2010 Michigan Suburban trip

June 15

Today our travels will be taking us to Grand Rapids where we will be be cultured at the Frederick Meijer Gardens. It's a normal lazy morning. There's a good chance of rain. The Suburban might earn its keep today.

We left the house at 10:04 and an hour later we were at the gardens. Some road construction on I-196 had us detour a ways through the city but the GPS helped us out. We got a minor sprinkle or two but nothing bad.

I'm not much of a flower or sculpture person. When I look at flowers and such it means nothing to me. I have no appreciation for them, but I do try to appreciate the effort someone put into it. But I still like visiting places like this. There's always things to see...and pins to root out! Just as we got to the entrance it started raining. Perfect timing. After using her scooter the other day Debby is doing the wheelchair today.

We bought our tickets, used the bathroom, browsed the gift shop, and found some pins. I also found some Flipnotes notepads. I bought some for me and my dad. It'll be great for taking trip notes. They had an art display in a side room that we visited first. The kind of artsy fartsy stuff that looks like a kid would drag out of a junkyard. A lady didn't see the small 'no taking pictures' sign and the 80-year old security guard had to get onto her. We chuckled. What's the big deal about taking pictures of scrap metal?

The next obvious stop in the gardens tour was the greenhouses. I liked the framed structures of the greenhouses and the different ways they had plumbed water sources for the plants. I like the mechanicalness of things. They had a room of carnivorous plants which was cool.

From one of the greenhouses a path leads outside around a fountain and back into another section of the greenhouses. By now the rain had stopped so we meandered down the path. As I walked down the path I had an epiphany.

When my former girlfriend Sarah lived with me she had made some garden areas around the house. She has been gone for over a year now and her gardens have grown wild. I keep thinking I need to do something with them but I never come up with any good ideas. Walking down the pavered path I suddenly thought I could put pavers down where the garden behind the house is and have a patio area. Hmmmmmm...this could lead to something. So now, besides being cultured, I would look around the gardens for ideas I could use at my house.

Looping back in from the outside we came to a large jungle rooom with bridges and waterfalls and such.

When the greenhouses have been walked through the tour leads outdoors. They have quite a few outside sculptures and things to see that are accessed by a maze of paved roads. There is a tram train ride that can be ridden but we decided to walk the routes...probably less than a mile all together.

I enjoyed this multi-tiered pond display. I'd almost do some sort of pond thing at my house but I'm afraid it would be a lot of maintenence. I saw a garter snake but I wasn't fast enough to catch it.

After 2 1/2 hours we had looked at all the displays, so we headed out. It was now close to two in the afternoon and we were hungry.

Meijer Gardens pictures

We drove around for awhile looking for somewhere to eat. We didn't want a big meal because tonight John is cooking steak. We found a Jimmy Johns sandwich shop. I'd seen their semi-annoying commercials on TV but never eaten at one before. The sandwich was great. I think I sucked down two refills of coke.

Now that we had food for energy we headed downtown to check out some old houses on the Heritage Hills Home tour.

We found a parking spot in the historic district and started our tour. I love older homes...especially the large Victorian style with turrents and towers. This area is near the college and a lot of these homes have been converted into multi-unit rentals. There was a beautiful 3600 sq ft house for sale...for only $230K. We were surprised at that price...we would have guessed higher.

We walked for ~10 blocks then took a break. John and Mike went across the street to a convenience store for pop and cigarettes. It might have been a good thing Debby's ankle was broken. With all the beautiful homes around she could have walked us boys ragged.

Heritage Homes tour pictures

After our break we completed a circle back at the Surburban. The weather had been cloudy with a nice breeze, but now puffy clouds threatened us with a chance of rain. We headed back to I-196 via another detour that looped us through town and over some scenic bridges. Afternoon traffic was slow in spots but eventually we headed back to Glenn the same way we had came.

After taking showers and switching to Hefner mode it was time for supper. Master Chef Potter grilled some award winning steaks. As we like to say...that cow didn't die in vain. Debby made chicken and dumplings as well. They were the basis for an excellent supper that we enjoyed on the deck. It was so good that when it started to sprinkle no one stopped eating. Every night so far we've had an excellent supper.

After supper we sat in the enclosed porch for a while and watched the rain. Then we retired to the lower living room and played some Wii bowling. Debby bowled from her chair and actually did very good. It was another good day!

119 miles.

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