Saturday, September 29, 2018

A little driving tour of the Leelanau Peninsula & salmon running


Friday was a pretty day, although a little cool and too windy for biking, so we took a little driving tour in the Jeep.  I threw together some beef stew in the crockpot before we left, so dinner would be ready when we arrived back at the camper later in the afternoon.

We drove north on M-22 to the Lake Michigan coastal town of Leland, otherwise known as Historic Fishtown.

Historic Fishtown

We walked through the little shops along the water,

Little shops along the river

and watched while the salmon swimming up the river from Lake Michigan tried to make the jump up the dam to the river.

Salmon jumping

It was pretty cool to watch, and some of those salmon got some air!  Several made it up to the first ledge, but then they would get washed right back down again.

For late September, the little town of Leland was pretty busy.


No charter boats out on the lake, though . . . I guess with all the salmon in the rivers, there’s no reason to be on the lake!

Fishing charters

We walked through the rest of the shops, picked up an M-22 sticker for the Jeep, and then made our way east across the Leelanau Peninsula to the little town of Sutton’s Bay on the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay.

We were getting pretty hungry by then, so the first order of business was lunch.  The Roman Wheel had good reviews, so we split a small pizza – Yum – very good, and will tide us over nicely until we get home for our beef stew.

There are some very unique and cute shops in Sutton’s Bay.  This one had lots of fun stuff for the yard,

Colorful yard art

Historic Clothing Storeand this clothing store has been around for a long time! They had some nice stuff . . . expensive, though!

I thought this was nice, but Bryce gave it a “thumbs down”!


Bryce didn't like it

From the looks of this column, they got a fair amount of snow last winter!

Tiles telling the story of big snow

I didn’t go home empty-handed, either.  A couple years ago, Tom and I had made a magnet board for one side of our refrigerator, but I’ve been wanting another one for the other door.


I love this one!  It’s made by the same designer who makes the magnets I buy, and it’s a perfect fit!

We continued south on M-22 into Traverse City, only stopping to pick up a few things at Meijer, including a box of dried cherries – YUM!

Seeing the salmon in Leland had reminded me that I saw a post on the Sleeping Bear Dunes facebook page that the Platte River was loaded with salmon . . . so we took the long way back to the RV Resort.

Platte River

The lower section of the river at the picnic area was pretty quiet, with just a few fishermen finishing up for the day.  They told us to drive in to the fishing weir, where we’d see much more action.

They weren’t kidding – as the salmon reach the roadblock of the weir, they just keep swimming in circles, waiting for the gate to open!

Platte River

From the edge of the water, it looked like you could have walked across the river on the fish!

Fishing weir

It’s wall to wall fish!

LOTS of salmon trying to get through

Looking across, you can see the light areas of water, where there are no fish, and the dark areas in the water where the fish are all packed together like sardines!

The dark area of the water is salmon!


With all those fish around, it seemed like catching them would take no effort at all, but the fishermen have to stay 300 feet from the weir, and the fish seem to know where that line is . . .

We walked along the trail that runs beside the river, and in 300 feet we ran into the fishermen.


Each person is allowed 5/day, and many of these guys are locals who come out and catch their limit everyday, stocking up for the winter, and others are from out of town, hoping to get enough to take home.

It was a beautiful day on the river!

Beautiful day

As we watched and talked to a few who were taking breaks, this guy got one on his line.

He's got one!

He just walked around, letting the fish run a little, until it got closer and he could reel it in and reach down and grab it!


A few minutes later, he had another one!

Another one

I got a picture of that one before it went in the cooler!


That one put him and his friend at their limit for the day, so they left . . .and others arrived to take their place in the river.

More fishermen arrive

That was pretty cool – we were glad we took the little detour to check it out!


55993684335__29BCEB6D-8507-48F5-944A-E3230C5B97A2Meanwhile in Virginia, it’s still summer . . . and Nicolas got his kayak on the water for a little while today!


And in Lansing, MSU had a win today and Bryce is celebrating his 20th birthday – Happy Birthday Bryce!

20 years of Bryce!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

The first few days of our mini-vacation were spent back at one of our favorite spots in our home state – Silver Lake Sand Dunes.  We spent the summer of 2016 at Silver Creek RV Resort, and although the park was recently sold to Sun RV, not too much as changed yet. 

We still have quite a few friends that are seasonal here, and it was nice to visit with them and catch up.  It’s a really great time to be in this area, too.  Crowds are down, even on the weekend, and it’s really quiet and peaceful.

We spent most of our time just catching up . . . but also visited several of our favorite places.  Hart Pizza was a must, and we enjoyed a delicious dinner there on Friday with Dave & Kathy, and PJ & Martin.

On Saturday, Dave was watching the UM football game, so Tom, Kathy & I went for a drive.

Fox Barn Winery

REady for some wine tasting!Our first stop was the Fox Barn Winery, which has really expanded since we were here last!  It was really crowded, too, but we did a little wine tasting by sharing a flight of 4 wines.  We all really liked their newest wine – Silver Lake Sunset – and bought a few bottles to take home.

Next stop was the Cherry Point Market

Farm Market

-- another favorite, but we struck out on our favorite items – their donut maker had already gone back to college, so no cherry donuts, and they were all out of my Sweet Cherry coffee!  Bummer!

When we got back to the RV Park, Dave & Kathy took a quick ride up to the dunes, and then the four of us went to Pentwater for dinner.  After dinner, we went back to their RV to watch the MSU Football game on the big screen, with DVR features – that came in handy!

Bryce was assigned to the offense for this game, and they got quite a bit of attention from the TV cameras.  We caught several glimpses of him in the middle of the huddle,

In the middle of the huddle

and even one on the sideline.

Bryce at work

It was really nice to be able to “rewind” and go back and look for good views of him!

On Sunday, we went back to Pentwater for the “Sol Days” Craft Show, which was fun, but we didn’t buy much.  It was starting to look like Fall, though!

Fall Festival

By early afternoon on Sunday, both the RV Park most of town had pretty much emptied out – it was starting to look like a ghost town!  It was a beautiful afternoon, though, so we went for a bike ride.

Great day for a bike ride!

What a perfect afternoon for a bike ride – no traffic at all as we rode on the bike trail and the road to the dunes.

Dune climb to the pedestrian area

Pedestrian Dune Climb

The sand took over the stairs, too

The sand has been moving, and as it moves it’s overtaking both the stairs to the top of the dunes, and the last cottage on the road!  The sand had been threatening that cottage for the last several years, and the owner has had a bulldozer on site, trying to keep the sand cleared, but this year I guess he just gave up.

The sand completely covered a small guest house that was off the driveway, and now is making its way toward the main house.

Disappearing house

Moving sand

We left the dunes and rode to the State Park Campground at the other end of town, and took a little break by the beach.

Calm, quiet lake

Taking a break at the State Park

Leaves starting to change

Little bits of fall color are starting to show up in the trees!

Back from our bike ride, it was time for Happy Hour!

Happy Hour

We enjoyed a lovely long weekend – the weather was great, even with a couple of cool nights, and it was wonderful to catch up with some good friends! 

Back at home, Tom‘s Dad was enjoying the lovely Fall weather, too!

Dad's Toy

On Tuesday, it was time to continue north, and we made our way to Indigo Bluffs RV Resort.  It’s supposed to cool down a little bit, but hopefully we’ll still have some nice days!

Indigo Bluffs Resort

Friday, September 21, 2018

Busy Michigan Days

When we made our plans to come back “home” we knew it was going to be a whirlwind month – there we so many appointments to make, friends and family to see, dinners out and a few little maintenance projects – and as expected, the month flew by and we didn’t fit everything in!

We managed to get together with several friends, and  Bryce came down a couple times when he didn’t have football games.  I went into work several days, and celebrated my 30-year anniversary at Ford . . . with lunch at Ford’s Garage.

Ford's Garage

Lunch at Ford's Garage

Tom and I have been tot he original restaurant in Ft. Myers, and this one in Dearborn has most of the same decor and features . . . and the food didn’t disappoint, either!

We also attended the Automatic Transmission Picnic, re-connecting with several old friends, although as the years go by, there are fewer and fewer people in the office that we know!  It was a nice gathering, though.

Along with my Mom and my sisters, I attended the Bridal Shower for our nephew’s fiancĂ©. 

Mom at the shower

The bride-to-be and their dogKristin, the bride-to-be, and the newest thing in cakes – naked cake.  Generous layers of icing between layers, but minimal on the outside of the cake.  Very interesting, and pretty!

Naked Cake

Back at home, we put new stickers on the hood of the Jeep,

New decals on the Jeep

and took on a fairly major project installing protective plate on the bottom of the bedroom slides.  We had the slides inspected before we left Florida in the Spring, and were told the slides were fine and we didn’t need plates, but somewhere in our travels the rough roads took a toll and the slide bottoms started to develop spider cracks where they rested on the rollers during travel.

Chris at Talin, LLC has developed these stainless steel plates and sells complete kits, made to order for your RV.  Tom talked to him and we took the necessary measurements on our two bedroom slides and they sent the kits to us.

The plates come pre-drilled, and the kits include the marine grade adhesive used to attach them to the slides and stainless steel rivets to hold them in place while the adhesive cures.


Sealant and rivets

The first thing we had to do was jack up the slide and make sure that the plates fit, based on the measurements we took.  Ours were good!

Once we knew they would fit, Tom applied the adhesive,

Applying the adhesive

then we slid them into place and Tom drilled the holes in the bottom of the slides for the rivets.

Drilling the holes in the slide

Once the holes were drilled, he installed the rivets, and that was it!

One plate done

Two plates installed

They look pretty good, and it was actually an easier process than we expected it to be!

As our month came to an end, we wrapped up what we could and put the rest on hold until we get back to the area in a few weeks.  For now, we’re going to enjoy a few weeks in northern Michigan – and hopefully catch some fall colors!

First Stop – Silver Creek RV Resort at Silver Lake Sand Dunes in western Michigan, catching up with a few friends before continuing north.

Silver Creek