped legs took her pot of gold and was out to lunch ! All in all this was a very fun and cool stop !


As we meandered along beside three of the Great Lakes, we were always amazed at the number of good places to pull off of the highway, right into a good place to view, walk and stretch our legs.


Because of the time of the year, many seasonal businesses were already closed. But, those are commercial endeavors that are designed to harvest our dollars, providing little in the way of a close look at America. We don’t always, but usually, avoid those places.


How can a set of rickety, weathered and worn set of wooden steps up to the roof of a motel, hidden behind a large, gaudy sign touting a good view of the Mackinac Bridge for only $1., compare with a walk along lakes Superior, Michigan and  Huron’s shorelines ?

 100_2210 Pull outs, vistas and wonderful shorelines were higher on our list of priorities.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


The Mackinac Bridge is impressive. We stopped short of the City of St Ignace and over night’ed at a scenic overlook after driving a bit late. It had been a long day, but a very good one, so, we had just let the miles roll by.

We got up early in anticipation of seeing the bridge. A large full moon was bouncing a broad swath of  it’s magical beams across the slightly rippled surface of Lake Michigan. It was the first thing that we saw as we awoke that morning. And a grand sight it was to be starting off the day.


We waited on breakfast until later and drove closer to the bridge to get coffee and take in the pre dawn view.

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Then we drove down into the State park on the North end of the bridge.



A more prudent RV’er wouldn’t have driven down into this tight area, I shouldn’t have.

After a lengthy visit and walk around St Ignace, we crossed the Mighty Mac.


We took our time crossing and it was an enjoyable event. Cost was $7. for the four axles.

Friday, October 29, 2010


St Ignace, on the Lake Huron side of the Mackinac Bridge is a tranquil setting steeped in history.

Here is a look at the Lighthouse marina from the lighthouse boardwalk.


The lighthouse and boardwalk.


The old ferry ship’s landing. The cross arms and counter weights raised and lowered the automobile ramp.

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The lighthouse and fishing pier.


The old ferry ship docked alongside this slip. Our fifth wheel and truck can be seen in the distant parking lot.


The very end of the old ferry’s slip.


Passenger ferry going out to Macinaw Island. At first we thought we wanted to go out to the island. The more we learned about it the less we thought of the idea, so we passed on it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Fort Mchillinac, he, he, you know that i’ve spelt that one wrong !, lies at the South end of the mackinac Bridge.


These marine guns are commonly called the guns that won the civil war.


This is the far South end of the bridge by the fort. Warning signs and lights proclaim it’s low clearance of 10’6”. At 12’ 8” we found a way around, to get in to the fort.


With the fort’s visitor’s center in the background, we are parked by the bridge. The fall’s leaf crop was being circulated around by light and variable breezes. It was a grand day for a tour !


Great view of the lighthouse with the bridge in the background.


Lighthouse park entrance with the lighthouse in the background.

Monday, October 25, 2010


One of the coolest things about DA YOOPERS tourist trap, is its collection of home made mechanical devices. These were actual working machines or vehicles made by ingenious folks.

We spent a lot of time looking them over. They are beyond just being clever. This is not a carefully maintained, paid admission museum. But rather a close look at just what the working man can do when he has a need. This is a free exhibit. The only time you pay for anything here is if you want to buy something ! Here is a look at a few:


Model A front end loader.


Wood burning tractor.


Buick snow plow.

There were many more such inventions, way too many to list here. Hey, ya’ gotta’ see it to believe it !


Comedians that make us reflect inward and enjoy a good laugh at our life style or culture are a valuable asset to our society. DA YOUPERS tourist trap definitely does that. Here is a look:


Them deer are a’ playin’ cards, knockin’ back some brews and have hunters hung up ready to skin.


Deer outhouse.


A true deer’s camp.



Look at the size of that fishing lure that’s being trolled ! That aught to catch a biggun’ !

Saturday, October 23, 2010


As in upper Peninsula of Michigan. Or UP’er. More commonly pronounced yooper. Usually used as  in, “hey, are you a up’er”, “Yaa’ im’ a yooper” !

Having followed the musical antics of UP recording artists DA YOOPERS, it was a given that if I ever got near, I would check in at their store.

They, DA YOOPERS, were in, and as I was dressed in my usual bib overalls, brogans and camo sweat shirt, they just had to say hi. I think they mistook me for a long lost yooper cousin, until that is, they heard my accent !

Which promptly caused their response,” you sure got some funny accent”. “ Where you from!” Soon we were yakkin’ it up big time !

Here they are in a photo they graciously posed in for us:


These guys are the real deal, not the creation of a talent agent. They are exactly as they are, and a pleasure to visit with.

And their souvenir, rock shop and Museum paints a great picture of life in the UP.    Their collection of signed celebrity visitors photos is astounding !

I’m a’ tellin’ ya’, if ya’ get near, go see the store, it’s a great place to visit. We spent hours there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Crystal Sugar pays for a couple of days of our campground stay here, after the end of the harvest.

So we have been kickin’ back, eatin’ out and rounding up our plunder. Betty is still doing laundry, the second day of that. That beet mud is tough to get out of work clothing. Some we can get clean, some we just trash. It’s not a big thing to throw away a $4.00 thrift store jacket !

Tomorrow will be “anchor” day, the day we hoist the anchor and head out onto the road again.

We will be enroute to our job with, in Campbellsville, Kentucky.  We have a couple of weeks until our check in time at the Indian Ridge campground, so we will dawdle along the way.

The plan is to bump along the South side of the Canadian border until we can cross the Mackinac Bridge that connects the upper and lower peninsula’s of Michigan.

The bridge it’s self is quite a novel attraction,here is a link to it:

5 mile long bridge web link

And here is a link to the bridge’s web camera:

Web Camera Mackinac Bridge

The web cam refreshes every few seconds so you can click your page refresh button to watch the traffic that is crossing the bridge. As I write this it is nearing 5PM and the traffic is pretty heavy there.

While crossing the bridge we will have lake Huron on one side and lake Michigan on the other. Lake Superior will be along side of our route to the Mackinac bridge crossing, so we will get to see three of the five great lakes on this trip.

The plan is to stay in the Mackinac City area for a couple of days and visit Mackinac Island.

Should the cold weather become an issue, we will ease on South towards Kentucky.

Monday, October 18, 2010


After a quick work schedule change to adjust to the temperature, the last trucks rolled in to the pilers.

It’s over ! The 2010 Sugar Beet Harvest is history. Unlike last years harvest, the never ending harvest, this one went fast with only four days off due to high temperatures.

This was a great and profitable harvest for us. It was good to meet up and work with old friends again.

Betty and I slept in this morning then went to the Country Hearth Restaurant for their supreme omelets.

This will be a day of rest, turning our days and nights back around, doing laundry and the usual “getting ready to move” chores.

Departing from the good folks of this area will be a sad thing. However we will renew those friendships again at next  year’s harvest !

Our start date at Amazon in Campbellsville Kentucky is November 7th, so we will be able to make a leisurely trip there.IMG_20101015_074618

Betty is the boom operator and has walked out to the edge of the pile to see how the beets are falling.

In the fore ground, ground crew member Mitch is cleaning on the left end dump exit ramp.


A few minutes earlier I am in the cab operating the piler and this is a potato truck that has just finished unloading it’s beets. They don’t raise up, but have a belt that puts them out the back instead.

The sun is rising and we are nearing the end of the harvest.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Sugar Beets are harvested at their maximum sugar content. Most of the things we do are designed to keep that level high while in storage waiting to be processed.


Here is a triple axle highway dump semi tractor trailer dumping on the right end dump of the plier. The piler has two end dumps and there are three pilers at our location. Our location is currently unloading over two thousand one hundred trucks a day and piling the beets.

The beet pile is around 250 feet wide at the bottom, 32 feet tall and about five football fields long. There are three piles like that at our location.


The beets are pretty large in size. Here is a size comparison with a soda pop bottle. Last year we saw a 28 pound beet that came down the belt !


The bottom of the beet pile has freezers connected to large culverts with holes in them. This system pumps freezing air into the pile to keep the beets from deteriorating and loosing sugar content.


Here is a look at the giant freezers and the culverts that connect to them.IMG_20101004_010018 Here is a look at  the pile from the ground up.


A view from the back of the piler, looking back at the freezer pipes and the base of the pile.

The Bobcat skid steer below is one of the larger ones, in order to be able to move the heavy galvanized pipes.


3’ diameter culverts give an idea of the size of the beets and the bobcat.


As the sun comes up and outlines the pile next to ours, you can see two large semi’s dumping to the far left that will give you an idea of the size of the piler and the pile.


The three piles are near the center of this photo. For size comparison the interstate I 29 clover leaf is just above to the left.

It is our second year at the beet harvest and it is still quite an adventure !

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Busy, busy, busy ! The three pilers at our piling station unloaded 2100 trucks yesterday !  Something of a new record I think.


Aerial photo of our beet piling location.


Sunday Morning Sunrise on the Beet Piler.


Pre dawn, control panel in the cab. Those are beets on the conveyor belt in the background. They are just starting their climb to the top of the 32’ high pile.


Semi tractor trailer dumping in the left end dump.

Friday, October 1, 2010


A friend wrote a fishing story about Betty & I. It’s quite a tale. He posted it on the oliver forums. Here it is exactly as he wrote it:

Happened Near Jugfest!

Postby meanderthal on Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:15 pm

So I heard of an old Arkansas fisherman who lived on the shores of the mighty Lake Gleason. He and his wife had tried many years for a family with no luck. Finally, after decades they were blessed with twin boys. Caught by surprise, his wife was panicky about names for the boys. "Don't worry" he said, as time passes we'll come up with names for them. As the boys grew a little, the parents noticed that one boy was always positioned to face toward the lake while the other was always turned away from the lake. No matter how they sat the boys down, they would turn to this position. So the fisherman named them Toward and Away.
Almost as soon as the boys could walk, the fisherman started training them to become great jug fishers like himself. He worked with them on their balance on the deck of the boat. He gently taught them the commands of Forward, Backing, Backing faster, Aft, etc. so that they could maintain balance as he maneuvered the boat. As they grew a little older he taught them about the bait procedures, how to tie the bait trap rope to a strong, but flexible limb, how to load the bait, how to secure the onion to the top of the trap, how to remember where the traps were, etc. Later he taught them how to empty the traps into a large bucket of fresh water, etc., when to set the traps, when to harvest.
Next, when they were ready, he taught them how to bait the hooks, how to use the dip net to pull a few bait fish from the bucket, exactly how to put the hook just beyond the dorsal fin so as to leave the fish free to swim and enable it to live for a long time.
By the time they were 8 or 9 he taught them to cast the jugs, how to toss the weight with one had and the jug with the other, etc. Then they learned how to store the jugs in the containers on the boat, how to wrap the line around the jug and how to place the hook into the twine without the sharp hook exposed.
Finally, finally he was ready to let them go to find the jugs, pull in the fish - the big payoff. As his wife stood on the shore in the early morning fog, the man and his sons set out to haul in the fish. After a few hours, his wife thought that they must be having a great day. After a few more hours she became a little concerned. On through the afternoon and dusk, she didn't know what to think, maybe they are setting bait traps? On through the night and next morning. She was just ready to go for help when she saw her old man husband coming slowly up the hill with his head down. She ran to him and asked him what had happened. With tears in his eyes, he said "We were having good luck when we saw a jug standing straight up and bouncing. We knew it had to be a good one. Forward, slow Forward, Backing slow. Then Toward reached over the bow and started pulling the fish up. Then the fish started pulling like you've never seen. Before I knew what was happening, the line got wrapped around his leg, and the fish pulled him into the water. The last we saw he was about 60 yards away and being pulled under", he sobbed.
"Wow that must have been some, some fished", the wife wept. "Yes, but nothing like the one that got Away."
Jeez folks, I'm sorry about that. I was just thinking of Pete being down in my home country learning how to tell stories, and I know he will outdo me from now on.
While the story is really bad, I offer it in honor of the person who brought most of us to Oliver, who started this forum, and kept it lively and informative, Mountainborn.
Please come back and yak with us Larry.

Tom and Karen Whaley
RV: 2008 Oliver
TV: 2008 Honda Ridgeline

Thanks Tom, we’ve got fishing on our minds too !