Happy Labor Day!

Cheers to the bridge walkers through out Michigan today… Whether it’s the Mighty Mackinac Bridge, or the Aarwood Bridge… It’s been a great day! Photo credit:. Becky Shepherd… September 3, 2018. Aarwood Bridge, Rapid City, Michigan.

Embrace the season change!

Ugh… it happened this weekend.  I got that feeling… that rainy day, cooler temperatures, stay at home and watch movies and do laundry all day feeling!  Fall is sneaking up on me.  I know its right around the corner, because it keeps reminding me in the most obvious ways.

Leaves are turning colors…  it’s raining more often than it has in the past month…  the outside temperatures are slowing falling.  I need a sweatshirt when I sit outside at the campground.   So now I have to admit it!  I love the fall colors.  I love sweater weather (but I love summertime more).  I love staying home and feeling cozy, padding around in my kitchen creating warm delicious dishes in my crock pot.

So guess what…  I’ve decided that I’m going to enjoy this weekend of summer weather, and then focus on the beauty of Autumn in Northern Michigan.

Things to do in Northern Michigan during Autumn…

  1. Winery/Brewery tour.  Anywhere you go in Northern Michigan, there’s a wide selection of craft brews and spirits.  Old Mission Peninsula, Leelanau County, and The Chain of Lakes region from Elk Rapids through Bellaire are wonderful areas to taste your favorites AND enjoy some of the most incredible views of the fall colors.
  2. Don’t put that boat away just yet!  Color tours via water are amazing.  One of my favorite fall cruises is from Torch River through the Chain of Lakes into the Intermediate River to visit the quaint town of Bellaire.  Colors generally peak the first two weeks of October, and USUALLY the weather is good enough to throw on a light jacket for the day trip.  The trip is an annual favorite for locals too!
  3. Visit some “Foodie Towns”…  Traverse City has tons of restaurants of all cuisine’s…  it’s becoming a good place to visit for a variety of dining experiences.  But I do have a few favorites outside of T.C.  A few of my favorite towns that are just a short drive from Traverse City, are Glen Arbor, Elk Rapids, Boyne City, Charlevoix, Northport, Leland, and Petoskey, just to name a few.   If you get out an explore these towns you will find great dining options like, Art’s Tavern, Pearl’s New Orlean’s Kitchen, Stafford’s Weathervane, Cafe’ Sante, Fischer’s Happy Hour Tavern, and the Cove.
  4. Get out and enjoy outside… Yes… there I said it!  We all need that fresh air and exercise.  We have bike/walking/hiking trails everywhere in Northern Michigan.  Personally, I can’t wait until the TART (Traverse Area Recreational Trail) trail extends towards Elk Rapids!
  5. Camping… there are so many great places to camp around here!  There’s nothing like a great campfire and roasting s’mores.  It’s not just for summertime, afterall.  Timber Ridge Campground in Traverse City offers year round sites and cabins.  My summer experience at Torch Grove Campground in the Torch Lake area this summer has lead me to make some new wonderful friendships that made my summer the best, so why not keep on camping until the snow flakes fall?  Check out some of the best campgrounds in the area at https://mynorth.com/2017/07/10-best-northern-michigan-campgrounds/.

So, don’t just hibernate until next spring… get out there and enjoy our beautiful spot in this world!  Enjoy those vibrant colors…IMG_1805

 

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

 

It’s Barkbox day!

My dog is so spoiled… Is $21.00 per month worth it? Let’s see…

She is so happy to get a new box of goodies to destroy each month!

All of of this good stuff… It’s like Christmas once a month!

… And we have a new favorite!

Yes… I give Barkbox five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ So does Daisy!

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!

10 things no one ever told you about being over 50!

  1. You aren’t 25 anymore.  Partying every night just makes you super tired for days on end.

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  2. You really do get to mow the lawn any way you wish!  Straight lines, circles, figure 8’s… anything goes.  The world will not end.

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  3. Your doctor will want to see you at least once a year… just to make sure you are still alive!

    stainless steel stethoscope
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  4. Walking is now more fun than running.  Running causes pain…  walking is still a great form of exercise.

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    Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com
  5. Visiting the beauty salon now takes more time, because of those pesky gray hairs you have to cover up to stay looking young!

    black salon chairs
    Photo by Delbeautybox on Pexels.com
  6. Cold weather brings thoughts of tropical vacations.  Snow is no longer a fun thing!  Sure it’s pretty, but oh so cold!

    snow covered trees
    Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com
  7. The old pictures where you thought you looked fat, now suddenly show how amazing you looked in your younger days!

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    Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com
  8. A fun weekend may consist of cleaning out your closets and simplifying your belongings.

    photo of black clothes on hangers
    Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com
  9. Your close friends become closer, and more important in your life!

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    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  10. Life in general becomes more enjoyable!

    person standing on hand rails with arms wide open facing the mountains and clouds
    Photo by Nina Uhlíková on Pexels.com

 

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!

This thing called cancer…

It’s been 18 years since I’ve gotten the “ALL CLEAR”, and I’m happy to say there’s no signs of my cancer recurring…  But everytime I turn a corner, there’s someone new out there heading into the cancer center for treatments.  That word has just become a part of life around here.  So, here’s a few thoughts I have running through my brain on the subject.

  • Chemo sucks… it’s rough.  It’s poison.  But it’s treatment.  In many cases, it works.  In some cases it doesn’t work.  If you have a friend going through it… BE THERE FOR THEM.  (Yes Mike, if you need me to come over and mow your lawn, I will…)
  • Radiation…  It’s just exhausting, even though it doesn’t hit you right away.  Again, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
  • Cancer isn’t always a death sentence.  They’ve come a long way with many types of cancers, but not long enough with others.
  • Every cancer has a different make up.  There is no one magic cure.  But I sure wish there was.  I wish Marijuana really did kill cancer cells.  But the fact is, every cancer is different.  Although I do feel like its a huge help with the side effects from chemo, radiation, etc…
  • Oncologists typically aren’t the most personable people.  But when you find a good one, you need them to be point blank about everything.  It’s not necessary to be their best friend.
  • Oncology nurses are amazing.  Enough said!
  • Everytime someone I know looses someone to a cancer battle, I get a huge empty ache in my heart.  (That goes to a few people I know lately…)
  • Once you survive cancer, you are a part of an elite group of truly blessed people.  You learn who your friends are, that is for sure!
  • Donation’s to organizations that fight cancer are a good thing.  My personal favorite organization is the Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation that supports the Cowell Family Treatment Center in Traverse City, Michigan.  It’s local for Northern Michigan.  The money stays in our community.  The staff is very supportive and professional.

Yes… Unfortunately, today I have that terrible heartache for the second time this week.  But at the same time, I know that people are fighting this disease with all they have.  Someday, “that word” needs to be history…  gone… forever.  I hope that happens.

So I remind myself, once again…  18 years… WOW!  I am blessed.  I have hope…. TONS of hope.  Now I’m going home to hug my doggie as hard as I can.

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Since travel restrictions to Cuba loosened in 2016, Havana and other Cuban ports of call have opened up to cruise ships carrying Americans like never before. But tighter regulations under the Trump Administration continue to blur the fine print when it comes to how Americans can visit this once-forbidden island nation. We just returned from a five-night […]

via Cruising to Cuba Right Now: What to Know & Why to Go — The Cuban Window