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Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
Trip End Oct 14, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Michigan
Sunday, October 14, 2007

I packed up most of my items in the car last night, and I'm glad I did. I had a feeling perhaps I'd get one more chance at some morning photography before I left, and it really was a beautiful dawn. The sky was pink and purple with interesting clouds, and the air was crisp and fall-fresh. Perfect conditions! I can't help but say that I wished there were a few more days like this during my stay, but that's the very challenge and essence of outdoor photography. It's the thrill of the chase. Some days work out, and some do not.

With my last cup of coffee Leelanau Coffee Roasters, I drove to the public access areas at Glen Lake. The sun was just coming up, and the sky had lovely pink hues. Soon after, little purple clouds starting rolling in from the west. I had to go see the D.H. Day Farm one more time, finally getting the type of image I had been hoping for the whole two weeks.

I drove over the hill north on M-109 and saw the clouds making an interesting sky over both of the Manitou Islands, so I stopped and took a few photos of that as well. There was some type of enormous ship on the horizon, catching the morning light. I don't know much about freighters and ships, so maybe someone else out there can tell me what you think it might be?

A few more items to load into the car, and I was ready to go. I said goodbye by purchasing one more package of double-chocolate cherry chunk cookies at Cherry Republic (yes - I'm officially hooked on them now!). My host Midge Obata was just crossing the lawn to open up her North Gallery, so I had a chance to thank her and say goodbye.

On my way out of Glen Arbor, I pulled over to take one last look at the Crystal River. Most days, you could see a few folks navigating their canoes and kayaks along, although like most bodies of water this year, the water levels are amazingly low. What luck! There were a few salmon coming upstream right where I decided to pull over and look. I don't think I've ever photographed a wild fish before!

I needed to drive down through Traverse City to drop off an item borrowed from a friend, so I made my route through Port Oneida last more time, stopping at a couple of farms because they looked so pretty in the mid-morning light. There was a barn with a large 1776 mural painted on its side. It once belonged to the Shalda family near Good Harbor, and I found that was very interesting as well.

I continued south down along Lime Lake through Maple City, through Traverse City and onto M-37 headed south.

At this point, it was already close to lunch hour. You'd think perhaps I'd stop at some nice bistro or interesting place in Traverse, but I didn't. I went to the Buckley Bar - small, hole in the wall where most of the locals hang out.

Why did I go HERE, you ask? Just for fun on the behalf of another close friend (Hi Theresa!). We share a very funny memory about this establishment from 20 years ago. I won't go into details, but let's just say we went on a road trip to a concert, stopped here for lunch, and could have had our pick of a group of pig farmers who bought us drinks. We still laugh about it to this day. The ambiance hasn't changed a bit, although today the bar was full of bow hunters rather than farmers in Carhartts.

I did have a fairly decent Reuben sandwich, given the circumstances. I had one beer, had someone try to send me over another one - and decided it was time to exit. As I pulled out of the parking lot on this gorgeous Saturday fall afternoon - I couldn't help but wonder..."WHY do folks go into a smoke-filled place with no windows to sit, drink and play pool and watch sports in the dark on a day like today?". I guess I felt the same way about this as I did watching people chain smoke and drop coins into the slot machines at the casino the other night. Get outside, people! Fill your lungs with some fresh air! Play a sport! Go for a walk! Take a look at things around you and get a grip on reality!

My last stop? My sister-in-law Pat's house in Conklin. Why? Because we've been harboring a HUGE secret! Almost four weeks ago, I found myself deciding to get a new puppy from some friends of mine who live in Newaygo. My son Alex had seen the pups when they were only about 2 weeks old, and I think we sort of fell in love with them.

Alex's birthday is coming up in early November, and Russ and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary. Those of you who know us remember our two Golden Retrievers, Fred and Barney. Barney was our wedding gift. They've been gone for a couple of years now, and I felt it was time for a new dog in our lives. However - I didn't want Russ trying to care for a new puppy along with the kids in my absence! Can you imagine?

So I picked out a pup, brought him "home" for a vet visit and to get him socialized with people. Pat and my brother-in-law Jim took great care of him -  and liked him so much -  at one point they suggested that I "get my own dog!" He went four weeks without a name (Pat and I called him "Mr. Puppy").

But now he has a name...it's "Buster". He's mostly American Eskimo, with a little Lab and a few other things in there too. He's already learning now to sit and walk on a leash, and is pretty good at fetching. Buster will be our next adventure over the next few months, I suspect!

And so this journey ends. I wish to thank again:
The Glen Arbor Art Association, especially Midge Obata and Peg McCarty
My friend Kimberli Bindschatel for loaning your presentation equipment and a spare bed!
National Park Service Ranger Lisa Myers
A wide array of nice folks I met around the Leelanau area
All of you who continued to read about my adventure - thanks for your encouragement!
My in-laws Pat & Jim Nedwick for caring for Buster (aka "Mr. Puppy")
And especially my family - for everything!
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