Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Winter Pastime

Well, winter has a firm grasp on Chicago. There's snow on the ground, it's blustery cold out there and the marine forecasts typically require two digits to describe wave heights out on the lake. We've finally become used to our boating experiences consisting mostly of good memories and waiting for the boat shows to arrive.

So to fill time, Bernie has a new hobby that she's really excited about - a daily photo blog. She's roaming about Chicago, mostly during the not-quite-so-horrible weather days, taking interesting photos and posting them for others to enjoy.

Did you know there's a whole internet community out there that posts daily photos from various cities around the world? It's at City Daily Photo. Bernie first discovered it when she stumbled across Petoskey Daily Photo Blog and she's now a proud member.

Anyway, her new website is the Daily Chicago Photo. Check it out, it's really good!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

'Twas The Night Before Autumn Equinox *

At Crosswinds Marina,
Autumn Equinox.
All boaters were stirring ...
A party at the docks!

(OK, that's not what this poem is about. But it definitely describes "A" Dock.)

The lines were all tied
To the cleats with care,
As summer cruise memories
Danced in the air.

Meridian was nestled
All snug at her slip.
She was dreaming of summer
Gone by in a blip.

She thought of Chicago,
The cruise soon to wrap.
But what she really wanted
Was a long winter's nap.

When all of a sudden
There arose such a clatter!
It was Dockmaster Eric ...
What could be the matter?

"Meridian's sleepy",
He said with a wink.
"I've cheap indoor storage.
Now what do you think?"

Phil's eyes how they twinkled,
His dimples how merry.
"Sounds quite good to us,
September wind's scary!"

"Cheap indoor storage?
This is great, don't you know?"
Meridian cheered,
"No more sleeping in snow!"

A fam'ly owned bus'ness
For twenty odd years
Soon gave us to know
We would have no fears.

A blank storage contract
Appeared in his hand,
So we filled in the blanks
While standing on land

The storage is heated
Year 'round, fifty-five
They'll charge up our batt'ries
To keep them alive

Meridian's happy
She'll be cozy through Spring
Phil and Bernie now have to
Unload everything

Meridian exclaimed
As they drove off with some gear

"Happy Cruising to All

We'll see you next year!"

* With apologies to Clement Moore

White Lake, Michigan

September 18 - 20, 2007

We left Ludington early (for us that means around 10:30am) because we knew it would be a long trip to White Lake, Michigan. Earlier in the trip, in Leland and in Canada, we had met Bill and Evelyn on their sailboat Inua. They were at White Lake waiting to get hauled. We got a slip at Crosswinds Marine at White Lake.

We had a very nice visit with them (and the rest of the people on our dock at Crosswinds) on Saturday night. We provided cookies for the Saturday dockside gathering. Thus making up for tormenting the whole dock on Friday night when Bernie baked chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. She didn't realize that all the people from the neighboring boats were relaxing on the dock and could smell the cookies baking. She didn't hear them begging for cookies because she had the stereo cranked pretty loud. We also rode in a car to go to dinner at Hobo's Tavern in Muskegon. This was the first car trip for us since Drummond Island (before that, our last car trip was June 11.)

White Lake is right by the Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail. Hart-Montague is a 22 mile (44, round trip) bike trail and is notable as the first Michigan rail trail. It's a great trail - paved all the way with grades instead of steep hills. It runs through several towns including New Era, Rothbury, Shelby, and Mears. Each town has a small rest area for bikers (and there are many benches and picnic tables along the way).

New Era's stop is by their Elm Tree Project. One of their schools is maintaining young elm trees that are resistant to dutch elm disease in an attempt to reintroduce the trees to the area.

Shelby has an exercise station route off the bicycle path. We learned from this section that Bernie can't do chin-ups, cheats at push-ups and the horizontal ladder, and is a humorous sight to see doing the parallel bars. While Phil has her beat, hands up, at the horizontal ladder, she wins at all the flexibility and stretching stations. (No Phil, it doesn't count if you bend your knees while doing the toe touches.)

And you need to do those exercise stations because Mears has a great little bakery called Morat's Bakery. While they are apparently known for the muffin bread, we found their Turtle Cinnamon Rolls (Cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting topped with choc0late, caramel and pecans) well worth the 21 miles it took to bike there (and the 21 miles back).

There's also a large dairy, with ice cream, just off the trail near New Era. So, when you need that last burst of energy to get back to White Lake, just pull in to Country Dairy and get some ice cream. Surely after close to 44 miles, you've worked off more than enough calories to balance the ice cream.

The trail extends into the White Lake area and there are several art statues off the trail here. These metal origami swans are called Lake Spirits.

Montague has a farmer's market on Saturdays in the summer. Of course Bernie ran over there bright and early. She got late season raspberries and blueberries, peaches and plums, and, much to her surprise, acorn and butternut squash. She's always thought of those as autumn vegetables. It can;t be autumn already, can it?