Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Le Grand Traverse

Every year a rugby tournament takes us to Traverse City, MI and then in turn to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. But our bonding with this region began soon after we moved to Michigan in 1989 and our very first excursion to see the state took us to this region. On the left of the embedded map you see the Leelanau Peninsula. It is one arm embracing the Grand Traverse Bay. French explorers first called the distance between the peninsula and the landmass to the east “the long crossing.” The region was originally named after Omeena, a legendary Indian maiden, but Grand Traverse took over later and, of course, gave its name to Traverse City.

[Map Courtesy of BING. Have replaced embedded map because it sometimes fails to work.]

We often hear the words, “Words fail me,” but on this trip “Pictures failed me.” I had two cameras but somehow nothing much came out of them. Hence I bring you here the best of the lot. They show images from the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, located at the tip of Leelanau Peninsula.

Here is a view to the north-north-east.

Here the rock-strewn coast-line.

Last year I showed one picture under the heading “If I had to pick one.” Here is its equivalent for 2011 showing Brigitte, all in white, adjusting her sweater against the cold wind.

And here, finally, a more distant view of that same bench with our party, John and Monique Magee flanking Brigitte, me behind the camera, and the 1858 lighthouse visible in part behind them. The actually lighthouse is to my right but is nothing much to see.

Mind you, this was a great trip full of adventures and delights: a midnight moonrise, a thrilling Old Boy’s rugby game (it ended in a tie), sailing on the Schooner Manitou, excursions, tours, and laughing a lot about a merchant who obsessed about fake C-bills. Not least we crowned our tour by visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes. As luck would have it, the audience of Good Morning America voted the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore the “Most Beautiful Place in America” the very weekend we were there. Oh, yes! We knew that already. Too bad my pictures failed me. The map shows you two islands west of that lakeshore, North and South Manitou. They are the two sleeping bears, little and big.

Okay. You thought I was just faking it—as with that C-bill. Not so! We really were on that boat! And here is a picture to prove it:

Yes, that is John on the left. And if you don’t believe me, you will clearly see the words Detroit Rugby on his sweatshirt!

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