We said our goodbyes to the Watsons, but not before securing a date for them to visit us in October. The next leg of our trip took us six miles north to Spider Lake and the summer cabin of friends Bill and Elaine Young. Elaine is Marielís childhood friend from her growing up days in Michigan. Elaine was the maid of honor at our wedding in 1956. The Youngs now live in Hagerstown, IN.
After lunch we packed our overnight bag and drove, with the Youngs, to Elk Rapids on Traverse Bay, for a sail on their newly acquired sailboat. They bought the 34-foot Catalina last year and sailing it to Elk Rapids this spring was their first outing. Bill and Elaine have been very conscientious about taking the proper courses for sailboat operation so we had full confidence in their seamanship abilities. We spent a wonderful sunny four hours sailing the Copinsay on Traverse Bay. Light winds allowed us to obtain a speed of 5.7 knots. The sailboat was named for an island off the Scottish coast. Bill and Elaine are a precision crew in handling the sails and rigging. I even managed to lend a hand in handling the ropes when coming about.
Mariel Richardson takes the helm of the Copinsay on Lake Michigan. (Submitted by Curt Richardson)
We arrived back in the harbor about 4:30 and the crew executed a perfect docking into their assigned slip. We were given our on-board sleeping assignments for the night, Mariel and I in the aft cabin and the captain and his mate in the forward cabin. We were given instructions on the operation of the on-board head and the dos and doníts.
Bill and I walked into town to pick up some last minute items for dinner while the girls handled the details of the dinner preparation. We raised our glasses and toasted a perfect day. Bringing each other up to date on our families and swapping stories took us late into the evening. Even though the quarters were small it wasnít much different than our RV and we had a peaceful nightís sleep.
The resident cats were awaiting our arrival back at the cabin. After lunch, Bill drove us to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on the western shore of Lake Michigan.
We hiked one of the many trails within the park. This particular trail presented us with a wonderful view of the second largest lake in the Great Lake system. The haze on the lake almost obscured South Manitou Island to the north. The shifting sand dunes in the park constantly reshape the landscape. The trail took us past some trees that were two thirds covered with the sand, while other trees remained fully exposed.
Walking in sand is almost as difficult as walking in snow as it moves underfoot and sometimes you lose ground. We then explored the shore towns of Glen Haven and its close neighbor, Glen Arbor. After checking out the craft shops we indulged in cherry floats. The Traverse City area is famous for its cherries and they end up in many of their food products. We had dinner back at the cabin and relaxed with a few card games.
Moving on, we drove to Lakes of the North near Gaylord just 75-miles from Spider Lake. Marielís brother made the campground reservations for us and he and Mary Ann met us there at noon. Roger owns two building lots there, and he likes to drive or fly his plane from Adrian a few times a year. Being unsure of the weather, he decided to drive this time. He has a small trailer in the campground but elected to get a motel room in Gaylord on this trip.
Mariel fixed a nice lunch for all of us at our picnic table. We spent the afternoon catching up on family news and then drove to Rogerís lot to check on the new trees that he planted last year. They were doing just fine. Fish was on the menu at the Settings restaurant at the Country Club so we opted for that, instead of fixing our own dinner. When they dropped us off at the campground we invited them back for a French toast breakfast in the morning.
The new day dawned bright and sunny. After breakfast we were ready to set out for a day of sightseeing. The Lake Michigan shore had a lot of interesting places to see and Mary Ann was ready to show them to us.
The first stop was in the lakeshore town of Petoskey. If you are a rock hound you might recognize this name, as this is the only place where the Petoskey stone can be found. A particular organism is responsible for the strange markings on these stones. A man on the beach showed us what to look for and after searching we were able to find some. The markings show up best when the stone is wet so the best place to find them is in the shallow water. We checked out the local ice cream shop before continuing our outing. The next stop was the beautiful port town of Charlevoix. The sailboat masts in the harbor gave the appearance of trees in a forest with the leaves stripped off Sailing is a big sport in this area but there were also many powerboats of all sizes. We browsed through one gift shop that featured only Michigan products. Back in Gaylord we had dinner at the Big Buck Brewery and Steak House. This is very popular, and the only, micro-brewery in the area. This is a ďmust stopĒ for those passing through Gaylord, the golf Mecca of Michigan.
Roger and Mary Ann joined us for a breakfast brunch back in Gaylord this morning at the Big Buck Steak House. After a leisurely and filling breakfast we took 175 south just past Grayling where we continued south on US 27 to Okemos. There we had a small family reunion at Marielís cousinsí home. The main reason for the gathering was to celebrate the birthday of Marielís cousins and his granddaughter.
Mariel also had a chance to visit with her 98 year old Aunt, which was a bonus. After the gathering broke up and her aunt went home, we drove the 4 miles over to her house so they could continue their reminiscing. Back at her cousinís house this evening, we played some cards before we turned in, choosing to sleep in the RV.
To be continued.
The Richardsons reside on Pumpkin Hook, Van Hornesville.