Mike had his usual enchiladas calabaza and a beer. I like to switch it up as there are sooo many good things on this menu. Today I had spinach-stuffed enchiladas and a glass of malbec. After lunch we did a little shopping and continued on. We arrived in E.L. about 3p.
Besides getting our K&J and their animal-kids "fix," we wanted to see their newly constructed year-round sun room. And is it ever super!!
Glass from floor to ceiling with expansive views of the sloping yard, garden plot, chicken mansion/coop (yes, K has four chickens), and just plain ol' outdoor nature. The room is very comfortably decorated in teal and shades of tan/brown. We spent the rest of the afternoon just gabbing and catching up. It felt like we were sitting doors on a summer evening, even though it was a cold day with much snow still on the ground. Above our "niece" Widget is sunning herself in a very comfy spot.
Dinner that night was at Uncle Beth's, a little hole in the wall bar-b-que joint. It is log cabin-y outside and black and white checkered everything inside. A cute young couple run it and everything is hand-made on the spot. It is meat lover's heaven, but Deb got three sides of veggies and biscuits and was a happy camper, too. You may bring your own wine if you wish, so we brought a bottle of red to share. We had the place to ourselves. Quaint, cozy, and quite good food and service.
Friday we decided to go to Columbus for sight seeing and shopping. Due to a late start, we began with lunch in a pub called the Pint Room in the Columbus suburb of Dublin. They specialize in burgers and craft beers, with a huge list of both. We were all pretty hungry and gobbled our food down so fast, I don't really remember what we had. I do remember leaving satisfied and happy though.
Next we cruised an historic area near downtown Columbus called German Village. It was settled in the mid-19th century by a large number of German immigrants. Most of its original business buildings, churches, and cottages still stand. It was a warmish day, so we enjoyed a nice walk around the area.
A highlight there is The Book Loft, the biggest book store we have ever browsed. This quirky store covers an entire city block with 30+ rooms of books on any topic you can imagine. You enter the store in its middle, turn right or left, go to the end, and then back track and start in the other direction. You follow room after themed room through little hallways and staircases. Closets and stairwells are filled with books, puzzles, magazines, maps, and other paper related products. It is a maze of nooks and crannies and unexpectedly placed bookshelves. It does not seem to end. Intriguing. Labryinth-like. If you can't find it here, you can't find it anywhere. And lots of discounts, to boot.
Another place Kathy and I enjoyed was the Caterina Ltd, European Housewares, Arts & Crafts. It is filled with artisanal works from Europe, including Italian ceramics, European kitchenware and table linens, French lavender body care, and more. The second and third floors feature a gallery of local artists' works. While K and I browsed, guys lounged outside on the park bench in the sun. We walked a bit further downtown and then headed home.
Dinner that night was sandwiches and munchies. J and D had their usually helping of a bit too much champagne and OJ, and loved it.
Next day was just lounging and enjoying time in the new sun room. We caught up on the latest haps and surveyed the "zoo" scene. Kathy has a huge (75 gallon, I think) salt water tank. It is mesmerizing to watch the various types of colorful coral and sea creatures as they go about their daily life. She also has a shrimp tank and hermit crab terrarium, equally cool to study.
Then there is the African Gray Tim (a heavy duty biter) and Spooky the sulfur crested cockatoo. Spooky loves Jim, but hates the color red. So if Jim gets tired of Spooky's attention, he just puts on his red baseball cap and Spooky is outta-there fast.
Jip, the black and white border collie, shares time between stalking Widget the cat and playing fetch. Widgie was in her usual love/hate mood swing. Either way, we love her dearly. All in all, these animals are part of the family and very entertaining.
On our last night, everyone wanted bar-b-que from Uncle Beths again, but this time decided on carry-out. As Deb is not a big meat eater, she opted for a veggie pizza pick-up a few blocks away from Uncle B's. The three carnivores agreed the meal was just as good as the first time, and Deb devoured her pizza treat as well.
Next day as always, it was hard to depart. Left around 11am via the Ohio Hwy. 30 route as usual through Lima toward Ft. Wayne. We saw the tiny cemeteries in the middle of corn fields, the antique shops that maybe we'll stop at sometime on another trip, and the old fashion drive-in with the Andy of Mayberry police car parked in front.
The last 20 miles of Hwy. 30 in Ohio is one of our favorite parts of this trip. Along that section of highway on the north side as far you can see are hundreds of wind turbines, too many to count. A rest stop is situated right in the middle of a few of them. They are sooo tall when standing next to them. It is wonderful to see "natural" energy being generated without pollution involved.
Once you hit the Indiana border, the turbines abruptly stop and we know we are about half way home. The next section seems slow going until we hit the "Pure Michigan" state line signs. Just a few more miles til we hit the Kalamazoo city limits and home.