Epic Birthday Adventure (Belated)

Plane PicMerit
I’m belated in writing this post, the birthday wasn’t. The birthday was right on time. You know how I was dreaming of going back to Mackinac Island? Mission accomplished. And as luck would have it, the weather was perfect for flying. We saved about four hours of driving and a ferry ride. Oddly enough, the island doesn’t allow cars, but they have a quaint little airport. As it is northern Michigan, things freeze, and sometimes air travel is the best way on or off the island. Plus the views from the air were pretty spectacular. We stayed at the Metivier Inn, which I would definitely recommend. As usual, we ate, drank, and bicycled our way through the weekend. Below are a few of the hundreds of photos I took, and one special video. Continue reading

Houseboat Adventure (Part 6)

This was our sixth year manhandling the manatee of a floating cottage around Lake Cumberland, also known simply as “Houseboat.” I refer to this annual trip with just a title like it’s spring break, or Vegas, or Cher. As in “when is the conference call for Houseboat?” And I have to say, it gets a little sweeter each year. Everyone was on the same page this trip – just the right amount of party, just the right amount of relaxing. Each person helped out and did their share; all the food was delicious, the drinks were cold, and the water was inviting. There’s something fabulous about sitting in a hot tub on the deck of a boat as it cruises along just before sunset. That actually happened. And for some giddy reason, everyone was very into champagne this year, so that really upped the celebratory feel. It was one of those trips where everything comes together to make for a just-about-perfect vacation. Lots of laughs, good weather, great friends. Continue reading

Movement Detroit

People Mover
Most people who know me know I have a special love affair with concerts and live music.  So you can imagine my delight when Memorial Day weekend rolled around, and we were able to make our annual pilgrimage to Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit for Movement, an electronic music festival.  What’s special to me about this festival is not so much the music, but the fact that it usually ends up being a gathering place for good friends we haven’t seen in awhile.  With just about all of us in different cities (Chicago, Berkley, Wyandotte, and East Lansing on this particular year), it gets harder and harder to see everyone with regularity.  Meeting up in Hart Plaza becomes a great excuse to listen to some decent music, have a few drinks, eat high-quality carnie food, catch up, and dance our pants off.  (That part is optional, but c’mon, why wouldn’t you?)  This year was no exception.  The weather was beautiful, the city was teeming with people and so many good sights to see. Continue reading

First Flight

Cesna 152
Over the past summer and fall, Ryan earned his pilot’s license.  He’s talked about it on and off for a few years, and something just made him take the next step last July.  It’s a pretty lengthy process, and especially in Michigan, where the weather is extremely temperamental. I kept making jokes like “It’s a miracle aviation has come this far!” Slow and steady, Ryan flew all the required hours, studied diligently, and passed both the written, oral, and flight exams. (Passing the written at 100%.)  After he had a few more months of practice, and the weather finally cleared up, it was time for me to take flight with him.  It was just a weeknight after work in April, with no real destination.  We wanted to keep it light just in case the whole thing was just too terrifying.  As it turns out, flying in a TINY aircraft in near-perfect weather isn’t so bad.  Turbulence is perfectly naturally, as my brain understands it, but the rest of me is in great denial with science, and I still find it completely nerve-wracking and scary.  The good news is that the turbulence this day was only on ascending and descending; but the part in the middle, where we flew around enjoying the scenery, was just plain fun.  All in all it was a pretty exciting adventure, one I’ll never forget.  We flew over the capitol, over Michigan State University campus, and over our house and neighborhood.Ready to Fly Not the most scenic photograph, but it was the best we could do at the time. There just happened to be someone walking out of the office to the fuel pumps. He was kind enough to take our picture. And yes, Ryan is actually taller than this airplane. The Capitol 2 We flew pretty close to the capitol – and with my DSLR, I was able to get a pretty decent photo of downtown Lansing. The day was pretty hazy, and I shot everything through the window – so I’m actually pretty happy with it! Next time maybe I’ll be brave enough to open the little window hatch. But probably not. (I can’t go opening the windows in an aircraft – it just doesn’t feel right to me!) Here are a few more photos of our adventure – also through the window.  Safety first! Approaching Campus_Lake Lansing in Distance I couldn’t resist posting a picture that encompassed campus, East Lansing, and Lake Lansing off in the distance. There’s a lot of local love in this shot! Spartan Stadium_South Campus As true Spartans, flying over campus was really cool. I took so many pictures. It was hard to narrow it down to just one to post! I went with this full-frame, as I think seeing so much of campus at once is neat. (Yes, neat.) It’ll be fun to come back in the summer when everything is green.Grand River Ave_Old Campus_Red Cedar This is of “old” campus, which, naturally was built before the rest of “new” campus. The Red Cedar River – off to the right – serves as an unofficial divide.  Most of the original buildings from the early days of the school are built north of the river.  The main road on the left is Grand River Avenue.Our Neighborhood And last but not least, our neighborhood! There’s something just fun about flying over your own house and picking it out.  File it under “childish wonder.”

So that was my first flight with Ryan as pilot. I’ve said to several people since then, if I had to choose anyone I know to pilot an airplane I’m in, it would be him.  This adventure was great – sure to be the first of many flights we have! Have you ever been in a small aircraft like this one? What did you think?

Kayaking on the Platte

Bday Kayak 2
It would seem from my posts that I’ve spent a lot of time up north this summer.  And while it hasn’t felt like I’ve made a hefty number of trips, my photographs and calendar might suggest otherwise.  Well, add one more to the list.  Last weekend was my birthday (my birthdayyyy!) and I wanted nothing more than brunch, Mexican food, and kayaking.  I also have a tradition of spending birthdays with my parents, so north we went!  I didn’t take any (decent) pictures of brunch at Beggar’s Banquet or my Mexican fiesta at Union Street Cantina, so I’ll just assure you they were fantastic.  Now, to the kayaking. Continue reading