Kids To Maine -Part 2 – 8/2/2018

Colleen invited us to stay in Maine two days so she could show us around where she and the kids live. We were excited to see some of the highlights of Maine. Mom and I stayed in a motel while Sonora spent two nights with Michaela. The next morning driving over to Colleen’s house, we stopped to check out a few roadside attractions that we drove past the night before.

 

 

We spent the morning at their house hanging out. I managed to turn several horses in the display around and get a photo for Hannah. (Its a running joke with my sister to send her pictures of horse butts)

We decided to go out to lunch before our day’s activity. We went to Sea Dog brewing company. Mom and I ate there the night before but didn’t mind going back as it was quite good!

Here’s a selfie of the group. From left to right, Sean, Colleen, Travis (Colleen’s Husband), Mom (Grandma Pat), Sonora, Hogan (me).

Eventually, we went out to “Land’s End”. Its a shop and the end of a long row with a beach. We hung out on the beach for a long time and walked all through the shop.

One interesting note is a product called Moxie. Its a regional soft drink that has a cult following. Cult because of its bitter taste. I purchased one. Sonora and I could each only manage a single sip before handing it away to Michaela to finish. I wished I had a steel brush to clean my tongue of the aftertaste!

2018 Moxie can.jpg

We had a great time. Eventually, we finished up and headed back to Topsham. For dinner, we were invited to Pete and Mary Beth’s house (Colleen’s parents). They showed us around their amazing house. It is set right on the edge of public land that won’t ever be developed. This gives them a giant space to explore and hike in year round. On the edge of their property, Pete built a magnificent tree house for Michaela and Sean to play in! I’m impressed!

For the dinner that they hosted, Pete did to me what I do to others, over served my drink. He offered whiskey and I accepted, but he poured the glass nearly full. I didn’t finish it, but it was a laughing point for the meal. It was a great night enjoying their hospitality and seeing their genuine love of their grand kids being home safe!

The second day was a day at the beach. Pete and Mary Beth gave us two different tents and some chairs to use since we planned to be there all day. We packed a cooler with lunch and drinks and headed out together in my van. Once we got set up, we took turns hanging out at the tents to watch our stuff.

Sonora with our two tents.

Looking down the beach.

Looking out at the water

Sean relaxing

I missed Danelle, so I left her a note (that I took a photo of and texted to her) in the sand.

Mom may have borrowed my message for dad 🙂

Its an old BAK (Biking Across Kansas) joke that Holly would write “Giggles was here” at the SAG stops. We added it to the sand and sent her a photo.

The last set of photos from our day at the beach came from an outing with mom. Before we left, dad told me to push mom a bit out of her comfort zone, that she would do nearly anything. So I took him up on it and took mom for a hike over to see a large rock outcropping at the beach. 

This is the view from the top of the rock. The specks on the beach is where our stuff is set up.

Mom at the top of the rock.

It was a hard climb up and worse down because we were both barefoot! Beyond this, we all took turns playing in the sand. Sonora, Michaela, and Colleen loved the 68 degree water and I tolerated it as long as I had to. I was surprised how busy this beach was for a Monday!

We went back to Colleen’s house for dinner that night. She took us for a walk around the property including an abandoned railroad track.

We were sad to say goodbye, but it was time. We packed up Sonora back into the van and headed back to the motel. We finished the second phase of this trip and now our party was down to three people.

Hogan Haake

 

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

 

St. Louis 6th Grade All Suburban Orchestra

Sonora was recommended by her music teacher to participate in the St. Louis All Suburban Orchestra. This involved her learning new music on her own and going to several practices after hours with the rest of the group. We were lucky that my parents were able to come in from Kansas City for the weekend to see the concert!

It didn’t take dad long to fall asleep 🙂

And the concert!

Later that evening, we all visited Henry and Carol’s house to play games.

And before they left, mom had some fun with Coat Rack.

A great weekend of music and family!

Hogan Haake

Mom and Hannah in STL – 11/4/2017

Hannah likes the St.Louis Blues and wants to see them in person. So we got tickets so she could see a game in person. As an added bonus, my mom came in town with her. I wasn’t going to let mom miss a good time, so we had lots of parallel plans to keep us busy!

Hannah and Danelle

Left to Right: Danelle, Hannah, Laura Berlin

Danelle had some things to do, so we took a side trip to Grafton, IL twice. There was an event, something like Tugboat Days going on. So there was a river tug available for tours. We went up Saturday and found out the tickets had sold out.  Not one to let something that get me down, we took a minor tour of Pere Marquette State Park and the fantastic views it offered.

It was decided that we would go back early Sunday morning and see the tug before mom went home. So the next day, we took the ferry out to look at the tug.

And because it was Sunday, we all got the tour. Here are some photos of a tugboat.

Supplies

One of the twin 16 cylinder engines.

Mechanic’s workbench.

Twin generators always on for power.

A few spare parts.

From the pilot house looking back.

Looking from an upper deck down to the front

Wires used to tie the barges together.

Selfie of our group

The boat we’re about to tour

From the tour, it sounds like life as a deckhand is mostly about scraping paint and re-painting all day. Maybe I don’t want that job 🙂

Hogan Haake

Painting Hiatt’s House – 9/2/2017

Like any good fool, I often volunteer myself for work that I don’t have to do. In this case, my brother Hiatt was talking about his house needing to be painted. I suggested that he schedule it for Labor Day weekend so we had an extra day. He of course obliged and I was not going to paint for my holiday weekend. Anything for family and friends! Danelle and Corvin couldn’t make it due to Corvin’s soccer schedule (and we could have used her help!).

Of course if you’re getting help from me, I’m going to do things my way within reason. Here are some photos of the events.

We had a fun and hard weekend and got most of the house painted.

Hogan Haake