Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Up North

We went on our annual Up North vacation a few weeks ago to Sleeping Bear Dunes.

I always take way too many sunset photos.  As I'm taking them, I am thinking to myself You already have a million sunset photos just like these, but I can't help myself.  I want to capture the colors that change by the minute, and the sense of peace and awe I feel.  This series is all from one sunset, shown here in the order I took them, and you can see how the water and the clouds and the colors change minute by minute.









My son isn't very reverent during sunsets.  While I was enamored with the changing scenery, he was goofing around with our other camera.

We rented a stand-up paddle board for a few hours one day.  Sleeping Bear Bay was really calm, so it was a good  moment to try one out.  Here is my daughter way out in the bay with the dunes behind her.

I didn't have much luck when it was my turn.  The waves kicked up, and I couldn't steer the paddle board.  I was washed back to shore!  That was a little bit humiliating!

We had some company one day.  These two baby raccoons showed up on our walkway one morning.

They somehow found their way to our second-floor deck, where they tussled with each other for a good long while, then curled up and napped for the rest of the day.

One day we hiked to Pyramid Point.  The water was so blue!  While we were there a small plane flew south along the coastline.  It's always hard to show in photos just how high and steep the dunes are, but you can get some sense of our altitude when you see that the plane is lower than we are!


That orange speck is the plane.

We always see something fun at the Empire Beach.  We saw the amphibious car again, but this time at night, with the headlights on!

And we saw this fabulous sand sculpture at North Bar Lake:

A sleeping bear dune!

Our trip home was not very smooth.  Our check engine light went on during our last evening, so instead of spending our last day on one last hike or kayak trip, we had to go to a Honda dealership and sit there for 3 hours while they diagnosed and fixed our problem.  Then, on the drive home, with 150 miles still left to go, we blew out a tire!

We were on a two-lane highway, but managed to pull into the parking lot of an abandoned store.  When we got out of the car, we realized we had company:  clucking chickens in a pen, and a tethered, bleating goat with a very full udder!  We also realized we had parked in a pile of horse manure!  This was all stuff we could work around, though.  We got the spare tire out and jacked up the car, but our wrench was too short to give us enough torque to loosen the lug nuts, so we were helpless after all, and had to call for roadside assistance.  While we waited for the tow truck, a horse-drawn buggy carrying an Amish family went by, followed by a few Amish men on bicycles. One of the cyclists  hesitated, then looped back to see if he could help us.  When he realized our wrench was too short, he went to his shed and brought back a pipe that we could fit over the wrench to give it some length and the leverage we needed to loosen the lug nuts.  Changing the tire was quick work after that.  It was kind of ironic to have an Amish man help change an automobile tire, but we were grateful he took the time to lend a hand.  The drive home was slow-going after that (150 miles at a top speed of 50 mph!), but we made it without further mishap.

I leave you with this 10-second video of Lake Michigan on a beautiful July afternoon.  The sound quality is not ideal, but I love how the water sparkles in the sunlight.  I will watch this in the dead of winter and count the days until I can return again.

video

P.S.  More vacation photos in this Flickr set.