Friday, August 30, 2013

Observations Along the Boardwalk

Today I am resuming my Creative Inspiration Days. If you are not familiar with what this day means to me you can read about it here. I plan on making every Friday my day to do whatever I want to do. I informed my family earlier this week that I would be unavailable for phone calls until after 4 p.m. unless they were dying. Unfortunately Glen did not quite get that since he called at 3 p.m. today and no he was not dying.

My goal for my Creative Inspiration Days is to slow down, take time to observe and foster my creative soul.

Today I went to Grand Haven, a place that I visit quite often. Grand Haven is a town located on the Lake Michigan shore and is about 30 minutes from my house.

I parked at one end of the boardwalk that runs along the channel and walked to the other end where the Lighthouse is at the mouth of the channel and Lake Michigan.

I was in no particular hurry, just wandering along the boardwalk. Occasionally I would stop and sit on one of the plentiful benches, pull out my journal and record observations I made as I wandered along.

Here are the things I observed today:

1. A lot of solo exercisers - There was a lady speed walking faster than a lot of people jog. There was a lady going up and down the stairs of the bleachers. You go girl! If you are a female and are going to run along the boardwalk it is very important to have a beautifully coordinated exercise outfit.

2. The charter fishermen who didn't have a charter that morning seemed to walk around together in groups.

3. The wonderful breeze coming off the water was very refreshing until the blind man on the bench upwind of me lit a cigarette. To be fair to him, he couldn't see me sitting downwind of him. Thankfully he also couldn't see me leave shortly after he lit up.

4. The aging bleached blond in the too short and too low bubble gum pink tank top and shorts. People, please dress age appropriately. I later saw her wandering downtown in the same outfit.

5. One older gentleman asked me when he passed me if my journal was getting full. I said "Not yet, I just started it today". He wished me good luck.

6. I love to see older couples smiling and talking happily together, still so much in love.

In the end this guy let me down though, he stopped this group of pubescent, bikini clad girls to take their picture. If I was his wife I would have smacked him.

So this couple was the winner of my "favorite couple" today.

7. The smell of pancakes cooking, coming from one of the trailers in the campground, was intoxicating.

8. I passed two young boys playing on the rocks next to the boardwalk and I was enveloped by the smell of Coppertone Sun Screen. I love Coppertone.

9. I love listening to little snippets of people's conversations. Especially the ones where one prefaces the conversation by saying "I am not suppose to tell you this, but..." then they go ahead and blab the whole thing they were suppose to not tell.

10. A lighthouse that the public can actually access, unlike the one in my own town, where the access is controlled with an iron fist by people with too much money for their own good. That's a subject for another day.

11. Fish cleaning is quite the spectator sport at the fish cleaning station, not quite sure why, it is kind of gross.

By the time I was back to the end of the boardwalk where my car was parked I was starving and thankfully it was lunchtime. I have my favorite places that I love to eat at in Grand Haven, but this fall I am vowing to be adventurous and try new things on my Creative Inspiration Days. So I tried someplace  new.

The service was not so speedy, but my waitress was very nice, and she seemed as disgusted as I was that nobody had waited on me sooner. I am taking it that my table was not her regular table.

I had the Shrimp and Sun-Dried Tomato Quesadilla and it was quite good.

I had a great day and I look forward to my new Friday routine. Stay tuned to see where I go next week.

Joining my friend Kim for her Friday Finds.
Joining my friend Helen for her Weekend Walks.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A College Town

The second half of last week I spent moving our daughter back to school and into her first apartment. She goes to Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI. NMU is a good 8 hours from our house in western Michigan (7 hours if you only stop once for gas and a potty break). Marquette is very much a college town, the University is located in the middle of town and everywhere were signs welcoming back NMU students.

Mallory and her room mate were quite excited about their new place, and I have to say as far as college apartments go it was better than I expected. Yes, the carpet is a little nasty, but they did get a fresh off the truck and out of the wrapper, couch and chair.

The girls graciously let me bunk with them for a couple of nights until Glen came up and we moved to a hotel. Friday morning while they were still sleeping (they ARE college students, and I AM an early riser) I quietly showered, ate some breakfast and slipped out to take some photos of around town. I love Marquette, and I will miss coming here when Mallory graduates. There are so many wonderful old buildings and great memories here.

My main objective was the St. Peter Cathedral. I have been participating in a photo a day project for the month of August from Susannah Conway called August Break 2013. The prompt for Friday was sacred, what better than a Cathedral.

Glorious detail on the building and it fit perfectly for scared.

After the Cathedral, I decided to wander over by the harbor.

Getz's is an outdoor clothing store and one of our favorite stores in town. 

Lower Harbor...

Doncker's is a MUST eat at every time we are here.

The Scarecrow Sandwich. YUM!!

One last stop before going back to the apartment. Mallory knows of my love for old cemeteries, so she told me I should check out this one.

I will be coming back here when I have more time and when I bring my dslr with me. I left it home this trip because we needed the space for other things.

I am joining my friend Helen for her Weekend Walk blog link up. We would love for you to join us.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Gilmore Car Museum

Last week Mallory and I went on an adventure to the Gilmore Car Museum.

The Gilmore Car Museum began in 1963 as the hobby of Donald S. Gilmore when his wife, Genevieve, gave him an antique car for his birthday —a 1920 Pierce-Arrow “project car.” With the help of some friends, the auto was placed under a tent and a full restoration followed.  The hobby soon grew into a collection of over 30 automobiles.   Mr. Gilmore purchased 90 acres of farm property and had several historic barns dismantled piece by piece and moved to the site. It was Mr. Gilmore’s wife who suggested the idea of turning the collection into a museum where future generations could enjoy the restored cars for years to come. The Gilmores established a non-profit foundation, and opened the museum to the public for the first time on Sunday, July 31, 1966. Donald Gilmore passed away in 1979, and Mrs. Gilmore in 1990, but the legacy they began continues to grow.

This is an unusual adventure for us since neither one of us are car enthusiasts, but we both love history, and they have an amazing collection of 1900's through 1960's automobiles here.

I found shooting all the details on this automobiles was absolutely wonderful. The one thing that I wished I had had was a 17-55mm f/2.8 lens. That would have so helpful for the handheld low light situations in these buildings. It is on my Christmas Wish List. I could have shot for hours here, but for Mallory's sake I kept moving.

The technology of the phone here vs. the 1920's cars was quite funny.

There is a recreated 1930's full-service gas station on site. It features original pumps, memorabilia and a work bay.

This is someplace that I will come back to, so many delightful things to photograph.

One last photograph, this one looked great no matter what Lightroom preset I used.

My dear friend Helen has started a new link up party - Weekend Walk at The Inspiration Pavilion. I am so excited to be joining her for photo walks. 

Circle, Montana

I was fairly certain that there had not been a blog post written about Circle, Montana. I was almost right, I did find one when I googled Circle, Montana. A blog about this guy that picks a random latitude and longitude and writes about their watershed, he has not actually been there. Sorry but that did not peak this girl's interest.

What I did find when I googled Circle, Montana was that in the 2010 Census there was a population of 615, down to 607 in 2011.

Circle, Montana began as a cattle ranch in 1883. Over years the ranch changed hands as was often the case, eventually sheep were added to the ranch. Out necessity a supply store was opened on the ranch to benefit Circle ranch and other local ranchers. Thus a town was born.

Today, Circle is mainly a pass-through town. A place to stop and get gas on your way to Theodore Roosevelt National Park or Glacier National Park. Which is exactly what we were doing, going to the bathroom, buying snacks and getting gas on our way from Theodore Roosevelt to Glacier. This state of pass-throughness was confirmed by the clerk in the gas station that we chatted with for a minute while buying our snacks. My husband asked her if they had many local customers, and she said "no" mainly people passing through.

Circle is not a come and stay destination. Which is too bad. So much of the small town charm has been lost, lost to the Interstate Highways where speed is a necessity. We must hurry to get to our next destination, no time for exploring or wandering.

I personally prefer the back roads, the small towns, this is where life happens, where Americans really live. The good, the bad and the ugly of it all. You never know what unexpected treasures you will find if you just slow down a little.

*Joining Kim Klassen at Friday Finds.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Siyeh Pass - Glacier National Park

There it was, the hike I had been dreading. Yet it was the hike that I had been training for since January, even though at that time I did not know its name.

I have to admit that the idea of 10.3 miles scared me even more than the 2135 feet of elevation gain.

I chose not to take my dslr on this trip and carried my iPhone as my only camera.  I made a very wise decision.  We moved along at a pace that would not have allowed me to stop and take pictures the way that I would have enjoyed. With my iPhone I was still able to take pictures and keep moving.

The final push to the top was a series of switchbacks that I seriously thought would never end. I am so thankful for my trekking poles, and a supportive husband that kept saying "Just take your time".

Thanks Mallory Huizenga for documenting this for me.
The top was worth it. Completed with a stone added to the Cairn pile.

This photo gives a better idea of how high up we were.

The snow patch to the left of the "X" is where the cairn pile was and where we stopped for lunch. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich never tasted so good.

This is one of my favorite moments at the top. Dad and daughter :)

The way down was so pretty with lots of greenery and little streams crossing the switchback paths.

The possibility of a bear encounter is very real here, so we were happy to be hiking as a big group.

This was part of the group and obviously I was not the official photographer. 

Sunrift Gorge at the end of the hike.
After six and a half hours of hiking I was so ready to be done, but I had accomplished a great goal. The hard part is now I have to set a new one. I guess we will see what next year brings :)

P.S. If you are interested you can watch this 4 minute video of the hike. This guy has hiked all 734 miles of trails in Glacier National Park.  Crazy!

Joining Kim Klassen for Friday Finds since I found the confidence to do this hike :)