Hessel & wooden boats

Just four miles from our coach is the village of Hessel.

Without question, its claim to fame involves wooden boats. The Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show is held in Hessel on the second Saturday of August, with this year being the 36th annual event. It is the largest such show in the US, with 8-10,000 people attending to view about 150 boat entries.

There’s already constant activity in the village and marina, because many families own summer homes scattered among the 36 Les Cheneaux islands, and boats are the only way to reach them!

But there is clearly an over-supply of moorings….because all the boats for the show need some place to tie up for the day!

Look what we found yesterday: the large Chris-Craft boat with the sea foam green sides alongside the dock, stopped by for a few hours. It is owned by some of the family that own the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The small, open boat with hand tiller and hand controls for the engine with the same green sides was the tender for the larger boat. Notice the US nautical flag on the tender…particularly appropriate on such an antique boat!

And notice the slick-looking all-wood runabout: it has three rows of seats…one is waaaay in the back, behind the inboard engine!

These glorious boats were being used for the day’s activities, and were not all polished up to show off.

We’ve got a lot to look forward to at the big show!

Whole lotta shakin goin on

Last week, after a few hours in Dayton, we pointed the coach back north and pounded the pavement for more than 500 miles.

Michigan miles.

Hard. Rough. Swaying. Miles.

To be fair, there were sections of smooth pavement. Two, I think.

The scenery distracted us pretty well…the state is one grand vista after another. Greeeeeeen, lussshhhhhh. Florida is a desert in comparison.

We’re in the UP now. Crossed Big Mac, then just past St Ignace took a hard right, and after 17 miles stopped in Cedarville.

Yes, like the town 25 miles from Dayton. No, nothing like that Cedarville.

Lots for us to discover and experience! For starters, a few vistas we’ve encountered in between periods of heavy rain. (click on a picture to see it larger)

Tora, Tora, Tora!

Heard a plane buzz the coach today, and when it happened a second time I went outside to check.

Crop duster!
This guy was working for his pay….he had to dodge power lines that were along one side of the field, buzz up real quick for the trees at the other side, then down again to catch another field beyond the trees….

…..then make a big turn and do it all over again in the opposite direction!
He was cutting the power lines so close, I thought he was going under them until I saw the photos on my computer!

Is that thunder?

Boyne City is probably best known for snow skiing.

But the town is alive and kicking all year long, because it sits at the south end of Lake Charlevoix, and people who snow ski often water ski…and more!

It’s the “more” that keeps this city pounding.

Like the Boyne Thunder Poker Run. For boats. Wild and crazy boats.

We caught the 10th Annual run, and oh baby, these people are lunatics!
(click on any picture for a larger view)
Certainly nothing subtle about the boats! Not just large with flamboyant paint, they usually have two huge, powerful engines, and sophisticated hulls and drivetrains. One reportedly hit a top speed on Lake Michigan of 140pmh! The sounds of the engines could be heard for miles!
But not everything about the event and the day involved boats flying over the water. The 40 or so boats and their crews pulled into Charlevoix harbor for lunch, and gave the rest of us a few moments to pay attention to all the other fabulous boats and features of this small harbor.
This scene reminded me of Star Wars stormtroopers.
The harbor clearly caters to boaters, what with fast food available beside your boat, and condos with boat garages.
Finally, the boats ran out of fuel, the drivers got tired, or the race was over….and all the boats parked. These boats were still screaming! The mildest-looking boat was actually the wildest: the white and red one pictured next-to-last below, had two exotic turbine engines that put out double the power of any other boat. It was so fast the cockpit was enclosed! We never could pin down the pilot (it’s closer to a jet than a boat) for a top speed figure!

We’re on vacation!

We keep pinching ourselves each morning as we wake up…..are we still in this vacation land?

Even though we moved inland from Lake Michigan a week ago, the fun of Up North in Michigan is still everywhere!

Our new location is half a mile from a park that overlooks a bald eagle nest….with one parent in regular attendance, and two immature eaglets that have only just barely learned to fly! Unfortunately, there’s just no way to get closer to them, and they haven’t been flying toward any place from which we could shoot!
We finally found the Ironton Ferry open, and rode across with a Porsche from Cincinnati!
Just down the coastline of Lake Charlevoix, we scouted out a small road that looked promising, partly because the sign for it said “Holy Island”. Ohhh?
Very unpretentious place. After the single-lane bridge, there’s only a single-lane dirt road down the middle. What a great place for a house…and boat! Oh, and snowmobile.

About 10 miles from the lake we’re parked beside is Torch Lake. It is renowned for its blue color. These pictures only begin to capture the beauty of its water….
We made a run for the Lake Michigan coastline, and landed between Traverse City and Charlevoix in a town called Elk Rapids. Our luck held out, as we hit town during a street festival with live music and food cooked outside! Ross and Ryan came close to sensory overload, what with the waves on the shoreline, the water gushing & pounding from under the sidewalk overlook, and the glorious sounds of people and music! They took refuge inside the Lil Taxi for a couple periods of solitude….
No need to pinch tomorrow….we head south for a week. Going to spend a few days in Kokomo, IN with Robyn’s mother, then two nights in Dayton to accomplish some routine medical contacts (and see Jared!).

But we head back north Tuesday next for a month in Cedarville, MI in the UP. Among other things, we’ll catch the 36th annual Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show in Hessel!

Pinch me!

Back to nature

There are soooo many parks and nature preserves in Michigan!

Some are nicely paved and trimmed, and festooned with trails, decks, and railings.

Most are left alone, nearly all-natural, with some bark- or stone-chips to define a trail, and minimal signage.

A few are like this:
The Lil Taxi pushed aside tall grass and small branches to travel this path….to get to the Oden Island Nature Preserve! Like a Michigan safari….

What a location!
Just six miles from Lake Michigan, out on the tip of a small island that is mostly occupied by a private association of homeowners.

Once we made it to the preserve, we didn’t dare get out of the car, because of the squadron of flying insects that accompanied us!

Really great place, but too dark to take a photo without a tripod…..

We returned to the Big Taxi in order to break camp and move from our site in Petoskey. After a month, we have moved down the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix for 10 days. New territory!

We’ll have one bit of fun to share with you for sure: the Ironton Ferry! We stopped past a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t yet open for the season.

It is now!

What a bangin Fourth!

We had a great time at Petoskey’s fireworks last night.

We lucked onto a parking space right down in the thick of things, so Ross and Ryan could sit in their seats with the radio while we waited for the show to begin.

I could hike over to a good vantage point to shoot pictures.

And Robyn could mingle with the masses on a grassy area at the beach beside the marina.

Look at the fun lanterns they lit, which then lift off like hot air ballons! Robyn shot those pics with her phone! Notice in the second shot, there’s another lantern already high in the sky to the left….

Out for a stroll

Our park is just blocks from the city marina, and we often stroll along the waterfront in the evening.

Downtown Petoskey is several blocks wide and several blocks deep, and overlooks Little Traverse Bay.

Our lives here have been simple for over three weeks, and we are not looking forward to moving on.

We’ve actually worked out a scheme to hang around for a few more nights….by parking in the RV lot of the casino on the edge of town! It sits highest on the hill overlooking the bay.

Sunday we’ll move 30 miles downstate to the south end of Lake Charlevoix for a couple weeks.

Today illustrated one big reason we like it so much here: the weather is glorious! The humidity was under 30% and the temp only rose to 71!