Idlewild & The End of Segregation

Idlewild & The End of Segregation

We’re working at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park just south of Baldwin, MI.  Just a few short miles east of Baldwin is the little Village of Idlewild.

From 1912 through the mid-60’s Idlewild was known as “The Black Eden” where scores of famous black entertainers from around the mid-west (and further) would come to entertain their fellow African-Americans in a classy resort community.  This became a very popular spot for the well-to-do where they could unwind and enjoy their idle time.  Folklore says the name may have originated from “Idle men and wild women”.

The Idlewild development was started in 1912 by four white land developers (2 from this area and 2 from Chicago) who marketed excursion trips from the African-American neighborhoods of Detroit, Chicago and other mid-west cities to this area.  They sold home sites to visitors looking for the peace and serenity that they didn’t have in the big city.

In it’s heyday, Idlewild’s summer population would grow to over 25,000 as folks came from far and wide to enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, roller skating, and night-time entertainment.

Over the years, the area grew by leaps and bounds because of all the top-end entertainment that was featured at the Dance House and other watering holes that had opened.  This was a resort where black folks could come to where they felt welcome.

However, the end of an era came when the Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964 and thereafter the folks who had traveled to Idlewild, could now enjoy leisure entertainment wherever they wished, often closer to home, due to the end of segregation.

Now Idlewild is a sleepy little village that still offers a lake, a post office, a bar/tavern but little else.  Many of the old cottages built in the 30’s and 40’s are now in disrepair although many folks still live here and thankfully there is an effort underway to revive Idlewild to attract new residents.

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I was only a boy of 10 when the Civil Rights Act was passed.  Growing up in Detroit, I really hadn’t a clue about segregation, integration had already begun.  Although I believe in equal rights for every human being, still, it’s a shame to see that the end of segregation, so good and right for everyone, put an end to what was once a thriving economy for those that had the opportunity to travel here.

I hope that their efforts to revitalize the area are successful.  To see a short video about the history of Idlewild and the efforts to bring it back to life, see the Detroit Free Press story (written in 2014) by following this link.

To learn more about Idlewild, follow this link to the Wikipedia page

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Fisherman’s Paradise at Pere Marquette

Since we’ve been here just a few days in the “up north” area of Michigan, we’ve been able to do a little exploring.  We arrived at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park on Sunday the 7th of May and our official work start date is not until the 15th.

Right after we arrived Sunday night, we noticed a leak in the kitchen sink area.  First thing Monday, a trip to the local ACE Hardware in Baldwin.  WOW!  What a store.

Baldwin ACE Hardware

Large store with ample supply of what seemed to be anything anyone might need or want without the need to drive to Big Rapids or Ludington for one of the big box stores.

Just a small length of plastic pipe strap fixed the problem in a jiffy. The slip joint on the “p” trap had come loose from the jiggling as we travel down the road.

While we were in town we decided to check out some of the Pere Marquette River boat launch sites AND OF COURSE one of the local restaurants for a late morning breakfast.

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After breakfast we walked across the street to see the famous JONES Ice Cream Shop.  They have been making their private recipe ice cream in the back room for 75 years.  The parlor’s walls are lined with hundreds of black and white photos showing Lake County history from the mid 1800’s forward.  Take a look at the photos below and see the old time ice cream parlor chairs and stools at the counter.

After breakfast we decided we wanted to look around town a bit check out the river that this area is so famous for.  I’ve put together a video (below) showing some of the different walk-in sites and boat launch sites to the river and some of the lakes in the nearby area.

So far, we are impressed by the beauty of the water and the quiet that abounds.  It’s so peaceful and calming.  Our next post will be a little about the park we’re living at for the summer.  Stay tuned for more.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

An Amazing Trip to Fort Morgan

An Amazing Trip to Fort Morgan

Staying at Summerdale, AL at the Escapee’s Rainbow Plantation RV Park.  This is a large park with lots of permanent residents that own their lots and have permanent homes on those lots.  There are also about 100 or so shaded RV lots for folks that might want to rent for a day, week, or longer.

They have a big clubhouse (we’re going for lasagna dinner tomorrow night) and a great looking pool, but they say it’s not quite up to temperature just yet.

Our site is nice and well shaded by a large Water Oak tree and the neighbors we’ve met are great.

Our site at Rainbow Plantation – Summerdale, AL

Today (Tuesday) we took a drive down to the beach, (we’ll go back tomorrow with chairs and towels) and then we drove on west to visit Fort Morgan.

Construction of the fort was started in 1819, took 15 years to complete, and is located on Mobile Point so as to be able to protect the shoreline from the north during the Civil War.

It’s interesting to note that the US government leased slaves from local slave owners to manufacture the over 30,000,000 (yes, thirty MILLION) bricks to build the fort.  I’m not going to go in to all the details of the construction and design, but I found it really fascinating to read all the placards located along the self-guided tour.

If you’d like to learn more, follow this link to the official site.

Here’s a few pictures I took with my Samsung S7 Smartphone.  I’m still amazed at the clarity and the resolution of these pix from a PHONE!

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We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Just a Few Miles Down The Road

Just a Few Miles Down The Road

Kathy and I heard about a nice drive we could take down into a canyon to Clear Creek, just a few miles down SR 260.  It started out as a dirt road off the state route, then became a dirt trail, then became a “rock” trail and finally down around through a lot of tight switchbacks to the “Bullpen” Day Use Area.  The creek is flowing fiercely since the snow melt is rushing through every crack and crevice it can find.  You can hear the rushing water in the video below.

The ground is soaking up the liquid sunshine and still plenty of water rushing by to the rivers and irrigation ditches.

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We are continually fascinated by all the beauty there is to see here in Arizona and although we’re excited about our next trip (east to Florida, Ohio, Michigan) we’ll certainly miss the beauty around us here and especially the friends we’ve made.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Architecture Meets Ecology – Arcology at Arcosanti

Today we took a short trip down I-17 to “Arcosanti“, started in 1970 by architect Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti is an urban laboratory focused on innovative design, community, and environmental accountability. The goal is to actively pursue lean alternatives to urban sprawl based on Paolo Soleri’s theory of compact city design, Arcology (architecture + ecology).

It’s a fascinating look into the world of the future where there are no automobiles, and everything that any of it’s residents would need are provided within the community, (residences, health care, farms/food, etc.)

(From Wikipedia) “Arcosanti is a projected experimental town with a molten bronze bell casting business in Yavapai County, central Arizona, 70 mi north of Phoenix, at an elevation of 3,732 feet. Its arcology concept was posited by the Italian-American architect, Paolo Soleri (1919–2013). He began construction in 1970, to demonstrate how urban conditions could be improved while minimizing the destructive impact on the earth. He taught and influenced generations of architects and urban designers who studied and worked with him there to build the proposed ‘town.'”

Although Soleri died in 2013, the work toward completion continues by volunteers that pay to have the opportunity to work on site and contribute to the dream toward Arcology (architecture meets ecology).

Here’s some pictures that we want to share with you in the slide show below.  Enjoy!

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Now, as in all good road trips, we had to stop for lunch after the trip to Arcosanti.  We went a little further on down the road to ROCK SPRINGS CAFE, known for it’s good food and especially it’s GREAT PIES!

After lunch we headed toward home and pulled off the highway to a little place that Barbara remembered that used to sell wine and chocolate.  As you can see by the pictures, the place didn’t appear to be in business any longer.  We looked around the property a bit and then hit the road again.

Steve noted that just up the road a little further was the Agua Fria National Monument   It’s a good thing that Steve and Cindy have a 4-wheel drive truck to climb the rocky trail, although Cindy was not real hip on doing the off-road exploring.  It was fun and we got some great picutures although it was overcast and VERY windy!

We’ll be heading out of here mid-March, so more to come as we travel eastward.  Stay tuned.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Kathy’s Visit to “Reader’s Oasis” (aka The Naked Bookseller)

While we were at the big RV show in Quartzsite, we wanted to see some of the sights in the area.

We learned that you can’t make a visit to Quartzsite, AZ without making a stop to see Paul Winer (the naked bookseller).  Here’s a video that I found on YouTube of the store and Paul playing the piano.

Paul has been living in the desert and had this book store for nearly 25 years.  It used to be in a tent, but in just the last few years, he’s moved in to a building on E. Main Street.

Paul has nearly 200,000 volumes, most of them used, and he knows where every book is.  No matter what you might be looking for, no matter how obscure the subject matter, Paul can very likely find it for you in his collection.

Paul also allows authors to sell their signed copies of their latest releases.  The day we were at the store, there were three authors set up on the front porch.

Here’s a slide show of some pictures I took inside the store and one of Kathy getting her Reader’s Oasis bookmark autographed by Paul – a keepsake she’ll be happy to show you when we see you!

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We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Our trip to Dead Horse Ranch State Park @ Cottonwood, AZ

Our trip to Dead Horse Ranch State Park @ Cottonwood, AZ

Another sunny day in Arizona, (and there’s rain coming) so Kathy and I decided to head on up to Cottonwood to the Dead Horse Ranch State Park to see what it’s all about.

A really nice park that offers; hiking/biking/equestrian trails, 3 large lagoons for fishing or birding, 4 campgrounds (3 for RV’s & 1 tent only) and a horse rental station.  $7 per vehicle for day use entry or $75 for an all year pass.  Camping is $30 nightly.

Click anywhere on the map below and you can zoom in or out and change from satellite view to map view and back again.

This 5 minute video takes you on a quick tour throughout the park.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog.  Do you purchase any products from Amazon?  If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search.  By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more.  We’d really appreciate your help.

Thank you,

Herb & Kathy

 

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy
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