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Saturday 28th October

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Sunday 29th October

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Monday 30th October

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Tuesday, 31st October - Halloween 

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Wednesday 1st November. 

 

Saturday 28th October

We were up very early, booked out and set out in the taxi for the airport. After about 4 kms, I realised that I'd left Benny Bruin in the room. Of course, I couldn't go without him, so it was back to the hotel. The driver didn't mind - of course not, more money, but Benny was pretty miffed at being left behind. The girls on the front desk at the hotel wondered why I'd come back, but when they saw Benny they could understand.   They also said they would have looked after him well if I'd left him.   As if!     We set out once again in the taxi, picked up our tickets and we were off on our three and a half hour flight to Toronto to meet our girl (and some other strange people as it turned out).   I sat next to one of the biggest men you could get on a plane. We had to have the seat dividers up so that he could sit there. He was HUGE. We were served a very untasty breakfast. Not up to Australian standards. However, it was a good smooth flight and that's more important.  No good going down with a full stomach. We could see the lakes as we flew over.   We arrived in Toronto at 12.10 after a two hour time change - again, and guess what - there was Airport.jpg (49395 bytes)Dave Bramble holding up a 'Jenny and David Smart' sign - of course. We didn't know Dave was in the USA.  Tracy had kept this secret well and they thought they would surprise us - they did.  Out came Tracy and Lisa laughing their heads off.  After some 'rearranging' we all fitted in Tracy's car for the trip to Detroit. It took us about four hours or so to drive to Detroit, to Lisa's house.   It was a lovely day, but lots of the leaves in this area had fallen so it wasn't quite as pretty as I had hoped. We did see lots of red barns though so that made up for it.  About half way we stopped off at an apple farm for some cider and a comfort stop. I won't mention the toilets!   Probably some of the worst I've seen.    As we approached Detroit, we crossed into the USA.  The fellow here on the check point was so slack.   Tracy told him we'd flown in from Calgary, but he didn't seem interested - never even checked our passports - only Tracy's.  We hoped this would not cause trouble later and it didn't, but he was very slack.  We could have been spies or something.    Lisa's home is a pretty little place, set amongst trees. It reminded me a lot of Mylor.   She'd had her house painted, kitchen redone and had set up a lovely bedroom especially for us, even hired beautiful furniture for our room.   As well as all of this, there was a lovely gift basket sitting on the dresser for us.   We were so spoilt.      We had a rest then got ready for a slap-up wedding anniversary dinner, paid for by Tracy, at Morel's, a top class restaurant nearby. It was a delicious meal and during the evening I finally realised why the tips are so important to Americans. Their wages are disgusting. Waiters and waitresses are paid $2.75 an hour plus tips. On a good night they would make a fair bit, but what about other times? How do they live?  We then took David back to the house as he'd blown out and Dave, Lisa, Tracy and I headed out to the Rainbow Room - a dance club supposedly like the Mars Bar, but give me dear old Adelaide any time. This was pretty awful - dreadful music and so smoky. We didn't stay long.   When we got home I fell into bed and straight to sleep. Quite a long and exciting day!   It was so great to see Tracy again and meet Lisa, not to mention 'putting up' with Dave.

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Sunday 29th October

Tracy and Lisa took Dave to the airport - just imagine, he'd come all that way just to see me for a few hours - well.... I went for a short walk around the area, which is very pretty. Much more peaceful and attractive than I'd imagined, being so near a big place like Detroit - about 15 miles out.  Tracy phoned through to tell us to be ready for pick up as Lisa had lined up in a queue for breakfast at the Original Pancake House.   When we got there the queue was still very long. It is the place to go on a Sunday morning after attending church. Beautifully dressed African American people. Gorgeous kids. We had the most delicious brunch. Here we tasted grits for the first time - we thought they tasted Hayride.jpg (61706 bytes)like sago.  I loved this place.  In fact, I love the way Americans decorate their restaurants - usually on a theme.  It is more of an experience than just a place to eat. Great!!    We then drove out into the countryside to Blake's Farm, where we walked through a cornfield maze, patted animals and generally had lots of laughs. It was time then for a hay ride out to choose our pumpkins for Halloween - three of them.  Lisa, Tracy and David looked so funny hauling their Pumpkin gathering.jpg (81513 bytes)pumpkins around.  I just..well..watched and took photos.    Then we set out for Franklin Cider Mill.   The police had closed one of the roads we wanted to go on and we remembered that Al Gore was campaigning in Detroit that day. I said he was pioneering, but I meant electioneering!  We had just come to another closed road when I spotted a police escort coming nearby. They crossed a bridge about 300 metres from us so Tracy pulled over for us to watch and I jumped out to photograph Al Gore's bus and shout "Go Al!"   We were real Al Gore fans - us girls anyway!  It was quite exciting - well I got excited anyway.    We eventually got to Franklin Mill, a great place. It was as it sounds, an old mill and they make all sorts of apple 'thingies' there. We bought apple cider, sliced apples with coconut dripped all over them (!), donuts and 'stuff' for dinner that night. Sat on the bank of the creek running through the area, eating donuts. The afternoon was glorious, weather-wise, and it was such fun to be doing all of these harvest and Halloween things. When we got back to Lisa's the others made a fire while I prepared the food, not that it took much preparing, and we enjoyed a 'picnic dinner' out by this wonderful fire. It was great. We sat out there dining and wining for quite a while until the cold drove us in. What a wonderful day!!  I almost felt like an American except that I didn't talk funny.

A  generous OGD smokes the sausage for us all!

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Monday 30th October

We woke to a beautiful morning.   Once again I went for a walk to have a look around Lisa's area.    It was lovely there - so peaceful.    We left at 11 a.m. for Frankenmuth.  On the way we stopped off at Tony's for brunch, a tradition in the area.  This is one amazing place - I've never seen such disgustingly huge meals.   David had bacon and eggs and they serve a pound of bacon in each serve!   Mine wasn't too bad - shrimps and salad, but still too big.  We all felt stuffed after this.    We then drove on to Bronner's, "the biggest Christmas shop in the world", and believe me, it was huge.  Had a good look around - all five acres of it!  They had some gorgeous Christmas things and some gross ones.  They even had a hot dog ornament.   It was disgusting and I would have bought it to take home for a laugh but it cost about $20!!  They make Christmas ornaments of anything in this country.   Then we drove on to Frankenmuth, which is a very pretty little German village.  It reminded me of Hahndorf, but much, much prettier.   They had a wonderful Pumpkin carvers inc.jpg (49392 bytes)fudge shop, which we just had to explore.  
It was time then to drive back to Lisa's in heavy traffic.   Lisa then had a sleep as she had to start work at the MGM Casino at 10 p.m.    Tracy, David and I bravely attacked our pumpkins.  We very carefully carved our patterns.  Tracy's and David's were great, but mine - well...        Actually, mine did look good with the candle in it, but before that I was really disappointed.  It won't surprise anyone to know that I carved a crow and GO CROWS in it.  The first one done in the USA.  Pumpkins.jpg (11229 bytes)David's was a funny face (no, not a self portrait) and Tracy's a wonderful haunted house and crooked old trees - very adventurous and creative.   We thought we were pretty smart, I can tell you.    After Lisa got up and admired our pumpkins it was time to get 'toffed up' and follow Lisa to the Casino, where we were given MGM cards, which got us into the buffet for a delicious, free meal.  Lisa also gave me $20 to play the pokies.   She really was the most wonderful host and didn't forget anything.   We watched her working at her craps table for a while, but she wasn't allowed to speak to us or anything.    It is very pressured and she is so small that it must be hard for her to reach across the table for the chips.    It doesn't seem the right sort of job for Lisa - she seems more the type to work with children in some way, as she adores kids and I am sure they adore her too.   Perhaps she should come to work at Kangarilla Primary School when I retire!     After a time of not much luck, Tracy and I 'got on a roll' and had a lot of fun but David wasn't very happy, in fact he was a bit grumpy!  We finally made our way home at 1 a.m.    Lisa had to work until 6 a.m.!

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Tuesday, 31st October - Halloween

We all had a sleep in, then I cooked Jenny's special (not Tony's) for breakfast.   It didn't have a pound of bacon on each plate!   I sat on my glasses while I was getting dressed and a lens popped out.    Lucky that was all.     It was a gorgeous day again.  We drove to Sam's Club for a few things - an amazing warehouse type of place - huge!   In fact, everything about the place was huge.  Huge tubs of things to eat, huge collections of everything - just. huge!   We then got my glasses fixed and went on to the Ford Museum.   As you can imagine, this is a great place.    It was absolutely huge and so interesting.  There they have on display former Presidents' cars, including the one John Kennedy was in when shot in Dallas.   There are huge trains, heaps and heaps of cars, motor bikes, etc. etc.   The display depicting cars through the ages was very interesting as Henry Ford first designed cars with steering on the right, as we have, but then changed to the left.    I wondered just when and why he decided to change to the left and if they drove on the left all those years ago.    I couldn't find this out but I thought it interesting.   We wandered around here for ages, then decided it was eating time again, so we made our way to the hot dog bar, but before we did, I made myself a red plastic Meyers Wiener Mobile, which was a sight to see.    Definitely a souvenir worth having!   Then it was time for real wieners for a very late lunch.    Following lunch we wandered through the rest of the museum, which has displays of general living utensils and electrical appliances, etc.  When we'd had enough we drove back home in heavy traffic.  Lisa had arranged for us to go to friends of hers for Trick or Treat, as there are no children in her area, but at the last minute they could not have us, so our hopes for a fun night were dashed.    However, after much thinking Lisa came to the rescue!    She came up with the idea of loading our pumpkins on her ute/truck, taking our sweets and party bags and going to find some kids. Trick or Treat on Wheels!   We drove to an area where Lisa used to live and where she knew there would be lots of 'trick or treaters'.   On the way we stopped off at a display of Halloween 'stuff' in a lady's front yard.  We had a chat with her and she said she had so much fun with this, seeing the kids (and adults) and their reactions.   It was all such fun.   We set up our pumpkins, lit the candles, filled the treat bags and had a ball.   People were really surprised to see us,  They were a bit hesitant at first, but when they heard our accents, they came across to see what we were up to.  It was really great.  When we'd run out of treats, we drove around the streets looking at the decorations on the houses.   People go to such a lot of bother and the lit up lanterns look a treat.   Some of the houses' decorations were unbelievable - in fact some were downright scary.   One place gave me the creeps as I am sure they were into witchcraft, but most people are just out to have a happy time. We bought pizza on the way home and had dinner back at Lisa's.

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Wednesday 1st November.

Once again, a beautiful day.  We really were being spoilt, weather-wise - and other ways.   Our plan had been to set out north on this day, but we decided to stay another day.  We were having such a good time and Lisa wanted us to stay on.    Who could argue with such a great host?    The weather was absolutely wonderful.   I 'pottered' and David went for a walk while Tracy caught up with some work on her lap-top.     My hair had been driving me mad and both girls thought David look very scruffy so we all set out for Lisa's barber.  I wasn't sure about this, but it turned out well.   David looked a real toff when she had finished with him.   Then it was my turn.    When I saw all of my hair on the floor I was very worried, but I liked it and then I remembered that when I went to see Tracy in England years ago, I did the same thing, so it must be something I do when I'm let loose.    It was certainly much easier to look after.   Then it was time for something to eat.    We all had 'make our own' burgers at Fudruckers.   Try saying that in a hurry!    This was another fantastic eating place.    This one was on a music theme and had music memorabilia all over the walls and hanging from the ceiling.   We sat in the Elvis booth.   After lunch we headed for home and stopped off to do some shopping for dinner as I was craving a home cooked meal, even if I had to cook it.   When we got home we all collapsed and had a snooze.     I went for another walk around the area, along a 'bush track' in another direction.    As I got onto the road which runs past Lisa's house, there were very thick leaves on the ground, so of course, what do I do?    Fall flat on my bottom in front of about six cars of people waiting at the intersection for the lights to change. Nobody came to my rescue and luckily I didn't hurt myself, only my pride, so up I got and trotted off home.    Well it was probably more of a pained stagger than a trot, but I made it.    I cooked a normal sized delicious dinner, and then we watched "Birdcage" which must be one of the funniest films ever.  Another great day. 

Tomorrow we hit the road again!

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 Go to Thursday 2nd November

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