Tag Archives: Travel

Hitting the Wall

Standard

lincoln

Isn’t this the most beautiful baby?? My newest little great-grandchild, Lincoln…I’m so glad I had the chance to meet him!

I had never been to the east coast before, either. I have always wanted to see New England, so this was a great opportunity. My daughter and her family were fantastic travel companions. The trip there and back was tiring but fun; the time spent with Michael, Samantha and this new baby was a treat. All of our side adventures were memorable. I don’t regret a thing.

Still.

Back from Connecticut, one night in Lapeer, then a four hour drive to Charlevoix, a twenty minute plane ride to Beaver Island, a rush to go pick up my little dog, then home.

The next day, it was back to work. Plus attend a meeting, mid-morning, at the Community Center, pick up a week’s worth of mail at the post office and collect my luggage – which arrived a day later than I did to Beaver Island – from the airport. In the evening, three hours of computer work regarding the news-magazine, then bed.

Yesterday, up early to write my blog, nine hours at the hardware and  a visit with Aunt Katie before going home. There, I had a stack of subscription renewals and address changes to enter into the database, several phone calls to return, one story to rewrite for length, my personal bills to pay, two bank deposits to prepare, laundry, play with Rosa Parks, then bed.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that vacations – no matter how joyous – are exhausting!

I’m so tired!

I have this day and two more to work at the hardware before I have a day off. I am also in the thick of trying to get one issue of my magazine to the printer, and the next issue plotted out and written.

Today, for my daily writing, this is it. I have hit the wall. A complaints list…a bit of whining…that’s all I’ve got this morning.

Advertisements

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

Standard

march2016 093

It was wonderful to get away!

I had good visits with two of my sisters, both of my daughters and three of my grandchildren…plus quality time with Lincoln Phillip, my tiny new great-grandson.

I waited at the airport on Beaver Island for more than four hours with a driving snowstorm going on outside, before finally making my way to Charlevoix. The flight was good, Charlevoix was clear, and the four hour drive was uneventful. That was Tuesday.

On Thursday I met up with the Clark family: my daughter, Kate; her husband, Jeremy; their two youngest children, Madeline and Tommy. They would be my traveling companions for the next several days. We were headed for Connecticut to visit with Kate’s oldest son, Michael, and his little family.

I hadn’t seen Michael in a couple years. I had not yet met his girlfriend, Samantha. They had recently added a new family member, that we were all excited to meet.

The drive was long, but good. There was plenty to see (except in Ohio, of course) and lots to talk about. Kate and I had each brought stories to read aloud. She brought a short story collection by Steven King; I brought essays by Evan S. Connell. We played travel games; we napped.

Jeremy is a good driver. He doesn’t get nervous, or angry, or impatient. He can change lanes quickly and safely when needed, and he doesn’t mind if we miss an exit and have to backtrack. He doesn’t get agitated when a passenger (me) audibly sucks in her breath or says, “Oh, shit!!” or “Yikes!” or “Look out!” He doesn’t mind stopping for rest rooms or hunger. He doesn’t seem to mind driving for hours on end through pouring rain.

Kate is a fantastic navigator. She was in charge of the map, directing the driver. She had the trip plotted out ahead of time. Kate helped us avoid areas that were costly or that would slow us down, but she also was on the lookout for areas of interest that we might want to see. She could tell us how far we’d gone, how far yet to go and what our elevation was at any given time. When we crossed a bridge, she’d tell us the body of water. When we came to a new state sign, we cheered.

We had a lovely visit with my grandson and his family (I’ll devote a separate post to that).

We took a slightly different route back to Michigan, to change the view. We made a couple detours and stops to enrich the experience.

I spent Monday night back at my sister Brenda’s house, and drove back to Charlevoix Tuesday. I caught the last flight of the day, went to pick up my little dog and came home.

Happy to get away…so glad to be home!

 

Sweet Pea

Standard

november2013 047

I never have been much of a “vacationer.”

When I visit a place, I want to see it the way the locals do. I don’t want the “tourist experience;”  I want to fit in. I imagine that it’s my place, that I’m familiar with the people and their particular mannerisms, that I know the vendors and I’m a regular at a certain coffee shop.

I wanted to live on Beaver Island for as long as I can remember.

When my Dad gave up his own electrical business and started working at Chevrolet Manufacturing,  he got a paid vacation. We used that time to go to Beaver Island every summer, to the farmhouse where Dad was raised, and where my Grandpa George and Grandma Florence still spent their summers.

We played on rope swings in the barn, roamed the fields, climbed trees and built forts. On rainy days, we explored the old trunks and boxes and attic spaces. Grandma would let us help with the old wringer washer, and was always up for games of “Crazy Eights” or “Kings in the Corner.” On nice days, we’d load up and go to the beach. In the evenings, Dad told the old stories as he drove us around on the curving roads through the tunnels of trees.

I loved it all! I always imagined it was my home. When the time came to go, I was the kid hanging over the rail of the ferry boat, sobbing.

I wanted to live there.

In preparation, of course, I’d read.

The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald, plucked from my mother’s bookshelf, was early research.

E.B.White’s essays – written when he moved from New York City to a saltwater farm in Maine – were treasures. His story about trying to save an ailing pig, that would eventually go to slaughter, still makes me laugh…and cry. His sheep were named with Celtic numbers (Yain, Tain, Eddero, Peddero, Dix…)and his little dachshund was always around, investigating the goings-on.

As soon as my daughters were old enough, our bedtime reading turned to the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder. One chapter a night, we went through the entire Little House on the Prairie series, learning as we went about the old ways.

An Island Garden by Celia Thaxter helped me plan my own island garden. She talked about the way Sweet Peas climbed and wound around their supports, about tiny bouquets of the little blossoms and of their heavenly scent.

Sweet Peas were added to my list of dreams for my little island home.

Eventually, I did move to Beaver Island, with a husband and two small children.

It didn’t always go as planned.

Problems arose that were never covered in the books I’d read.

Living on Beaver Island is not what I expected it would be.

It doesn’t matter.

I kind of fit in. It’s my place. I’m familiar with the people and their particular mannerisms. I know the vendors, and I’m a regular at a certain coffee shop.

I still hate to leave Beaver Island and I love coming back.

Sweet Peas blossom just outside my kitchen door.

This is home.

Sister Time

Standard

Image

I just spent a week on vacation with my sisters!

We drove to Nashville, stayed in two large side-by-side apartments in a lovely resort (thanks to my sister, Brenda!), had a wonderful tour of the city that included a traditional dinner and “honky-tonkin'” down Broadway (thanks to my sister, Amy!), took in a fantastic show at the Grand Ole Opry (thanks again, Brenda!), and all-in-all just had the best time with the dearest women I know (thank you Brenda, Cheryl, Nita, Robin and Amy!).

We started out on Sunday, in two cars. Cheryl drove one, with Brenda keeping company beside her, and me lounging in the back seat. Amy drove the other, with Robin as co-pilot and Nita relaxing in the back. Both cars were loaded to capacity with the luggage of six women off on a jaunt. Each car took a different route, but arrived within a half-hour of each other.

We unpacked and settled in, opened bottles of wine, ordered pizza delivery and started plotting our week. Some things had specific dates and times, others were just ideas or possibilities. We’re big on possibilities in my family. We prefer to not book every moment, leaving openings for serendipity and the wonderful surprise. We keep in mind that on vacation, relaxation and enjoyment trumps an agenda every time.

The wine was the first of many bottles we worked through; the pizza was the first of many wonderful meals.

Cheryl was called away on a family emergency. She left in her car on Tuesday to be with her son and his family in South Carolina. We missed her, and worried along with her, but did our best to soldier on. I’m happy to report that everything seems to be going well there, and we’ve all been able to relax a little.

I could report on all the activities we managed to squeeze into our week, all of the sights and sounds of Nashville, the many interesting shops and marvelous restaurants, the terrific characters we met. They are nice memories, but not most important.

I can say, honestly, that there were moments of tension, of anger and hurt feelings. When you get a group of people together who were all children together, those things come out. They were only moments, though, quickly resolved, and not the memories I will hold when I think of this vacation.

When I remember this time with my sisters, I’ll be thinking of other things:

…the way we kept informed and kept Cheryl “in the loop” by frequent text messaging and long-distance word games.

…early morning, sitting in the outdoor hot tub chatting with Brenda as the steam rose into the cool air.

…high fives all around whenever we pulled a correct answer out of the air during Pub Trivia.

…eating a nice meal at a brewery, Brenda and I decided to order the six-glass artisan beer sampler. I expected double-shot sized samples, but we received our beer in 8-ounce glasses. I tasted each, shared with Nita, and drank my favorite with my meal. Brenda started at the left and worked her way through every one!

…Robin and Amy, the youngest in our family, shopping for their grandchildren.

…Nita, reporting to her grandson, “I’m having SO MUCH fun!”

…the candle we lit for our sister, Sheila, to keep her close though she’s no longer with us.

…packing to go home, with one less car, more passengers and many purchases: when the hatchback finally closed successfully after many failed attempts, we cheered and embraced.

…running into bad weather on our way home, we ended up in a motel for the night. Shortly after we checked in, the electrical power went out. We drank beer and wine and played our game with one small LED flashlight, and the glow from Sheila’s candle.

These, along with the giggles, the bright eyes and sweet smiles of each of my sisters, are the memories I’ll cherish.

Golden

Standard

Image

Color is a big topic up here on Beaver Island, in the Fall of the year.

People who want to come here to experience the colors ask, trying to plan their visit for the optimal time.

Folks who have seen the spectacular Autumn show in other years ask, to see how this year is shaping up in comparison.

People who live here talk about it, and report on their own experiences with the colors. If you’ve been up in a plane, or driven around the island, or stopped at Miller’s Marsh or Barney’s Lake, or if you’ve driven down the King’s Highway or Paid Een Ogg’s Road or the West Side Drive…you have something to talk about.

We tell of our experience to anyone who asks, assisting those who are trying to plan a trip or make a comparison.

We tell about it just for the sake of relating our own experience.

“Not as good as in other years…still pretty.”

“I’m not seeing those bright reds this year.”

“From the air, it looks like they’re at their peak!”

“Not so much contrast as we’ve had in the past.”

“Beautiful color around the Fox Lake area!”

“A little past their prime, but the colors are still pretty.”

Our colors reach their peak just a bit later than they do on the mainland, most years.

Weather makes a difference. The amount of moisture in the earth determines the intensity and longevity of the Autumn hues. A few days of wind or rain can strip the trees and change the color of the landscape entirely.

This year, the Autumn colors come to us after two very mild Winters and at least one dry Summer. They come when lake levels are down lower than anyone here can remember. They still show up, though we’ve had weeks of wind and rain.

The Fall colors are here!