Friday, August 31, 2012

South Haven Michigan

South Haven, another Lake Michigan coastal community that has figured out the value of their waterfront to the community.  Not quite Charlevoix, but still a darn nice place to stop for lunch.

The marina, with the jetty in the distance and the main marina building there on the left.

Random 2D silhouette cut-out dogs stuck in the ground everywhere.  Slugg-O confirms they are not legit K-9's.

Looking out the mouth of the channel with the jetty there on the left, or 'to port' as the uppity yachtsmen like to say.

Wanna go a few rounds, bub?
One of the above mentioned 'uppity yachtsman'.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

McClain Bikes - Cadillac Michigan

On the drive from Traverse City to Ionia, we went through Cadillac.  Cadillac is as sad as the motor car brand was from 1970-2000.  Bleak and hopeless.

My advice is to adopt "Art and Science" or the urban renewal and planning equivalent as soon as possible.

Looks like a failing independent drug store.

Nothing earth shattering on the outside.  A line of weird old used bikes for sale cheap, displayed in such a way as to discourage the cycling enthusiast from entering the bleak confines.

And here are the bleak confines.  Slat wall as far as the eyes can see.  Florescent tube lights in long linear lines pointing the way to impending doom.  No employees in sight as they are all huddled in the back around the maintenance stands.  I don't blame them though. I wouldn't want anyone to know I worked there either.

In case you didn't notice, they sell Specialized stuff.  Almost universally.

The place was divided into two sections by this ill conceived half wall thing.  I could have grabbed a bike and casually been out the door and they never would have known the difference.


To the barbie with the basted babies...

 Shop! -   This place was bleak.  Like a warm can of Falstaff Beer bleak.  Like lying dead in the gutter with a fork in your neck bleak.  Like waking up one morning and realizing you've been working the past 15 years in local government bleak.  We are talking bleak.  Bleak bleak bleak.

 Staff! - This place was self service.  I could hear talking so I knew I wasn't alone, but I doubt anyone would have troubled themselves to pour a bucket of water over my head even if I was on fire.

 Fuzzy Feelings! -  Like a cold asbestos tile floor.  Or a gynecologist's office.  Bleak.
 Bikes! - Specialized. Only. Were it not for the presence of the Big S this place could fall off the map and nobody would notice.

The tally-up...

Overall Rating! - 1 Toasted Tot!

Skip Cadillac and drive to someplace, anyplace, else for a bike shop.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Traverse City

After Charlevoix, we returned to familiar Michigan territory and the known regions in and around Grand Traverse Bay.  We did find a few small changes, but nothing too earth shattering.

First, a regular restaurant update.

Familiar view, unfamiliar place.
Scott's Harbor Grill at the Marina had changed owners and name and was sporting a different but similar menu.  Sad to see the old restaurant name go, what with Scott apparently being the only human being in the restaurant business to avoid using both "Grille" and "Harbour", the two most trite intentional misspellings in the restaurant business. The New name is Harbor 22, which presumably is a mash-up of the Scott's name and location, and of the M-22 Scenic Highway which runs the length of the Leelanau Peninsula.  M-22 is also a lame clothing brand. Because M-22 is more than a road, and more than being stuck in a line of cued-up traffic with a bunch of fat tourists in Nissan Altimas. M-22 is "the feeling you get when you realize there is no other place you would rather be."

I would rather be sitting on the bottom of this ginormous margarita glass with my pants off.

My idea of "navigable water"!
You too can partake in these pleasurable beasts if you hit the Red Mesa Grill. This is the "Raging 'Rita", yours for the low low price of $10.79.  I'll take 4, please.

We did not hit up both places on the same day.

We did take a run up Mission Peninsula on Peninsula Drive and visited the Mission Point Light House for a bit.  Mission is the little one on the right, and Leelanau is the monster on the left.

Should I leave?!?

Where the sign warns, "No boisterous or obnoxious conduct.

The Light and the view.

Rocks arranged in the sand.  Because it is all about "the feeling you get when you realize there is no other place you would rather be."

Slugg-O here, demonstrating that she would rather be someplace else.

Bike Friendly?
Bike lanes and door zones, the new fail.  Because smacking a suddenly opened car door while riding your bike is "the feeling you get when you realize there is no other place you would rather be."

There were vintage mountain bikes around, sort of.  This poor entry level Cannondale has seen better days.  Still kicking though, after 20 years.

We also drove the M-22 up and around the point of Leelenau Peninsula at sunset and snapped a few.

One with the camera and one with the phone.

Very pretty.

Maybe there is something to that stupid M-22 clothing slogan after all.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What's up on Youtube?

Clicky da caption!

Crazy Australians

Only Happy When It Rains

Better than X-Box!
Oh, to be young and made of rubber again.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Revolution Bicycles, Charlevoix Michigan

This is Revolution Bicycles. 

I love it when Bike shops open up in old historic building with wood frames picture windows and tin ceilings. I love it so much I get all giddy even when the shop is in a newer building that fakes all that historic crap.

Apparently I love is so much I fail to take decent pictures.  This one sucks even by cell phone standards!

The front.  Thems aint wood framed windows, but hey, they had a dog.

To the BBQ!

Merchandising!  - Hats off to having the balls to put a full built bike on a glass top counter.  That is man-nugget material.

 Bikes! - Props for making a living off Orbea bikes.  Thinking outside the box and selling the adventurous products designed by Basque separatists will always gets a full rack of toasty toddlers. Plus, Orbea Bicycles has been an employee-owned co-op since 1965.  I dig that.

 Staff and Critters! - Two words: SHOP DOG!  Instant fuzzy feelings.  These people could have been child molesting porn peddlers fronting as a bike shop but I couldn't give a crap what with a shop dog to play with.  He even had a bowl of treats you could feed him from.  What does a dog have to do with a bike shop you ask?  Get off my blog.

 Enviro! - Positives, glass cabinets and shop dog!  Negatives, fake tin ceiling and pseudo vintage storefront.  Still a cool joint.  Needs a kegerator.
 Inventory! - Its a dinky place with not a lot going on stock-wise.  Folks seem knowledgeable though so as long as they don't keystone their customers to death with full retail on special orders and a death tax on shipping on top of that, then you'd do OK.

Grand total...

4 Flaming Babies!

Friday, August 24, 2012


The drive from Mackinaw to Charlevoix is highlighted by the Tunnel of Trees, where M-119 passes through dense woods, single lane.  Satan's Altima was a joy to drive on the winding narrow lane, and we saw fox, deer, chipmunks and other wildlife along the way.  None of them flat in the road either.

Yes, that is a state highway.  Florida would kill all the trees and put in a cloverleaf.

The Charlevoix Riverwalk.  While Jacksonville, a city of nearly a million people, struggles unfathomably to breathe life into its waterfront district, communities all along the Michigan shore, like Charlevoix (population 2000!), seem to have it figured out.  Our Downtown Riverwalk looks like Beruit compared to this idyllic scene.

From the air, (via a picture ganked shamelessly from Wikipedia), Lake Michigan to the left and up, and Loeb Bay and Lake Charlevoix to the right.  This picture was taken in 2007, and you can see the waterfront we visited was under construction then, there in the lower left.

Orient yourselves, people.  Yes you are seeing this right, my fancy nice pictures of the waterfront are pictures of Charlevoix's back door!  I understand the main drag is equally as picturesque, although we didn't get there.

Looking out into the marina/harbor toward Lake Charlevoix and Loeb Bay

Seagulls flew around us, but it was obvious that no near-homeless cracker-tossers were allowed to placate the beasts and create bad habits, so for the most part, the birds left us alone.

An amphitheater even.  See what happens when people pay taxes?  Amenities!

Slugg-O tried in vane to catch the seagulls.

A boat returns to the marina after a day on the lake.

We ate at this table; Subway from across the street.  That is the same seagull.

There were people all about on this beautiful day.  I'm sure the scene is much different in January.

Great Lakes water could pass for Caribbean clear.  This duck seems to hover in 10 feet of crystal water.

Did I mention there was a bike shop n Charlevoix?  (Foreshadowing of flaming babies to come!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fort Mackinac

Whoops!  I lied.  The next post is Charlevoix.  First I gotta tell you about Fort Mackinac.

Fort Mackinac has the distinction of apparently being so worthless and weak that every country to garrison the facility gave up and surrendered at the slightest threat of invasion.  It was built by the British and did not transition to American administration until many years after independence, This would later be known as The Great Pack Your Stuff We Are Walking Outa Here of 1796.

Mackinac Bridge peeks into view on the right in the distance.

During the War of 1812, the British attacked the fort by canoe (!).  At the time, the Americans staffed the fort with just a few tens of men and the sight of a few hundred guys in canoes sent the Americans into a frantic tizzy and the order was given to surrender the facility with nary a shot fired.  This became known as The Great Pack Your Stuff We Are Walking Outa Here of 1812.

The town off to the west and south of the front fortifications.

After he signing of the Treaty of Ghent at the end of the War of 1812, American Forces re-occupied the Fort in what would become known as The Great Pack Your Stuff We Are Walking Outa Here of 1815

Looking down on Marquette Park and the shoreline and marina .  Round Point and Passage Lights in the distance.

The fort was not totally historically inept however, as it is universally considered as the "Birthplace of Gastric Physiology."

Looking Southeast from the fortifications.

See, this fur trader dude by the name of Alexis Saint Martin was accidentally shot in the gut, undoubtedly by some military enlistee or another from one of the many groups leaving in surrender without firing a shot toward the bad guys.  This Martin fellow lived after being cared for by Doctor Beaumont, chief surgeon, barber, and tooth puller of the fort. Martin survived with a cork in a hole in his belly, which allowed Beaumont to feed him various things and then peek inside Martin's gut to see what the food looked like after a period of time.  This Bar-B-Que Peek-A-Boo shenanigans continued for several years and resulted in the Beaumont's book, Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice, and the Physiology of Digestion.  I'm sure it is one hell of a read.

Awesome weather vane.

The view over the town and of the Lights, from the walls of the Fort.

The Grand Hotel in the distance.

Like most historic fortifications not related to massive battles and sweeping armies of destruction, Fort Mackinac is mostly of local importance.  It is an interesting look at life on the fur trading frontier during the turn of the 19th century however, and well worth a visit.  You will also hear a lot about some French guy named Marquette.  Apparently he did something of some importance up there also, but in my era dominated by satellite TV and Facebook, I can't be bothered with the goings of of long since dead Jesuit priests.

*watches for the lightening bolts*