The Great American Loop on Hold – Indian Town, Florida to 1563 Blue Heron and Back

April 29, 2016 to January 8, 2015

Eight months didn’t seem to allow enough time to write this blog entry, plus having readily available and high speed internet and a comfortable desk would have made it too easy.  So upon our return and as I sit on the aft deck of the Namaste reflecting and summarizing our time in Michigan what I know for sure is that we are grateful for supportive family, incredible friends and opportunities for meaningful fun!  If you are reading this blog it is likely you helped us enjoy our home-stay!

Although there is far too much to share, below are some of the highlights in words and pictures, in no particular order of importance:

  • Birthdays for 6 of our 8 grandchildren happened within 39 days. That is one birthday every 6.5 days. What are the odds?  We sadly missed Liam’s 11th and Nates 5th in January but are confident that their families will make their days special.


    Cousin joint birthday party at Revel and Roll!  Oscar (11 days old) was home with Mom!

  • An original turtle birthday cake was created to welcome our newest grandson, a perfect Oscar Michael McFall who arrived on November 24, 2016 (Thanksgiving Day) at 5:50 p.m. weighing in at an even 10 lbs. I accepted Veta and Mike’s generous invitation to attend the home birth with immense gratitude tinged with tiny doses of trepidation which I managed by voraciously reading as much as I could about midwifery and home births.  It is their beautiful story to tell but in summary it was a life-changing, awe-inspiring, experience I will cherish forever.  Mom and baby are doing great!fullsizeoutput_7c0c.jpegOscar Michael McFall brand new!


    Oscar at 6 weeks and 15 pounds

  • An extended loop detour to the Pacific Northwest.  We visited our Looping boat buddies Vicki and Ron on Orcas in the San Juan Islands. The opportunity to visit their beautiful home on East Sound, getting personal tours of Orcas plus a five day boat cruise on their Mei Wenti through the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands went beyond all expectations. Their easy hospitality, the gorgeous weather and the breathtaking scenery were more than we could ever have imagined.  We are now within days of meeting up with them in Fort Myers, FL.


    View from Vickie and Ron’s gorgeous home.  East Sound of Orcas Island

  • After 9 days as house guests we departed for Salt Lake City and another special visit with my brother’s family, Missy, Chris, Carson Amy and their three beautiful daughters. Meals and memories were shared along with an amazing Fall mountain driving adventure!  We then rented a big SUV for the drive back to Michigan into which we (barely) loaded the Victorian dollhouse my brother, Bill, made for our granddaughter, destined to be a family heirloom.

    A Poppenger reunion

    Bill’s Doll House
  • Only slightly out of the way, we decided to visit Jim’s niece and her family in Fort Collins, CO, a not-to-be missed small city that reminds me of Ann Arbor 30 years ago.  Jen, Eric and their family enjoy a good life and we loved hearing about her new business venture,
  • We attended countless sporting events: volleyball, hockey, soccer and basketball and football but missed seeing Ashleigh’s first high school ski race by two days! We shared delicious meals with friends and caught up with the events of everyone’s interesting lives.  We spent weekends at Boyne City and Camp Lookout as well as Mackinaw Island and attended unique and beautiful weddings in Traverse City and Chicago.   We watched plays and went to concerts.  In our down-time we swam in our beautiful Dunham Lake; I walked miles with Judy and beautiful wooden creations emerged from Jim’s shop.

    Biking Mackinaw Island on Jim’s birthday weekend


     Memorable Friends and Family weekend at Camp Lookout!

  • Speaking of Jim, he lived for two weeks in Indiantown, FL working on the Namaste. While he enjoyed the time with friends and living in the marina, she required a great deal of attention (called hard work) from the harsh summer elements.  We regret not having followed local advice to add pans of dry formaldehyde to our departure routine in an effort to combat the mold – next time!
  • Perhaps most importantly Jim and I celebrated our 50th anniversary on December 30, 2016. Our children, their partners and our grandchildren treated us to a special weekend at the Homestead near Traverse City.  Perfect in every way!   Thank you to the very best family!


    . . . and 50 Years later!

Many thanks go to Ilene Heffelbower for everything over 35 years plus following and printing out each blog entry.

We are happily back on the Loop, will try to blog more often and would love to hear from you too.



2 thoughts on “The Great American Loop on Hold – Indian Town, Florida to 1563 Blue Heron and Back

  1. Thank you for sharing your amazing adventures (both familial and maritime). You have fabulous family dynamics and your zest for meaningful relationships is truly admirable. What a gorgeous family (on both sides of the family tree)! Happy 50th and as they say in Quebec, “Laisse le bon temps rouler!”


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