What I Did for My Summer Vacation: Guest Blog by Nick Rhodehamel

Mid-summer—before kids start football, soccer, or whatever practice—is vacation time. And for us, it’s no different. Agree with me or not; I think California’s a great place to visit. But as with any visit, the best part often is going home again. So that’s what we did for our summer vacation.

We went to Chicago and Michigan to see people and sights. Botanical, pathological, horticultural, and gardening interests were for the most part forgotten. So please forgive or ignore the off topic, non gardening photos that follow.

Chicago skyline from Shedd Aquarium looking north.

After arriving in Chicago, the outside temperature reading in our rental car was 106° F. It’s true that this temperature was measured immediately over radiating pavement, but—whatever—it was plenty hot. Later in that evening, along Michigan Avenue, we passed an Apple store that flooded the surrounding pavement with cool air as patrons walked in and out. We stepped inside to experience it, and with the 20° or so temperature differential, it was like walking into a refrigeration unit.

Shedd Aquarium.

Amusing t-shirt in aquarium gift shop.

The next morning after watching a weather report to the effect that it would remain hot forever and never rain again, we went to the Shedd Aquarium. The Shedd currently has an exhibit of jellyfish; it ends 28 May 2012. Our past experiences with the Shedd have been that you simply walk into the aquarium, pay your fee, and see what you want to see. But be warned. Whether it was the special exhibit or not, on the Thursday we visited, we spent roughly 90 minutes in line, and the weather people were right—it was still very hot.






The exhibit is worth the wait though. I know nothing about jellyfish, and watching and following little children in a crowed space, I was unable to read most of the display information. But I had come somewhat prepared, having read an account of the exhibit 2 days earlier in the Wall Street Journal. (Unfortunately, the article is available through the following link to nonsubscribers for 7 days only— http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052702303812104576439860779713324-lMyQjAxMTAxMDAwMTEwNDEyWj.html). If you’re not a subscriber, read it while you can. That afternoon, driving east out of Chicago, it began to rain, and for us anyway, the heat broke.

Rolling on the river.

Crystal clear river.

Small small-mouth bass and river stones.

Marsh milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).

Cattails (Typha latifolia).

Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis).

Cattails and white pine (Pinus strobus).

The rest of our trip was mild and pleasant. We spent our time in western lower Michigan with family and friends. One morning we took a float trip in a canoe down a shallow, crystal clear river. We figured our children (3 and 7 years old) were too young to paddle, so they sat amid ships and watched the passing scenery. By the time we were half way done, they were bored. The old school, Dickensian method of child rearing is almost certainly best for keeping children’s minds focused.

Evening at the lake.

Evening at the lake.

Evening at the lake.

Evening at the lake.

Storm clouds.

Traffic on the lake.

Nice windows and nice hydrangea.

For ourselves, we adults spent an inordinate amount of time looking at the sun going down or at nothing much at all. All in all, it was a pretty good vacation.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at 1:44 pm and is filed under Original Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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11 Responses to “What I Did for My Summer Vacation: Guest Blog by Nick Rhodehamel”

  1. Jamie Shafer said:

    Really enjoyed your summer vacation account. Nice pics and sweet & simple text, but then I am a patsy for anyone’s photos including my own (see website above: Nature or Travel. You might enjoy my garden photos, especially those taken at several Garden Conservancy open gardens in my area.

    Thanks for your guest column.

    • Nick said:

      Dear Jamie,

      Thanks for the link to your website. I looked at a few pics. Connecticut in winter, I think;they’re very nice—reminds me of home. I’ll explore more later.

  2. Rose Speake said:

    Just wanted to say I enjoyed reading your blog and looking at the great pics.

    • Nick said:

      Dear Rose,

      Glad you like them. Please post again.

  3. Mary Ellen said:

    It was a real pleasure viewing your pictures. They made me stop and forget everything else. Amoung so many great scenes, and although it’s difficult to pick one out as the best, I still was overcome with the clear lake water. When was the last time we saw that? Thanks for sharing.

    • Nick said:

      Dear Mary Ellen,

      Thanks for taking the time to write. I’m happy that you liked the pics. The clear water is really beautiful. For me, it was a very pleasant trip down the river.

  4. Patt Rose said:

    Thank you for sharing those awesome pictures. You are greatly appreciated for all the you do. God bless you and your family. I hope to continue to admire your work on-line for years to come.

    • Nick said:

      Well, thank you very much, Patt. You flatter me. God bless you and yours also.

  5. Denise Widen said:

    Thanks for posting the pics. and for giving Michigan a thumbs up! Too many people equate Michigan specifically with “the rust belt”, or “Detroit” and forget about the absolute unique shoreline and outdoor recreation opportunities that abound here.
    What river were you on?
    Should you ever be in the N. part of the state, the Au Sable river is a nice paddle too….river basically does the paddling for you so long as you are going downstream.

    • Nick said:

      Dear Denise,

      Thanks for your comments. Michigan is indeed a beautiful and varied state. Your website and garden are wonderful—great photos. It shows what one can do in a small space with planning and hard work. Thanks also for taking the time to post and sharing your website.

  6. Alejandra said:

    I pump my tires to 95% of max wall pressure. I want to save gas but not at the risk of hviang a blow out. I drive at speed less than 65 on highway. It takes me about 20 minutes longer on a 400 miles trip, but I do manage to squeeze about 5 more miles per gallon.

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