Month: February 2014

Family, Memories, Nature, Photography, Vacation

Traverse City Michigan


This winter has been brutal. I’m sure there are records that have been broken for consecutive cold days, possibly even snow accumulation. Right now it’s 12°F outside with winds at 30-40 MPH creating a wind chill of -10°F. When it’s this cold it’s almost impossible for me to keep my hands warm. I’ll be heading out the door in a couple of hours spending a little time outside working and freezing.  

Traverse City - Bass Lake 2008
Bass Lake

Back in 2008 we stayed in a little cabin on Bass Lake in Traverse City. The cabin was a small two bedroom with a loft that would accommodate two children but only if they were small. It was comfortable enough but not quite large enough for a family of six. We knew that would be our last visit there because of the size of the place.

Luckily is was right on a lake but it wasn’t really one of those lakes where you wanted to jump right it. It was an inland lake, mucky and dark so you couldn’t see the bottom. There was some sand but mostly it was just muck. Still the kids went out and played on the shore each day as the water was warm and peaceful the entire week. In the end it was a great vacation. We hung out at the cabin a day or two and then explored the area. That was the first year we went to The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive .

Our search each year was always to find a spot on a nice beach. I would obsess for days at a time looking for the perfect spot. Actually I always tried to get a secluded spot on water, preferably with a nice sandy beach and clear water. We had some hits and misses over the years but eventually we did find that very spot in Good Hart a few years later where we stayed for a week in 20011 and again in 2013. I doubt I’ll ever see the cottage again but I have some awesome memories captured in images and video.

Good Hart - 2011
Good Hart 2011

Tahquamenon Falls

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Tahquamenon FallsThe water here is dark brown caused by tannins from the surrounding forest and wetlands. There are lower and upper falls with paved trails or you can walk closer to the water on wood construction walkways. On this visit we stuck to the upper falls.

Nature, Photography, Vacation

Devil’s Bridge

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Arizona Devil's BridgeA couple of years ago I visited a friend in Arizona. One of our adventures was in Sedona where we hiked a few trails, one of the trails took us to Devil’s Bridge. The natural bridge can be walked across but being afraid of heights I stuck to the side while everyone else, including some kids, walked right out there for a photo.

The thing I thought about was this bridge will likely one day break. With the number of visitors this spot gets I can’t help but wonder if when it breaks there will be people standing on it. That thought was on my mind when my friends talked me into walking out to the center. The photo was taken and I went back to the sidelines.


Memories, Nature, Photography, Vacation

Little Sable Point

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Little Sable PointA view from a window in the Little Sable Point Lighthouse. I was lucky enough to walk to the top of the lighthouse twice last year. On this visit the weather was perfectly sunny with a few clouds.

The beach seems to go on forever on the shores of Lake Michigan. I’ve always felt lucky to live within driving distance of the great lake.

I always talk about moving south to Arizona where the weather is a better match to what I like but it’s the trips north that I would miss and I can’t imagine living in another state. I’ll always think of living in Arizona but the reality is I’d rather live on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Over the years I’ve imagined living north in a cabin on the lake. The winters would be rough but who knows, perhaps a winter home in Arizona would not be out of the question. The picture has faded from my mind for now, things in life have changed.  I’ve still got a ways to go here so who knows. One thing is for certain, you never know what’s ahead.




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Can found on the beach. Back when you had to actually use a can opener to enjoy your beer.




Rusty Fan

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Rusty Box FanI’ve always been a light sleeper. A car driving by or even the house moving a little wakes me up. Being a light sleeper has been a curse over the years robbing me of a solid night of sleep. I sleep with a fan on, just like my dad, to help drown out noises. It’s the white noise of a fan that helps me sleep. The sound of water dripping from the gutters woke me up at 4:30 this morning.

As a kid I would lay in my dads bed reading Fangoria (funny to think as a kid I was allowed to own and read that magazine) or a Mad Magazine, they had cool pictures,  while he read one of his science fiction books by Jack Vance or Isaac Asimov. His books seemed complicated and boring to me at the time, there were no pictures or back page you could fold to show a hidden message. His old metal box fan would be on but it wasn’t a smooth sound like my plastic fan. His fan was rusty (the one pictured looks new compared to his) and rattled.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in this but sometimes when I wake up I check my phone for text messages, email and social media updates, in that order. I’d be willing to bet this is a common occurrence for light sleepers with smart phones. You roll over, grab the phone and scroll. One of the emails I got was a blog I like to read so I clicked the link. What I read took me back to my childhood. The years of living near woods, spending time with grandparents, divorce of my parents and now my own.

It’s easy for me to reminisce about years gone by, that’s just what I do. Last night I thought about my childhood into my adult years. I don’t know why I do that. Starting with my earliest memory and working up to a current situation. It’s like I’m tracing my steps trying to capture something; remembering pivotal moments perhaps searching for lessons.

I didn’t come away with any lessons. There wasn’t a moment when I paused and thought, “ahhh so that’s a great lesson.” It was just a string of memories. As I remembered my life when I first married I thought about the factory where I worked. Sometimes I dream about that place and in my dream I’m back there. Years have passed but the people are the same, everyone is still there. My guess is that’s not far from the truth, it was a great place for someone to settle down at and make a life commitment to. I remembered things I’d forgotten like how the spot welder would spark sometimes. The spark would hit the floor, made of wood blocks, and start to smoke. The smoke was acrid and yellow. I’d forgotten that detail.

As I reached for the fan to kick it up to medium my phone dropped on the floor. My instinct of course was to pick it up but I left it there, just out of reach, and rolled back over for a couple more hours of sleep. The fan was just loud enough to drown out the water dripping from the gutters.

Nature, Photography

Bee or Bird?


What  is it?This guy was quick. Flying around flowers then stopping mid-air to feed, I tried several times to get a photo but they were all blurry. That’s what happens when you don’t figure out how to adjust shutter speed. I’m not sure what it is, a bird or some kind or insect? He looked like a cross between a hummingbird and a bumblebee. I felt compelled to get closer but the thought of getting stung kept me at a good distance.

 -edit- Thanks to Nora Locke I now know this is a Hummingbird Moth. Thank you!

Memories, Nature, Photography, Vacation

Warm Summer Nights

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Warm Summer Nights

Lake Michigan – Vacation in Good Hart.

It was such a calm and warm night. The kind of night that goes good with a camp fire and cold beer. We sat around the fire, I drank beer and told corny ghost stories. All my kids but the youngest just laugh at my stories, they’re too old to think they are scary. My youngest though put her feet up on the chair and moved closer to me saying, “dad, is that true.” I smiled and didn’t answer.

Nature, Photography

Nature Preserve – Ypsilanti Michigan

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LeFurge Woods Nature Preserve

  My attempt at a panoramic photo using an iPhone app. It didn’t work out as planned because I couldn’t get the timing right. You have do a 360 at just the right pace or the image is choppy but if you go too slow it causes the breaks you see in the clouds. This is the Lefurge Woods Nature Preserve. One of the places I frequent in the warmer months.