Smiling faces and wide-open spaces.

Everything was going great, and then there was that proverbial fork in the road.

Decisions, decisions … I’m horrible at decisions, especially when I glimpse two vehicles behind me in my rearview mirror and their drivers are honking. 

Patience is a virtue people – cut me some slack!  Especially because Google Maps never mentioned no stinkin’ fork in the road in those directions I so carefully copied from my computer screen early this morning.

Well there was no time to dawdle, nor risk more horn honking and maybe even a stray finger showing up when I next glanced in the rearview mirror.

So, I chose the right fork, though I saw nowhere straight ahead that I was supposed to be making my next turn.  I knew the last part of those directions would be problematic … every few tenths of a mile, it was either a left or right turn.  Well, I put on my right blinker and moved along, just to get those drivers off my tail and also figure out what to do next.  After all, nobody said I had to be the first one standing at the gate when the DeBuck’s Sunflower Festival opened this morning.

Just relax Linda!

But, soon I found myself on Waltz Road and I knew I was on the wrong track – sigh.

But I kept rolling along anyway.

A big sign said “Welcome to Huron Township” and before the afternoon was done I would pass through the villages of New Boston, Waltz and Willow, all part of Huron Township.

Gradually my irritation with my direction SNAFU disappeared as my mindset shifted from: “Must of Got Lost” to “Roll with it” and I eventually settled on “Out in the Country”.

I conceded I was enjoying this road trip, though it was not getting me to the sunflower farm anytime soon. 

I continued on my journey, past all the tall corn stalks bending with the breeze.  Okay, I could do that too … bend with the breeze, I mean, go with the flow.

Oh look – a turkey farm and a pig farm.

A sod farm too.

And a ton of road kill – eww!  The road kill was gory enough to see, but I had to roll up the window, shutting out that cool breeze, when I smelled a skunk.  “P.U.!” as we used to say when we were kids and smelled a skunk.  (I know I just lost a few of you and I had to check Urban Dictionary to ensure it didn’t have some other meaning in 2019.)

Wow – I was really out in the boonies!

There were multiple roadside stands like this one.

The stand was unattended, so you bought your goodies on the honor system as you see from the sign.  Across a narrow gravel road was a huge garden brimming with a bounty of beefsteak tomatoes in different stages of ripening on many tangled vines.  A few cukes were suspended by stems that grew between large leaves that wandered around the floor of the garden.  I looked for a “no trespassing” sign and there was none.  I saw no humans or big dogs and the only sentries “guarding” the garden were these sunflowers.  I decided to take a few pictures just in case I didn’t make it to the sunflower farm today – at least I’d have a mini sunflower fix.

Back on the road again, I passed through the tiny town of Waltz, Michigan.  I haven’t been this way in decades and my head swiveled back and forth as I drove down the main street in this quaint town.  There was The Waltz Inn, just as I remember it.  On our Sunday-drive-in-the-country jaunts, my folks and I sometimes went there to eat.  The Inn is over a century old, rumored to be haunted and has a colorful prohibition history as well.

I decided I was hopelessly lost by now and of course I did not have a paper map in the car, no GPS tracking device, nor a smart phone, just my flip phone.  All I had was my written directions and I had already strayed far from my original route.  

Before I turned around to head back to wherever, I saw a sign for Apple Charlies, a popular cider mill.  It’s been years since I was at this venue either, so what the hay, maybe I’d make a pit stop here as well.  That side trek didn’t happen since I got to the intersection to turn and it was blocked off by a brigade of police vehicles with lights flashing, but no sirens.  I waited in a long queue as 100 motorcyclists with their riders rolled in front of us.  Wow – pretty impressive.  I wondered what the occasion was – funeral of a fellow biker, maybe a ride for a cause? 

Since the police diverted traffic to accommodate the bikers, I went down still another road – “this will be interesting” I thought, glad that I had a full tank of gas. 

Before I had too much angst, I saw a sign for Lower Huron Metropark – well, this was on my Trek Bucket List.  Dare I go here and just skip the Sunflower Festival until another day?  Sure, why not?  

It was the first time here and just like the other Metroparks, it did not disappoint.  I took in the sights as I walked along a pathway that wound parallel to the Lower Huron River.  I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt with cuffs, long pants with cuffs and socks to thwart any mosquitoes, as the health department is warning everyone to keep covered when walking near any woodsy areas as we had a death from EEE, (the mosquito-borne virus), yesterday and several other cases have been discovered.

I said “good morning” to a few walkers or bicyclists, but I pretty much had the trail to myself.  The occasional colorful leaf fluttered down onto the pathway and the refreshing cool temps were reminiscent of Fall. The camera was clicking away as I inspected wildflowers near and spilling over the split rail fence and the bees and butterflies were plentiful.  I’ve included a few of those shots below.

Blooms, butterflies and bees.

The wildflowers were so vibrant …

… and a few Monarch butterflies danced and hovered over them.

Bees busied themselves, burrowing down into the blossoms.

Signs touted fishing in the area where I walked along the Huron River, but it was catch-and-release only due to PFAS contamination in the water.

You see one fellow fishing, but the dock where most of the fishing is done was empty.

There were a few oddities along the way worth noting.

We’re happy to yield to turtles, but it sure would be nice to eliminate these tent caterpillars which seem hellbent on ravaging all the leaves on this bush.

As I passed each mile it made me want to savor the perfect Summer day as this season is on the wane now.

Peaceful is the word I’d use to describe these three canoeists paddling down the Huron River Water Trail.

I walked seven miles before hopping into the car to head home.  I’ll get better directions and try again next weekend – how difficult can it be?  After all, this Park and the Sunflower Festival were in the same city and same zip code!   

Tranquil time in nature versus the busy festival atmosphere was just perfect.  In retrospect, I believe I did NOT take the wrong fork in the road after all. 

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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48 Responses to Smiling faces and wide-open spaces.

  1. Fred Bailey says:

    Awesome! Interesting how Arabic has snuck in between English and Spanish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you like the post Fred. I started to title it “Lemons to Lemonade” but in the end the experience was not so terrible.
      I have to get new directions this time, maybe mapping from the park where I was – in the same city and zip code so how difficult could that be?

      We have a large population of Spanish-speaking people here in Michigan. Many of them live in Southwest Detroit, not far from me. And in Dearborn, Michigan, also not far from me, it is the eighth largest city in Michigan and the home to the largest Muslim population in the United States.

      I have never seen Arabic on the signs in the Metroparks but this is likely because they are just informational/directional signs and this is important not to eat that fish. Surprisingly in Lake Erie Metropark I’ve never seen a sign in all the fishing spots I pass while walking, and Lake Erie was in the news for its PFAS contamination long before the others. Catch-and-release only nowadays. People fish in the Detroit River all the time … I would be worried about fish consumption there too, but I am a worrier in general.

      Like

  2. Prior... says:

    peaceful and making the most of it – have been there myself – and it has been a long time since I heard the word the “boonies”
    hahahah

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I likely enjoyed the peace of my walk more than the Sunflower Fest to be honest with you Yvette. I liked the idea of photographing the massive fields of sunflowers (14 acres or 10 football fields of 30 types of sunflowers) – that would be awesome to see. But associated with the admission fee is a petting farm, pony rides, bounce houses, a tractor ride and donuts and cider. I wrote them a few weeks ago and asked if there was a way you could pay a fee just to view the sunflowers in the fields only and they said “no” and suggested I just attend the festival. I enjoyed my time in the “boonies” – I know you never hear that expression anymore … or my folks would sometimes say “out in the sticks”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You made a great day of a wrong turn! Maybe those honking drivers did you a favor!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I agree Kate – there was a lot to see while walking in the Park and such a beautiful day. We were gypped of so many Summer days as we always have known them. I am lucky those horn honkers were there at the right place/right time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Shelley says:

    I agree I don’t think you took the wrong turn at all. Great photos you captured and you got 7 glorious miles in too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I agree Shelley. It turned out to be peaceful and tranquil day, the exact opposite of what it would have been. I was not keen on the events (bounce house for example; petting farm and pony rides) – I’d have been happy just to see the sunflowers to be honest. But this would be nice 14 acres, 10 football fields of just sunflowers, as far as the eye can see.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Joni says:

    It looks like you had a great day anyway. Absolutely stunning pictures – the sunflowers (at their peak) and those monarchs! I hate that too when you’re trying to find someplace and you’re already stressed because you’re lost and all the rude impatient drivers (usually some guy in a truck), behind you make it even worse. Sometimes if I can I’ll pull over and let them all pass. I don’t know what’s with people anymore – I go the speed limit on the highway and yet everyone is passing me. Loved the produce stand too – the honor system. And the memories of where you ate on Sunday drives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Joni – I did have a great day and I am glad you liked the pictures. I was lucky with the monarch as they were along the row of wildflowers that were against the split rail fence and fluttering around. They were about one foot away from me so easy to get them up close.
      They sure were beautiful with their wing markings. I had that happen to me yesterday and today – going the speed limit and someone passes me right up. We have so many accidents. The produce on the honor system – I remember that from years ago and was surprised they still do that and their house was not close enough to see what was going on.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Joni says:

    PS. I bet you’re glad you gave peace a chance!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You were going with the flow, Linda! Sometimes taking a “wrong” turn can lead to great adventures. What a nice adventure in the countryside and then walking along the Huron River Water Trail complete with some monarchs!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful shots, Linda! 🙂
    Roadside vege stands look awesome to vegetarians like me. Our two pet parrots love sunflower seeds, but they only get two each a day, since such seeds are way too fatty for birds’ long-term health. For treats, i give them a number of things, including organic popcorn. I make it it an air popper in their room and, as it pops, Scarlet joyfully shouts out, “Popcorn”! If i ask Tweetie if she wants some, she’ll sometimes say, “Yes, I do!”
    We were at the movies yesterday to see, A Peanut Butter Falcon (which was super excellent) and i passed on getting popcorn. Too GMO and full of synthetic butter at the theaters these days.

    What did one tent caterpillar say to the other? “Let’s go camping.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Tom – glad you liked them and that nice and peaceful day may have been better than a gathering with lots of people at the Sunflower Fest, but I’d still like to go to see 30 different sunflowers … I think it would be fun. The butterflies were not a foot from my face and begging for a photo op. Your parrots are so funny – I must share that story with my friend Ann Marie who has the African Grey. You know I wondered if they were tent caterpillars. I looked up webbing caterpillars and saw both varieties and picked wrong. Thanks for the clarification – it sure was horrid to look at the damage done to the leaves wasn’t it?

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      • Hey, i’m no entomologist, so don’t take my joke as any light from authority.
        Yes, one of the birds, Tweetie, cracks me up when she sees me carrying a bowl. She’ll either say, “What do you have?” or… “What do you got?” So she uses different words to convey the same meaning. And we did not teach her to say these things. Like when we put jackets on… she’ll say, “Are you gonna go bye-bye now?” We didn’t teach her to say that. And they say that parrots just mimic without comprehension. Ha! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I just changed it Tom because I studied both images and read info before saying they were webworms. But I wavered on whether they were tent caterpillars – it sure looks like a tent and as ugly as the damage they inflicted on the poor bush was, it was fascinating to watch them at work.

        People don’t give birds much credit and having lived in a household where we had parakeets (in Canada we call them budgies) and canaries, they are very mindful of what is going on in their little world and yours too. My mom’s favorite expression about our pet birds was “how can something so tiny, just feathers and bones, give us so much pleasure?”

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  9. its good to get lost so you can find surprises!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      You sure are right Wayne – I think I enjoyed the nice tranquil day and the wildflowers with their butterflies and bees much more. I know it will be spectacular to look at all those sunflowers though, but it’d be nicer without all the noise.

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      • noise can really intrude on ones tranquil contemplations. The only noise one should hear are the close passings of bees and butterfly wings

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You are correct Wayne – it is good to hear the sounds of nature only. I should have mentioned the birdsong. I heard birds, but didn’t see a single one. The leaves fluttering down and butterflies fluttering by makes me want to return there next week, rather than attempt a trip to the sunflower festival. I was only a foot away from the monarch, watching it opening and closing its wings and it was intent on getting nourishment from the wildflowers and paid me no mind. I must have seen a thousand bees and then some – they were equally intent on burrowing into blossoms and I was able to get close to them as well.

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      • simple things are the best things!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie says:

    Wow! 7 miles? That’s awesome! So glad to read that you not only got some sunflower photos after taking the “wrong” fork in the road, you also got to cross another metropark off of your bucket list. This looks like a good one. Wonderful nature photos. Do you think you will try again for the sunflower farm?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I was pretty pleased with that mileage Laurie and did a little over 7 miles yesterday – this morning I felt it and not only the walking, but I went on a lighthouse tour yesterday. I said to myself “a 40-foot lighthouse – that’s short” … I was wrong! The circular staircase was very steep, and narrow, winding up through the lighthouse and dark wood inside after the first landing so hard to see and I have glasses that darken outside – so it took a while to get lighter inside. On top of it, the last 11 steps were without a railing. I came back down sideways and was a little wobbly when I got to the base. The 50-foot walk on a narrow pier with no guardrails and the Detroit River below gave me cause to pause as I walked along. They had a person to escort you and I said to myself “no, I’m not going to do that!” Today I feel like a Mack truck ran over me – I have to do exercises to limber up. Walking alone does not do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        Yikes! I would not have liked those last 11 steps for sure! I saw the photo of the pier – that did look scary, especially for someone who does not swim! Hope you are feeling better soon. Rest up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, I almost didn’t go up and the guide said “I’ve never lost anyone yet (down the stairwell).” So I thought I’d better just jolly along. You are small and I am 5′ 9″ tell, so I did not feel like I was just scurrying up and down in a heartbeat … once I got up there I kept thinking about going down. Yet, years ago I climbed up the Statue of Liberty. It was in April and a very warm day. Up I went, this narrow staircase and in those days it was all the way up to the crown if I remember correctly. It was warm in the copper, but I didn’t feel the same way and yes, that pier was narrow and no sides – yikes indeed. Plus it moved a little when you walked on top of it! I hope it is better tomorrow – it should not affect walking, but getting up/down into a chair it does.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        I will look for your post on how it went! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. What a beautiful and fun adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Eliza says:

    Now I see where you lost… you got some awesome pictures and found your way in the end

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I did but had some angst riding around in the middle of nowhere and was thankful I had a full tank of gas. That was a beautiful Metropark and I’d go back again but not this year I don’t think due to excessive ticks and also the EEE virus. Not sure about what to do with the sunflower festival. I’ll plan to go back, but they are saying we’ll have a big, gusty storm on Friday afternoon/evening so that’ll leave everything soaking wet (as of now).

      Like

  13. What a beautiful walk! Those sunflowers are magnificent. Even though you were “lost” it seems that you were just where you should have been.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Janis – I have to agree with you and had I known I could have had that little sunflower “fix” I likely would not have registered in advance for the sunflower festival. It was very beautiful and peaceful at that Metropark and the butterflies and bees buzzing around rather than the noise and festivities, was perfect, and, like you said, I think the wrong turn made for a better day and I was just where I should have been, (Truthfully I’ve never been big on crowds, and more so these days.)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………………oh I’m so happy you found Lower Huron Metro Park by mistake……………….Steven and I went there this summer just to have lunch by the river and it was beautiful………………………..I was hoping that you would be able to get there to see it and take in the beautiful nature especially by the river docks……………………….its at one of the docks that Steven and I found a Downriver Rocks rock sitting on a picnic table!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      It was gorgeous Ann Marie and I felt it was the better “deal” for my Saturday … the wooden railings along the walk were so nice with the flowers leaning over and that is how I got so many butterfly and bee pictures – I had way more bee pics but left them out as the post was so long. I was just a foot away from the Monarch. I did not know it was such a large and sprawling park and had campgrounds too. I was going to go to Willow Park when I passed it when I was lost, and since I was in the area and so close, but having gotten lost earlier in the morning, I didn’t want that to happen again.

      Like

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