Kids To Maine -Part 1 – 8/2/2018

I promised my brother Hiatt that I would take his kids home after the summer to Maine. I was looking forward to a family vacation in the north east. I had not really spent any time there, so it would be a cool family trip. But two days after I told him I would do it, we found out about Corvin’s Freshman orientation and sports tryouts. This meant that Corvin and Danelle were not going. I didn’t like splitting up, but Sonora and I would go to Maine with Sean and Michaela and have a great time. Later, my mom offered to join us, so it became 5 of us headed out!

Michaela can’t leave without holding Coat Rack first!

Sean posing in the kitchen.

Eventually the day came, we left on a Thursday afternoon from St. Louis. Dad brought the kids and grandma to St. Louis to save us some driving. My plan was to have at least one interesting stop for an hour or more each day of the long drive so all of us didn’t go crazy driving in the van all day! So we headed east quickly on I-70. All of these stops were planned by looking at the proposed route and asking Google what there was to do. I hoped that I chose wisely. So we first got food at Sonic in Indianapolis. We were all ready to eat, but we probably took too long at dinner…

I’m not sure what was going on in the back of the van, but the girls were having fun!

The fun continued into our dinner stop.

I did my best to entertain Sean along the way since the girls were focused on each other. I hope he likes the silly photos, cause they don’t make me look any better!

I eventually got them packed up and headed across town for our first official fun stop of the trip. I had us going to The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres. It looked like a cool place to get out and walk around. It was so much fun, we were disappointed we didn’t get there sooner to see more of it. The kids (and mom and I) had a fantastic time!

The world’s craziest basketball court that the kids couldn’t get enough of. Its right off the parking lot.

Some sort of pseudo slide that the kids took turns going down.

This is a skeleton that is in parts on the ground. You can jump from part to part.

I couldn’t get mom to jump.

Looking across the lake.

Aliens, or rings suspended in the air?

More of the basketball court.

The kids slept great cause I kept them up late driving. Then being the horrible task master that I am, I got them up early to start the next day. We needed to get to the middle of New York to be on time. So we started another long day of driving. We stopped in Walmart for some supplies and I found some fun…

Michaela-saurus-rex

Sonora-saurus-rex

Hungry, Hungry, Hogan

Today I had two stops up my sleeve. The first was a very cool park on lake Erie aptly named “Erie Bluffs State Park” We only went through a small corner of Pennsylvania, but the park was there on the lake and it was perfect. The nature was a great break from the road. We all hiked and acted silly along with catching frogs.

Group selfie

Sean riding a strange tree.

Michaela in the tree.

Sonora found a different one.

Grandma getting funky!

Michaela caught this frog.

Just down the road was Presque Isle State Park that was also on my interesting list. Its a small strip of land that comes out into the lake. I figured we could drive out there and view it. It had at least 11 different beaches on it and we couldn’t resist!

Sonora and Michaela playing on the beach.

Enjoying the light house.

I got a funny picture of Sean when we stopped for lunch.

The last day of our drive to Topsham, Maine was still fun. The kids were getting anxious to see mom, but I kept them busy.

Our stop today wasn’t going to be much for the kids, but I thought my mom would appreciate it. Cooper’s Cave in Glens Falls, New York is where James Fenimore Cooper was inspired to write The Last of the Mohicans. I’ve been there before with Danelle, so I knew what to expect and approximately where it was. It was only going to be a 30 minute stop as its very industrialized now, but still worth a moment. The kids put up with it quite well and just enjoyed being out of the van for a bit.

Sean and Michaela on the ledge.

Mom at the overlook.

Its not a selfie if you use a tripod and a timer. Here we all are!

I made a few more random stops at things that looked interesting…

Like this covered bridge. Of course we drove through it.

And a a cow statue for mom 🙂

Driving north on I-95, as we crossed into Maine from New Hampshire, we encountered a traffic jam. A bathroom break was needed, so I got off the highway in search of a gas station. To make a long story short, we found one back in New Hampshire and one highway exit south. When we got back on the highway, the next exit after our original one was a rest area that would have been a much better choice.

Eventually we got the kids home to mom. Sonora decided to spend the night with Michaela. Mom and I found the hotel and rested until the next day…

Hogan Haake

 

July – 2018

Since we have a new cat, Sushi, there will be too many photos of her. Its hard not to like a kitten!

There is no such thing as too much Brian Waldrop. Which one is real?

They moved the bike rack at work, but didn’t do such a great job re-attaching it…

I was worried one of our solar panels broke. Then realized that a firework had to have landed on it. Eventually the rain washed it off.

Hogan Haake

Stream Team Annual Picnic – 7/28/2018

Every summer we all look forward to the annual trek to Meramec State Park near Sullivan, Missouri, for the Stream Team Picnic.  The weather is often nasty hot, but there are plenty of opportunities to go for a swim or float on a tube in the Meramec River and there is lots of shade at the picnic grounds.  The picnic also features a great potluck (get stuffed like it’s Thanksgiving!), awards for volunteers who have gone above and beyond, games and crafts for the kiddos, and the biggest raffle I’ve ever seen.

The raffle for 2018 had something for everyone!

 

This year, Stream Teams United helped lead the event, so that means that the Haake family helped out more than in past years.  Our garage was the home for the raffle collection and much of the food before the event.  The assembly of the raffle packages was a fun afternoon!  Hogan was one of the grill masters, with help from Sonora.  And the whole family helped out with random tasks during the picnic, like blowing up the inner tubes for the float, setting up the kids games, and handing out T-shirts.

We’ll be back again next year, helping Stream Teams United to continue the decades-long tradition of the Stream Team Picnic.  Maybe we’ll see you there!

Danelle

2018 MR340 – 7/26/2018

If you haven’t heard of the MR340, you should. Its a 340 mile paddling race from Kansas City to St. Louis on the Missouri  river. I’ve done it a few times and written about it on here. This year, I didn’t paddle, but I did volunteer at the Klondike ramp and of course go to the finish line after work on Friday to celebrate.

First, our time at Klondike. I was scheduled from 6 pm to midnight on Thursday night at Klondike ramp. Corvin couldn’t make it, but Sonora came out with me. We started by going to the finish line in St. Charles as its mostly on the way. I have tons of friends from the race and one of them, Jon Marble was about to finish. I was looking forward to welcoming him at the finish line. He had a rough race, having his boat broken half way through. He fixed it and continued on determined to finish the race.

Before he came in, I got a frantic message from his wife, Colleen. She asked me to call her ASAP. I called and got voice mail and called a second time to no avail. I messaged her that the number didn’t work. I gave her my number and she called me. When caller ID showed up, she was off by 1 number. Turns out that her son was in a car accident (not his fault) and she couldn’t make it to the finish line. I assured her that I would drop everything and make sure Jon knew all was safe.

At this point, I contacted JoJo to let her know that I was going to be late and what was going on. JoJo and I planned to hand out Klondike Bars at the Klondike ramp. Since she was off work, she did all the leg work with dry ice and getting the Klondike bars. So she headed to the ramp ahead of me.

Back at the finish line, I  greeted Jon and let him know what was going on. I also managed to perform a live stream of the finish on Facebook so Colleen could watch at the hospital while she waited for results (no serious injuries). It was a bittersweet way to finish the race, but I helped keep them all together!

Jon coming in strong for a finish.

Jon at the finish line.

Once Jon was in and settled, another close friend of his was there to help out. So I headed out to the Klondike ramp to assist paddlers till midnight.

The feel at the ramp was electric. All of the people here are just 27 miles from finishing an epic adventure. This is the last rest/supply before they go on to finish their race!

At the ramp, our job was to help the racers out. Here, you can see JoJo carefully pulling out a boat.

Here are two safety boats. These motorboats often spend the whole week following the race down the river and helping out paddlers that get into trouble.

Time for a quick beverage break. It looks like we moved in with these three chairs, but we are here for a long time 🙂

Once we gave away the last Klondike bar, the only sensible thing to do was pour the dry ice into the river and stand in the fog.

And of course, the race wouldn’t be complete without going back to the finish line on Friday to celebrate a great race!

Here is a 12 person stand up paddle board that finished the race!

Mandy and Di are a force to be reckoned with. They even get their own signs!

One of the coolest things about this race is the any boat and participate as long as its paddled or pedaled. In this case, it was both. Its the first paddle wheel boat I’ve ever seen, and very cool!

If you have never done the race, come out and volunteer, you’ll be hooked!

Hogan Haake

 

 

St. Gen Ride – 7/21/2018

Eric and I met up for an easy Saturday morning motorcycle ride. We decided to meet at an old Blockbuster (now defunct) that he used to work at. There, we would meet his sister Alisa and ride together to St. Genevieve, Missouri for breakfast. Why St. Gen, cause its far away and gives us a place to ride to.

So I’m riding along on the highway doing my own thing and getting over 50 MPG. Suddenly, I’m passed by Eric going much faster. So I kept up with him and followed him all the way to our meeting spot. Why this part of the story is important is because Eric often complains that he doesn’t get that great of fuel economy. He used to get great numbers, but the longer he has had his bike, the worse it gets. When we got to the meeting spot, I was down to just 40 MPG due to keeping up with Eric. I did my best to explain to him that his crazy riding (cause motorcycles are so much fun) is the reason it has gone down!

From Left to right: Eric’s Yamaha FZ-07, Alisa’s Honda CB500, Hogan’s Suzuki V-Strom 650

Once we met up, we had a nice country ride down rural Missouri highways until we got into St. Gen. From there, we headed to a Huddle House. As luck would have it, it was closed for renovations. Eric guided us to a McDonald’s for breakfast. I actually like  McDonald’s, but was looking for some small town food. So I told Eric and Alisa to hang on. I approached a stranger and asked if he knew of a local diner for breakfast that wasn’t a chain. He pointed us to Buddy’s Place Restaurant (585 Ste Genevieve Dr, Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670).

Buddy’s was the perfect small town breakfast. The buffet had more stuff than I should have eaten, but that didn’t stop me! I don’t normally take photos of my food, but this was an exception!

Eventually we parted ways. Eric and I took the ferry across to Illinois and Alisa went back home solo.

Hogan Haake