Island Postcard #2 8/22/17

Hi Friends!

Slowly, but surely, things are starting to return to more normal island activities.  My cough crud is definitely better, and a few days of enforced rest have helped my ankles return to almost their pre-island size.  So – six weeks into our 13-week stay – I’m getting up to speed and hopefully can finish out this trip with a lot more writing and photos than have come your way so far this summer!  And – hopefully – this is the last blog of the summer that will begin with a health report from yours truly!  Thank you SO MUCH for all the prayers lifted over the last few weeks.  Y’all are just the BEST!

In the category of “Things you don’t see out your window everyday – even on Mackinac”, I submit this entry.  Have you ever heard of slacklining?  Me either!  Our condo neighbor’s grandson is visiting this week, and he put on a slacklining demo for us early one morning.  It’s like tightrope walking, except the line is flat and made of a weaved material.  The tension can be changed just by tightening the line at either anchor – in this case a tree and a utility pole.  This young man was very good at this and kept us – and dozens of island visitors who happened to walk by – entertained for a good hour!

I walked downtown on Saturday evening to meet Ted for dinner.  At close to seven, the streets were much emptier than just a couple of hours earlier.  There’s always kind of a mass exodus from the island around 6 pm, as day trippers return to the mainland.  I confess to staying away from the downtown area as much as possible during the day!

A huge pot of petunias next to Trinity Church.

This pooch was getting a help up the hill from his sweet mom. Bike baskets are for more than hauling groceries!

An awesome Straits of Mackinac shot from Tom Chambers on one recent foggy morning. That’s the Ottawa and the James L. Oberstar passing by Windermere Point, with a Star ferry in the foreground.

A Bart Theron sunrise photo on Aug. 19. No words needed.

On Saturday night Ted and I walked down to The Island House for dinner. We hadn’t eaten there in a year or so, and we had a wonderful meal. Of course, the view from the dining room is awesome also. Afterwards we called for a taxi and, while we waited, we sat in rocking chairs out on the porch and watched as the light slowly dissolved into darkness. The taxi took almost an hour to arrive, but who cares! With this kind of beauty to take in, sitting and rocking is a very pleasant pass-time.

Dave and Diane, who were supposed to arrive today, postponed their trip until September.  We look forward to seeing them next month when they celebrate their anniversary on the island! 

Had a video chat with Blake on Sunday morning, and he looked and sounded great. This photo is on his second night in Ankara – with other team members.

Have a great week!

God bless.

A Rainy Day on Mackinac 8/17/17

Hi Friends!

The Horton clan awoke to heavy rain this morning on the island, and a few hours into the day it’s still coming down.  It’s one of those days when you don’t feel guilty for not going out and enjoying everything Mackinac has to offer, so I’m sitting here at the kitchen island, laptop open . . .

. . . looking out the front door glass at the rain creating little riverlets on the street, dog toys scattered everywhere, and pups watching the windows for any signs of Ted coming home from the weekly Men’s Breakfast at the Yacht Club.

After I wrote the last blog, I continued to push myself on my ankle, and I paid for it later in the week.  So, as of yesterday, I’m trying to do better.  I declared myself “off my feet” except for stuff I just couldn’t avoid doing, wrapped my ankle in the compression bandage the Med Center had provided, elevated it when possible, and really rested yesterday. This morning my ankle was less swollen than it’s been for three weeks, so I have the same plan for today.  Cough is basically the same.

And enough of that.

The good thing about “pushing it” is that I have lots of photos to share!

After church last Sunday I had to get a pic of the pots of geraniums lining the entrance to the church. Is there anything more welcoming than red geraniums?

On the walk home that day I slipped into the Grand Hotel’s gardens . . . .

. . . and came back out at the beautiful, curved red bench sitting strategically in a corner just off the sidewalk. It’s a great place to stop and rest on the walk up the hill or just to people watch!

Thanks, Jill, for getting this photo of two blog readers who stopped in the Island Bookstore recently. That’s Ashley and her mom Penny – both from Chicago! Thanks for reading the blog, ladies!

Loved these bikes with their “wheels of light” on Main Street the other night!

A typical busy day on Surrey Hill.  A visitor has pulled a chair out into the sun and is eating lunch (while texting, of course), people are walking down to the Grand stable to see the horses and the carriage museum it houses, and a private buggy, pulled by four Hackneys, waits in the shade for its passengers.

Bodie, in the closet and trying to figure out a way to get the dog treats out of my vest pocket.

Blog readers and friends Tony and Yvonne stopped by the condo one afternoon this week. They were at Grand Hotel celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. It was a nice day to sit on the porch and chat!

A beautiful sunrise captured by Max Jones.

Bodie and I left the island on Tuesday for his first grooming in Michigan. So proud of him – they said he was great for them in the tub and on the table. Still a little leery of the drying room, but he’s getting better at that too! He loves the ferry – and the taxi rides!

We were at a party downtown a few nights ago and got to enjoy a great sunset from the private dock.

Walking home after the party. We love Mackinac after dark.

We happened to get to this corner at the same time as a Mackinac Ghost Tour!

Beautiful Fort Mackinac.

Love this family of blog readers. You might remember Brittany as the college student who was in St. Augustine for a few weeks with her education major friends. She and the family called yesterday wanting us to join them at Sadie’s for ice cream, but I was determined to stay off my foot as much as possible. So I said, “Y’all come on up!” Loved visiting with Brittany, mom Lori, dad Craig, and brother Josh!

 UPDATE

Blake landed at his destination this morning around 4 a.m., after leaving Jacksonville early in the morning on Wednesday.  He texted this last night around 11 pm, and I had to laugh out loud. I can so see him, earbuds firmly planted and oblivious to everything else going on around him.  Blake’s text:  “You know, there’s that point in your day when you’re jamming out to some Jackson 5, some Commodores, some U2 – and then BOOM – wheels touch down in Istanbul. Surreal, but a very good moment”. He later flew on to Ankara.  Thank you so much for all the prayers that lifted for his safe journey.  Please continue to remember him as he settles into this new life.  (Photo is from a few weeks ago in Colorado.)

We have company coming in on Tuesday (Dave and Diane Bennick, who we stayed with on the trip up).  We love that we’re getting to see more of this great couple.  More “new family” coming in September!

Y’all have a great rest of the week.

God bless.

Thank You for Waiting! 8/10/17

PUBLIC PITY PARTY

Ok.  I know I said I’d be here on Monday with a blog.  And here it is Thursday.

I’ve never had a year on Mackinac start off like this one has.  I’ve coughed continually for four weeks, and on top of that I slightly sprained my ankle in the woods this past weekend.  I’ve pumped myself full of over the counter drugs that basically have done nothing but make me want to sleep all day, and basically that’s what I’ve done.

So – Monday – after volunteering at the Stuart House for four hours and coughing almost continually, I dragged myself down to the Medical Center and said, “Help.”

I saw a young female doctor who was on her first day of a two week rotation on Mackinac.  I swear to you she wasn’t old enough to drink adult beverages, much less dispense medical advice and drugs.  But she listened to my sob story and examined both my swollen ankles (the one I sprained only slightly more swollen than the other one). Her diagnosis – one ankle is slightly swollen due to injury, BOTH ankles are swollen because I’ve obviously been getting a lot more exercise since I arrived on the island than I was getting in Florida, and my body is retaining water.  The cough is from a virus that is sweeping the country and lasting anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.  She added a cough medicine to my over-the-counter regime and said, “This might help, but probably not.”

So, I’m four weeks into the 8-12 week cough cycle and in a compression bandage on one ankle.  I’m drinking lots of fluids, elevating my feet when I can, and trying to talk myself into a better frame of mind.  I know I’m being a whiny baby.  I. KNOW. IT.

I promise to try and do better.  I promise.

MACKINAC CONTINUES ON

Even when you feel bad you can appreciate beauty, and right now the island is at its full summer blooming peak. Here’s a little of what’s been happening since we talked last!

We were in on a surprise birthday party for friend Patty one evening at the Gate House. Her husband Buz did a great job of keeping it a secret, and several couples from Little Stone Church gathered for good food and fun.  (That’s Patty in the white jacket and Buz beside her in the turquoise shirt.)  Thanks, Jill, for this pic!

After dinner the birthday girl, Buz, Ted and I stopped for an ice cream at Sadie’s. What a great day!

Bodie got a chance to make friends up close and personal with one of the West Bluff horses. He continues to amaze me with his bravery around things that might scare a less secure dog.  He seems to have the attitude that the whole world is his playground, and if I’d just give him a chance he’d be “king of the island” in no time flat.

I walked him over to Governor’s Residence the other night and had him “up” onto the bench that sits at the top of Turkey Hill. Love how proudly he sat there overlooking his domain.

Passing by the Grand Stable at dusk the other night, I happened to find a farrier still at work.

Starting down Fort Hill. This view is one of the best on the island.

Blooms, blooms, blooms at The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

A West Bluff cottage that always has beautiful gardens. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Another West Bluff cottage. This one is for sale!

Sunrise at the marina one morning this week. (Photo: Tony Boom)

A backyard gate behind a West Bluff cottage.  Doesn’t it made you wonder what’s on the other side?

Gardens on the Governor’s Summer Residence property. (Photo: Ted Horton)

Hedge-clipping at the Governor’s Summer Residence.  Maybe he’s coming this weekend!

Full moon and the beautiful Grand Hotel. (Photo: Annie Lockwood)

Hollyhocks on the West Bluff.

Poppies on a road going toward Brown’s Brook – in the interior of the island. (Photo: George Piliouras)

The gardens of the Metivier Inn never fail to be jaw-dropping in beauty.

The top of Fort Hill just as dawn breaks.  (Photo: Ted Horton)

Bodie, on a final walk of the evening.  He’s getting this posing stuff polished to a fine art!

Hoping you all are doing well and thanking you for your patience with me this summer.

Love, hugs, and God bless.

Back in My Happy Place 7/27/17

Hi Everyone!

We’ve been on the island now for almost two weeks, and I think we’re about settled in.  I’m a little surprised that the first week was harder than usual for me – physically I mean.  I knew I hadn’t been exercising much in Florida since it had gotten so hot (short walks with Bodie just don’t equal “in shape” on Mackinac).  The first walk up the hill to our condo left me breathing hard and thinking, “Geez, what the heck is this?”  But, it’s amazing how fast that climb got easier each time I did it, and yesterday Bodie and I covered over two miles of trails – up and down hill – and came back to the condo feeling great.  It makes me feel better that Bodie is having to get in shape too, but for some reason, I think he’s having a lot more fun than I am during the process.

Weather – what can I say?  We came from over 100 degrees heat index in Florida to here where the temps haven’t gotten out of the 70’s for highs since we arrived.  Shorts and t-shirts during the day, a jacket at night for the last dog walk, and a lap blanket out on the porch in the mornings while we have coffee.  We’ve had a couple of days of rain, but that’s ok.  We’re on the island.  We just pull on the rain gear and keep on truckin’.

Bodie has amazed us by how well he’s taking the island busyness in stride. From the time he stepped off the ferry . . .

. . . and jumped right into the taxi, he’s handled it all with a maturity I really didn’t think he possessed yet. He’s been surrounded by horses, carriages and people and is amazingly calm about all of it.  Maybe Maddie’s “so what” attitude has rubbed off on him!  Still very excited though when he meets new folks one-on-one.  We continue to work on that!

The island is beautiful in July, and we were so excited when we got to the condos to find all the landscaping done, flowers blooming, and butterflies floating from bush to bush.

And, we’re excited that we’ll be right here in this same place until we leave mid-October!

OUR FIRST TWO WEEKS IN PHOTOS

We celebrated our first evening on Mackinac with dinner at the Chippewa (a tradition). The second night we went out with friends Buz and Patty from Oklahoma. They’re here until the middle of September, and we’re so excited we’ll be seeing lots more of them before they leave. I think it was the third night we finally ate at the condo, and then walked down to Sadie’s for ice cream.

One of those stormy days. It’s amazing how quickly I forgot how dirty a golden retriever can get on the wet streets of Mackinac Island! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

One thing all that rain produces are lush gardens all over the island, like this one of the west bluff.

As I was leaving the reunion, one of Ted’s newly-found cousins, Diane Caruso, gave us this wonderful pillow she had made because she knew of our love for little Maddie. It’s wonderful to have something “homemade” in the Mackinac condo, and when we leave we’ll take it to Florida, and it will find a home there.

You all know Ted and I have a morning coffee ritual – wherever we are. Maddie in Ted’s lap . . .

and Bodie guarding the front porch seems to be the theme for this summer.

One of cousin Dave and Diane’s sons, Scott, and his wife Tina and their boys spent the day on the island the week we arrived. They stopped by to say hello and added another “personal” item to the condo . . .

. . . . this great candid shot of their family on vacation!

Ran into artist Mary Lou Peters in Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island this week. Love this sweet lady!

Backtracking some now – I know most of you saw this on Facebook, but just in case you didn’t, Ted and I stopped in to see Lowell and Faye for a few moments as we passed through Olivet. It was storming and we had to leave the pups in the car, so we didn’t get to visit nearly long enough!

And one day while we were at Dave and Diane’s, I met Mary Saul and Frankie Thill in downtown Spring Lake for a girls chat session. So happy to see these two sweet friends.

I dropped by Mackinac Mud Pottery this afternoon and was just in time to watch owner Jay Barch creating at the wheel. Love this shop filled with original items. Ted and I use coffee mugs from Jay’s shop on Mackinac and in Florida.

Heading down Fort Hill this afternoon. There it is – that Michigan blue water and sky!

Pretty zinnias at the Grand!

Fort Mackinac on a gorgeous July day!

INDULGE ME – PLEASE

You’re just going to have to indulge me now for this section.  I’ve taken about 352 photos of Bodie since we arrived, and if left up to me I’d force you to look at each and every one. But I’m going to take pity and try and just put up a few of the best ones.  I promise, promise, promise I will NOT do this in every blog this summer, but for this one . . . well, please indulge me.

Mackinac, as seen through Bodie’s eyes his first week:

First of all, the cars here are pulled by animals called horses. Horses are much bigger than me, so I leave them alone. I don’t even bark at them. I have to admit riding around in a carriage is pretty cool stuff!  Would you believe there are people here who sweep up after the horses when they poop in the street.  I sure am glad, cause I don’t think they make poop bags big enough for horse poop!

Out my window I get to see horses in a corral. Seriously, I do.

Mackinac has woods, and being in the woods means I can be off-lead. That makes me very, very happy!

Mom makes me practice my Sit/Stay command all the time here (so she can take photos of me).

Mom said we didn’t have room in the truck for both my crate AND my bed. I’d rather she brought my bed. Maddie shares hers sometimes, but it’s not quite as big as mine.

Mom and I go on long, long walks – usually twice a day, and I’m really getting a full tour of Mackinac. Mom LOVES to take my photo at the different places we visit. Like the gazebo for Somewhere in Time . . .

. . .this place called Anne’s Tablet . . .

. . . . and in the Grand Hotel gardens!

Today we were in Turtle Park and this guy was kicking a soccer ball around. I figured he needed help.

I ran out to help him with the ball, and he stopped what he was doing and gave me great pets!  I thought that was pretty cool, but since he didn’t have treats in his pockets, I ran back to mom when she called.

This is absolutely the best place I’ve ever been so far in my life. It’s summertime, but it’s cool. There are miles and miles of trails to run on. Just about every person I meet wants to pet me. Everyone of you should seriously pack up all your pets and bring them to Mackinac!  They will thank you forever!

ONE MORE THING

Jill and I sat downtown at Marquette Park this afternoon people-watching and drinking our Arnold Palmer Lite Ice Tea (99 cents at Doud’s).  I have it on good authority that Friday, July 28, is Jill’s birthday, so everyone feel free to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY right here!  Yes, she’s going to kill me for doing that, but that’s the way it is with good friends.  We can get away with stuff!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JILLSKI!!

See you back here in a few days!  God bless.

We Are Headed North (2017) 7/9/17

Header image courtesy of Jill Sawatzki:  Huge crowds arrived on Mackinac for the 4th of July.  This pic is from the annual Stone Skipping Tournament at Windermere Pointe Beach, next to Hotel Iroquois.

Hi Friends!

Hopefully, a week from today we will be loading our baggage on a Shepler ferry and crossing the Straits of Mackinac to our favorite island!  It’s still up in the air whether we’re leaving on Monday or Tuesday – everything depends on how much we get done today. Ted is already fussing about the number of bags I need (because he has to somehow work out the logistics of loading them into the back of the truck), but I’m sure he will get it all packed in – just like he does every year!

We spent the 4th of July with great Sunset Inlet friends at a neighborhood cookout at Jen and Ernie’s. Then we all crossed the road to the beach to watch the fireworks.


Some of our neighbors brought sparklers, so we had “pre-fireworks” fireworks!


The “show”!

The rest of the week was spent tying up all those loose ends you have to take care of if you’re leaving home for a few months.  Too quickly it was time for Blake to fly back to Colorado.

Blake will be leaving to go overseas in mid-August, but we won’t see him again until next summer when he comes home for a few weeks.  Let me restate that.  We won’t see him until next summer UNLESS I decide to be brave and go visit him.  And yes, I’m thinking about it!


So hard to say goodbye on Friday, but I know he will be doing good work where he’s going.  And I know our Father will be taking care of him.


Enjoying our morning coffee surrounded by a lot of our deck furniture. Everything outside has to come inside when you leave the coast of Florida. You just never know when one of those pesky hurricanes will decide to show up uninvited.

Bodie and Maddie already know something is up.  As soon as we started pulling out suitcases they went on high alert.  This will be an interesting adventure with Bodie, as we have no idea how he’ll be on a long trip.  Bear NEVER enjoyed traveling and would stand between the two front seats the entire 1200 miles.  We’re praying Bodie will be a less anxious traveler.

We were worried about having to help Bodie into the truck until yesterday.  He jumps easily into my SUV, but the seats of Ted’s truck are much higher, and he refused to jump in.  Until . . . . . I used cheese as a lure.  Bam!  He was in that truck so fast he was a blur.  Good boy, Bodie!

We have a full week ahead.  We’re stopping on Wednesday to meet Ted’s sisters, Deb and Sher, in Hudsonville, MI.  After that we’ll be on our way to Spring Lake, MI and four nights with cousins Dave and Di.  On Saturday there’s a family reunion at cousins Marv and Ruthie’s place in Marne, MI.  It’s going to be quite a wonderful week, filled with new family we’ve been so blessed to have found.

Then on Sunday morning, July 16, we’ll be leaving for Mackinac . . . . .

Our home-away-from-home for the next three months. We have the bottom unit on the right corner – right next to Grand Hotel’s turn-out corral for their Hackney horses.  Can’t wait to see those beauties running up and down the fence again.  The landscaping is in, and the condos look absolutely gorgeous. We’re hoping to get there in time for a condo party late that afternoon. See y’all soon, neighbors!

As soon as we’re on the island and I get everything up and running, I’ll report in on the blog.  Until then, you can always follow us on Facebook. I’m sure I’ll be doing lots of posting as we make our way to Mackinac!

Please offer up a safe travel pray for our journey, and I’ll talk to y’all soon!

God bless.

Lilacs and Storms and Fun Galore! 6/15/17

So happy to be writing about Mackinac again!  I feel as though our two weeks in Alaska (and then two weeks spent writing about it) pulled me far away from the island, but our trip to Alaska is something I will remember and cherish forever. It was awesome, but now it’s time to switch back into my favorite gear and get caught up on what’s been happening up north!

The Mackinac Island Lilac Festival is in full swing!  As happens most years, the lilacs are blooming at exactly the right time, and thousands of visitors a day are walking off ferries into that enchanted “back in time”  land of lilacs, fudge, horses, beautiful homes and flower gardens.

This beautiful young lady is Amelia Balinski. I met her along with her mom (Theresa), dad, and brother Mike at Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor several years ago. The whole family had been reading Bree’s Blog for years, and it was a real treat to meet this wonderful group face to face. Amelia is spending her second (I think it’s her second) summer on Mackinac as a Dock Greeter for Mackinac State Historic Parks, and she also is a Ticket Agent and Tour Guide for Haunts of Mackinac. I just wanted to introduce you because many of the photos you’ll be seeing today are Amelia’s, and maybe if you’re on the island and spot her, you can say hello!

A close up of lilacs in two different shades. (Photo: Amelia Balinski)

I can just imagine what the air smells like along this white rail fence on Main Street near the Marina! (Photo: Sandi Steensma)

Along that same white fence  – lilacs bend in the breeze as a horse team pulls a shuttle toward Mission Point.  (Photo: Grace Reimer)

Lilacs, lighthouses, and lamp posts – beautifully framed by Katy Rise.

St. Anne’s – through the lilacs. (Photo: Dan Denardo)

Main Street is definitely playing a starring role in this year’s Lilac Festival! (Photo: Sandi Steensma)

Lilacs aren’t the only flowers blooming on Mackinac. These tulips are bright and happy at Mission Point Resort. (Photo: Amelia Balinski)

On Sunday, June 11, a storm hit Mackinac during the afternoon.  Thank goodness the damage it did was much less than it could have been.  The ferocity of this storm’s appearance was really terrifying, but except for one tree down and limbs breaking here and there, the island fared well.

This photograph was shown on WZZM-TV as a shelf cloud built over the Mackinac Bridge. . . .

. . . and Sandi Steensma captured the cloud just before the storm broke over the island.

Before the bridge was closed for a short time, this trailer, being pulled behind a truck, was tossed on its side.

HERE AND THERE AROUND MACKINAC

Beach flowers can find a way to bloom even through stone. This cheery yellow face appeared among the rocks on the island’s east side.  (Photo: Tom Chambers)

The Pearl Mist, a Great Lakes cruise ship, arrives on Wednesday morning. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Runners pass through downtown during the Lilac Festival Race. (Photo: Katy Rise)

Grand Hotel continues to add wildflowers, lilacs and milkweed to their lawn in an effort to attract and sustain Monarch butterflies, whose numbers have decreased on the island in recent years. (Photo: Grand Hotel)

Jennifer Sorrentino spotted this baby owl on the island this week. How cute is that!

Friend Pam Day took this shot from the porch of her condo across from the Grand Golf Course one morning this week.   Ted and I will be in those same condos the middle of July, and I hope to join Pam for a cup of coffee!

A just for fun shot by Jill Sawatzki. Jill found a whole dolly full of Moomers Ice Cream containers sitting unattended near the Island Bookstore. Glad I wasn’t there, or we might have tempted each other into arranging for at least one of those containers to end up in the condo freezer!  FYI: All that goodness was on its way to the Good Day Café on Main Street!

Something hard to see and harder to get a close-up of on Mackinac – a baby bunny. (Photo: Amelia Balinski)

And the sun sets on another beautiful Mackinac day . . .

. . . both photos by Amelia Balinski.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Happy Father’s Day in Heaven to my daddy, Leonard Sumner. He loved my mama . . .

. . . and me with a love that was unconditional and never ending. He gave me, his only child, the kind of childhood every little girl should have. I love you, daddy, and Imiss you every day. Till then . . .

See you back here soon for more Mackinac news and what’s happening at the beach!

God bless.

 

We’re Home! 5/28/17

Hello, dear friends!

It’s been three weeks since I sat down at this laptop.  During those three weeks we’ve packed up, taken dogs to the pet sitter, traveled close to 10,000 miles (when you’re traveling at over 500 mph, that doesn’t take long at all), unpacked, picked up dogs, and done severak (SEVERAL) loads of laundry. 

Sharing our Alaska trip will be something I’ll do in daily photographs over the next couple of weeks, as I fill in the spaces with info about Mackinac Island, Sunset Inlet, and our family happenings.  Alaska is a big place (understatement of the year), and telling the story of our exciting visit there will take a while!  I know many of you followed along on Facebook, but for those of you who didn’t (and those who did), I hope I can come close to giving you a feel for the experiences we had while there.

SHARING ALASKA

Where else but in Alaska does a polar bear greet you at the airport?

We had two whole days at the beginning of our trip to explore Fairbanks. We’d take the shuttle into town each day and use the city map to find our way around.

The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center was one of our favorites (did you spot the wolf in this exhibit?).

Wonderful exhibits of everything from rustic Alaskan cabins . . .

. . . . to wildlife like grizzly bears!

Along the riverfront in Fairbanks we came across the Antler Arch, made up of over 100 moose and caribou antlers collected from all over interior Alaska.

We also loved Bouchard’s International Dog Mushing and Sled Museum, which gave a great look into the history of mushing in Alaska and the Iditarod races.

Interesting Note:  We found that everyone we talked to who lived in Alaska (whether for a year or their entire lives) thinks Alaska is the greatest place to live in the world.  They know it isn’t for everyone, but they love talking about their life there and were very friendly and helpful about sharing special places to visit.  It was the curator of the Dog Mushing Museum who told us about the Morris Thompson Center. She also shared with us that Alaskans don’t like most of he “reality” shows about their state that are showing now on different cable networks.  The only ones they view as “authentic” are Alaska State Troopers and Life Below Zero (which I’ve been binge-watching for weeks on Netflix),

In the Fairbanks Ice Museum we entered a room that is kept at 20 degrees year-round (the museum provided warm jackets)! There were photo ops among the ice sculptures . . . .

. . .  and Ted, of course, was the first person to volunteer to ride the sled down the ice hill!  The ice museum was in an old movie theatre, and the ice sled started at the top of the sloping side aisle and ended when you ran into the “stage” at the end of the aisle.  And I do not exaggerate when I say “ran into”.  It was an abrupt stop, and I’m so glad I was too chicken to try it!

I’ll be posting segments of Alaska daily, so tune in tomorrow for what was our official first day of the land portion of our tour – a riverboat cruise and gold mining expedition!

MACKINAC ISLAND

Friends Kem and Ed Green have been on Mackinac the last few days and shared the following photos!

In the “things you don’t see everyday” category, Kem and Ed finally found “the old car” in the woods of Mackinac. They’ve been searching and searching and were finally given some good directions by someone who had found it several years ago. I’ve heard several stories about how it came to be on the island, but I have no idea which one is true. And no, I’ve never found the car nor would I know where to look. It’s kind of a deep, dark island secret, and I think it’s fun to keep it that way!

The tulips are up at the Courthouse . . .

. . . and at Grand Hotel.

By the way, the last week or so has not felt much like springtime on the island. Kem and Ed came over in these conditions, and the fog didn’t break until basically the day they left. But, as Kem and I both say, “so what”? You’re on Mackinac!  Slip on some rain gear and get out there and enjoy! (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Another chilly, foggy day photo. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Hoping this pic from Tom Chambers from yesterday shows the beginning of real Spring and warmer, clearer weather for Mackinac!

Kem and Ed and Pam and Mike Day – blogging friends who were on the island at the same time this week. Makes me so happy to see all of you getting together and enjoying the island!

I’ll have to file this one in the “never saw THAT before” file! I’d say this jazzy can go pretty much anywhere! Thanks, Jill, for snapping this one!

BEVERLY BEACH

After two weeks away, we were so happy to land in Jacksonville a little after midnight last Thursday morning.  We drove to Beverly Beach, arrived home around 1:30 and were too wired to go to sleep until after 4 a.m.  Neither Ted nor I realized Alaska was four hours behind Florida.  Add that to about two hours of “darkness” and 22 hours of daylight for two weeks, and it’s taken a while to readjust. We sure enjoyed the much cooler temps of Alaska, but I think it’s making Florida seem just that much hotter.

Our four-legged babies survived just fine without us.  They both enjoyed the freedom of a huge fenced yard to play in, although Lilly (our pet sitter) said it’s been so hot they really didn’t get out that much.  For the first time Maddie forego sleeping in the bed with Lilly or her mother and stole the bed of one of Lilly’s dogs and slept in that pulled up next to Bodie’s crate.

Having daily pics from Lilly . . .

. . . helped us know these two were doing just fine.

We are ALL happy to be home.  One of my readers asked if Ted and I were going to be buying a place in Alaska now.  We both laughed and agreed that wasn’t happening.  Alaska is very, very beautiful, and the vastness of its wilderness just boggles the mind.  But no small voice spoke to me and said, “This is where you need to live.”  Only one place has done that, and it’s a tiny island in Lake Huron called Mackinac. 

See you back here tomorrow for more Alaska tales, and thank you so much for all the safe travel prayers you lifted up for us. 

Love and hugs.  God bless.