Slow down summertime… slow down, please!

Whew…  sometimes I have the hardest time coming up with a good blog subject.  But this week it dawned on me, as I slipped away from my desk at the end of the day, that we only have 10 more days left of August!  This summer is going by so fast, and soon I’ll be back to finding ways to survive the snow, and cold, with plenty of travel to new and interesting places.  But in the meantime, I’m going to look back and remember what is making this summer one of the best ever.

Glamping!  I’ve had my camper set out at Torch Grove Campground this summer (by Torch Lake, of course).  There’s such a fun group of people that spend the weekends here.  The new friends I’ve made are priceless and fun… Cheers to another month and a half of Glamping fun, campfires, and lake fun!  Oh… and I love the term “Glamping”  (Glamour Camping)…  It’s so much better than sleeping on the ground!  My dog agrees too!38693313_10157318141542069_1771094609921835008_o

Boating… Boating… and more boating… and lots of sand bar time on Torch Lake…  with a bit of swimmers itch thrown in.

 

The crew at the Torch River Marine has been a great one once again this year.  It’s almost mesmerizing to watch the boats come and go in and out of rack storage.  (Cheers to my favorites, Sabrina, Marlon, Shelby,  Phillip and Taylor, and of course Rebecca, John, Jason, Sarah, Jim, Rachel, Becky and a whole host of others that make the place hustle.)   I may be prejudice (My brother, John, and his friends, Jim Brewer and Jim Ennis make the place rock), but when I stand back and take a good look, they offer five star service, even under pressure of the busiest season of the year.

 

…  and lets not forget the small town fun, festivals and great friends!  The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City rocked, as usual.  Elk Rapids hosted a great 35th Class Reunion for my fellow alumni, and the Annual Torch Lake fireworks display was amazing, with a fantastic sunset and good fun!

 

All  that, and somehow, I missed my favorite festival of the year, Elk Rapids Harbor Days…  but I had fun with my visiting long lost sand bar siblings from way back in the 1970’s that week anyway…  I love these guys!

 

Ohhhhh… and summer’s not over yet.  I can’t give up on it.  There’s more to come for sure!  But I must admit, I’m looking forward to some fall adventures that I have planned.  Just a few places I have scheduled to travel for work and play…  Elmira, NY, Tunkannock, PA, Tinley Park, IL, Lexington, KY, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Havana, Cuba… and that’s just for fall.  Who knows what winter holds… but I don’t even want to think about snow!

That’s all for now… keep enjoying those summer days as long as we can!!38422392_10157308032517069_878782731469717504_n

 

Lunchtime blog: Summertime… Sandbar… Sunshine… Swimmers Itch???

Summertime in Northern Michigan means spending time on some of the clearest, most beautiful waters in the world.  (No… I’m not exaggerating… it’s so blue, it’s almost like you are in the Caribbean!)

A lot of my weekend time is spent out on my pontoon on my favorite sand bar on Torch Lake, which borders both Antrim County, and Kalkaska County.  When you look in the water, it’s so clear you cannot imagine anything lurking in the waters.  But as the warmth of the summer months draw in the ducks and geese…  it brings this nasty parasite (carried by the birds).  It’s the dreaded SWIMMER’S ITCH!  It might not hit for a day; it might hit right away…  It might even bypass the occasional person who is completely immune to it!

Its itchy, nasty, and can ruin a good time for a few days.  But somehow it never seems to slow us down from enjoying the summer.  We cope… We slather down with hydrocortisone cream,  and we move up the lake to deeper, cooler waters where the parasite doesn’t seem to thrive.

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The skin condition doesn’t last long… but it’s still an inconvenience.  So, don’t let it kill your good time!  Lotion up your skin before you get into the water (with SPF 15 at least, of course).  Dry off as soon as you get out of the water.  Keep a bar of Lava Soap on hand too, because it seems to scrub those little buggers away very well once you hit land.38422392_10157308032517069_878782731469717504_n

In the meantime… I’m spending today itching just a bit… Next weekend I think I’ll park North of the Sand Bar in the deeper water so this doesn’t happen for awhile again!

Until next time…  Float on!

Enjoy!

The storm rolls in quickly!

Ok… So there I was on a beautiful day at the Torch Lake Sandbar..

All anchored up and ready to chill… When i look up to see this sky rolling in…

Do I ride it out? Nope…

All the boats headed for the river. No open slips at the marina right away, so I cruise up the river for a bit. Then it hit… Quick turn around… And I was completely soaked. But, I made it back to an open slip to a bit of applause for my docking skills.

And… I did it all by myself, while my dog, Daisy, hid under my feet. 😎

I was still a good day!

Happy Independence Day!

The 4th of July has always been a favorite of mine…  Wonderful fireworks all around Northern Michigan!  But there’s more reasons that its a favorite.

Happy Boat Dogs

img_6635My favorite wine and a sunset on the water!img_6637Boat time with friends and familyimg_6644Dinner served boatside

img_6656Beautiful sunsetimg_6659My happy place… the captains chair on my pontooon!img_6662Patriotic Boaters

Beautiful skylines and warm nights!

img_6673Beautiful clean clear watersimg_6674Splashing through THE Sandbar… yes…  It’s the world famous Torch Lake Sand Bar.  This is where I grew up… and where I celebrate the freedom of our country every year.   img_6676

Enjoy every minute, and appreciate whats around!  Never take these things for granted.  It’s all great!

Happy Birthday America!

Things to know before heading to the Torch Lake Sandbar

Summertime in Northern Michigan… yes, it’s that time of year, and there really is no better place to be than splashing through the beautiful waters of the Torch Lake Sand Bar on a hot summer day.  BUT, if you’ve never been there, there are a few tips you need to know before heading out.

  1. When anchoring on the sand bar, use at least two anchors to secure your boat.  Front and Back Anchors can keep your boat from swinging into other boats around you on a windy day.
  2. Lotion up before getting into the water.  This helps keep “Swimmers Itch” from affecting your skin.  Also dry off quickly when you get out.  This is another good preventative for the parasites carried by duck feces in the water.
  3. The sand bar is a public place.  You can get arrested for public drunkenness, drugs, indecency, etc…  Be respectful of families around you. There are Antrim and Kalkaska County Sheriff boats out there, along with Michigan State Police, Michigan DNR Boats, and even Coast Guard helicopters monitoring the crowds every day in the busy summer.  They are there to ensure safety at all times.
  4. Mark your anchors with floatables.  This will save a few toes from stubbage.  Walkabouts are a must when on the sand bar to socialize and meet new people.  An unmarked anchor can lead to  a painful toe if you happen to stub your foot, or step on an anchor that isn’t marked.
  5. Take care of your garbage.  If you brought it with you, take it back with you!  Torch Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.  It needs to stay that way!
  6. The locals love to grill!  If you get offered some of their grillings, by all means, try it!  It’s great stuff!
  7. Bring money for the Burger Barge.  Dave does a great job with his burger flippers, and has the best souvenir’s on the water!  https://www.facebook.com/The-Burger-Barge-280618472591/
  8. If you park in an open spot, don’t be surprised if someone maneuvers up and anchors next to you.  It’s a big place, but the shallow spots are in demand.  Many times, regular’s will even jump in to help you get where you want to be and help you anchor.
  9. Locals hang out on the East Side.  It’s more protected from extra wakes caused by boats cruising past the sandbar on the West Side.  The younger crowd hangs out in the center, where all the action happens.  Take your pick of places, depending on your mood!
  10. Relax, enjoy, float, and socialize!  It’s one of Michigan’s premiere spots to cool off.   The clear clean (and sometimes cold, depending on the wind direction) is worth the trip!
  11. Fabiano’s delivers pizza to the sandbar!!!  Just give “Pizza Boy” a shout along with a description of your boat with MC #’s, and approximate location.  Check them out at www.fabianosontorch.com.   They also have a limited number of short term boat slips and pontoon boat rentals available.
  12. Torch River Marine is a seasonal boat slip marina.  Plan on putting yourself on the wait list for a slip here for the summer.  It’s a first class operation with both in water boat slips and on demand rack storage.  Boat rentals are available as well.  www.torchrivermarine.com
  13. This year’s fireworks are scheduled at Dusk on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018.  Check them out… They are spectacular!

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This is where I grew up most every summer of my life…  It’s a place I don’t take for granted.  What can I say, it’s made me a “lake snob”!  See you out there soon!

5 Reasons to visit Alden, Michigan this summer!

This little gem of a town in Northern Michigan often goes unnoticed… What people don’t realize is just how adorable Alden, Michigan really is!  Why?  Well, here are just a few of my simple reasons:

  1. Torch Lake!  Yes… this town is located on the east side of Torch Lake.  Beautiful views can be enjoyed from the docks at the boat launch.  You can visit by boat, or by car.  A quick 30 minute drive from Traverse City is all it takes.img_6524
  2. Alden’s Mill house…  This is a must stop for my favorite spice blends and fun kitchen gadgets.  It’s a quaint unique shop with something for the awesome chef in everyone!  Check it out at their website…  https://aldenmillhouse.com/  They ship anywhere as well, so treat your favorite chef to some Miracle Blend, or Big Dave’s Burger and Steak Blend.  No kitchen is complete without it!
  3.  The Alden Bar & Grill.  Burgers, Ice Cold Beer, and friendly locals gather here.  My personal favorite is the Alden Bar Burger.  They even have an outdoor patio for those warm summer evenings.  You just can’t go wrong.
  4. The Alden Depot Park and Museum.  Stop in for a visit and learn about the history of this beautiful little town, relax in the park overlooking Torch Lake, or play a quick game of volleyball in the sand courts. It’s the epitome of “Pure Michigan”.  You can check out all it has to offer at https://www.michigan.org/property/alden-depot-park-museum
  5. The Stroll!  Every Thursday in the summer it’s all about Alden…  Meet up with friends, Stroll the streets, listen to live music, and check out all of the shops.  Alden has so much to offer.

For more details on this great town, check out VisitAlden.com.  Enjoy  your visit… You will want to return for years to come!

New Boat… Shakedown Cruise…

Here in Northern Michigan, we get boat fever if we don’t get out on the water enough.  Those of us who are lucky enough to own boats, often get this condition called “Two-foot-itis”…

This is a condition where you have a nice boat that is enough, but then you walk down a dock and see a slightly bigger boat that just might just be a touch more your style!  My friends, Terry and Susan Roote, remedied this condition this week, by upgrading from their 28 ft SeaRay Express, to a 32 ft Regal with twin engines.  Note… my knowledge of engines is limited, so I have no idea what kind of engines, HP’s, etc…

So…  as soon as they rolled back into town with their boat they invited a couple of us for a “Shakedown” Cruise to run out any bugs that might exist.   Off to Torch River Marine we went to meet up for our cruise down Torch River, through Lake Skegemog, and into Elk Lake.

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Good times for sure!  The boat ran like a champ, topping out at 55 mph across shorelines of Elk Lake, and onto the South end Sand Bar, where we tested out the water with our toes for a minute.  Elk Lake is actually about 63 degrees.  Not bad compared to the icy waters of Torch Lake! img_6487

The day wasn’t a top notch sunny day, but we threw on sweatshirts and had a great day!

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Of course the cruise down Torch River is always a relaxing treat!

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Siri, the boat dog!

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Getting the hang of the twins!  Terry did great with his new boat…

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The sun tried to come out for a few minutes, casting a glow across Lake Skegemog’s “Stump Hell”…

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Susan got a quick minute to handle to boat as well.  Boat’s just make people smile really big!

What a super fun day we all had!

Did I mention they have a beautiful Bed and Breakfast at the South end of Torch Lake also?  If anyone is ever curious about visiting this amazing area, just check their place out at UpFromTheRoote’s on Facebook!   They are great hosts!