Monday, July 12, 2010

30 Day Challenge Day - 27: The Return and Final Stretch

Good (late) evening folks!

I returned home about 12:15 am last night from an amazing journey to "Up North" Michigan. I had a blast, and with the help of a friend learned a lot about myself and what I have been emotionally going through lately. He doesn't know it yet, but since Friday evening he's helped me in un-measurable ways. I owe a debt of gratitude to him.

Well, do I dare go down the list in short-order and cheapen a four-day weekend that was amazing? I'll give you the run down I guess, I can't resist.

Thursday: Out-bound from GR for Traverse City at 6pm!! Lively music and conversation fueled our 2.5 hour journey Northward. Arrival in TC was about 8:30 EST. From there we headed downtown to check out the waterfront, National Cherry Festival and bars. Excellent weather and sunset! We hit Bootleggers and Kilkenney's and then retired for the night.

Friday: Woke up around 8-9 EST in the morning. Quickly got our crap together and got in the A-Team Ford Escape and barrelled West to Sleeping Bear Dunes. Once there we hit the dune climb. Adequately equiped with water and food, we trecked the 2-ish miles across the hot and trecherous but out of this world beautiful dunes to Lake Michigan. Sweating and hot, the caribbean-clear water was amazingly cool and we took full advantage. Trek back to the car challenged our endurance and team-building skills. Drove "home", showered and hit the GVSU Alumni Reception at the Holiday Inn. Great to hang out with GVSU friends! Hit Bootleggers afterward and encountered Travis, Mike, Tina, Justin and the infamous Taliban Jackson! Mayhem among many beers ensued. On the walk home that night, my dear friend (still unknowingly) helped me discover some emotional growth within myself. We finally got to bed about 4am and had to up at 7am EST.

Saturday: Awakened at 7am and got ready for our participation in the National Cherry Festival Parade with our alma mater GVSU!!! A hot atmosphere grew as we joined our group in the parade assembly area. I helped Louie get suited up and at 11:15 we were off!! Our 100+ person parade group was 38th in line of over 150 participating groups!! GO GV!! The parade was a blast and we loved getting people in the crowd into it. Post parade we hit the road for Boyne City, USA about 1pm. We passed the Grand Traverse Resort, Elk Rapids, Torch Lake, East Jordon and onto BC! Once arriving, we quickly changed into swim suits and met Lisa's friends at the "L dock" on Lake Charlevoix several blocks away to spend the afternoon and early evening on the pontoon boat cruising around and swimming in the crystal-blue waters of Pure Michigan! It never get's old. We then disembarked and changed, immediatly headed over to Charlevoix to enjoy a very memorable sunset on the peir. Pure Michigan has no equal. Once the sun dipped below the stunning horizon we hurtled North along the coast to Petosky. We arrived under the cover of darkness, so we couldn't see much but we cruised around and had a late, late dinner. After heading back to BC, us four tired twenty-somethings crawled into the hot-tub for some relaxation while watching the neighbor's bonfire. Now...decompress..and sleep.

Sunday: Finally we sleep in. We arose about 10:45 am EST to the "Good Morning" calls of Charlie, the parrot. Yes, the parrot. Shout out to Charlie, you rock homie. We got into workout clothes and hit up "Avalanche" hill (I know, that's the tourist term). After running up the hill, we enjoyed the stunning vista of BC and Lake Charlevoix, and then headed down-hill the long way around the hill. After showering and packing up, we had lunch at the famous Red Mesa Grill in downtown BC. Words cannot descibe...happy face. We then hurtled Southward toward home. We stopped along the way at the 45th Parallel for some photo sessions and then at the shoe tree. Then a strange thing happened. Shortly after getting underway again we decided we weren't quite ready to go home. We decided to turn right, and drive to Ludington, MI to see the lake one last time and meet our friend Kelly who will be a happily married woman in less than a week! We walked the beach, had dinner at the brewery and watched the S.S. Badger leave for Wisconsin, then met Kelly for ice cream. After getting back on the road about 10:30, we encountered storms but fought our way through. I finally walked in my front door at, well, you know what time.


What an amazing journey and it really makes you never want to leave the mitten. If more people knew how beautiful this state was, we wouldn't be in our economic situation. Michigan is America's best kept secret, hands down.

Well, that's the abbreviated version. I'll post a link to photo's when I see they have been posted by our professional photographers that accompanied us on our journey. Until tommorow, get out and enjoy summer in Pure Michigan!!

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