G has a "swell" time kayaking

G has a "swell" time kayaking
G has a "swell" time on Lake Michigan in an inflatable canoe

Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico

Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico
Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico

Warren Dunes Sunset

Warren Dunes Sunset
Warren Dunes Sunset

Monday, July 4, 2022

Outdoor Grilling - July 4 Holiday

 

Ribeye steak, grilled to medium doneness

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July 3 was a wonderful, pleasant outdoor day.  High temperature 81F at the lake and sunny.  A perfect day for grilling.  This is typical meal.  Tomorrow we'll be grilling chicken, etc. 

Menu:  

  • Ribeye steak
  • Corn on the cob
  • Baked potatoes
  • Broccoli
All were made on the Grill.  At the MI lily pad I am currently using a Coleman propane grill.  I purchased this slightly used for an ideal price from a neighbor who was departing the campground.   It is too large for transporting via the Roadtrek, although I could put it on the rear carrier.  We use it at the Michigan campground where we can store it.

It has two independently controlled burners. My only complaint is that it burns hot, even on low.  Apparently designed to char, but not to cook.  It is easy to burn foil wrapped broccoli or asparagus on this grill. To avoid burning the meal I added several pizza grill stone tiles.  I move these as necessary; they aren't use for grilling steak or chicken. These distribute the heat and reduce hot spots.  I also use a grill mat.

To prepare the corn I keep the ears wrapped in the husk. With a hot grill this is helpful. I pull back the husk on the corn, remove the silk, replace the husk over the ear and place in cold water for an hour or so.  I then remove from the water, cut the base off, salt the corn, close the husk to protect the kernels and wrap tightly in aluminum foil.  Alternately, to salt, one can dunk in salted water before wrapping in foil. On the grill it goes for about 45 minutes, turning about every 15 minutes.  The ear will steam in the husk. The husk will caramelize as it browns and burns.   Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes. Be careful when opening the foil wrapper. Hot steam may scald.

Corn soaking in cold water

Corn cleaned and ready to salt, cover with the husk and wrap in foil

Vegetables are seasoned and wrapped in foil.  I cook with the grill lid closed. It is important to properly control the temperature.  Propane grilling is relatively easy. I learned to grill on a large charcoal Weber with rotisserie at the age of 12.  Cooking to proper doneness and getting it all completes at essentially the same time for eight of us was a challenge.  My father and sisters were fussy eaters. It was a weekend summer ritual throughout the summer. I got quite good at it. 

The Idaho potatoes are well scrubbed, then rubbed with olive oil and salted.  Then wrapped in aluminum foil.  I insert aluminum skewers to carry heat to the interior of the potatoes. I cook with the corn for about 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


The broccoli is lightly drizzled with olive oil, salted and peppered.  Then sealed in a tent of aluminum foil.  I preheat and begin the cooking process by placing it on the top of the closed grill while the potatoes and corn are cooking inside. This vegetable is delicate, so I have to avoid overcooking.  I'll put it inside the grill when cooking the steak. 

Broccoli pre-heating atop the grill

Idaho potatoes and corn on the grill

The Ribeye Steak I salt and pepper and allow to come up to room temperature. That is necessary to better control the cooking process, get uniform cooking throughout and get the desired doneness. I then place on a foil sheet directly over the flames.  Before putting the steak on the foil, I rub the foil lightly with olive oil, to reduce sticking. 

I grill the steak initially on low heat (the Coleman runs hot) with the lid closed and then flip after a few minutes.  To get a mild char I turn up the heat and monitor the steak, turning several times and allowing it to char just a bit. I check doneness by pressing down on the steak; it should be flexible and I can also observe any red liquid which could indicate too rare. G and I prefer medium.

To serve:  Unwrap the corn, split if desired into two portions and butter it.  We use unsalted butter. 

Opening the foil and removing the husk from grilled corn

Corn ready for buttering

The potato skewers are removed, and foil discarded. Then split and butter the potatoes.  Even the skins can be eaten. The brocolli is complete as is, simply remove from foil and serve. 


A grilled meal

Costs: 

The most expensive item for this meal was a 16oz. ribeye, which G and I split to serve.  A 1 lb. steak was $10.50 plus tax.  The corn was $0.50 an ear but can be as little as $0.20 an ear.  Broccoli was about $1.50 per lb. and the Idaho potatoes about $1 per lb.  Purchasing potatoes in larger quantities can reduce the price per pound.  

(c) N. Retzke 2022


Sunday, July 3, 2022

July 4 Campground Fireworks

July 2 campground fireworks

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The owners of the campground we are at for the season put on fireworks display for the July 4 Holiday.  Last night was the night, and there was a live rock band concert, too.  This is our summer "lily pad" and it is our base of travel until November. 








Nature provided a Waxing Crescent Moon




(c) N. Retzke 2022


Southwest Michigan Local Produce - July

 

Some local produce available as of July 3

G at the farm stand


Meanwhile - Green Flag at the Beach - July 2

Beach at 11:15am

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With the arrival of July, the beach is sunny and the water 70F.  Local farm produce selection will expand significantly.

The farm stands are open and June vegetables such as Rhubarb, Asparagus and Spinach are replaced, and the list of available vegetables expands. It is early July, but as the month progresses the list of local farm stand produce will expand to include:

  • Apricots
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Sweet corn (later in the month)
  • Cherries
  • Cucumbers
  • Currants
  • Dill weed
  • Eggplant
  • Gooseberries
  • Herbs
  • Honey
  • Lettuce
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Summer squash
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini 
  • Local wild mushrooms.
(C) N. Retzke 2022


Friday, July 1, 2022

June 2022 Summary

 

Sunset - June 24, 2022 - Raton, NM

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It has been a high travel month.  June Summary:

  • Distance: 3,932 miles
  •  Average Speed: 54 MPH (peak 80+)
  • Trip (Driving) Time: 73h 25m
  • Average MPG: 16 MPG

Elephant Butte, NM

We arrived at our final destination yesterday. We are currently in Southwest Michigan, at the shore of Lake Michigan.  This morning we walked along the Michigan Dunes.  We were at the shore early and so we beat the July 4 revelers.  There is rain in the area, and it is a pleasant 81F.

Looking North, on the shore of Lake Michigan

Looking South

(c) N. Retzke 2022


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Sunset almost looks like Egypt

Sunset at Voyager, Tucson June 11, 2022

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We were at the Voyager Resort in Tucson and went to Fat Willy's, the independent bar and grill within the resort.  As we exited after dinner this is the sunset that greeted us. 

One could almost imagine those are pyramids in the desert. 

(c) 2022 N. Retzke


Monday, June 13, 2022

Pleasant Surprises - Three Sisters Tavern & Grill

 

Three Sisters Tavern & Grill

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We experience some pleasant surprises on our treks. For example, during a recent trek we decided to take a lunch stop near Colorado City.  As I was pumping gas, G spotted a nearby BBQ.  On the other side of I-25 there is another restaurant.  We talked it over and decided to have lunch at the Three Sisters Tavern & Grill.  Adjacent to it is a small gift shop.  

Booth seating in the restaurant

Poster in the Restaurant

I ordered the Three Sisters Burger, medium with cheddar cheese. It was described as "Char-grilled to perfection. Garnished with lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion and pickle." G ordered a bowl of the So-Co Green Chile which is described as "Savory and rich green chile made with local Pueblo chiles" and served with a couple of soft tortillas. I split the burger and we each shared. The burger was excellent and nicely char-grilled.  The chile was also delicious, and G described it as "mild".

Three Sisters burger with fries

Three Sisters So-Co Green Chile

After lunch we stopped by the small gift shop next door.  G purchased a pair of locally made earrings. 

Gift shop

By this time we had been off the road for 100 minutes. It was time to continue our trek,


View at Three Sisters

Ready to continue our journey

(c) N. Retzke 2022

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Heat and approaching monsoon season

Tucson Sunset

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It's June and that means high heat and the Monsoon Season is approaching.  This time of year is called the Monsoon Tease. There have been rainstorms in the area, and they bring spectacular sunsets and the occasional rainbow.

Rainbow at sunset

Fiery sky looking up and easterly at sunset, with the rainbow to my right

A few minutes earlier it was a much less dramatic sunset

(c) N. Retzke 2022