Friday, October 14, 2011


We diverted off course northward to pay a visit to a family friend, Jim Schmidt. Back in the day, which was a Wednesday, by the way, The Waterman family and the Schmidt family would occasionally get together for visits. One one such occasion, my sister, Laurel, and I, plus Jim's kids Anne and George, formed the Water-Schmidt Circus. I have no recollection of the stunts and acts which we performed, I'm sure they were entertaining, creative, visually stunning, and certainly death defying! I fondly remember our time together.

Jim has an awesome lakefront summer house on the shore of Lake Michigan, in Whitehall. We camped a few miles south at Muskegon State Park, where we got a great site looking out over Muskegon Bay. Very few of the sites at the park were taken, so we had the place virtually to ourselves, which was perfect.

After we got settled we drove up to Jim's and met his friendly dog, Gomez, and his cat, Nosy. Toby got along great with Gomez; when he saw Nosy he did what he always does when he sees a cat: he went for it. But Nosy stood her ground. She puffed up, arched her back, bared her fangs and hissed. Toby stopped short. He approached cautiously, tail quivering, unsure of what to do when the cat doesn't run. When he got within range Nosy struck! Whap Whap Whap! Toby's reflexes are quick, but not that quick. He jumped back and began to bark frantically, a little spot of blood showing on his snout. Nosy still held firm. We let him bark for a minute or so, hoping he would give up and back off. Then we got tired of listening to the noise, and I snatched him up. It was quite an encounter!

After that excitement, we saw the house, then took a walk down to the beautiful sand beach. It was warm and calm - amazing weather. Kinsey poked along at her impossibly slow pace while Toby and Gomez tore around, in and out of the water, getting wet and sandy:

Jim cooked a tasty dinner of grilled pork tenderloin and roasted root vegetables, and we planned to meet the next day for some kayaking.

In the morning I took Toby for a hike in Muskegon park. The sandy trail skirted the lakeshore for a while, then headed into woods and dunes. The going was sometimes tough, trudging up and down steep dunes in powder-soft sand. The scenery was great, the fall colors, blue lake and sky, and blond sand:

Back at Jim's, we put into the water in White Lake, just at stone's throw inland of Lake Michigan. We passed the new channel out to the great lake, and poked instead down the old natural channel, now a shallow, meandering waterway alive with weeds, algae, fish and turtles:

We turned around when the weed got too thick, and paddled around a bit on White Lake before hauling out:

In the evening Jim came over to dine with us at The Whale, giving him a chance to see the vehicle we've been living in, and all of us a chance to visit some more before we shoved off in the morning, eastward bound.

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