DECEMBER---Trinidad (10.6 North/61.3 West) to Pentwater, Michigan (43.8 North/86.4 West)

Trinidad:  One more Sunday hike before heading back to Michigan. Hiked the trail  from Chaguaramus Golf Course to Macqueripe Beach. It is a short hike ( 2.5 kilometers) with great views of the North Coast of Trinidad. Most of the hikers went for a dip in the water after the hike--I walked the beach looking for beach glass. Monday morning I gave my last weather report on the VHF Radio Cruisers' Net. I have been giving weather on Mondays and on Saturdays when I was around. Monday night we had a small potluck dinner at the Roti Hut.  Tuesday was the day to pack luggage and start the laundry. Wednesday we went to Customs and Immigration to sign off the boat. Wednesday was last minute laundry, packing and getting the boat ready for our absence. Had dinner at Joe's Pizza around 7:00 PM Wednesday and then returned to the boat to rest before our flight. Had a 3:00 AM flight on Thursday so we left for the airport at 11:00 PM Wednesday. The flight was late getting out of Trinidad which did not present a problem for us because we had lots of time before the flight to Detroit. As soon as our bags cleared Customs, we pulled out some cold weather clothes to wear to Detroit.

The following three pictures were taken at our last Monday Night Potluck.

Michigan: Getting off the plane in Detroit was a shock. It was so cold---felt even colder because the wind was so gusty. Picked up our rental car and headed to our friends, Brian and Pam McLenithan's place, in Grand Rapids. Arrived there just in time for appetizers and wine. Another friend, Al Forte, joined us for dinner. Our plan was to spend one night at Pam and Brian's place. However, it was storming the next day so we ended up staying another night. Pam and I ran a few errands in the snow---Pam drove very carefully! The mall was crowded with holiday shoppers. It was a bit of culture shock to see all the inventory and the number of stores in the mall.

Below is a picture of Carl and I in front on Pam and Brian's MSU (Michigan State University) Christmas Tree. 

Finally arrived at our cottage Saturday afternoon. Once the car was in the garage, I started to shovel. It took me 6 hours to clear the driveway and deck. Paul Anderson, who manages the summer rentals had turned the heat up for us so the house was nice and warm.....he also started the hot water heater. Sunday we went into Hart to pick up a few groceries. I am not going to "over buy" since I don't know how long we will be here. Ordered some wood for the woodburner to supplement our furnace--it is cold and propane is expensive. Keep ourselves entertained....DVD movies, reading, surfing the internet and driving into Pentwater.

The first picture shows me shoveling the driveway on our first day at the cottage. The second picture is Carl surfing the internet in cold weather clothes! (2100, 2109))

Medical Stuff: Carl had an appointment with Dr. Kurello (urologist) was on Monday, December 8.  A second lithotripsy was scheduled for December 19. Dr. Kurello was not optimistic that the second lithotripsy would break all the stones--the total mass was such that a third lithotripsy might be necessary or perhaps a surgical procedure if the stones refuse to break.  The second lithotripsy did break up the stones. However, a third lithotripsy was needed to further break the pieces so they could pass through! The third lithotripsy is scheduled for January 2.

Friends: As previously mentioned we stayed several nights with friends, Pam and Brian. Neighbors, Paul and Chris Kramer invited us over for dinner one Friday before they left for California to visit their two daughters and grand daughter. Attended an Open House at the Pentwater Artisan Center. Our friends, Ron and Jackie, drove up to Ludington to look for dockage for their newly purchased sailboat AT Sail--they picked us up in Pentwater. After looking at the marinas in Ludington, we stopped for dinner. Oh---AT Sail is still in Mentor, Ohio. Ron and Jackie will move AT Sail from Lake Erie to Lake Michigan in May/June of 2009.

The picture below was taken at the restaurant in Ludington. I loved the pink tree!


Weather:  The weather in Michigan has not been good. Here are some interesting stats: Number of Fair Days-1; Number of Partly Cloudy Days-2; and Number of Cloudy Days-28. Really, no sunglasses are needed here. For the county where we live, December 2008 is the third snowiest December on record. The biggest snowfalls days: 12/6-- 11.2 inches; 12/19-- 9.3 inches; 12/21-- 10.5 inches; and 12/23--6.7 inches. The coldest temperature in December was 8 degrees on 12/21 and the warmest was 61 degrees on 12/28! One day we got stuck in the street because it had not been plowed and another day we had to park our car in a stranger's driveway and walk into the neighborhood because the snow was too deep to even try drive in. We shoveled the driveway and deck 6 times.

The next three pictures are posted to show you what the Michigan weather was like. The first picture was taken to show the huge snowflakes, picture two was taken on the beach on a windy day and picture three shows more snow!

Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Years Eve:   Christmas Eve we watched a couple videos and then had shrimp with raw vegetables for dinner. Christmas morning, I went out to the kitchen to make coffee and cinnamon rolls. Much to my surprise, Santa had been there--left me a new Canon SD 770 camera! Drove to Al and Laurie's in Grand Rapids to join them for Christmas Dinner along with Pam, Brian and the Hughes. The menu: Beef Tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, salad, squash pudding and desserts.

The next five pictures were taken on Christmas. First picture is Pam and Brian opening gifts. Next is Carl relaxing with a dish of shrimp. Picture three is Laurie next to her tree. Picture four is the appetizer crew in the kitchen and the last picture is of 12 of us sitting down for dinner.

Early on New Years Eve, we drove to Al and Laurie's place in Grand Rapids. Al, Laurie, Carl and I went grocery shopping for New Years Eve and New Years Day. New Years Eve we had tostones, cheese fondue, antipasto, scallops, and chocolate fondue. New Years Day was meatballs marinara, shrimp and ham sandwiches.

The next three pictures were taken New Years Eve. The first picture is the gang shopping at Fresh Market. The second picture taken during the cheese fondue course and the last picture is Al and Laurie napping just prior to midnight.

Submitted by:
Marilyn Thoreson
January 05, 2009