Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Why Kalamazoo?

 June 3 - 7, 2022
Kalamazoo - Mt Pleasant, Michigan


It is fun to say, and it's on our route to the UP, but the reason we're in Kalamazoo is because this is where my dad was born. Way back in 1921. Fortunately for me, Ezra and Elliott's Grandpa Michael has done research on our family trees, and through his records' access I find some addresses to check out. 

Our 110 mile drive under clear blue skies is nice and easy. We're now in the part of the country where the trees hug the highway, and only through the occasional break of newly planted crops, do we glimpse the Michigan countryside. We've seen so many changes in geography and culture in the last two months!

On the edge of town is Markin Glen County Park with a couple dozen 50 amp FHU concrete sites. Our satellite connects and everything works well. With green grass and lots of trees, it's a very pretty spot. It's a small park with a pond for swimming and fishing, group picnic area, volleyball and tennis courts, and a playground. It's very popular on weekends!

Kalamazoo is a blue collar city, home to Western Michigan University, with active BLM and LGBTQ communities. While many of the neighborhoods are in need of upgrading, they are all clean and well maintained. There's a sense of pride, not just poverty. 

Most of the homes on the streets we're searching have been here since my grandparents' time. The trees are taller, and the paint colors are likely different, but most houses are clapboard siding with sash windows and postage stamp yards. Few have garages. 

In 1910 Grandpa George lived here on McCourtie Street.

The house has similar features to the one George built for the family in Whittier, California. My first home.

At the same time Grandma Luna lived here on Elm Street. 

This is the house I was most looking forward to seeing so I'm bummed that it's no longer here. My grandparents married in 1912, and were living here in 1920. As my dad was born in 1921, it's quite possible this was his first home.

Many of the vintage buildings downtown were here when George and Luna were courting then raising a family.

Rain moves in and out on Sunday. After a nice breakfast at Roxie's, we spend the day cleaning house and getting caught up on laundry. I call our next park where their check-in is a late 4:00 to see if we can arrive early. She suggests I call the next day to be sure our site is open.

Monday morning begins early when our CO2 alarm starts beeping. Thinking it's the battery, Bill's surprised to find it's hard-wired. The reset button doesn't stop it. Eventually removing the fuse resolves the issue. Our rig is hardly air tight so we'll have CW take a look when we return to Arizona.

The 125 mile drive northeast on Hwy 133 - Hwy 66 - Hwy 20 is lovely with scattered showers and lots of green. Construction, traffic and a serious accident on the south side slow us down just a bit in Grand Rapids, but otherwise it's an easy drive. The check-in call confirms our site is available as soon as we arrive.

Soaring Eagle Hideaway is another small, pretty park on a manmade lake, next to the municipal airport. It is also nearly empty, making any need to call ahead seem ridiculous. Alas, check-in is friendly and easy.

We're only here for one night so have a 30 amp site. Unfortunately we have no power to the rig although Bill confirms power at the pedestal <arghh>. Thinking it must be our 30 amp adaptor we move to a 50 amp site to find still no power. I'm confidant Bill can fix what is likely a faulty plug, and after 30 minutes he's my hero! Level concrete pads with green grass spaces and small trees, we're able to connect satellite, and their park WiFi works well.

We enjoy a late lunch at the Green Spot Pub, a local favorite with tasty Irish fare. The comfort of shepherds pie is just what we need :-)

There's no list for this quick stop, and we're early to bed. Light showers overnight make for good sleeping.

Wednesday we're on to Mackinaw City.

Ezra played Jack in his first grade Jack in the Beanstalk.

Reese checking out her new preschool where she'll be starting in the Fall. Too soon!!


20 comments:

  1. How cool to see the homes where your ancestors lived! I think Mike has "unwired" (the stupid things will just not stop beeping!) every single CO2 monitor in every single RV we've every owned(--and as you know, there have been plenty!) We just purchase a battery operated one and we are good to go. Ezra is so tall!!

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    1. It really was great to track down those homes! I should have known it didn't use batteries as it's never needed replacements. He's so tall for us watching him grow up, but he's the tiniest kid in his class. Likely the biggest personality though :-)

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  2. How awesome to track down the family homes. We were in a position to purchase the house Fran's childhood home her dad built. It'll be in the family for another generation.
    Do you have memories of visiting family there?

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    1. How wonderful to have the family home still in the family! No visits :-( George and Luna and the family moved to CA before my parents married, and Luna passed in 1946 so I never got to meet her.

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  3. That is pretty cool to see your grandparents homes/neighborhoods. Kalamazoo is fun to say!

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  4. I have a old photo of my father's parents home in what is now downtown Buffalo, NY. At the time the photo was taken, it was a working dairy farm with a meat market next door! One day we drove into the city and found it, looking much as it did then sans barn and cows!
    We had a number of CO2 soundings one summer and finally discovered it was alarming because my Golden Retriever, Nordic, was sleeping on the floor with his butt right next to it and. evidently, was "outgassing" all night! When I pulled him away and waved my hands in front of the detector, it stopped! It was his favorite place to lay so we had a noisy summer!

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  5. Sure wish someone would do some genealogy I could borrow. Lucky you. Really sorry the house your dad was born into isn't there anymore. Too funny that you have to call ahead for a park that is nearly empty. 4:00 is WAY LATE for a check in limit. So envious of your having an on board handyman. I guess I'd have to call a mobile tech if that happened to me. What did it turn out to be just for future reference? CONGRATS EZRA!! The staring role. I'll be you were perfect in it.

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    1. We so appreciate the work Michael did on our genealogy - ancestry.com is pretty easy to navigate thought so give it a try! Bill's electrical experience has been a real plus! We won't know what the cause was until we get back to Camping World. For now we've just pulled the fuse.

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  6. How fun to see your family’s homes. Dang I can’t believe how grown the grands are getting!

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    1. It happens too fast - like your little meat ball!

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  7. McCourtie Street is on the south side of what we called the Student Ghetto. Those were great old houses for students at WMU to live in. Been to a few WILD parties on those streets. :). Crazy to think your grandparents and your dad were there before my dad was there in the 1940’s. So many memories for Diana and I in that town, the place we met! I truly did get a gal in Kalamazoo-zoo-zoo-zoo-zoo.

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    1. So fun that we all have history in the same town!! All those older homes have such character, I bet they could all tell some amazing stories :-))))

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  8. How nice to visit former homes of your family. Especially nice to see them so well cared for. Too bad about your father's first home. Glad Bill was able to fix the electric issue. It's always something with a house on wheels. Our CO2 started beeping at 12:30 AM three nights ago. Thanks goodness we had a 9 V battery. It plugs into the wall in the hall but there are also three smoke alarms in the general area. John had to get the ladder and stand under each waiting for 30 seconds for the next beep til he finally, three alarms later, discovered it was the one that didn't need a ladder!!! Boy, the grands are growing up fast.

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    1. LOL of course it was the one down low! And at 12:30 am, never during daylight :-) Hard to believe Ezra will be in second grade next year - and the youngest, Oliver is already six months old-too fast!

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  9. Laurel (www.ravenandchickadee.com)June 10, 2022 at 4:25 PM

    It's wonderful that you've been able to see your family's ancestral homes. I'm sorry your dad's home wasn't there, though. The home where my dad and my grandfather were born is in Apalachicola, and it always makes me feel a bit emotional to walk by the house. I like to imagine my dad playing under the big cedar tree in the front yard. He told me he buried treasure there. :-)
    Your grandkids are ADORABLE.

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    1. How lovely that all that family history is close by. Love the treasure, certainly he must have left you a map somewhere :-)))

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  10. It is fun to say. And very cool to find ancestral homes. I cut the sniffer wire after several false alarms.

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    1. So many people have disconnected their alarms you'd think the manufacturers would figure out a better system. After seeing the houses I'm inspired to check out some of their history in SoCal.

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