Saturday, September 28, 2013

Taking the Backroads - Shoreline Trail, Muskegon

I always think when I am out on my Friday Creative Inspiration adventures that I am not getting enough "good" pictures to make a very interesting blog post. Even when I get home and load them into Lightroom and start culling them, I still think there isn't enough "good" ones. I can put that thought away now as I exported 32 pictures from Lightroom this morning. I guess there are more tthan enough that are good enough. Don't worry I won't share all 32, otherwise this post will go on forever, and that's just not my style.

Starting Point
My starting point this week was the Shoreline Trail which is a driving route that runs along the Lake Michigan shore in Muskegon County.

I have been on bits of this trail on my last two Creative Inspiration Fridays, but decided I would start at the beginning this week, instead of in the middle.

At the beginning of this trail is this lovely ice cream shoppe. Too bad it wasn't at the end of my day instead, or maybe it is just as well it wasn't.

Mount Garfield Motorcycle Club
About fifteen minutes into my trip along this trail I spotted this...

I had to do what is becoming my classic turn around and go back maneuver. It was just too intriguing to not check out. As I passed I thought it was some kind of sledding hill or something winter related but no, it is a Motorcycle Hill Climb.

In 1919 Dan D. Raymond opened the Raymond Motor & Cycle Company on Ottawa Street in Muskegon. Raymond organized the Muskegon Motorcycle Club in 1920 and in 1921 leased a nearby sand dune, Mount Garfield, for a motorcycle hill climb.
The Muskegon Motorcycle Club purchased the forty-acre site that included Mount Garfield in 1923, the same year that over 3,000 spectators attended the climb. The club also purchased a farmhouse, which was converted into a clubhouse and improved the hill with wooden steps, an observation tower, and clay surfacing.
The Muskegon Motorcycle Club received the National Championship Hill Climb award from theAmerican Motorcycle Association (AMA) in 1929. Though the Great Depression curtailed participation in the popular climb, by 1939 the AMA once again decided to hold a national hill climb event at Mount Garfield. For the event, a concrete staircase with the name of a sponsor etched in each of the three hundred and thirteen stair slabs was installed. Mount Garfield is the site of the first professional hill climb in America. The climb was suspended during World War II but was resumed in 1946. A stone monument to the members of the Muskegon Motorcycle Club that died in World War II was erected at the entrance of the Mount Garfield grounds in 1949. 
The Muskegon Motorcycle Club still hosts the National Hill Climb Competition held at Mt Garfield every other August on even numberd years. The next National Hill Climb is scheduled for 2014.
You have to watch this video it is insane...

Here are some more photos of the outside, this place is like a fortress...

I was so happy with how the light was hitting this fence, it pays to start early in the day.

There are so many beautiful parks along this wonderful Shoreline Trail. I spotted this one as I was driving along, so I stopped for a little exploring.

It is the Lake Harbor Park in Norton Shores. Super cute little park with a walk along Mona Lake.

Lovely benches to sit upon and watch the water and the boats going past.

This is my favorite photo of the day. It isn't technically great, I realized after he was past that it was a dog in the front of the boat. This one tugs at my heart strings. This guy and his dog out for a spin on the lake. Does it get any better than that?

Snack Time
I remembered my water bottle and my snack this week. Yay me!!

So I sat on this lovely bench at Norman F. Kruse Park, a City of Muskegon Park enjoying my snack and the view.

Ending the day with Lunch
I finished up my day of exploring with lunch at Muskegon State Park. I found this lovely picnic table along the channel and enjoyed my Wendy's chili and drink, while reading about Michigan History. I know I am a geek :)

My view of the channel from my picnic table.

Some Thoughts From the Road

  • There is a definite shortage of cute sandwich/healthy take out places located anywhere near these lovely parks with picnic tables.
  • Next week if the weather is nice I think I will pack my own lunch. I am not a fan of having to get fast food. 
  • Remember to take the Paisley Rain Boots. This time of year the grass is dewy in the morning and I would prefer to not have wet feet so early in the day.
  • It is sad to see the snow fences going up already along the beach. It points all too clearly to winter. I want to enjoy Autumn first.
I am sure in the next couple of weeks we will really start to see some Autumn color emerging. I am looking forward to sharing that with all of you.

Joining Helen for Weekend Walks
Joining Kim for Friday Finds

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Enjoy those This and That Moments

It seems like just yesterday she was a beautiful, bald-headed baby.

Today she is a beautiful, curly haired young woman.

Last week my baby turned twenty. You always hear from everybody older than you when your kids are young "Enjoy this time. Before you know it they are grown up and out of the house." You think, "Yeah, yeah, I've got lots of time, I have to get them through teething, potty training and teaching them to ride their bike".

Then you get to that first day of Kindergarten and you realize that those people older than you were right. They are already leaving the house for all or part of a day, 5 days a week.

Yet, you still think you have time, because next comes the running around stage. Sleepovers, sports practices and games, art camps and music lessons. You are so tired at the end of the day that you can't even think about life next week, let alone 10 years from now.

Now it's their first day of high school, wow, how did that happen. There's still the running around, sports camps, before and after school activities, a night at the movies, hanging out at the mall. You just can't wait for them to get their license.

That day is here, you are standing in line at the DMV thinking about your precious child out there on the road with all those lunatic drivers. This is the day you have been waiting for, the day they have that piece of paper that says they can drive by themselves. But really, you want to take it all back and put them back in that super safe car seat.

As they drive away for that first time, you stand in the driveway and realize they are slipping away. Their independence has begun.

Lightening quick two years pass and they are walking across that stage and someone hands them their diploma. They have made it, you have made it, all the way through high school. You are so proud of them, they got good grades, they are responsible, everybody likes them, and they got into a good college.

Here you are, at that place everybody told you about when your kids were young. But...that can't be right, we haven't done this yet, or this yet, or that yet. So that summer you try to cram in as many of those "this and that" moments as you possibly can.

Then in the blink of an eye, that day is here. Move in day. They are excited, scared, ready and not ready all at the same time. You are excited, scared, ready and not ready.

You know they will be fine, this is what you raised them to be; independent, strong, loving, smart and kind. That doesn't make it any easier, but you must let them go, so they can spread their wings and fly. You will be amazed at the person they become while they are away from you. Somebody they could never be if they had stayed by your side.

So you young ones, take some advice from somebody older than you. Hold them close for now and do all the "this and that" things that you possibly can. Someday soon enough you will be in my place, giving the same advice to those younger than you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What Blogging Has Taught Me

It is always interesting when I sit down to write a blog post, thinking I know exactly what direction I want to go with it. Then I start writing and it becomes something entirely different. That is what happened with today's post. I was going to lament on the fact that I always feel so unmotivated to blog once I get home from a vacation. It doesn't matter if it is a big two week vacation, or a long weekend vacation, I have a hard time finding my motivation on Monday morning.

As I started writing, this is what came out instead...

As I sat down at lunch today to catch up on some of my friends blogs, I realized what it is about blogging that keeps me going, it is the sharing of our selves, the sharing of our lives. We share the good days and the bad days. We share that life is not perfect and crap happens. We also share the joys, our children, our grandchildren, anniversaries and birthdays. All the things that mark moments in life.

My dear blogging friends have taught me so much, how to stand strong in the face of conflict and disease. They have taught me to be brave and try new things. They have taught me very useful things like digital scrapbooking, iPhone Photography, and creative Photo Processing.

They have shared the beauty of their place in the world through their photography. They have shared from their heart and made me want to be like them, strong and courageous.

If I, in turn can be a strong and courageous inspiration for even one person through what I write on my blog, then this blogging journey has been more than worthwhile.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Taking the Backroads - The Starting Point

Here it is...the start of my new blog series...Taking the Backroads.

This blog series was inspired by our vacation to Montana this summer. We spent quite a bit of time on US2, starting in St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and finishing in Browning, Montana. US2 is definitely a back roads highway. I saw so many things that I wanted to photograph as we drove along, but felt the frustration of not having the time to stop and do that. So I decided as we traveled along, that I would take the time this fall to explore the back roads nearer to home. When I could devote a whole day, a couple of times a month to exploring, taking the time to stop and photograph the things I saw.

Destination: Whitehall and White Lake
I did a little scouting around at the end of my Creative Inspiration Day last week Friday. I followed the Shoreline Trail from North Muskegon to Whitehall. Beautiful drive along this trail, but that is a trip for another day.

I realized once I arrived in Whitehall that the only place I had ever been there was the McDonald's which is right off the expressway. What a cute town and so many things to see. Which is exactly why I am doing this new series, so I will get out and explore more, to see all the things I have been missing.

Oakhurst Cemetery

I noticed this cemetery on my way out of town last week. It was my first stop this week. I am like a kid in a candy store when I am in a cemetery to begin with, add to that the new historical knowledge I gained last week from the Cemetery Walking Tour that Glen and I did. Now I am a kid, already hopped up on sugar, walking into a candy store.

The first section of this cemetery was in the "Park Style", my favorite. So many beautiful grave markers to photograph. I even found a Woodsmen of the World one. Thanks to the walking tour last week, I know what one of those is. I will post more photographs from this cemetery on my other blog, Field Notes and Photos.


I have a motel fascination. When I was a kid and we traveled that is the only thing that I remember as an option. I need to dig into the history of them but that sounds like a winter project. I love the vintage appeal of their signs.

Notice on the sign it doesn't say anything about Wifi. I can't say that a phone in the room is a big appeal to travelers anymore.

Once through town I turned onto Lake Street, which leads to the  part of the Shoreline Trail that I was on last week.

You don't see too many one lane road areas anymore. This one went under the old rail truss.

This one is for my friend Roxi, she loves Sunflowers.

Love the contrast in the old and newer sign styles here.

Fruitland District No. 6 School

I had seen this old schoolhouse last week and definitely planned to stop this week, but I was even more excited to stop as I approached from the opposite direction. I saw this...

My Flipboard (an app for the iPad) loving husband sent me this article this week. Sometimes I think about getting this app for my iPad, but I would hate for Glen to stop sending me articles. I love the fact that he is thinking about me when he reads something.

I admit I have always loved old playground equipment but this article got me excited to go out and photograph anything that I can find. A metal slide is a rare treat to find these days.

White River Light Station

This was my final destination for the day. I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the museum part of the light station. It cost $4 to get in and all there was to see were two small rooms on the second floor filled with memorabilia and artifacts. Normally you could climb to the top where the light is, but that was closed because they were painting up there. The best part was the spiral staircase, even though it made me feel kind of funny being in such a narrow space and standing on see-through steps.

Some Thoughts From the Road

  • My attention span for this kind of adventure is about 4 hours. I started at 8:30 a.m. and by 12:30 p.m. I was mentally done and hungry.
  • I need to pack a bag on Thursday night with my water bottle and a snack. I had my water bottle in the refrigerator ready to go but I forgot it along with a snack, which I really could have used.
  • Dining alone. My goal for my Friday Creative Inspiration Days was to try new places to eat. I did a great job the first two weeks, but this week I couldn't do it. I stopped at one family style restaurant and looked at the menu. It was your average menu: burgers, sandwiches and salads. The food at these type of places tends to be on the greasy side, which irritates my stomach. Also I  feel weird dining alone in these places. They either stick you at a crappy table or are slow to wait on you. So this week I went to a Panera Bread. I know I will like what's on the menu, and it is definitely not weird to be eating alone there. Best of all they have Wifi. If it's any consolation I had never eaten at this particular Panera Bread.
I hope you enjoyed this first addition of Exploring the Back Roads. I can't wait to get out and do more of them.

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

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Greenwood Cemetery - A Historical Walking Tour

Yesterday, Glen and I attended a walking tour of the Greenwood Cemetery in the City of Grand Rapids, MI which is about 45 minutes from our house. I spotted the article about the tour in our local paper on Thursday. What made the walking tour a must attend event for me was the fact that is was being led by a Trustee of the Grand Rapids Historical Society.

If you have followed my blog for any amount of time you will know that I love cemeteries and I love history, so you combine the two at one event and I am in Heaven.

Now a historical, cemetery walking tour might not be on the top of Glen's list for a Saturday morning.

But being the wonderful husband that he is, he did it for me. Oh...he also decided to be my paparazzi.

In all seriousness,  I did learn a ton a great information and got a lot of great photos, and in the end I think that Glen enjoyed himself.

Cemetery Landscape Design
Did you know that there have been four stages of cemetery design? The first one was graveyards. Graveyards were generally located near and administered by a church or parish. The early 19th century brought about the change from graveyards to cemeteries, which were separate from a church or parish.

Monumental or Park Style - This was the second type. Typically noted to have larger headstones or monuments made of marble, granite or similar material. They rose vertically from the ground and generally were set in a "park" like setting of rolling hills and mature trees. 

The Park Style is by far my favorite.

Lawn Style - After the Park Style came the Lawn style. This style came about at the beginning of the 20th century. A lawn cemetery is covered in grass and each grave is marked with a commemorative plaque placed horizontally at the head of the grave, flush with the ground.


Lawn Beam - The most recent style is the lawn beam. Low (10-15cm) raised concrete slabs (beams) are placed across the cemetery. Commemorative plaques stand on these beams adjacent to each grave.

Natural or Eco-Cemetery - There is a brand new style of cemetery emerging. Where an area is set aside for natural burials (with or without a casket). Natural burials are motivated by a desire to be environmentally conscious with the body rapidly decomposing and becoming part of the natural environment without incurring the environmental cost of traditional burials. Glen is quite intrigued by this style, but that is not something I want to be taking photographs of.

The Monuments
I learned some interesting things about the monuments themselves:

White Bronze - A type of monument I had never seen before. They are a cast monument and not really bronze but made of zinc. They had no supporting infrastructure inside, so not the sturdiest if a tree branch fell on them, but they held detailing beautifully.

Tree Trunk - These monuments belonged to the Woodsmen of the World, they were members of a fraternal benefit society. They used the tree trunk design until the 1930's.

Jewish - I have not been in a cemetery that had a designated Jewish section before. 

The practice of putting stones on the headstones is a long held tradition.

Colonial Era - This headstone depicts the colonial era. All about the same size with a rounded top and a center motif with something either depicting death or the afterlife.

This was an excellent walking tour, and Tom Dilley did a marvelous job. As you can see it was well attended. 

I will definitely be going back to explore some more on my own. I also got the names of some other cemeteries to explore around Grand Rapids.