Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Beaches’ category

Tahquamenon Falls

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

We explored the lower and upper falls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and they are beautiful – like a little Niagara with colors like Pictured Rocks. It rained hard again last night, so the river was rocking. This is a beautiful area you could explore for a long time. There are lots of trails and lots of clear streams to float, but we don’t have a lot of time, and it is supposed to rain hard for the next three days.

Our treat of the day was to go to Brown’s Fish House, famous for freshly caught whitefish. Looking at the small menu, I was torn between yellow perch, walleye or whitefish. The nice waitress said whitefish is fresh and what people come from miles away to get. Whitefish and chips it was, and it was good. With three good-size pieces of fish, it was all I could eat. 

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We drove out to Whitefish Point to see the beach, the lighthouse and bird sanctuary. Walking out on the beach, we came up on a young man with a scope and a computer, drinking his coffee next to a tiny hut. It was a chilly, windy day, but he was there to count birds for the Michigan Audubon Society. Martha walked right up and asked what he was doing. His name was Gary, and for 30 minutes he told us about all the birds that come through here. Birds are his passion, and he knows his stuff. The puddle ducks are all gone now, flying south for the winter. That’s why we didn’t see anything at Seney Wildlife Area. Now the diving ducks were just starting to come in. The plovers have all migrated, and so have the hawks. He said thousands of hawks migrate through here. It is such an important spot because birds will stop here after crossing Lake Superior or resting before crossing when coming back north. It’s a relatively narrow part of the lake, so it’s a good place to cross. Unlike so many places, this point has gained about 150 yards of beach, including a good-sized pond. We thanked Gary for his tremendous enthusiasm and sharing his knowledge with us.

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Walking up the beach, several people were collecting smooth, round rocks that line the shore. I took a couple of pictures of the lighthouse that protects shoals that have wrecked many ships, including the Edmund Fitzgerald. Gordon Lightfoot describes it well in his song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. 

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Lyrics

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

Of the big lake they called ‘gitche gumee’

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

When the skies of November turn gloomy

With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more

Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty

That good ship and crew was a bone to be chewed

When the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side

Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin

As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most

With a crew and good captain well seasoned

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms

When they left fully loaded for Cleveland

And later that night when the ship’s bell rang

Could it be the north wind they’d been feelin’?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound

And a wave broke over the railing

And every man knew, as the captain did too,

T’was the witch of November come stealin’

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait

When the gales of November came slashin’

When afternoon came it was freezin’ rain

In the face of a hurricane west wind

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin’

Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya

At seven pm a main hatchway caved in, he said

Fellas, it’s been good t’know ya

The captain wired in he had water comin’ in

And the good ship and crew was in peril

And later that night when his lights went outta sight

Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Does any one know where the love of God goes

When the waves turn the minutes to hours?

The searches all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay

If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her

They might have split up or they might have capsized

They may have broke deep and took water

And all that remains is the faces and the names

Of the wives and the sons and the daughters

Lake Huron rolls, superior sings

In the rooms of her ice-water mansion

Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams

The islands and bays are for sportsmen

And farther below Lake Ontario

Takes in what Lake Erie can send her

And the iron boats go as the mariners all know

With the gales of November remembered

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,

In the maritime sailors’ cathedral

The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine times

For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

Of the big lake they call ‘gitche gumee’

Superior, they said, never gives up her dead

When the gales of November come early

Songwriters: Gordon Lightfoot

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Scouting Betsie and Platte Rivers

Thursday, September 27, 2018

It was a chilly, blustery morning with dark, fast-moving clouds. The Platte River is a perfect river for us to kayak, so we went to check it out. It is a beautiful, free-flowing, clear stream that travels 26 miles into Lake Michigan in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. The trouble is the salmon are running and the river is lined with fishermen. We met a nice young couple locking their bicycles to a tree so they could ride back to their truck after kayaking. He said he grew up here and the fishermen are used to kayakers, and you just try to stay out of their way. We talked with two fishermen who had been roommates in college. Now in their late 50’s maybe, they had been here three days and were heading home. Seeing my camera, they suggested going to the weir where we would see Coho salmon jumping up the rapids and weir. 

I love to watch the salmon run, so we drove to Benzonia, took a left at the McDonalds and followed signs for the Betsie River Dam. Above and below the dam, fishermen lined the stream. Somehow hundreds of salmon ran the gauntlet, rested holes and then jumped the steps up the dam. Not always successful, they would just miss the top and get washed back down. Some jumped sideways and some backwards.

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At check-in, the ranger said it might be better to float the Betsie River, so we drove some crazy roads to check it out. It is a much longer river, and also beautiful. Put-ins and take-outs are a little more remote. Since we don’t have two cars, we were hesitant to float it. I’m sure there are people who will take you and pick you up, or even guide you. This is a beautiful river winding through varied terrains flowing with a pretty good pace (3-4mph).

Tybee Beach, Georgia

May 15, 2018

We drove over the beautiful Moon River, for which Johnny Mercer wrote the song for the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in 1961. Mercer grew up here. 

We drove over to Tybee Island to explore. A nice lady at the Visitor’s Center told us where to go to look at pretty beach homes. Then we walked along the beach a bit. It’s a bit like Virginia Beach 55 years ago, which is surprising with it so close to Savannah. On the other hand, Georgia has so much water front on so many rivers and islands. 

Our nice lady neighbors across from us had a flat tire on their trailer, and asked for some help, since they broke their ratchet wrench trying to remove the tire. I was glad I had a big torque wrench, which made easy work of it.

We went for one more seafood dinner before heading back tomorrow. Our neighbor told us about Pearl’s Saltwater Grill, so we went. I had “Shrimp Three Ways” while Martha had tuna. It was all excellent, and the view fabulous.

Got back just in time to make sure Brynn Cartelli made it through on “The Voice”

Hunting Island Day 3

At low tide I took my camera up the beach for some pictures. This is such a cool beach Where wildlife manages to survive among humans. 

We then took a bike ride on Magnolia Trail and Lagoon Trail, then back on Maritime  Trail. I went for a swim in the ocean to cool off after that. It was just the right temperature to cool me off. A father and his teenage kids were having fun surfing the waves.  

Hunting Island Day 1

Monday, May 7, 2018

It’s always fun arriving at a new place, anxious to explore and see what is here. We walked out the long boardwalk into a huge marsh. It was low tide and they haven’t had rain for 12 days, so the only water was in the creeks. I was disappointed not to find birds, but it gave us an opportunity to see all the animals that provide food. One inch crabs were everywhere. They live in little holes with mounds of dirt making hills from their tunneling. There were abundant Periwinkle snails and mussels. A raccoon was feasting through the grass, barely looking up to see if we were a threat. 

Then we visited the little nature center where two volunteers gave us some great lessons about the park and where Martha could kayak. We headed over to the lighthouse for the 187 steps to the top. It wasn’t bad, and it provided a beautiful view of the park. 

Tuesday

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We photographed lots of birds gathered in a small pond beside the road. We would stop at the next pond north the following day, only to get caught by a very nice park ranger. I noticed the sign said not to approach the birds because they were nesting. Especially the wood storks can be scared off and never return to the nest. In an odd quirk of nature, the birds like this pond because it has alligators. Lots of animals like to eat bird eggs, particularly raccoons, but alligators like to eat raccoons.

Huntington Beach State Park

May 5, 2018

We walked down to the beach with a nice lady from Chapel Hill, exchanged good ideas for travel. She said we would love Hunting Island. Her father was a Navy pilot for 20 years, but Jimmy Keith’s name didn’t ring a bell. We walked this beautiful beach for 40 minutes.

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Met Jim to my left cutting firewood. What a nice guy. Said it just kills him to buy firewood, so he drove up the road and found plenty.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntington_Beach_State_Park

The park, originally property of Anna Hyatt Huntington and Archer M. Huntington, was leased after his death and takes its name from him The 2500 acre (10 km2) tract was leased to the state in 1960 for use as a state park. Mrs. Huntington died in 1973. Atalaya was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, and was included in the designation of Atalaya and Brookgreen Gardens as a National Historic Landmark in 1984.

Atalaya and Brookgreen

He and his wife’s winter home, Atalaya Castle, is located in the park. Built during the Great Depression by only local workers, the residence was designed to withstand hurricanes.

The studio of his wife, the noted 20th-century American sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, was part of the compound. Many of her significant sculptures are in nearby Brookgreen Gardens, an extension of the former Huntington estate, now a public sculpture garden.