Boyne Mountain October 2013
Dates: October 6 - October 9, 2013
People: Mark, Sarah
SUNDAY OCTOBER 6
We left Monroe today just after Bible Study with the hope of getting up to Mackinaw City in time to catch a ferry to the Island and do some biking. Throughout the week I'd been checking the weather forecast and up until the weekend it was forecasting partly cloudy with a 20% chance of precipitation. I'd checked out ferry schedules and fares and decided that at this point in the season there was no need to reserve ahead, even if it saved $2/ticket. This at least gave us options I figured if we changed plans. And I'm glad I went this route.
Unfortunately the forecast now at this point in the game had changed to about 60-70 chance of rain. And it was raining in Monroe as we left. In the days preceding our departure and throughout the drive north I'd been considering alternate plans if for some reason we had to bail on Mackinac Island. For lunch we made a relatively early stop in Green Oak Township at Salsarita's. We stopped long enough to each grab an order of their nachos as well as a drink and an order of chips and queso. Sarah was kind enough to drive first after we left so that I could fly through my nachos. I tried the ground beef as well as rice on my nachos today and I wasn't pleased. The rice was mostly flavorless and while I thought it would be filler for my hunger it ended up diminishing the taste of everything else. After I finished Sarah and I swapped and I drove while she could eat.
It rained most of the drive up north with a few moments of sun trying to poke through. For the most part I had become resolved to bailing on Mackinac Island so it was time to come to alternate plans. Sure enough when we arrived in Mackinaw City it appeared on the radar as though there was a rain storm over most of the state of Michigan. Tough luck. In town I decided to stop in at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse parking lot which was on the beach and at the foot of the Mackinac Bridge. Here we took stock of the current situation and made plans to try out the Bridge and then see where we go from there. I also took this opportunity to change out of my church clothes which I had worn all the drive up.
I had to drive back through town just a bit to pickup I-75 which immediately takes you onto the bridge. Aside from a warning or two of the final exits before the bridge the highway pretty much heads right there. The tolls we would find happen on the St. Ignace side. The first causeway parts of the bridge were pretty normal and typical pavement. As the bridge rose in the middle the middle lanes became a sort of grating which allows air to pass through. We drove on these and the tires made all sorts of fun sounds as we whizzed by. We were hoping for some great views along the way but the clouds and the mist from the rain didn't offer us much. Upon reaching the St. Ignace side we hit typical toll booths and paid the $4 required for passage.
After the toll booth I pulled into a Welcome Center parking lot for us to take stock of our next move. There wasn't much to do or see in St. Ignace as it was still raining and cloudy. We decided to head back to the LP and make the short drive over to the Wilderness State Park. As we rolled through Mackinaw City for the 2nd time I made my critical error of the day. Knowing we were low in gas I didn't stop to fill up having the mindset we'd have just enough to hit a station on the way south to Petoskey. Bad move. I had underestimated the mileage heading into Wilderness. While it still was not of great distance it was enough I got pretty nervous.
From town we followed Wilderness Park Dr west and found that you can drive straight on in to the park. It appeared there were several private residences along the Lake within the park. We did notice as we passed a parking lot along the lake that was part of the park it had a sign saying "Recreation Pass required". As the road passes Big Stone Bay and the main park visitor center it becomes the Wagoshance Point Rd and turns into a narrow dirt road that winds through the forest. It was actually a nice drive and I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't watching the ever-dwindling gas gauge knowing we were 15+ miles from a gas station. We followed the road to its western end where it stopped at a half-underwater parking lot. It was still drizzling. I had contemplations of getting out and hiking from there to get to the western edge of the peninsulsa. But I also figured it was 5pm and very wet and could be easily 2 miles of trail to get there. So I opted not. Instead we turned around and drove about 200 feet back up the road to another parking lot that is along the lake. There we got out and walked around along the water for 20 minutes or so. There was a lot of marshy grass along the lake there and very little beach.
Though we werent able to do much at Wilderness today I was resolved it would be another great park to return to someday with the boys. Lots of hiking trails including sections of the North Country trail. There also appears to be good camping and places to enjoy the beach.
We headed east out of the park to Cecil Bay Rd and took that south and started a quick zigzag over to US31. I had found a Marathon station in Levering and was saying my prayers the gas would hold out til then. Thankfully it did and we put a whopping 18.5 gallons in. From Levering we drove on down to Petoskey and found the Comfort Inn that we had also stayed at in 2011 for Conference in Boyne. This year they gave us a $67/night rate which was pretty good for a Comfort Inn. We were able to spend some time drying off and warming up at the hotel until we made plans for supper.
The hotel room key had a decent deal of $5 off a $25 meal at Buffalo Wild Wings, and who are we to pass up B-dubs, so we headed over there. It was on the south side of town near a large shopping area. It was about 7 or 8 and things were pretty quiet there being a Sunday night. I tried the Two Hearted Ale from Bells Brewery. They had a nice selection of local brews and I knew the Hein's had just been to Bells and really liked it. It was an India Pale Ale and very hoppy. Left a very nice after taste and Sarah enjoyed it as well. For dessert we decided to splurge a little (and make sure our tab hit over $25) so we tried the "dessert nachos". These involved sweet-fried tortilla chips covered in cinnamon and sugar, cheesecake balls, and four scoops of ice cream. It was definitely yum, and quite filling.
MONDAY OCTOBER 7
We woke up today to breakfast in the hotel. Our District and Boyne Mountain, bless them, were asking for quite a large amount of money to have breakfast with the conference every morning and so the free hotel breakfast was a treat. I woke up with an odd headache this morning and almost felt feverish. As we sat there checking out the breakfast options I found myself being hit with a bout of nausea. I ate a few bites of generic Cheerios (which tasted pretty bad) and had my head in my hands trying to take in some deep breaths. I bailed early on breakfast and hit the room for a few minutes to lay down. This helped some.
On the drive down to Boyne I did start to feel better and the aspirin Sarah loaned me seemed to be helping the headache out. At Boyne Mountain Resort we found everything much as we remembered it from 2 years ago. Its still a beautiful place. The speaker for this year was Dr. John Kleinig of Australia. I was excited about this as I had used materials of his to write my thesis paper at the seminary and knew of him as a great author and speaker. They had us in sessions all morning and into the afternoon til about 3pm. For lunch they had the Mexican bar which I remembered enjoying at last year's conference on Mackinac. It had salad, chips, soft tortillas, nacho cheese, taco meat and all the good toppings. Very tasty especially on a day when I had all but skipped breakfast. Thankfully my appetite was back to enjoy it.
In the afternoon at 3:30pm they had breakout sessions. One was on stress management the other on 'Living in God's Design' which talked about brain research applied to church, school and home. Neither of these interested me in the slightest but Sarah was really interested in the latter. So we decided I would enjoy the break time hiking on the mountain while she spent time in the breakout session.
After the hike I joined up with Sarah in the Lodge and we made our way into the Conference center for supper. In 2011 they had it outside and it was wonderful. This year the weather was still cool and drizzly so inside it was. Tonight was BBQ night and it was a delight. They had ribs, chicken, and steak along with bread rolls and salad. I was pleased to eat my fill of this great stuff. Dinner was followed up at 7:30p with a Divine Service w/ communion in the conference center.
After worship we grew tired and opted out of joining others for Gemutlichkeit and headed back to the hotel in Petoskey. Instead we were able to enjoy watching an episode of Once Upon a Time together.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 8
This morning started better than yesterday and we were both feeling fine for breakfast. The food was still pretty average, they still only had eggs and sausage for hot foods, but it was free. I tried their cinnamon waffle batter and that cooked up pretty nice.
The morning went by with good sessions with Dr. Kleinig. For lunch they split up the wives and husbands. The wives joined Mrs. Pat Maier while the husbands remained in the conference center. Both groups had the cold cuts lunch buffet. I clearly sat in the wrong table as mine was one of the last to be dismissed to join the food line and things were pretty picked through by then. I was fortunate to find a few slices of bread and the remaining slices of roast beef to get a sandwich. When I finished up I headed over to the building where the wives were eating and found a nice couch to sit and read on for a bit.
I figured I would catch Sarah as she left but I must have missed her. I got a text from Sarah stating she was already in Kleinig's afternoon session which was about to begin so I had to run over there and catch up. The afternoon session ran until 3pm when we broke for the afternoon break. This year they started something new in getting Kids Against Hunger hear for an assembly line. About 120 people signed up, and while we were very tempted, we couldn't pass up the outdoor opportunities at Boyne.
We returned from the afternoon bike hike with just enough time to get cleaned up and changed for the evening banquet. For the banquet we sat with old college friends Greyson and Mendy Grenz as well as our frequent dinner companion and friend Chris Fairbairn. They had a nice fish and chicken combination with vegetables and rolls as well as red potatoes for supper. It was great. They celebrated the typical anniversaries and for entertainment we had Joybell Theater, a woman who plays songs on handbells entirely on her own. At the end of the banquet the conference hosts joked and said that Gemutlichkeit would be cancelled … in place of a Tigers victory celebration party, as the Tigers had just won game 5 in the ALDS over Oakland.
Sarah and I again headed back to the hotel afterwards to rest and to enjoy some more Once Upon a Time.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 9
In the morning I was fortunate enough to talk Sarah into waking up a half hour earlier so I would have time to go running on the mountain one more time before conference. We had the usual breakfast in the hotel and then headed to Boyne, where we arrived around 8am. Sarah took this time to go nap a bit in the Resort Hotel while I spent the hour on the mountain.
Kleinig’s last session was on spiritual disciplines in the home and keeping the fire for God’s Word alive in ourselves and families. It was really good. He ended at 10:15am and Sarah and I headed for the car to start the long drive home. We found a nice KFC/Taco Bell along the way for lunch and were able to get home just before 3pm for us to resume our regular LHS/Church activities in the afternoon and evening.