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Michigan trip 2014

June 10, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Michigan Trip June 2014

well it was a scattered first day. Got on the road a little later that I had wanted to -7am- but that was just fine. It seems no matter how well organized you are there is always something you forget to do! But I  Picked up a cup and a thermos of Starbucks dark roast and dialed the Sirius Satellite radio to the coffee house for the early morning acoustic music, set my trusty friend(my camera)  on the seat beside me, and hit the road!

roads were quiet and the border was empty of cars so I sailed right through!  The sky was looking a little grey and a few drops were hitting the windshield, so I stopped at Walgreens to pick up some apparently very good seasickness medication for my fall trip. I have a pretty strong stomach, but they say there is this one crossing that is bound to get you! then into Walmart to pick up a couple things. Of course I found a few other things! A cooler for the road trip to have snacks handy, and a cool watch on sale! Big numbers, glow in the dark. A nice one for these old eyes! But back on the road pretty quick!

solo road trips are fun, cause if you see a neat looking antique shop, you can just spin around and go have a look-see! Hee-hee! Ah yes I remember it well, by the time you ask if the other person(s) in the party would like to stop, you are so far gone and past, you can never convince them to go back! so there was the antique shop, and then there was the fruit stand for some apples, and peanuts, and a lime ( for the later refreshments), which was the next stop. The great American truck stop! Just like our truck stops right. A little of everything. There is all the snack food, and the possible needs you might need on the road, like toiletries etc. And of course cold pop and juice and bread and milk. And woo-Hoo! The ice cream cones were huge with lots of flavours! One Stop Shop! Oh yes I forgot to mention the beer, wine, and liquor! Yep picked up some coolers to go with the lime of course! And then.......I suddenly stopped in my tracks. It is a little hard for me to comprehend what I was seeing. And well, a little hard to express what I was feeling when I scanned my eyes along the one side of the truck stop. Partly because by jaw had loosened and dropped to my chest. I lifted my iPhone to take a picture. You know, a picture is worth a thousand words right. Well as I clicked the shutter, this huge, heavily  tattooed guy stepped out in front of me and I captured him in the shot. I stammered and stuttered ( still not able to speak clearly) and told him I would immediately delete it. He glared at me and agreed that would be a good idea. Yikes. Well I did take a few more shots. And when you see the photos below, you'll better understand why I quickly offered to delete! But wait! There'a more! A whole section of perfume! Ah yes, but with a catch.... There was moose piss, deer musk, to name just a couple...but get this, there must have been over 40 different "scents"! If you hide in the forest..can anyone smell you?

oh boy! Then they had a wall of fame, or as I call it a wall of 'Shame'!  No words. This picture tells many stories.

ok, so I walked out of there with no ice cream (this is a very unusual occurrance)! I was down the road still reeling from it, but laughing an the insanity of it all. Well It seemed so for this wildlife loving Canadian girl!

at first my decision was to travel up the Saginaw bay eastern coast, but midstream I changed my mind ( a true woman here!) and headed overland to East Tawas.  According to Nat Geo Birding Spots book, Tawas State Park was a great birding hotspot. So that is where I set my GPS to and arrived around 6:00 pm. Headed out to the State park to check what birds are there and see where the best trails were. The ranger there, Matt, was great! A birder himself he gave me all sorts of info of where and what for the local aviary population. And then proceeded to say if I wanted he would take me around to the local sites in the area to just give me an orientation of the best spots! What a great deal. He also recommended the Bambi Motel. Cute, clean, and only $55a night!

Matt was also waiting for a fellow from Conneticut who was coming in the next day, who he was also a birder. So the two of us hooked up with Matt after we wandered through the Tawas State park in the morning. I wandered from 6:30 am till 9:30 am.  Great spot, orchard orioles, Baltimore orioles, cedar waxwings, sandpipers, yellow warblers, redstarts, a hobbling skunk, and a few others I cannot think of at this time.  I was heading out to the shore where the piping plover was nesting, but did not get there before it was time to head off.  I then headed north to meet up with them. We spent 4 hours stopping at different sites including Tuttle Marsh, and grasslands by an old airport, and air museum, that also looks like a fun shoot - not just for birds, the planes and museum too! Backroads everywhere! I GPS saved all the locations for a future time. Will have to return! The dust was crazy but it was a fun time. I returned to Tuttle marsh and wandered along the marshes and lagoons. Dragonflies were so abundant and they're were some Big Ones! So covered in a thin layer of dust I felt dirty and happy. Once a Tom Boy, Always a Tom Boy!

Headed back to my lovely motel room at the Bambi Motel at about 7:30 pm. A good day.  For my birding friends...osprey, American "Bittern, (Sora), Pie-Billed Grebe on nest, (Conneticut warbler, Golden Winged Warbler, Kirkland Warbler), brewers Blackbird, Bobolinks, spotted sandpipers, (Virginia Rails) , and more. Brackets are around those I didn't see but were a possibility in the area. 

A snack in my room and a cool glass of Mike's hard lemonade and a good sleep. On the road North now and over to my Photo Workshop at Nettie Lake with Chales Glatzer.


hope all is well in Ontariariario! Will write again soon. Must tell you about the Party Store!



My good deed for the day! found this guy in the middle of the road and helped him to the other side. actually i helped a few of them this trip.

This is my surprise find at the truck stop.   a little of anything or should i say a Lot!

Nothing like a Zombie to practice on!  I like the pink gun! or even the pink with camo!

But wait! There' s'more! So many to choose from. And this is just at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere! What would they have at a gun store?


DSC-1273DSC-1273 and here is the wall of shame!

June 10th Arrival at Nettie Lake

 And now here is my new home away from home at Nettiebay Lodge!   

my side of the duplex!

and then my view of the lake....

June 11, 2014
So now you know what I mean about the truck stop! Crazy eh!  It was just so weird!  But anyway on with the trip.
And I just remembered I have to tell you about the Party store! Well it looked pretty normal on first perusal. The snacks, the pop, the booze (booze is everywhere!). But as I wandered up and down the aisles, checking out what surprises I could find, this old hippie/redneck ( I know, strange combination, but it is all I can think of to explain the character he portrayed. Like long white straggly ponytail, greasy old ball cap, easy going, but in a a way kind like the guys we once met in Tennessee. He was a 'simple' sort of fellow.) anyway we struck up a conversation, about the different booze and weird stuff on the shelves. Then he said to me..'have you seen our smoke shop?' "Why No"! I replied. And off I followed my new friend to the other end of the building, where low and behold, there is the smoke shop! First glance around, caused me to utter a 'Holy Smokes'! "Ha-Ha" he says, that's what we call the place, and he reaches over the counter and passes me a box of matches. And sure enough, it is called 'Holy Smokes'!
So to my left are 1 pound bags of rolling tobacco. Looking further to the left is the bulk bin, with the 5 lb bags. Really! Not just a couple bags either. No! It was a whole wall of huge bags of tobacco. And then to the other extreme, there behind me is an exceptional cedar lined humidor room, that covered another whole wall. It was filled with cigars from all over the world, and it all looked and smelled exquisite! With the smell of cedar still lingering in my nostrils, I reluctantly exited, and my buddy closed the door behind us.  
But we have not yet served all of the people that would most certainly stop by 'Holy Smokes'! And there, centre stage was the piece de resistance. Every hooka, pipe, vaporizer, water pipe, electronic cigarette, and all the rest of the parafanalia that goes with this society of the smoking public! It was hilarious. This was no small store! It was huge! I really want to go back and take a few more photos. Maybe I am easily amused, but it was fun. We had a few laughs, and checked out some of the parafanalia and I left with my purchases.....hee-hee!  No nothing exotic, just chocolate!
Had my chocolate treat, packed up my things, and hit the sack. Visions of loons, hooka pipes and guns, danced in my head! Oh my.
The next day, I did a road trip day on my way to Nettiebay Lodge. Down this road and that, stopping in the coffee shop in ________ with a welcome called out with a strong baritone voice from the table of three old guys as I entered. A wander through the 'Moosetails" store, and a long chat with John who along with his wife own the two stores, one in East Tawas and one here in _______. He linked me up with a local wildlife photographer in the neighbourhood. We will probably touch base later. Great shop too.
Then a stop at Applebee's for  lunch, and finally on to my next adventure, here at Nettiebay Lodge. 
So I am now in my little cabin on the Lake. Nestled up in my bed for the second night here. The first evening was mostly just settling in. We drove into town.... Well it was sort of a town- a gas station 2 restaurants and umm I think that was all? the one restaurant was closed but thankfully the other was open and 5 of us who jumped in my car, for the 10 minute ride, shared a meal and a few jokes and got to know each other. Then off to the Gas station. For gas?......NOT! For booze and ice cream...but of course! 
Back to the lodge for orientation and setting up for our next day's shoot. A lesson in manual shooting, which is to be our mode this week! Yikes! But for good reason, as we learned because of the loon's white chest, and black head, exposure is difficult to set up for quickly depending on if they are sideways or front on with their white chest.
 It actually worked well today and we were able to change settings very quickly for the opportunities as we floated with the loons, as they preened, rinsed, and then wing-flapped to reset all their feathers. They would stay close to us most of the time, and all the time we're lying on our bellies, shooting with our shorter lenses at distances from 3 feet to 15-20 feet. Used the big Kahuna for some portraits of the loons though and it was very cool.  But I am getting ahead of myself. Need to back track.....
Tuesday night, after all the discussions and lessons were over and the shooting schedules set. I headed back to my little cabin, poured a glass of wine and went out to the dock to await the calling of the loons.  It is a sound I have not heard for quite awhile, and I was so excited to finally listen to the calls.  It was so peaceful........ Sigh.....
But not for friggin long! The bombers noted a new source of blood and were dive-bombing like they hadn't eaten for weeks. Dam near lost all my wine, swatting at the buzzing bastards! So I make a mad dash back to the cabin, for hat, coat, bug spray, and of course more wine. Sprayed the best I could to cover most of the prime locations, and determined, I returned to the lake side and sat in an adirondack chair sipping a nice glass of Malbec waiting for the warbling cries of an asylum of loons! ( maybe this is where 'Crazy as a Loon' came from?)
 it was all worth it. They started to call. And call.   And call. It was wonderful! The BBs, were still a friggin nuisance so once the wine was done I retreated to ensure I had enough blood left for the next day. But I left all the shutters open on the screened windows. And Cozy in my bed, the loons called off and on. Then the Whippoorwills pitched in, whippoorwilling over and over and over.  And then papa Bard Owl, sang base. It was a lovely lullaby! Lasting quite awhile.  I fell asleep with a smile on my face.
Did you know that the record number of continuous whippoorwill calls by a single bird is 1,088! Not sure who was the poor sucker was that had to listen and count them, but they say it is a fact!
But that's it for today! More about Wednesday when next I get a chance. For now good night. 
To be continued....
Here are a few shots from my first morning shoot. unfortunately we were only out for about and hour as the rain set in. but t is a start!


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