Monday, September 16, 2019

Continuation of camping report, Sept. 2019
Leaving Onaway State Park and moving to Fisherman’s Island:
September 4th: 
In the morning the skies were gray and there were still whitecaps on the lake from the wind. This was our moving day, so we got up and got going. We’re heading over to Fisherman’s Island on the other side of Michigan.
We stopped for gas in Alanson and I walked across the busy highway 31 to a bakery called Dutch Oven Shops. Pastries! Expensive, but worth it. My favorite thing was the huge cherry turnover that was almost the size of half a cherry pie. Tim and I split it. I give it a 10 out of10.
A short while later we passed the Oden Fish Hatchery and turned around to go back and see that. Took the hike. Very enjoyable, made for visitors. Free. I recommend it.
Arriving at Fisherman’s SP, we found our site: #70 on the southern loop. Its incline didn’t look like much, but it was enough to make it difficult to level our trailer. We repositioned the camper twice before we could set it up. That’s my only complaint. Some of the sites are too small for a trailer, but ours was spacious enough. Only a few could be considered level. A short walk down a beautiful north woods path leads to the Lake Michigan beach. When I read up about Fisherman‘s island, the explanation was that, when the level of the lakes went down, the island became a peninsula, but I’m here to tell you that the island of Fisherman‘s Island is now an island again. As you probably know, Lake Michigan is exceptionally high this year. The camp ground is a beautiful forest with large trees and many white birch, my fav.
We were visited by a young raccoon that came inquiring about a possible meal? We politely declined. He didn’t seem scared of us, though he maintained a respectful 10-foot distance. I think some campers might have unwisely entertained him.
We went into Charlevoix for dinner. We were headed towards a restaurant called Terry’s, but ended up eating at The Village Pub (because it advertised walleye) instead. We were told that Terry’s is one of the best restaurants in town, but there was a 45-minute wait to be seated there. The food at the Village Pub was good; the fish was a little over done. It was expensive, but Charlevoix is an expensive place. You have to be prepared for it.

After we returned to camp, we went down to the official SP beach to watch the sunset at about 8:15. There were no clouds in the sky so I wasn’t expecting much, but just as the last little piece of sun dipped below the horizon, I saw the green flash. I have read about the green flash but I’ve never seen it before. I wish I had been taking a movie. I could hardly believe what I was seeing and might’ve even gotten a photograph if I had been ready.
The next day we decided to take 31 S. We drove down around Torch Lake and we checked out some lots for building that were for sale because we were wondering exactly what it would cost to have a lakefront lot on Torch, the “third most beautiful lake in the world.” I called the realtor. A 1 acre lot was priced from about $400,000-$700,000, depending on how much of the lot was buildable. Our dreams are crushed. But not as crushed as the realtor’s when I didn’t follow through on the lot.
On the way back to camp we stopped at Friske’s Fruit-and-everything-else stand. I can approve of their cherry turnovers.
Back at camp Tim went for a dip in Lake Michigan, but I could only force myself in waist -deep. Too cold. We grilled brats for dinner.
That night clouds cancelled my sunset plans.
Sitting by the campfire, we heard what sounded like a large tree crashing to the ground north of us. Later that night while in my sleeping bag, I heard another tree falling. It was a little scary.
Rain rain rain rain...
Friday morning it was still raining. I took a quick shower in my bathing suit outside the camper. Tim didn’t want to overfill the gray water tank.
Still raining so we went into Charlevoix to look around. Great stuff but, of course, all high priced. We thought about dinner at Terry’s, but according to the menu posted out side the restaurant, dinner for two will cost you no less than $60-70, and we had spent our wad on the fish the night before. We decided my home-made chili at the campfire would be every bit as good.
We drove south on 31 to Bier’s Art Gallery. That was the highlight of our day. Such beautiful works of art! I totally enjoyed just looking around. We bought a small brass figure of a lion by Scott Nelles, because it was one of the few things we could afford and I wanted something from that place. Afterwards we popped back down to Friskes again so Tim could get a cherry turnover this time.
Back to camp for chili. The clouds are finally breaking up.
Our little raccoon visitor is back, quietly, unobtrusively surveying the perimeter of camp. Then he came right up to Tim who was sitting by the camp fire, but skittered away quickly as soon as Tim noticed him.
Now I am on the beach, waiting to see if there will be a sunset tonight or not. It’s one of those maybe things: mostly cloudy with a few breaks here and there. A thin rose-colored glow on the horizon suggests maybe there will be something to see. The sun peeks through the crack for a minute, and then goes to bed. It’s over. Nothing spectacular.
Saturday: time to go home.

Last night I finally learned the secret of how to be comfortable in a sleeping bag. Most nights I wake up entrapped in my sleeping bag, the thing wound around my like a python, giving me a severe case of claustrophobia. But this night I tried something different. You put the slippery side in. That way it doesn’t wrap itself around you as you change positions in the night. Hallelujah!
Before we broke camp, I climbed a steep path - and by that I mean a heart-attack inducing path - that lead to the top of the ridge behind our site. I wanted to see what was up there. Turns out there is a beautiful trail that follows the top of the ridge. I went back to camp, changed into my Keens, and got my camera, my phone, and my husband. We found a less strenuous way to get to the path behind the water pump. The trail is twisty-turny and up and down, but it’s great! I highly recommend it for hikers. I understand the trail head is by the entrance to the camp and leads to the camp beach, a distance of about 3 miles as the crow flies, but not as the path winds, according to the camp person who drove by and stopped to answer our questions.
After returning to camp, we finished packing everything up and left about 11:30. All said, Fisherman’s Island is a favorite park for me!

Camping at Onaway SP last week - Julie  Reporting
Sunday: arrived at Onaway State Park. Adequate sized spot, but crowded close to other campers. On Site 23, we are across the road from sites on the lake. View of lake somewhat blocked by trailers. Can’t see sunrise or sunset from this side of the lake, so walked to the beach area to watch the sunset.
The lake is rocky with what looks like angular pieces of limestone. Not good swimming lake for that reason, here, but the swimming area is sandy and looks nice. If it wasn’t so cold, I would go swimming.
That night our large group of neighbors were having a great time, and I was tired and wanted to sleep, but I could hear every word of their loud conversations. They talked standing right next to my tent. I think it was about ten when they quieted down, so that wasn’t too bad. However, by 6:00 am they were up and talking as they were breaking camp. After they left it was reasonably quiet again. That morning, being Labor Day, most of the campers cleared out, and now the camp is peaceful, although the weather is a bit cool. Tim and I went to see the falls. They were nice. We continued over to ROGERS City on Lake Huron. Traveling up the coastline, we stopped at Hoeft State Park to give it a look see. I loved this park, mostly because of the golden sandy dunes and the jewel-tone blues of the lake and paths running throughout. I put it on my list of parks to visit in the future.
We also checked out Cheybogen SP. lots of room between camp sites. We didn’t have time to do much more than take a quick look and move on because I was hungry.
We drove up to Mackinaw City for lunch/dinner and explored the touristy strip on the main road. We ate at Pancake Chef. I had the patty melt. I had to remove the onions that weren’t grilled because I don’t like raw onions, but other than that, it was very good. Tim said his hamburger was tasty. After that we got ice cream in waffle cones and walked around. We bought a large decal for the back of our trailer: silver plate metal in the shape of Michigan. So far Michigan is the only state we’ve camped since we got the trailer.
On the way back to camp, we drove by Aloha State Park and pulled in to check it out. Nice, but basically a big grassy parking lot by the lake. The lake is stony. I didn’t get out and look at the beach. Not my kind of camp ground. (Update: several people have kindly informed me that the lake at Aloha is stoney next to the shore, but gets sandy as you go deeper. Also that the swimming beach is sandy. Thank you to them.) (I still prefer widely-spaced wilderness woodsey campsites to grassy close-together campsites. I'm a nature fanatic.)
Beautiful evening on Monday. Lots of lakeside sites available now.
Tuesday we woke to pouring rain. It’s a good thing our noisy neighbors left on Monday. Their tent sites were underwater. FYI: Don’t reserve site 24.
Tim and I took showers. I would give the showers a rating of 10 for cleanliness, a place to sit, powerful hot-but-not-too-hot showers, two hooks (3 is ideal), BUT the shower drains were slow and pretty soon one is standing in two inches of water with people’s hair wads floating around one’s feet. So they get a 9.
The sun came out and it warmed up. Tim had no interest in going to Mackinaw Island, so we stayed at camp. We got out our new toy: an inflatable kayak. Although it was supposed to be suitable for two people, it really wasn’t. So Tim and I took turns kayaking the lake.
Clouds moved in and the rain returned. We had hobo dinners for supper, but the potatoes didn’t get done so we had to finish them in a frying pan.
That night there was more rain, but mostly there was wind. All night the wind whistled through the trees. Condensation appeared on the inside of the tent part of our hybrid camper and the wind shook it off on us occasionally throughout the night just let us know who was boss.

More to come...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Daughter-in-Law to be, a liberal, asked me why I voted for Trump. Herein lies the explanation. I am not looking for arguments. If you want to  criticize, the election is over; don't bother. 

When Trump first appeared on the stage as a candidate for the Republican nomination, I thought ‘he’s just there for something to do - to put another notch on his belt and be able to say he was president.’ I never believed he could win. I thought he was could even screw everything up; that with the mood the country was in almost any Republican could win against Hillary, if he would just get out of the way.  Over time I changed my mind. I came to the conclusion he was sincere in his desire to “save” our country. I also believed our country needed saving.  I thought, maybe… just maybe…  But what really got me to vote for him was that the alternative was Hillary Clinton.
To start with, let me just state that I unapologetically align myself with the Republican party.  I voted for Jimmy Carter in the 70s, but went with Reagan in 1980 and have voted Republican ever since. That does not mean that I would not consider flipping if the reasons were there.
When Obama ran in 2008, I voted for McCain without much enthusiasm. After Obama won, it was my sincere hope that he would do well and that I could vote for him in 2012. It didn’t turn out that way. I had numerous concerns about the direction our country was headed. Here are the main ones:

I hoped that Obama care would work, although I doubted that it would, because I recognized that healthcare was in a downward spiral.  Insurance companies charged more and more and covered less and less, and people with chronic conditions could not get insurance.  I thought about it so much that I wrote a five-page paper documenting my thought process over the situation – what was wrong with the present system, but also what I thought would happen if the government took it over. Here is a link to the paper in my blog:

Since writing this, I lost my healthcare, despite Obama’s assurances that I would not.
My school said it could not afford the rising costs of insurance, even though I was paying half, and I would have to go find my own (private school with under 30 full time employees). I went to a company the school recommended to get help finding insurance. I sat down across from a man who told me that our best bet was Blue Cross Blue Shield, and that our premiums would be $1,250 a month. Seriously.  And that was with a $5000 deductible.  I cried. But it would pay for a yearly physical exam and mammograms, he said.  Big deal.

After crying for a while, I bucked up and began praying. A friend told me to look into a health share group, so I did.  Tim and I ended up with Samaritan Ministries. Much better deal, even though it doesn’t pay for yearly checkups, blood tests, mammograms, or prescriptions. Still way under $1,250 a month.

Since then other people I know, people who couldn’t afford health insurance and signed up with Obamacare, were, at first, happy with it. Then their premiums went up. Then they went up again. Their premiums doubled and tripled.
Obama just talks about how everyone is signing up for his wonderful healthcare. He either doesn't realize it's not affordable for most people, or he just doesn't care. Probably doesn't know what to do about it. 

Another concern I had was the lack of border control. Members of terrorist groups hostile to our country have stated that they would be coming in and establishing sleeper cells in the U.S.  I take the threats seriously. All you have to do is look at what is going on in Europe as a result of unvetted immigrants and refugees.  I am not concerned for myself, but for our country as a whole. We aren’t perfect, but this is still a wonderful place to live and I want it to stay that way.  I know most of the refugees are not a threat and can actually contribute to our country, but I also believe that potential terrorists are coming in with them, or maybe just people who do not accept our laws and wish to promote Sharia law. It doesn’t matter that little has happened so far; when it happens, it will happen all at once. We need to be proactive, not reactive. We need a president who will protect Americans, and at the same time help those refugees we can. If our country becomes a place of fear and suspicion, if our economy doesn’t remain strong, we won’t be in a position to help anybody.  I’m not nearly as concerned about Mexicans and South Americans coming over the border. We can absorb them.

Another thing that bothers me was the huge increase in taxes and regulations placed on businesses. Big and small businesses are the golden goose of our society.  Democrats, like Bernie Sanders who go around crying about the 1% or 2% or whatever, say the goose is evil, and they want to strangle the goose and get all the gold eggs right now. Republicans want to feed the goose so she lays more gold eggs and will continue to lay eggs.  Most of the money collected in taxes from our government comes from people with jobs. It’s called income tax. People get jobs when they go to work for companies. Healthy, growing companies hire more people.  The government takes in more taxes. (I know it’s more complicated than that, but this is not a book.)
It is tremendously important for our country to stay strong economically – for the sake of a strong military, for the ability to help the poor, even for the ability to protect the environment. All you have to do is travel to a third world country and see that poor people cannot afford to be careful with the environment because those people are just trying to survive day to day: air pollution from burning trash heaps rises in the air; children play in piles of trash that get blown about by the wind because the villages cannot afford to pay for a dump truck to haul it away; poor sewage systems overflow, and rivers stink… well, you get the idea.  If you want a clean environment, you won’t get it by impoverishing the population.

I hate abortion. I can’t imagine that it’s not murdering a human being.  But I don’t believe that at this point it will be criminalized. It’s possible that it could be restricted, so that full-term babies are not killed, pulled apart, and sucked out of their mother’s wombs. But since pro-choice people insist that that almost never happens, that shouldn’t bother them too much.

The infrastructure! Experts have been warning us for years that the infrastructure is getting old and we need to start modernizing it now, not wait for it to collapse. By infrastructure, I mean the sewage and water systems and the electricity grid, as well as the roads.
So this is what Obama did: He tried. He proposed a bill. The GOP blocked it, they said, because of the way Obama proposed to get the money. They said it would not be enough and was not sustainable. Eventually a huge expensive bill got passed, but it’s very wobbly and still doesn’t have a good outlook for a long life. Parties can’t agree on whom to soak for the money.

What about supporting Israel? Obama seemed to despise the country. His parting shot was to have our UN rep abstain from blocking the UN vote that would allow Israel to be declared an illegal occupier of the West Bank. He also sent millions of dollars to the Palestinians, no doubt to be used for peaceful activities. Trump says he will support Israel. 

Supreme Court Judges. We need ones that will support the constitution, not legislate from the bench. A liberal Supreme court could make changes and laws that we will have to live with for the next twenty years or more. That's scary. 

Another thing that bothered me was how people who had real religious convictions against gay marriage were being sued and persecuted at the whim of gay couples that decided to use them to make a statement.  People who have worked hard to build their businesses were losing them and even threatened with prison because they refused to go against their convictions. If doesn’t matter what a person believes, one ought to be free to run a business without going against your faith. Gay people are free to marry and they can go elsewhere to get their flowers and their wedding cake. No one is stopping them from getting married. They don’t have to force their beliefs on others. And NO this is not the same as racism. And it’s definitely not the same as abortion, so don’t even bring it up.

What I saw was that the president and the Democrat party did not see things as I saw them. They thought (and Hillary actually said this in a speech) that the border was under control, the National Affordable Healthcare plan was working just fine, and Christians needed to change their beliefs; the economy is growing [President Barack Obama may become the first president since Herbert Hoover not to serve during a year in which the growth in real GDP was at least 3 percent.” (]; Planned Parenthood was a victim of an evil video entrapment scheme, no one was selling baby parts, no one should be arrested... except the guys who made the video. 
 They did not even acknowledge that there was a problem. 

I was really angered by Democrats and even Obama himself accusing people who disagreed with him on policy as – gee-whiz, they must be racist. I am not a racist and I despise racism, but I’m not going to go along with something I think is wrong just because I’m afraid of being called a racist. And the Democrats seem to pull out that word and fling it around every time they want to cow their enemies, along with every other smear tactic they can think of.  Example: When McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, she should have been the freaking poster child for feminism, but because she was Republican, she was mocked, implied racist, called stupid, her family was attacked, and every word that came out of her mouth was twisted into something it wasn’t.  She couldn’t take it.  I don’t blame her.  (Yes, I know Republicans do it, too, but I don’t think to such an extent.)
So when Hillary said about half the people supporting Donald Trump: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it.” I thought – there she is. The soul of the (wo)man showed itself for a moment like an evil face in the window of a reputable house.” (O Henry, “The Roads We Take”)
That’s what she thinks of me and hundreds of thousands of other Americans like me. Is it likely she will care about what I think or about things that concern me?

The natural question that follows the above is, “Well what about the disgusting, horrible things Trump says? What about his attitude towards women? What about his verbal attacks on people?”
Indeed. I do not take them lightly. 
On to Trump.
 Trump has shown himself to have the potential to be obnoxious and offensive. He is hot-tempered and quick to lash out. (But frankly, so is Hillary, she’s just better at hiding it.) I don't blame anyone for having his/her doubts.
There is reason to doubt the stories of some of the women who accuse Trump of sexual abuse. Some of them have questionable history, the stories of others have been contradicted by witnesses, and one in particular is connected to Hillary’s organization and is motivated to lie. I also know that if you want to destroy a man’s reputation, all you have to do is accuse him of rape, or even just sexual impropriety.  If there were only the two of you involved, you can’t prove he did it, but he can’t prove he didn’t. Even an innocent man will have his reputation destroyed and suspicion will follow him around for years. Would Hilary arrange this to damage her opponent?  I think she would. BUT, having said that, I think there is obviously no doubt that he has acted inappropriately towards women. When you listen to the tape, he says, “They’ll let you do anything.” This implies that they were allowing his touch, but still it is inexcusable.
But I also think that he has learned a few lessons in the past 10 years. People are all a mixture of good and bad. If you really want to know who the man is, look at the entire picture. He has also done much good. He hired a woman to oversee the construction of a major project - the first time anyone did that in New York. He hired a woman to be his campaign manager. Who else has done that? Women who have worked closely with him have stated that he was always respectful of them.  
He has apologized for his words and actions. He says he has changed.  But if it turns out that we do have another "sexual predator" in the White House - well - we survived the last one.

There is also the old worn-out accusation of Trump being a racist. Democrats call everyone a racist to the point it has become laughable and easy to dismiss, but we must address it, because if he is, then that could be a deal-breaker.  I see no evidence of this.  People say he is against immigrants. He has never said anything against immigrants - his statements about many of the persons who come over the border being criminals pertained to "illegal immigrants." Black people and Mexicans who have worked with him say he is not a racist.

I don’t fear Trump’s “finger on the button” because that’s just hysterics. It takes a lot more than one decision from one man to launch a nuclear missile.

They both lie, but here I see, again, a difference in the type of lie. Hillary’s lies are deliberate, skillful, manipulative, and dangerous. They are also lies of convenience. Trump’s lies are lies of convenience, hyperbole, miscalculation, and brain farts.  If he’s lying about the women’s stories, which he claims never happened, then I have to add “personal.” 

So what we have here is two "flawed" candidates. 

I don’t particularly have confidence in either of their moral characters. I perceive a difference in the category of flaws each has. Hillary’s flaws could lead our country to disastrous consequences. Trump’s flaws are more of a personal nature, like Bill Clinton’s debacles.

I am not voting for best Christian, and I can’t vote on the basis of morality. I don’t have that option, nor would a highly moral man or woman necessarily make the best president. It takes guts, self-confidence, and a certain amount of arrogance to think you can run the country. They both have that.

So what is left?  Platforms.  Which candidate’s policies most closely align with mine? Who sees things the most like I do?


The end.

Looking back at what I have written, I can hear the objections, the counter arguments, the ways I would respond, but it's unlikely many will read this anyway, and it's past time to go to bed. 

Let me add a quick link to an article that I think explains my position almost perfectly: 

Wayne Gruden: If You Don't Like Either Candidate, Then Vote for Trump's Policies

Saturday, January 16, 2016

My son and his girlfriend have had a child

I am the grandmother again. This baby has no name yet, other than Falk. So precious!

Friday, December 18, 2015

It was 1978, I think. In the summer I was a counselor in a camp in Canada - Camp Pioneer on Lake Clearwater. Counselors got one day off every two weeks, and on this day one of the counsellors from the guy's side of the lake had asked me if I wanted to go see that new StarWars movie with him. So there we were in this grand old theater in Port Mary, a huge, wide screen in front of me. We had our choice of seats, because the movie had been out for a while, and most nerds had already seen it.
The curtain in front of the screen opened and the now iconic wording rolled away into the vastness of space. Then the tip of a triangle-shaped spaceship appeared overhead. It grew and grew and kept growing as it gradually took over the screen, giving you the sense of how enormous it was and also the feeling of power and its inexorable advance. Then I was taken to another world....

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Babysitting a Toddler

Being a grandmother - It's a lot of work, but it's a chance to have little children in the family again, and that's worth anything.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Anything worth having

That which is worth having in this life requires no less than blood, sweat, and mosquito bites. 
This is what I muse about while picking blackberries amid sharp thorns and swarming mosquitoes. 

Blackberries might be my favorite fruit. There is nothing better on ice cream. Nothing. But trying to obtain them is a challenge. So after helping my husband build our long-anticipated chicken coop, I hoed the garden, then covered myself with a second coat of OFF with deet and braved the edge of the woods. 

First of all, and worst, are the mosquitoes. I believe the exchange rate is one bite per two berries. They literally swarm you, trying to find any little patch that is not protected by toxic chemicals that we willingly spray on our skin because anything is better than not being unable to sleep because of itching mosquito bites. They will bite through your shirt if it is not sprayed. The only spot on me that was without OFF was the tip of my nose, so one mosquito made that her target. I sprayed more OFF (I took the can out there with me) on a paper towel and applied it to my nose tip. So then, realizing that this might be her one and only chance to propagate, she went for my eyeballs. Not kidding. 

After you pick all the ones you can easily reach, there are still those that require a pound or so of flesh to pick because they are in the back. Perhaps blackberries also require blood, because - think about it: First they put their seeds in delicious little fruits, so animals will eat them and spread the seeds around. Then they grow deadly sharp thorns like barbed wire around the treasure, and for what reason? Obviously, blood is somehow needed. 

Finally, blackberries ripen in July, hottest month of the year. Wearing long pants and sleeves might be helpful if it weren't for the fact that it's 86 F. 

So there you have it. Picking blackberries is miserable, and yet I still do it. The taste is amazing.