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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
After dinner, we walked back to the airport, and loaded up to head back south. The evening trip was quite a last minute treat!
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!
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!
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.
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!
- Torch River Marine at the south end of the Lake
- Luhr’s Landing on Torch River
- Torch River Shack at the Mouth of Torch River
- Dewitt Marine on Clam Lake
- Elk Rapids Marina in Elk Rapids, on the Elk River
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!