The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vacation's over

pmccool's picture

Vacation's over

After being on vacation 10 days, it’s taken me almost 2 days of intermittent poking around to catch up on the various goings on at TFL.  This is one busy bunch of bakers!  I especially enjoyed the JMonkey/TattooedTonka sourdough starter event and the reminiscing by others about how they got started with making bread.


Since we weren’t pressed for time, we decided to take a train from Kansas City to Chicago, and then from Chicago to Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is the end of the line for that Amtrak route.  Our oldest daughter, her husband, and their son traveled with us.  Our not-quite-5-year-old grandson, already a veteran air traveler, thought that riding the train was just about the coolest thing he has done so far.  The generous seating arrangements definitely are more comfortable than most cars or aircraft for a similar duration trip, not to mention the ability to move around without banging into your fellow travelers.  If they would make high-speed lines more widely available here in the U.S., I’d definitely use rail more often. 


Most of our time in Michigan was spent visiting family but we did manage to play tourist for a couple of days.  We visited Mackinac Island one day and did all of the usual sightseeing/fudge eating/T-shirt buying stuff.  Hmm; guess that makes us “fudgies”.  That’s a northern Michigan term for tourists, especially those from downstate, as well as a nod to the fudge shops that proliferate in most of the towns up there that draw tourists.  Our grandson was thrilled by all of the horses that are used to transport goods and people by wagon or carriage, since cars and trucks are banned from the island.  While one is less likely to be mowed down by oncoming traffic while crossing the street, it’s just as necessary to watch where you put your feet as it is to keep an eye out for carriages or bicycles.  We also bought some pasties from a store in Mackinaw City and took them back for one evening’s dinner with my wife’s brother’s family.  Yum!  Sorry, Mini-Oven, we never did make it across the bridge into the U.P.  Guess that will have to wait for another trip.  The other touristy thing we did was to tour some of the wineries on Old Mission peninsula north of Traverse City on another day.  There were only one or two in the region 30 years ago but the numbers have been growing in recent years and some of them are turning out some very drinkable wines.   


No baking was attempted while we were away, so I’m definitely looking forward to firing up the oven this weekend.  I was afraid that I might actually have to buy some bread at the supermarket when we got back into town, but was relieved to find some of my own in the freezer.  (Help me!  I’m turning into a bread snob!)  We did get to enjoy some other folks’ baking, though.  My mom made a batch of bismarks for the crew after a long day of cutting, splitting and stacking firewood for next winter.  A friend brought both dilly buns and home-baked hamburger buns for a cookout on another evening.  All were wonderful and none survived for very long. 


Vacations are funny things.  I never want them to end, but I’m always happy to get back to my own place and sleep in my own bed.  Okay, so maybe I’m the funny thing.  Anyway, I’m back home and happy with that and with the trip.


mountaindog's picture

Welcome back, PMcCool...I understand how you like getting back to your own place even after a fun trip. As it turns out, I just began a week's vacation myself starting this afternoon, and guess where I'm spending it - at home in my gardens!

pmccool's picture

Thanks, Mountaindog.  About the only time I've not been thrilled to get back home was during my 5-year stint in Houston.  Other than that, it's a good thing.

Glad to hear that you have some time off.  I'm assuming that spending time in your gardens is a pleasure, not a drudge. 

Once, when I was still in high school, Dad announced that he planned to take a week of vacation in July.  Mom's first response was "Oh, good!  We can do . . . " and launched into a recitation of things she had on her to-do list.  Dad just looked at her for a minute and then said "No, we're going on vacation."  All of us enjoyed Dad's version of vacation that year much more than we would have enjoyed Mom's version. 


Paddyscake's picture

about loving vacation, but how good it is to get home. I'm really missing baking while on vacation. We have been fortunate to have been able to spend 2 weeks in Hawaii. There is very little in the way of artisan bread. I talked bread at a farmer's market today with an entrepreneur..he and his wife farm organic coffee and vegetables and sell those along with home made breads, jams and assorted baked goods. It seems like such a great life to me, but I know it is alot of hard work. We visited one bakery (all types of Hawaiian sweet breads), which I will share pictures of when we get home. Hope to visit the one artisan bakery I could find in Hilo and take some pictures and do some taste tasting! Something is wrong..on vacation and checking out bread.mmm? I have 2 starters in the fridge which have been sitting neglected for about a month. It will be interesting to see how I do reviving them! Can't wait..well maybe I can suffer for a few more days

Susan's picture

Do hope you are having a wonderful time. Hawaii is so full of natural beauty. It will be interesting to hear about the artisan bakery if you can manage it. Perhaps you can bring back a Hawaiian starter! Just had a brain picture of you in your kitchen in grass skirt, lei and coconut hull bra, baking Hawiian sourdough!

Your starters will be fine!

Susan from San Diego