Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Mill Creek

Today we went to a very interesting place.

Mill Creek.

This mill used to supply all the lumber for building the fort and most of the houses on Mackinac Island.

The mill was actually torn down.  Through records, they found where it was and from digs have uncovered and rebuilt the buildings that were on the farm.  Besides milling lumber, they also supplied meat and grains.

This is Beaver Bob who runs the mill demonstrations.  He entertained us with his flute playing before the demonstration began.

Let the show begin!

First he showed how lumber would have been milled by hand.  This was the slow way to make beams and boards.

They also used hatchets to make beams if there was only one person working.

A short walk over to the mill and he demonstrated how they used water to run the mill and make boards and beams.  With the mill, they could produce 120 boards a day.

Here are the turbines being run by the water from the dam to run the mill.  Pretty genious idea.  It is a really pretty park.

My little woodchuck tribe went on an adventure walk that involved a very scary bridge and ending with a zipline.

I volunteered to take pics of them.

Tonight is our last night in the Lower Peninsula.  Tomorrow we will be travelling across the Mackinac Bridge to the Upper.

I am dreading every 5 miles across the bridge.

I HATE bridges!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mackinac Island

It's Island day!

It's a beautiful day to sail to the island!

Mackinac Island is located in the Straits of Mackinac.  It is only accessible in the summer by boat.  During the winter, you can go across the ice on snowmobile to the island.  They now have speedboat ferries that can get you across in 15 minutes.  They also do the classic cruises which take about 45 minutes.

It was a beautiful day to be on the island!

This is a view of the harbor from Fort Mackinac.  You can see what a good vantage point they had from the fort defending the island.

Some of the buildings from the fort were brought over in pieces across the ice from Fort Michilimackinac.  It's not hard to miss the fort.  It looms in the background of the harbor.

To gain access to the fort, you have to climb up what is called "Heart Attack Hill".  It is a steep incline walk.  Lots of people need to take a break when walking up so there are benches to sit and catch your breath.

Once you reach the fort, there is a lot of history to read and learn about.  They do a wonderful job of setting up different demonstrations to show what life at the fort was like.  You can even learn in the bathrooms!  There is a sign in the restrooms that explain you are using the modern bathrooms that were installed at the fort.  In their time, this was cutting edge technology!  If you were caught putting anything besides waste or paper in the toilets, you were taken to court, tried, and if found guilty had to use the old outhouses.  You were forever banned from using the fancy schmancy toilets!

My tribe would have been banned for sure.

The old cannons still wait to defend the fort.  They do have certain times that they fire the cannons.

A landmark that most associate with the island is the Grand Hotel.

It is like stepping back in time when you visit here.  The carriages and footmen bring guests and their luggage up from the harbor.  It is a lovely place to sit on the porch and relax enjoying the view.  We didn't do that.  My peeps were too much on the move!

The movie "Somewhere In Time" with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour was filmed here.

We did walk through the carriage house for the hotel.  Here, carriages and riggings that had significance to the island are on display.

On our walk to our carriage tour of the island, we passed this.  I got a kick out of it!

This is one of the employee parking lots for the hotel.  There are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island.  All transportation is done by either horse, carriage, bicycle or walking.  They do have one motorized vehicle on the island and that is an ambulance.  It is only used in dire emergency conditions though.

When you go to the island, you have to make the climb to Arch Rock.  Supposedly, the rock is collapsing and will plunge into the straits in about 50 years.  It is worth the climb just for the view.

You can be lazy like us though and take the carriage tour.  They let you go and see the rock and take pics.  Plus you don't have to walk 3 miles up hill.

One thing that is a must when visiting the island....

....FUDGE!!  There are fudge shops EVERYWHERE!  It's hard to escape them!  You really can't go wrong with any of them.

So now that we came, saw, ate and walked, we are going to call it a day and say goodbye to a wonderful day on the island.

Definitely a must see if you visit Michigan.

Tomorrow it is Mill Creek.  This is the mill that produced most of the lumber for Fort Mackinac.

Until then....

....adieu mon ami.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mackinac City

Mackinac City is a small touristy town that sits at the base of the Mackinac Bridge on the Straits of Mackinac.  It is one of two cities that you leave from to reach Mackinac Island.

The bridge is an amazing 5 miles long and it connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan.

Is there a lighthouse you ask?!  Pfffft.....yeah....

Have I told you that I am obsessed with lighthouses?  I am.  This one is no longer active and serves as a museum for Lake Huron.  Lake Huron is on the east side of the bridge and Lake Michigan is on the left.  The straits connect the two.  Guess what we saw tooling around on the lake?!

Indian impersonators!  This is a birch bark canoe that they would have used to bring furs and supplies to the upper part of Michigan long ago.  This group reenacts fur traders coming to the fort, which is on the other side of the bridge.  We'll get there in a sec.....

Here they are paddling their little hearts out.  When they used these boats long ago, they had to make repairs to them on a daily basis.  One of the jobs in the boat was to soak up any water that came in with a large sponge and wring it out while they were travelling.  I don't think I would want that job.

Here is the guard for the fort who would fire this musket when boats were approaching.  I tried to get a pic, but when he shot that thing off it scared the crap out of me and I ended up with this.  Ah well....

Here is a view from one of the watch towers.  You can see in the middle the archaeological dig that is going on.  Fort Michilimackinac is a reconstructed fort.  It has a rather interesting history.  In 1783, the fort was taken over by the British and Native Americans.  The Native Americans, actually the Ojibwae, were right outside the fort playing a game.  The soldiers became very intrigued by the game.  Suddenly the Ojibwae women gave weapons they had hidden in their clothes to the warriors and the fort was overtaken.  The Americans eventually got it back.  They realized though that it was not in the best of spots to be a lookout.  A nearby island across the water looked to be a much better place for a fort.  So, the fort was disassembled and drug over the ice to what is now Mackinac Island and reassembled.  What they couldn't take over was burned.  The fort has been reconstructed according to historical records and findings from the digs that have been going on.  Cool huh?!

After spending the day here, we headed to a campground on Lake Huron for the next two days.

The first night, this rolled in.  It only lasted 15 minutes.  Just enough to cool everything off and lower the humidity.

After the rain, we were treated to this beautiful rainbow over the lake.

As for now, so ends day 3 of our vacation.  Tomorrow we are crossing the big water to Mackinac Island.

Looking forward to spending time on the island, dreading the ferry ride though....

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Traverse City

Traverse City is truly a gem of Michigan.  It is a foodie's nirvana.  The food is served so beautifully at the restaurants here it is hard to chose a place to eat!  It seems like there is always something to do in the Grand Traverse Bay on the weekends.  

This weekend is the Annual Cherry Fest.  Anything and everything cherry related can be found here!  There are even cherry pit spitting and cherry pie eating contests.  We had the privilege of enjoying the air show that was happening over the Bay.

We had a great spot to watch on the pier that juts out into the bay.

The Coast Guard was up first to "warm" everyone up.  They dropped their divers into the bay from the helicopters and then lifted them back in to simulate a water rescue.

If you look closely at this picture, you can see the Tall Ship Manitou that calls Traverse City home.  We have gone to see the Tall Ships a few times already.  They are such beautiful floating pieces of art!  Back to the air show.  Up next was.... (drumroll)....

.... The Blue Angels!  I never had a desire to seeing them before, but after seeing them perform I would definitely go back!  I enjoyed this more than I thought I would!

After the Blue Angels were done, we drove out to the point of the bay.  Here is the lighthouse that serves the Grand Traverse Bay area.  We kinda get all excited about seeing lighthouses.  It is such a beautiful drive out there though, how could we not?!

One of the many vineyards on the peninsula.  Isn't that gorgeous?  We keep saying that one of these days we are going to do the kayaking vineyard tour around the peninsula.

Well, that is about it.  So ends another beautiful vacation day in Michigan.

Tomorrow we are driving to Mackinac City to tour Fort Michilimackinac and the Straits Lighthouse.

So until then, au revoir mon ami!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Vacation 2018 Michigan Style

I am sure that I was not missed much.  Okay....maybe not at all.  I am back though from vacation!  This will probably be our last "family" vacation since the older kids have serious boyfriends and girlfriends.

I wanted to do something special.

This last year I have gotten very melancholy since losing my dad last year.  When I was about 13, we took a vacation around the coast of Lower Michigan and into the Upper Peninsula.  I loved it!  I thought this would be an awesome opportunity to show the kids the beautiful state we live in.  My husband hasn't really been to alot of places in Michigan either so off we go!

I just love Michigan.  There is so much to see and do here.  Our first day we headed north to Petoskey.  Petoskey is on Lake Michigan and such a cute town.  This is the only place you can find Petoskey stones.  They are a fossil and a stone.  They are hard to spot, but when they are polished up are very pretty.

The marina is full of boats from all over.  You can actually reach Michigan from the Atlantic.

So many beautiful places in downtown Petoskey to take pics!

This is a view of the bay.  Love it!

The first of many waterfalls in Michigan....

....and beautiful sunsets.

I could get used to nights like this.

Tomorrow I will show you Traverse City and the Blue Angels

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Countertops - Day One

Yes, you read that right, day one.

I am not known for my patience so this is going to be hard.

I'm using this stinky paint to do the countertops on my island with.

It really stinks!  You also need to use mineral spirits to clean it up also.  Mineral spirits is not the best smelling either!  Good thing I have all the windows open.

Anyways.... my husband made this island for the new kitchen.  I love it!  One thing I wanted in the new kitchen was an island.

Would have been nice if I remembered to get a pic of it BEFORE I started to take it apart to paint!

Oy vey!!

When we took on this renovation, I wanted two different tones of cabinets.  I also wanted one type of granite on the counters and another one on the island.  The lower cabinets were going to be dark and the upper light.  But I changed my mind....  The island is going to be dark and all the other cabinets light.  One of these days we will get to putting in granite.  For now, I am using paint on the island to help me decide.  The other countertops are off the shelf formica tops from Lowe's.  Eventually those will get replaced too.  I've already painted the cabinets 3 times trying to decide what kind of finish I want on them.  Once I decide, we are planning on going back and replacing cabinets and countertops.

You can see the color of the formica in the first picture.  I really like it!  So for now, that is my "dark".  The island is going to be lighter.  I decided to do this because we are going on vacation on Friday for 10 days.  I want these to be able to cure while we are gone so I can reassemble them when we come back.

I'm also a glutton for punishment....

I got the first coat done on the underside....

....and the second coat.  I wanted to get this done so it can dry overnight and I can flip them to paint the other side.

The can says to let them dry for 12 hours.

Ugh!  I hate waiting!

So now we wait....

Did I mention I hate waiting?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Best Laid Plans....

I really meant to have something fun to post, but no....

This happened....

....yes, that would be the well Bob.

For the 4th freaking time!

We finished up replacing ALL the plumbing pipes in the house PLUS the hot water heater, compression tank and water softener.  We also added a whole house filter to better our water.

We were stupid enough to think that we had solved all our problems.

But NOOOOOO!  The well pump went out!  Or so we thought.

We ended up pulling the well and all 165 feet of pipe that is attached to it.  Yeah, the well pump is at the other end of that 165 feet.  Replaced the well pump and put it back down the well.  Our luck is that while we were putting it BACK in, our son noticed that a piece of the wiring was exposed.  Yes, that was the problem, not the pump.

Oy vey!

Soooo now that that is done, I can get back to work on the drywall.

And the kitchen island

And the baseboards

And the stairs

Did I mention that we are also leaving for vacation on Friday?!  Guess I should start getting ready for that too.

I better get crack-a-lacking!