JUNE---Pentwater, Michigan to Beaver Island, Michigan

Cottage projects were basically completed in May! Only one big project remaining for June---window washing. Used that Windex product you hook to the hose for the exterior windows-- it cleans right through the screens. For the front and patio doors I used a home brew that my friend, Pam, told me about---1 cup isopropyl alcohol ad a couple drops of Dawn dishsoap in a spray bottle (16 oz) then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Works really well. The windows on the patio doors are so clean you need to make sure the door is open before walking in otherwise you might walk into a glass wall!

Kris and Craig (TILIT) came up from Grand Rapids for an overnight visit. Drove into Pentwater to check out what was going on, used our new gas grill for dinner and then initiated our new SEQUENCE game. For the opening round, Kris and I were quick out of the gate almost celebrating a victory lap but soon our dream of victory was destroyed by the guys. One long point of discussion......Kris, Craig, Carl and I wondered how the cruisers doing the Great Loop will deal with the Gulf oil spill. Will they go through it or turn around? For anyone who doesn't know about the Great Loop---The full Loop includes the East Coast ICW, Chesapeake Bay, Jersey coast, Hudson River, Champlain Canal, Lake Champlain, Chambley & Richelieu Canals, Richelieu River, St. Lawrence Seaway, Rideau Waterway, 1000 Islands, Trent-Severn Waterway, North Channel, Great Lakes, Heartland Rivers, Tenn-Tom Waterway, Gulf ICW, Florida's Big Bend, Okeechobee Waterway, Florida Keys, and then some continue on to the Bahamas. We know a trawler, BORROWED HORSE, who is doing the Great Loop this year. Curious as to how they will deal with the spill.

Drove down to Grand Rapids to attend the Chihuly Exhibit at Frederik Meijers Gardens with Pam. It was a beautiful day for visiting the Garden with lots of sunshine and so many of the flowers were in bloom. Pam and I rode the tram----the tour guide gave us a good overview of the gardens and the permanent sculptures. We walked the gardens to locate the various Chihuly works and had lunch on the patio looking over the gardens. A wonderful day with a great friend.

The first picture below is Pam standing at the door where our fun day at Frederik Meijer Gardens began. The gardens are on 70 acres. The park and gardens emphasizes the harmony of sculpture and horticulture. It has Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; three indoor theme gardens; outdoor gardens, nature trails and boardwalk; and sculpture galleries and permanent sculptures Picture two is me standing beneath Leonardo da Vinci's horse. Leonardo was commissioned to create a 24-foot-tall bronze horse that would be the largest equine sculpture ever. The clay model was destroyed in a war when it was used for target practice. Da Vinci's dream was revived through the efforts of the Frederik Meijer Gardens. The Frederik Meijer Gardens acquired the only additional casting of the Horse sculpture so that the first casting could be given to the people of Milan, Italy.

Just a little bit about the artist Dale Chihuly. He received a bachelor of arts degree in interior design and a master of science in sculpture. Studied glass in Venice on a Fulbright Fellowship and received a master of fine arts. Founded the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington. In 1976, Chihuly was involved in a head-on car accident---flew through the windshield. severely cutting his face and he was blinded in his left eye. He continued to blow glass until he dislocated his shoulder in a body surfing accident. No longer able to hold the glass blowing pipe, he hired others to do the work. To quote Chihuly "Once I stepped back, I liked the view". Having others blow the glass allows him to see the work from more perspectives and enables him to anticipate problems faster. Chihuly describes his role as "more choreographer than dancer, more supervisor than participant, more director than actor." I love his glass work. This is the third Chihuly Exhibit I've seen--one in Kalamazoo and the other at the Atlantis Resort in Nassau.

The eight pictures below are Chihuly's sculptures that were placed outdoors. The first two pictures show sculptures in flowerbeds. The third picture shows one of Chihuly's favorite outdoor display of his works--I noticed that he has a picture of this display on his website. Pictures 4 & 5 show the glass sculpture Meijers Gardens used on their print pieces. Picture 6 & 7 shows one of my favorite displays by a waterfall. The last picture is the Sun King.

The six pictures below were taken indoors. The first three pictures were taken in the tropical conservatory and the last six in the gift shop. By the way, you can buy any of these bowls for around $ 3500.

From Grand Rapids we drove to Kalamazoo for a couple appointments--doctor, financial advisor and tax consultant Great news from my oncologist--I have graduated from the Southwest Michigan Cancer Center. Do not return unless a problem pops up in the future. Very happy to not have to see the oncologist every 6 months.

One beautiful warm Saturday afternoon we drove down to White Lake to visit Al and Laurie on their boat, FINALE. Pam and Brian were there too. Sat on FINALE enjoying the sunshine, refreshments and conversation. Pam, Laurie and I walked downtown to check out a clothing store--very cool stuff but nothing for a cruiser like me. Had dinner at a restaurant before heading home.

I took Amtrack from Holland, Michigan to see my sister, Laurel, and niece, Lindsey who were there from Anchorage, AK to attend a Keith Urban/Dixie Chicks/Eagles Concert. Laurel called me on the phone just as I was getting off the train--made plans to meet for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I made a quick trip to my hotel to drop off my luggage--allowed me to check in early so I dropped my luggage off in my room and caught a bus for Water Tower Place. It was so great seeing Laurel and Lindsey. After lunch we shopped and shopped. Just about the time we were ready to catch a bus back to our hotels, a huge storm rolled into downtown Chicago packing winds of 60-70 mph. Windows in the 110 story Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower) were blown out. Laurel, Lindsey and I watched the storm blow through from the safety of Nordstroms. As soon as the rain let up we crossed the street to the InterContinental Hotel for a drink and then dinner at Banderas. Banderas has great food especially the cornbread. Met Laurel and Lindsey the next morning at their hotel for breakfast. Stopped at the Agora sculpture to take pictures and then headed to State Street's shopping area where we shopped most of the day. Saturday late afternoon Laurel and Lindsey headed to the concert while I went for a walk around the Museum Campus and then over to Soldier Field where I could barely hear the music from the concert. Sunday morning I checked out of my hotel, stored my luggage and met Laurel and Lindsey once again at their hotel then headed back to the State Street shopping area (primarily the huge Macy's Store). Mid-afternoon I had to say goodbye to Laurel and Lindsey. Walked to Union Station where I found out my train route was cancelled because of a washout under the rails just south of Holland. Amtrack sent the Holland passengers to Kalamazoo where a bus was waiting for us to drive us to Holland. Arrived in Holland 90 minutes late. Inspite of the last glitch, this was a fantastic trip. I loved seeing Laurel and Lindsey and Chicago is a great city.

Pictures from my trip to Chicago---the canal (taken on my way from Union Station to my hotel), a view from my hotel room and the view of the skyline taken at Grant Park. The last three pictures of Laurel and Lindsey were taken during lunch and one of three shopping excursions!

The two pictures below are my sister Laurel, my niece Lindsey and I at the Agora sculpture. Agora is the name of a group of 106 headless and armless iron sculptures at the south end of Grant Park in Chicago. Designed by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz,.The figures are nine feet tall and weigh about 1,800 pounds. Each is made out of a hollow, seamless piece of iron that has been allowed to rust, creating a reddish appearance and a bark-like texture. The figures appear to be milling about in a crowd; some face each other, while others look away. The name Agora refers to the meeting places of the Ancient Greek city-states. Abakanowicz, who grew up during World War II, has said that her art draws on her fear of crowds, which she once described as "brainless organisms acting on command, worshiping on command and hating on command". Visitors are meant to walk through the sculptures and contemplate the work. The work has inspired optimistic interpretations. Kevin Nance of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "If they had arms and hands (they don't), these would be clasped behind their backs as if in contemplation. They seem, somehow, to be thinking, not as a group but as individuals. It's possible, in fact, to interpret the piece as a representation of democracy."

Drove down to Gun Lake on to visit friends, Dick and Polly Huff. Dick has a Flying Scot sailboat so the four of us went sailing on Gun Lake. A beautiful, warm day with moderate winds--perfect for sailing. After sailing, Dick did cooking duty on the grill while Polly prepared salad and sides. We stayed overnight. Polly made us breakfast, we said our goodbyes and were on the road by 8:30 AM. After being on the road about 15 minutes a severe thunderstorm rolled in from the west with wind around 30 mph and heavy downpours. Seems like we heard the thunder followed by a bolt of lightning. Carl said he loves a thunderstorm and I told him that I love them when I am safe and secure in a house not on the road.

The next stop after leaving Huffs' was at Pam and Brian's house in Grand Rapids. I drove their car to Mackinaw City while Carl followed me in our car. Left our car at Shepler's (owners of one of the ferry lines running from Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island). This process is called "spotting a car"---we will be cruising with Pam and Brian on IRISH EYES from Pentwater to Mackinaw City. Spotting a car means we have transportation when we get off IRISH EYES! From Shepler's drove Brian's car home to get the cottage ready to turn over to summer renters.

Carl and I moved on to IRISH EYES on Thursday, June 24---Pam and Brian were still in Grand Rapids. Friday morning, Carl drove Brian's car to Grand Rapids to pick up them up while I scrubbed the deck on IRISH EYES. When Carl returned with Pam and Brian, I helped them unload the car then Pam and I went grocery shopping---picking up enough food for 3-4 days at sea. Saturday morning everything was stowed and the weather looked good so we took off for Leland. Arrived in Leland late afternoon. Went to the Bluebird for dinner. Had a good night's sleep before hitting the Lake again. Original plans were to head to Charlevoix but the wind and seas were expected to build to 2-4 feet and then 3-5 feet Monday and Tuesday so changed the plan and headed directly to Beaver Island. Early evening, Tom Kelly (GORTA MOR) arrived with his crew--Sally and Mike. They came over to IRISH EYES for dinner. Need to mention that part of the original plan was to meet Tom in Charlevoix where GORTA MOR would raft up to IRISH EYES for a couple nights. Then Carl and I would ride over with Tom. Oh well, cruisers must be flexible.

The following six pictures were taken during the cruise from Pentwater to Beaver Island. The trip started when we spotted our car at Mackinaw City at Sheplers. The second picture is the Pentwater channel as we head out our first day on the water. Picture three is Carl at the helm of IRISH EYES. Picture four is the breakwater at Leland our first stop. Next is Brian (IRISH EYES) and Tom (GORTA MOR) sitting onboard IRISH EYES shooting the bull.The last picture is Carl and I on hiking on Beaver Island on a cool morning.

Ah, Beaver Island---a place to relax and enjoy. Carl, Pam and I take a walk in the morning for at least one hour. In the afternoon it is time to use the internet, read or nap. Every day at 3:00 PM it is Guinness Time for Tom. Sometimes he is at the Shamrock by himself to enjoy a Guinness and sometimes others join him. One afternoon Pam, Mike and Sally (Tom's crew) and I joined him for an a drink and watched World Cup Soccer. In the evening Tom usually joins us for dinner. It is an easy life. The first 2-3 days on Beaver it was pretty cold and windy so we were in the boat more than we would normally be. Taught Pam and Brian how to play SEQUENCE and CATCH PHRASE!

June 30th--Pam, Brian, Tom and I went to HOLIDAY HILARITY at the Beaver Island Community Center. This show is a series of short skits put on by islanders. It was quite funny---since I am originally from North Dakota I have the same sense of humor. Carl did not want to see the show so he stayed on board to read.

I imagine many of you reading this log are thinking, "Wow, Marilyn was busy doing fun stuff like Chicago and Chihuly. What was Carl doing?" Carl's fun thing for June---working on his new super strength WiFi antenna! I think there were times when this project wasn't so fun but in general he worked through the technical issues and is proud of his work and end product. As the saying goes....."Different strokes for different folks."

Submitted by:
Marilyn Thoreson
July 5, 2010