I Made It – the Fiftieth State!

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Not only is Hawaii the fiftieth state, it was also my fiftieth and final state. I have now been in all the states! The first thing I noticed is that Hawaii has a spicy, flowery smell. On doing some research, I read that part of it is because there is no industry pollution floating around. The other part is that there is a lot of puakenikeni, plumeria, and ginger perfuming the air.

I arrived in Oahu, Hawaii about seven at night and immediately Tom and Marti gave me a new experience … we went to a conclave of food trucks, ordered dinner … and then ate a new-to-me dessert – malasadas (Portuguese doughnut). Malasada specifically means “poorly or undercooked” which refers to the crispy coating and the soft, doughy insides (but you don’t think of them as undercooked). I would compare them to beignets.

Malasadas are thought to come from Sao Miquel, an island in the Azores settled by the Portuguese in 1427. When the Hawaii sugar and pineapple industry needed more workers, they hired many of them from other Pacific Islands, most often from Madeira and the Azores because those people already knew about harvesting sugar cane. They brought the Portuguese malasada with them. The doughnuts are egg-shaped and often filled with a creamy custard, chocolate or coconut filling.

Leonards is the most famous bakery on Oahu for malasadas … and we purchased ours at Leonard’s Malasadamobile.

Yum!

And how I missed taking a picture considering how many hundreds of pictures I’ve taken the past few weeks, I have NO idea.

 

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At the food truck – shelves full of malasadas, ready to fry.

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Another new food I had the very  next morning was an apple banana. They are from the Philippines and are sweeter, shorter and have a thicker skin than the bananas we are used to. They also have three times the Vitamin C that we’re used to and 1 1/2 times the amount of Vitamin A. A great start to a great trip.IMG_0700.jpg

Bay Port

Driving along the shore of Lake Huron, we came to the town of Bay Port.

First we simply walked around and enjoyed the beautiful summer afternoon, listening to the soft breath of the water and losing ourselves in the view.DSC_0133 2.jpgDSC_0131.jpgDSC_0140.jpgThen across the inlet I saw a place called Bay Port Fish Company. Something about it intrigued me and I said to Barb, “Can we go in there?” We didn’t know, but we thought we’d try. We drove out and around to the parking lot.

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I walked in and asked if I could take pictures for my blog and the lady asked the filleters if they would mind. They were so intent on their work, that they didn’t even look up!DSC_0146.jpgDSC_0150.jpgDSC_0151.jpgDSC_0155.jpgDSC_0142.jpgJust a fun visit.

Cheeseburger Fest

The day Barb and I rode up to the tip of the Thumb to see Lake Huron, we found ourselves in the middle of the annual Caseville Cheeseburger Fest which had something to do with Jimmy Buffet, flamingos and a lot of people.

I have not been to a Cheeseburger Fest before and can’t say it was ever on my to-do list, however, just looking at the stuffed flamingoes thrown over the light poles was rather entertaining. I could see no pattern to them – but rather it looked like some little kids were playing and tossed their stuffed birds into the air.

We did eat at one of the main diners in town: Walt’s and to get into the spirit of the day, I ordered a cheeseburger which I can’t even remember the last time I ordered a cheeseburger at a diner. Wow! Truly a good burger. Obviously freshly made.

At that point, we kind of ran out of things to do that were cheeseburgerish and so continued on our way.

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The flamingoes tossed over the light poles made me laugh.

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Everyone had flamingoes in their yards and on their porches.
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And in their store windows.
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Best cheeseburger ever!

 

Lake Huron

I’ve lived a lot of my life by Lake Michigan and a little of my life near Lake Huron.

Last week when I was in Michigan, Barb (great friend) and I headed up to the tip of the thumb. (The lower peninsula of Michigan is in the shape of a mitten and we lived in the thumb. Yes, that’s what it’s called – the Thumb Area.)

On the way we passed the Octagon Barn. You can take tours and Barb said it it’s fascinating inside, but unfortunately it was closed. As we walked along the fence line, a lady from inside (maybe owner) came and talked to us and gave us some suggestions about what days we could come back, but alas …

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So we continued on our journey until we reached the lake in the town of Caseville. The afternoon was warm, but the lake breeze was refreshing.  Pretend you’re there. Pretend you can feel the soft wind blowing your hair. Pretend you can hear the waves against the shore and plop, plop, plop of the boats as they sped across the water. And enjoy.DSC_0109.jpg

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A Chocolate Garden

Last time I drove home from Michigan, I was with a friend; a friend who likes chocolate. So when we saw signs advertising The Chocolate Garden, we were intrigued. We got off the exit and headed down a country road. The place wasn’t too far off the highway, but the rural atmosphere of the location made us think we were in the wrong location.

Then we saw the house with the Chocolate Garden sign. So this time, knowing where I was going, I drove right to it.  Also, there was a lot more activity on the road, with people picking fruit at the neighboring apple orchard.DSC_0060.jpgDSC_0056.jpgThis isn’t just any chocolate shop – they only sell truffles (and a few home decor-type items). The truffles, however, are so good, they’ve been featured on Food Network, and the Chicago Tribune.

To discover which truffles you’d like to buy –  for $2.99, they will allow you to taste test three different kinds. You read what’s in them and then list the three you’d like to try. IMG_0381.jpgIMG_0386.jpgDSC_0059.jpgSo if you’re heading up #94 through Michigan, here’s another place to stop.

Historic Bridges Off of 94

I knew before I left to travel north through Michigan earlier in the week, that I would have some extra time before meeting friends. So before I left,  I checked out the web for some place I could hang out for awhile and take some pictures. I found the Historic Bridges County Park which highlighted  — ahhh … historic bridges.

I knew it was off 94 near Battle Creek, but that’s all. My GPS led me down miles of bumpy roads greatly in need of repair. I thought about turning around, but kept thinking I had to come to the park behind the next bend or the next bend or maybe the next bend –

And then I was there – at a beautiful landscaped area next to the Kalamazoo River. The parking lot was full. People were there mostly to canoe and kayak  down the river. The river itself was so clear, you could distinctly make out every rock on the bottom.

A boardwalk snaked off from the picnic area through fields of flowers and cattails. The afternoon was bright with sunshine enhancing the summer day.

I saw trails going back into the woods, but I stayed near the park area where four of the bridges were located.

If you’re traveling north on 94, and you want a place to hike, or picnic, or just sit and watch the lazy river go by, here’s your stop. And, I think there’s a playground area, too. I didn’t go in the restroom, but other reviewers say they are large and clean. I was glad I took the time to stop.

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The glass-like clear Kalamazoo River.
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Another view of the river.

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As I was coming back from viewing the bushes, I was standing here on the boardwalk – when all of a sudden two HUGE branches cracked away from a tree. I don’t know if there was a storm the night before or what, but they were big and then just hanging there.

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This sign almost made the entire stop worth while!