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Remember your first field trip to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes?

As anyone who grew up in Michigan knows, by about the 2nd grade, a school field trip to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes is a requirement to Michigan Citizenship! The first glimpse of that big sand pile creates excitement to all that are under the age of about 12 years (give or take)…

Children of all ages come to tackle the dunes… If you make it all the way, you are rewarded with amazing views of Lake Michigan (and perhaps a dip in the cool water).

But as I age… at 56 I find that once I’m at the top of that first hill… I’m not quite as fit as I was when I was 12! So the rest of my gang trekked on and almost made it to the back side of the dunes. Yes… ALMOST… as it’s over 3 miles of sand trails to make it to the blue side of this geographical challenge. It’s still brings back memories of childhood when I see the Dunes Climb… But Pierce Stocking Scenic drive offers all the best views, without the huff and puff!

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Just take a walk… and think…

Every time I turn on the TV or look at the news, everything is all about COVID19 or Politics. Yes we are in a pandemic… Yes… the politicians want to beat each other up on their actions to gain an edge in the next election… It’s all we see anymore, it seems.

Well, then I take a walk and my mind wanders.

COVID19 has created a less personal world. We are scared to hug, scared to help, scared to leave the house, and scared to express our opinions for fear of getting censored or sent to “Facebook Jail” , so it seems. COVID has torn our world apart… sometimes it seems there’s nothing we can do about it. But we can!

Whether I walk during my lunch hour through a busy industrial park, or through the woods in my backyard, or down a country road, my mind wanders to how life used to be before COVID. It helps my sanity… I remember how good it felt to hug a perfect stranger (with permission, of course!) who just looked like they needed a hug, or meeting friends for an evening dinner at a favorite restaurant (without having to mask up or sit far apart), and laughing so hard with my best friends that my belly hurt the next day! I can’t wait for this normalcy, so in the meantime, I do what I can do to feel good.

My heart breaks when I talk to people who have lost loved ones to COVID… I lost my dearest friend from COVID, and her family remains devastated, as do I in my own way. But I can also hear her voice in my head saying “I live vicariously through you!” That’s just something she used to tell me when I would buy a cool car, or take a vacation somewhere warm…” So, this voice in my head makes me get up each morning in search of something good in every day, even if its just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on yummy soft white bread! Simple stuff… that’s the best.

This week is a festival in my hometown. I’m going to the Beverage tent for cocktails, and fellowship with my hometown friends (and anyone else who shows up)… I’m going to hug the heck out of everyone who will let me hug them! Cheers!

Living vicariously with friends on a daytrip to Key West last spring!
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Faster Horses… Of course it’s worth going to!

My first post-COVID major event of the season was the past weekend in a small town called Brooklyn, Michigan… Faster Horses is a wonderful Country Music Festival in Southern Michigan located at Michigan International Speedway.

Taking the steps to Michigan International Speedway for Faster Horses on a rainy Friday morning.

I’ve always been a music fan of all genres. Modern Country Music is my favorite of late. This festival definitely fits the bill! Three days of big name concerts like Jason Aldean, Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett, Hardy, Jimmie Allen, and Kelsea Ballerini. It was tiring to attempt to attend every performance. But, of course, it was well worth the effort, as I’m sure the 36K+ additional ticket holders would attest to, even during the rainy Friday! The rest of the weekend was sunny and beautiful!

Many up and coming performers hit the stage in the “Next from Nashville” stage as well. The smaller venue featured impressive talent all around. Niko Moon packed the tent, so we didn’t get to see him. I’m surprised he wasn’t actually on the main stage… I’m guessing he will be there next year! But the other performances were so great!

Performances from the “Next from Nashville” Stage… Less crowded (with the exception of Niko Moon), and just as great!

My favorite performers (based on showmanship…) were Chris Lane, Jimmie Allen, Jason Aldean, Hardy (OK… he was my favorite, because he just really put on a great show!), and I heard Luke Combs was awesome as well, but somehow I missed that one! Honestly, there wasn’t a bad performance in the bunch!

I will note the safety factor… as with any large crowd, I felt safe as long with I was with my group of people. That’s the key! My group went as a family, and we had the best time!

So… when you ask a cowboy what they want most in life, don’t be surprised if they answer back “Faster Horses”. Definitely putting this one back on the schedule for next year.

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New Business Motivations: Small Town Revisions

One of my favorite towns as of the past year has become Clifton, TN. Why? Because when we pulled into town to look at property on Memorial Weekend of 2020, we found the town was a bit, well… let just say a bit empty.

In 2019, a couple from California moved to town! They purchased the Clifton Marina Bar & Grill. The result of this purchase, encouraged small business growth in the meantime. Christopher and Stacy Huntingford put their hearts into the management of the marina, and their next step was to purchase the building at 100 Main, which is now called the Landing. This building is now luxury (yes… I call it luxury, ’cause I’m fancy, like that…) apartments overlooking the Tennessee River that are available for rent on AirBNB. Who wouldn’t want to stay here! Check it out and The Landing at 100 Main. Say Hi to Melanie Oberg, the property manager. She’s a wonderful hostess! Then, take a short walk to the Clifton Marina for great music, food, and cocktails!

In the year since we started visiting Clifton… other small businesses are popping up on Main Street. Riverside Nutrition offers great smoothies and protein shakes, and they are right next to The Landing. In addition, I’ve also noticed All American Hair Styles, offering Spa services to the community.

I can’t wait to go back and see if any other businesses have opened. I have a feeling this little town is about to bloom!

The views of Clifton, TN are simply amazing! Who wouldn’t want to go here!

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Mackinac Island by Air!

I really need to keep my good camera on hand more often… Yesterday, we had an opportunity to take an evening flight to Mackinac Island on a friends Mooney 231. The sweet 4 seater plane got us up in the air from Kalkaska, MI to the Island in about a 1/2 hour. Sure beats the 2 hour drive it would normally take!

This wonderful Mooney 231 got us up in the air and to Mackinac Island! We had a great pilot!

There truly is no better way to see Michigan than from the air. It always amazes me how many lakes scatter across the landscape. It makes for some beautiful views!

The best view, of course, is the Mackinac Bridge… (Pronounced “Mack-in-Aw” by the way… not “Mac-in-Ac”. ) The bridge is Michigan’s Crown Jewel that connects the Mitten to the Upper Peninsula (da UP). For those of us that live below the bridge (“trolls”), a trip across the bridge to the UP’s many wonderful communities means VACATION AND RELAXATION! But that’s another story…

The views were of course amazing… When we landed at the Mackinac Island Airport, we had a scenic walk into town. The Island is “Horse Driven”, so we passed many horse carriage taxi’s and bicycle riders along the way. We ate at a quaint restaurant located in the heart of downtown, next to Fudge Shops (yes… fudgies love this place!), and t-shirt shops, The Sea Biscuit Cafe’. The Chicken Wings were the best ever… the pulled pork grilled cheese with avocado was nothing short of wonderful. What a great choice!

No cars are allowed on the island. We passed a lot of bicycles on the way into town.

After dinner, we walked back to the airport, and loaded up to head back south. The evening trip was quite a last minute treat!

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Normalcy!!!

Yes… Michigan has officially opened back up! The biggest life change of COVID for the past year and a half has been clothing shopping.

Yesterday, after leaving my doctors office, I actually went shopping. I boldly walked into Kohl’s with no mask (yes, I am fully vaccinated!), wandered through the racks, and picked out a few items. It was nice to feel the fabric and actually try the clothes on, instead of ordering online. I missed in person shopping!

For the past year and a half, I have ordered online from Amazon and other various vendors. I find when I get the items home, the material quite often bizarre feeling (sometimes even plastic like)… and I look at my closet thinking how much I hate my wardrobe. Yes, I send things back quite often.

So yes… the feeling of normalcy is wonderful! I love shopping!

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Happiest when I am afloat!

Something happens once a year, after being cooped up inside watching snowflakes fall from the sky for six months of the year. My boat gets summerized and it’s time to head out for a good float!

Gassing up at the Torch River Shack for the first time 2021… Heading out for an evening float!

I often wonder if its just me, or does everyone feel giddy when they sit behind the steering wheel of a boat the first time each summer. Torch Lake, located in Northwestern Lower Peninsula of Michigan is my “Home Lake”. I grew up here. It’s crystal blue even on a cloudy day! The south end is famous for it’s sand bar (Not just because Kid Rock wrote a song about splashing through the sand bar!) Sometimes it looks like party central. It’s fun, but I always keep in mind the lake is 20 miles long and there’s more to it than just the sand bar.

Weeknights on the world famous Torch Lake Sand Bar are the best! Locals gather to watch an amazing skyline as the sun begins to set.

A few favorite places of mine, aside from the sand bar, to anchor include the shoreline at the Alden Ball Park, North of French’s Point on the West Side, and Indian Road Point which offers a Caribbean Blue shoreline.

My favorite hangout destinations after a long day of boating for some good food, cocktails and friends include:

  • Mico’s Torch Riviera for Italian and American Cuisine and wonderful entertainment! This is located at the south end of the lake by Torch River
  • The Dockside at Clam River is located about 1/2 way up the lake on the east side. Pull up to the dock and tie off. Then go in and enjoy a few drinks and burgers… or a giant burrito!
  • Torch Lake Beer Company is another stop located downtown Alden. The town offers a public docking pier to tie up at while you go in for Pizza, Burgers, and beverages.

Don’t have a boat? There are several places to rent a pontoon, or ski boat!

So if your up for a day of boating, head on out! Torch Lake is the largest lake on a chain of lakes that includes Elk Lake, Lake Skegemog, Torch River, Torch Lake, Clam River, Clam Lake, Grass River, Lake Bellaire, and Intermediate Lake. There’s so much natural beauty here, you may never want to leave!

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Car Obsession… Mustang Convertible

In 1964 a Ford Motor Company designer named Gale Halderman created what would become my automobile crush. Halderman along with the talents of engineer, Lee Iacocca, The 1964 1/2 Mustang was born. Of course, this was the year before I was born.

My grandfather, Marshall Peal, was a metallurgist at Ford Motor Company, since his return from World War II to the time he retired in 1976. In fact, he claimed that when he was growing up in Detroit, he had many chances to make side money mowing the Ford Family Farms. His loyalty to the Ford Brand was beyond anything you could ever imagine. My first brand new car was a 1992 Pontiac Grand Am, which when I pulled into his driveway he quickly told me “That’s a pretty car, but it can park on that road right there!” I giggled and quickly moved my car. I had a feeling that would happen…

Maybe this has something to do with my own obsession… or maybe the Mustang is just a beautiful car built with people, just like me, in mind. It’s a sweet, cute, fun ride, especially on a sunny day, with the top down. I’ve owned 4 of them now. Each one with it’s own name, according to it’s personality.

T-Stang was a 2000 Performance Red Mustang with a tan top and a peppy V6. (My bucket list after cancer car)

Bee-Stang was a hot little 2006 Screaming Yellow Pony Mustang with a Black top and the same peppy V6. Who can turn down a car like that?

Betty Lou was my hot little charcoal 2004 Mustang GT… Plenty of power with that V8 engine. My dogs loved riding with the top down and the wind in their fur!

… and finally… My current Mustang… Sally Lucille (Sally, because she’s a Mustang, and Lucille, because she’s a redhead!) a 2020 Mustang with a Turbocharged I-4 Engine that truly surprised me with the amount of pep it has. It’s a truly fun ride!

I’m hoping to continue to own Mustang’s through the rest of my life. I have those goals! My first impression of the Ford Mustang Mach-E was disappointment… but I have to admit… the car is growing on me. When I’m ready to go electric… that may be my choice!

So… does everyone else have a car obession???

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The beauty of a walk in the Woods!

The other day I heard there was a bear in the woods behind my house. So I didn’t walk. Today, I decided it was so nice, I had to take a walk in the woods.

The only bear I saw, was the Daisy Bear!

Walking is my favorite way to wind down, and get some exercise. Plus, the woods are so beautiful this time of year!

Continue reading “The beauty of a walk in the Woods!”
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Photo Inspiration

I’ve been trapped in my comfort zone lately… so I decided to go through my phone for photo inspiration. Then I ran across the pictures from my cruise to Havana, Cuba from a couple of years ago. Would I go back? Probably… but not on a cruise. I’d like more time to explore! I love the architecture of this town.

Enjoy!

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The Treasure of Drummond Island

There’s this place in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There are so many words to describe it! It’s an island in the St. Mary’s Seaway, North of Lake Huron, that is down to earth, friendly, relaxing, and fun… I could go on an on…

What’s relaxing about it… the remoteness offers the ability to sit on the shoreline in a lawn chair with an ice cold beverage and watch freighters from all over the world float by. The sunsets are amazing, and the wildlife is abundant!

The fun factor includes the miles of wooded trails that can be accessed by UTV’s, ATV’s, SUV’s, and Jeep’s. It’s a thing out there! The trails lead you to beautiful places like, the Fossil Ledges, and the Step’s at Marble Head. Regular Daily Driver Vehicles are not recommended for these trips. So load up whatever 4×4 you have access too and plan for an adventurous day in nature!

Ron, standing at the Fossil Ledges after a rocky trip through the wooded trails.

Fishing is a big deal around the Island as well… get in with the locals, and find out when the perch are biting. There are lots of great spots to tuck into around the bays for catching a great dinner. Walleye, Salmon, and Whitefish have their favorite hiding spots as well. Bring your fishing pole!

Just my favorite little Havanese, enjoying some Drummond Island Tritoon Time!

There are a couple of watering holes that you can trip on down to for a great meal, and local fellowship. My favorites: The Northwood, and The Bear Track. They both have great menu’s including fresh caught fish, and delicious steaks.

So make plans to visit Drummond Island soon! It’s worth the trip! You can catch the Drummond Island Ferry at Detour, Michigan for a quick trip across from the mainland.

For more information, visit http://www.visitdrummondisland.com.

Happy Travels!

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I have to say something about the town that was considered my high school rival 30 something years ago!

Yes… Frankfort, Michigan… I drove through your town last Friday night. I never really paid too much attention when I was younger, but I have to admit. THIS TOWN IS STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL.

We drove over specifically to have dinner at Dinghy’s Restaurant, downtown; Friday night fish fry! I had the perch, and I have to say… it was nothing short of delightful! The smell of the ribs when I walked in the door made my decision a bit difficult, as to what I was going to order. Next time… I’m getting the ribs for sure!

My misstep: I didn’t have a good camera with me… every bloggers nightmare! So I have no pictures to post. So… here’s where to go for more information on this visit worthy town, located on the Northwestern Michigan Shoreline of Lake Michigan:

So… check it out, and take a roadtrip! I’ll go back for sure… with camera in hand!

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Northern Michigan Springtime…

Spring brings some pretty cool sites in the woods!

Beautiful spring flowers peek out from under last falls layer of leaves.
Dutchman’s Breeches… A springtime favorite!

These pictures were taken with my simple iPhone 11. Sometimes perspective adds more than a fancy camera!

My peaceful Autumn spot… home!

My front yard in Kingsley, MI

“Missing White Woman Syndrome”… Seriously?

Joy Reid, of “The ReidOut” on MSNBC has fanned the flames of racial division by throwing out the phrase “Missing White Woman Syndrome”, while referring to the media coverage of the disappearance, and eventual homicide of Gabby Petito… as if people should be insensitive to the tragedy that has occurred.

I try to avoid voicing my opinion, because I hate conflict… but this disgusted me to my core.

Why did the media focus on the Gabby Petito missing person case. This young woman was 22 years old on an adventure of her lifetime, with her fiance’. She disappeared as her fiance’ returned home to North Port, FL with the van SHE owned, leaving her behind, as we know now, dead in the wilderness. Her family, in a desperate plea for help in finding her, contacted the police and the media for help, as any family would in worry of their family member. Her fiance’ has since disappeared. Whether he is cowardly on the run, or just cowardly killed himself in guilt and no one has found is body yet, this case is, unfortunately, not an unusual situation.

So… for Joy Reid to judge the media coverage, as if she has been wronged as a black person, is simply sickening. According to Wikipedia, Joy Reid has a salary of $1.5 million per year, with a Harvard Education. Undoubtedly, she has worked hard, and used every advantage to create her wealth and privilege. No one can deny her that, and I applaud her hard work throughout her lifetime.

HOWEVER… Gabby Petito’s life possibilities were robbed of her. I find it highly insensitive of this media host to stomp on the efforts of her family to ask for the help of media and authorities to bring closure to the tragic ending of this case. This family just wanted answers as to what happened to their daughter. It’s a case that drew communities in from around the country.

Politics and race aside, Ms. Reid… learn not to bring others down in your quest for racial happiness. Women have their own disadvantages, no matter what their color. Have respect. This story, unfortunately has a sinister ending, and your opinion of it happened before this family even had a chance to bury their daughter. I feel like you owe this family a huge apology.

Be kind… no matter what your race, color, sexual orientation, or political affiliation, and people will return the kindness. Work together and choose your words wisely!