Our trip is now taking on a new dimension. Michigan is Mariel’s home state, so visiting friends and relatives will fill the next few days. But just as we want to show our friends our home territory in upstate New York, they also want to show us a good time here in Michigan. Our niece, Erin, and her husband, John, took us on a tour of the area along the lake. We drove north on Route 22 to Elberta (the home of the Elberta peach) and then Frankfort, another port town on Lake Michigan. The waterfront districts of these costal towns are always interesting.
At Point Betsie we toured the Point Betsie Lighthouse that guided the freighters through these waters since the mid-1800s. We have always found lighthouses, on lakes or the ocean, quite fascinating. This lighthouse is the most famous landmark in Benzie County and the second most photographed lighthouse in the United States. The range of the light is twenty seven and a half miles. This lighthouse, like many others, has been automated. Navy personnel now use the buildings for housing.
Point Bessie Lighthouse. (Photo by Curt Richardson)
The afternoon was spent relaxing back at the house on the lake. Mariel ventured out into the lake for a swim and then we spent time on the beach with grandniece and nephew, Dana and Miles. I just relaxed in the sun as Lake Michigan water is too cold for me.
In the evening we joined John, Erin and family for grilled pork chops. We enjoyed the cool summer breeze that drifted in from the lake and seeing all of the freighter traffic. We finished the day watching a video, Ulee’s Gold.
Another warm, sunny day. We have been blessed with great weather during our trip. After breakfast, Mariel and I returned to Frankfort and the launderette to once again do the task that has to be done once in a while. This completed, we stopped at A & W for a Blizzard and headed back to the camp site. The rest of the day was spent relaxing at the beach in front of John’s mother’s house.
The actual beach is quite narrow and stones extend about 40 feet into the water until there is sand again. Much work has been completed in the beach area to build a breakwater to keep the lake from washing out the embankment. Without this protection the wind and waves from the lake would quickly erode the bank.
We made our contribution for the evening meal of grilled hamburgers and again enjoyed the company of John’s family. We played a few games of cribbage and returned to the RV.
This day we traveled to Traverse City to the home of Chuck and Carol Watson. Carol was one of Mariel’s roommates at MSU and was a bride’s maid in our wedding in 1956. The Watsons are retired and have moved here recently from Birmingham, Mich. Like many others in the area they have taken up boating and their powerboat is docked at East Bay on Traverse Bay.
For the last two days I had sensed some trouble with the brakes on the RV, so I thought this would be a good time to have it checked out. An automotive and RV repair shop was not too far away and they could look at it right away. I left it there for the afternoon and they discovered that the problem was with the rotors. They turned the rotors and that fixed the problem. I was amazed that the whole process could be completed so soon and without an advanced appointment.
We ate dinner out with the Watsons this evening at the Reflections Restaurant. Our table was situated so that we had a good view of the bay.
This morning we went on a long walk on one of the many walking trails in the area. Many of the area’s walking trails double as cross county ski trails in the winter. A paved hike and bike trail along the edge of town was built with a grant from the national Rails to Trails program.
We hiked on this trail two years ago during another visit. Today, however, we were hiking on the VASA trail that is a broad cleared trail through a heavily wooded area. We had the trail to ourselves this day.
Our boating trip this afternoon was scratched because of high winds.
I was disappointed because Chuck had some new fishing gear that I was anxious to see him use. The bay is a good salmon fishing area.
In the evening we went with the Watsons to Shanty Creek at Bellaire, Mich. We attended a dinner theater and were entertained by the Schussycats in a “Hooray for Hollywood” musical review.
The Schussycats are a group of college students who are music majors. This is an annual, summer-long event. Each year there is a different show with some repeat performers and some new.
This was delightful and professional performance. The Schussycats derived their name from the name of the mountain, “Schuss,” which is the focal point of the Shanty Creek ski resort.
Tomorrow we move on to a new adventure.
To be continued.
The Richardsons reside on Pumpkin Hook, Van Hornesville.