Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Escanaba in da Sunset

If it has not been stated already, it is a magical sensation when the sun slowly fades down over the horizon and the caps of the waves glisten with beams of the sunset.  Smells of the fresh water breeze fill your lungs as it sweeps across the harbor.  Each step takes you past the park fill with families playing volleyball, friends playing tennis, kids playing in the labyrinth of wooden castles, and the elderly strolling along the shore with smiles as if it was their last chance.  The time is at the end of summer where the weather is warm and the blistering heat has vanished.  Even the swarms of gnats could not put a damper on this magical sensation.

Escanaba, Michigan.

Getting here was no easy task. clarify, directions are simple from POP's Loose Moose Lodge, take the 37 to Traverse City, take the 31 to Mackinac Bridge, and take the 2.  Only the extremely gifted at being directionally challenged could possible make a wrong turn, and that is most likely because they turned. 

What was the challenge is the library being closed due to construction in Traverse City.  The next library required walking through metal detectors and a search of belongings.  After the workday completed the evening would reveal the hidden nature of cars: a mechanized killing machine.  This may best be described through a photograph:

Tens of thousands of gnats plastered the front of the bumper.  The majority of the gnats' grave is the greywater of the BP car wash down the road.  However there are still gnats that are lingering around stuck in the crevices that are not so easy to reach. 

That is Escanaba in da sunset (with the faint sound of lawn mowers in the background, racing, because what else would you do with a riding lawn mower?)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Shore Acres Is The Place To Be

"Where is the first tee?"

A simple phrase is all it takes.

The response from the three guys I approached was, "you are welcome to join us". 

How did I get to that point?  While in Holland I met Brandon from Engedi and he was interested in playing a round of disc golf, however he had prior plans.  Towards the end of the day I drove to Shore Acres Park in Saugatuck.  Parked, grabbed my discs, and stood looking over a course mix full of woods, openings, hills, flats, dunes, cactus, and bamboo.

Dave, Jeremy, and Seth were on their second round and local to the area.  It was great playing with them because they gave some good tips (or at the very least pointing out where the basket is hidden beyond the trees).  Also, they were pretty much at my playing level.  At the end I came out in the lead with +14 from par 3 for the 18 holes.  I do have to admit I had some pretty good string of throws and the others had already played a round.

It was neat to get to know them even if it was a short while and see the diversity of ideas.  Seth had no interest in the gospel.  Jeremy was willing to take a Knowing God Personally booklet and mentioned he was interested in finding a church once he settled down in the area.  Lastly, Dave was the most open, involved with his church, and stated he was a Christian.  Overall it was a great time playing with these guys and would play with them again any day.  Thanks Jeremy for keeping score!

I do have say it was amazing on hole 3.  All four of us were looking for Seth's disc.  After awhile of not finding the red disc (how hard could it be?), Seth went back to the spot he threw and said, "here's what I did".  He threw the disc and stated "it should be near there".   Dave and my immediate response was, "no" because it hit a tree but was quickly followed by "no way".  Seth threw the exact throw, hit the same tree, and had the discs land within nearly 2 feet of each other.  One word: impressed.

All in a Sunday evening, of last week.  Thanks again goes to the Keys for the wonderful home to stay in for the week in Holland.  They (if you are they then read that as you) are such an encouragement!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Dutch and an Ace

Downtown Holland, Dutch Chess

This past week has been fairly packed, beyond just work as well.  I have already given you a glance of my Tuesday evening.  Although I can mention that the reason why Winstrom park was nearly deforested is because they are looking to plant native trees to Holland.  I would have a hard time believe that this decision would have been made by any disc golfer.  One, for the fact trees take a decent amount of time to grow and mature.  And two, might I mention disc golf and trees?  How could one put magnets are to metal, so are discs to trees.  However there is the slight possibility of a skilled disc golf player who has never hit a tree with a disc. 

Well that is enough talk about deforestation by disc or by saw.  The weather was beautiful again on Wednesday so I could not pass up the opportunity to bike to the lake.  Especially since it is a short five mile ride.

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has become the new "in"  water sport it seems.  Not surprisingly either since SUP is surprisingly fun.  Surprise!  So I rented a paddle board from the Macatawa Boat House.  Their rates are extremely reasonable and their location has been my favorite thus far in the times I have gone paddle boarding (I highly recommend this place).  Lake Macatawa was fairly calm to paddle through, and the channel (being a weekday) was thankfully not a traffic jam.  In the hour that I had I paddled all the way to Big Red and briefly into Lake Michigan and back to the boat launch.  All without falling in!

SUP Rental location just off Ottawa Beach Road.

A bike ride back to the house and then apparently I needed more exercise since I went for a run into downtown Holland a back.

Thursday night was an Engedi Bible study at Kevin's place.  It was great to meet with fellow believers and discuss Acts 10. 

Saturday afternoon I drove North just past Grand Haven and played disc golf at two courses:
Rycenga Park in Spring Lake, MI
Ross Park in Norton Shores, MI

The Rycenga course had mainly short holes, but also had many narrow paths requiring precise throws.  I was following a group of three guys so I knew where to go as some of the holes where not clearly marked where to start.  Unfortunately by the time I finished they were already gone.  The upside, hole 16.  Fairly short distance, trees forcing a small curve right, and a blue beast in hand set the stage for my first.  First ace.  Overall I scored a 56.

I decided to continue up to Norton Shores and play Ross park.  There was a huge crowd!  Only to find out it was all for a crafts sale, which had nothing of use to me.  However, there was no one on the 9 hole course.  Apparently the Ross park course has been recently extended and baskets added.  The holes seemed to all fall in the 250 - 450 feet range offering a decent challenge.  I ended with a 36 for the 9 holes.

At the end of the day, I cooled down with a run along the beach.  Randomly I ran into a friend from my high school church group while walking on the Pier.  It's a small world I guess or at least made smaller by technology.

Big Red

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Holland, MI: Winstrom Park

Within the first five miles of my trip I run into Linda.  Linda is not only passionate about sharing the gospel, she is passionate about sharing about sharing the gospel.  As I was already running late to arrive in Holland I was not the most patient at listening to what I have heard her say in the past, however it was a great reminder as to the purpose of this trip.

My disc like an axe splitting wood after my drive.

The weather in Holland today was amazing: sunny with a high of 75F.  The amazing weather after the rainy weekend made me hope the disc golf course would have a decent amount of people.  However, when I arrived at Winstrom park to play there was a large group of guys a bit over halfway done (that I would not be able to catch) and waiting around only a couple arrived to play.  The majority of the trees were cut down from the times I previously played the course, leaving the feeling that few people are playing the course while it is undergoing development/change (at least for this evening).  I decided to enjoy the weather and work a bit on my throws since I have only played a few times this year.  Despite being a bit rusty, I threw two under par and was quite pleased with many of my drives and putts.

After the game I drove down to the state beach and had my devotions while watching the sunset.  It nearly felt like vacation.  I could get use this...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Off to the 'merica

I have moved out of the condominium in Portage.  Now, the start of my adventure begins!

First destination: Holland, MI.

Moving Day 2012

It's moving day.  Moving can be recursively described in three words: packing, moving, and cleaning.  This move leaves me feeling a little bit of a mix between sadness and uncomfortable. 

Sad being the fact there are many friends I have not had a chance to say any goodbyes.  I am able to stay around until I do have the opportunity, however doing so would nearly delay the trip indefinitely, defeating the purpose.  If you are one of those friends, my dearest apologies but please keep in touch! 

Uncomfortable bearing the fact that I am not entirely sure how to prepare for this trip.  Just as it is hard for me to stand by and watch Two Men and a Truck move my heavy items, it is just as hard for me to not to plan even for things I am unable to plan for.

After this long tiresome day I relaxed in the backyard and watched some of the Perseid meteor shower for 15 minutes.  In that time I saw seven shooting stars.  The seventh one may have been a fireball, but in any case the meteor was amazing.  The meteor had a bright burst that lasted the longest second ever.  The most amazing part for me however was the vivid color as the meteor seemed to have almost a purple sparkle.  It came down from about 60 degrees, W to 10 degrees, SW. 

Make time for the simple.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Repeat one song in Zune

How to repeat one track, repeat a single track, loop one song, or however you wish to word the phrase.  The only and easiest way I found to do this in the Zune application for the computer is:

Step 1. Create a new/empty playlist
          -Keep this playlist empty for

Whenever you want to put a song on repeat:

Step 2. Right Click the empty playlist, and click play
          -Obviously there are no songs to play, however, this will clear out the list of Now Playing songs.

Step 3. Locate the song you want to play, right click the song, and select "Add to now playing".

Make sense?

Passlock Security

Friday was a productive and a wonderful visit to Grand Rapids and Holland.  Made a picked up for my mother, dropped off a fixed laptop for a friend in Grand Rapids.  Then I continued on to Holland where I swapped gear with Kevin from the trip and then visited my other friend Kevin.

While in Holland I helped Kevin fix a dying passlock security sensor in a car.  The fix being a 2.2kohm resistor from the input to output wires.  After less than an hour of taking the dashboard apart, securing the resistor to the passlock security sensor, and reassembling the dashboard we seemed to fix the problem.  Or at the very least the car still started.

Well it is time to start packing with my road trip coming so soon!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Michigan LP Bicycle Tour 300: Mackinac to Holland

Adventures happen when ideas culminate and memories remain when those ideas finally come to fruition.

My somewhat ambitious adventure for biking from Mackinac to Holland/Kalamazoo interested four other friends but only one poor soul was crazy enough to commit to the challenge.  Before I continue much further I should elaborate a bit on the adventure.  The idea was to drive up to Mackinac Thursday evening, spend Friday enjoying Mackinac Island, followed by three days of biking back home to Holland/Kalamazoo while camping in hammocks along the way (all self supported/gear carried on our bikes).  The three days of biking would set the daily distance to around 100 miles.

Packing.  Heavy!  I packed less gear than I did on my last trip and I still need to find a way to reduce the weight.  The image below shows the gear I packed (however I did end of leaving a few items behind after seeing the weather forecast).

Since 300 miles in three days was not enough biking, Kevin and I spent the majority of our time biking around Mackinac Island the day before.  A short, 25 mile, warm-up ride you could say.

Visiting Mackinac Island did teach me one other thing:  I'm addicted.  Addicted to Rubik's cubes because I gave in and bought a quad cube (my reasoning is that I would want something to do other than ride a bike when I get back from my trip).  There were so many random items in that store, just to show a few:

One of the items packed for food was non other than the great American tradition: PB&J.  And yes, that is a stack of PB&J. 

With the gear loaded up, Kevin and I headed out.  Saturday, day 1, was from Mackinac, through Bliss's farmer's market, on the Tunnel of Trees, bike paths from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix, onward through the hills of the back roads, and finally 31 to the fully booked Traverse City State Park to sleep for the night.  Thankfully they still allowed us to hang between the trees (not like we would have gone anywhere else to spend the night).  We met a guy named Aaron who was bike from Green Bay to around the Upper Peninsula to Ludington.

For day two Kevin and I decided to bike through Manistee National Forest.  Turns out, 37 is the only reliable non-dirt road we could find.  However, 37 did allow us to keep a decent pace since we started late in the day.  Due to our inability to read a map, our "campground" actually was not a campground at all.  So we found a couple trees in the woods at dusk and stayed a night. 

The last day started out well, however by afternoon I was burning up due to the extreme heat and had to stop at a Great Harvest Bread company.  The last leg of the trip was on a decent road in the shade and went smoothly, especially knowing that I decided to end to trip in Holland.  Due to the delay in Grand Haven (arrival time in Kalamazoo would be around midnight), the fact that I already bike to Holland and back this year, and we cycled 300 miles in 3 days was enough for this adventure.

Summary of the days in pictures (notice how there are fewer and fewer):

Start of the day 1
Tunnel of Trees, taken by a fellow bicyclist
The view from the trail
We saw so many airports, so why were we biking?
This is how we park the bikes.
Camp in Traverse City

Never pay full price.
So we didn't pay full price for the next "campground" in White Cloud

Holland and smiling

There was quite a bit packed into this trip, mainly biking, but much of the trip for me could not even begin to fit into a blog post or a myriad of posts.  If you would enjoy hearing more about the adventure feel free to ask, but for now, it is time for me to continue on and focus for the next to come.

Michigan LP Tour accomplished.