Yesterday, we said our goodbyes to Interlochen State Park and drove 2 ½ hours north to Aloha State Park. No, we are not in Hawaii but are near Cheboygan, Michigan. Aloha State Park derives its name from the Township that it resides in. The township gets its name from one of its residents who helped found it. James Patterson back in the early 1900’s had returned from a trip to Hawaii and named the township Aloha. Go figure!
The state park is not much of a park. It is large but packs people in so much that we feel like we are sharing sites with three other campers. It is more like a RV park than a state park. The photos I have taken of our site underscores what I mean. Fortunately, we are only here for 4 days before we move on to our next destination.
While we are here, we will have a chance to see family and friends that we have not see in years. Specifically, today we spent the day with a high school buddy and his wife, who we had not seen in about 20 years. Tomorrow, we will be visiting with my brother’s wife’s father, her sister, and her sister’s husband. Whoo Hoo!
Steve and I grew up together in East Lansing, Michigan and he was the best man at our wedding. His wife, Linda and Mary Margaret, have always gotten along very well and it showed again today as we all talked and talked and talked some more, catching up on the 20-year hiatus it has been since we last were together.
Steve and Linda love to go boating and today was no exception. They have just returned from an exploration of Alaska and knowing that we would be up here, hooked up their 22-foot power boat and hauled it up to Iron River, a town that is nearby. They came over this morning for breakfast, where Mary Margaret served up her delicious blueberry pancakes, all smothered with melting butter and blueberry syrup. Yum!
We spent the morning catching up, hitting the high points of what has been going on in our respective lives for the last 20 years, and then headed over to Iron River, where Steve and Linda are staying in a motel and where they had left their boat. Once there, the boat was hitched up and we drove over to the boat ramp on Burnt Lake where it was launched. Soon, with big smiles on our faces and the wind blowing through our hair, we headed over to the entrance of Iron River.
Skipper At The Helm
Ladies On The Bow
Entering Iron River
Houses Lining The River Near Town
Steve and Linda were taking us down the Iron River towards Mullet Lake, which is where our state park is located. It was so nice to be on the water again. It was so nice to be with Steve and Linda again. It was so nice to just enjoy the beauty that surrounds waterways and water bodies again. We shared with Linda and Steve just how much we miss our sailing lifestyle and our wonderful sailboat, Leu Cat, on which we spend 10 years circumnavigating. It was such a special treat to be on their boat and on the water again!
Nut Sedge Wetlands Surround The River Past Town
Of course, no good boating adventure can be complete without a little excitement. As we were nearing Mullet Lake, Steve asked my opinion of some storm clouds that were forming and which we both had been keeping an eye on. He then asked Linda what she thought we should do. Linda immediately advised that we should turn back and return to Burnt Lake because the black clouds looked like they were hovering over the northern end of Mullet Lake.
Twenty minutes later, we were back at Burnt Lake but by now the sky was turning black down where the boat ramp was located and the wind was rising. Mary Margaret and Linda both suggesting we make a run to the far side of the lake, where the sky was still blue and just hunker down to wait for the storm to pass by. Steve opened up the throttle and the boat rose up on its plane, dancing across the waves that were building. Soon the lake was covered with white, breaking waves, as the whitecaps raced by us. At times the waves were large enough to crash against our speeding hull, throwing water up and into the boat. Steve was drenched manning the helm in his attempt to quickly get us across the lake to safety.
Dripping wet, he spied a private dock that was empty and made a bee line for it. As we approached, Mary Margaret, Linda and I readied the docking lines and I grabbed a dock post and leaped off the bucking boat and onto the stable dock. Soon we had the boat secured but kept it well off of the dock to avoid it bashing it as the rough lake bounced the boat all over.
Susan, the elderly owner of the dock soon came out, offering to help. She offered us some little fenders that she had in her garage. Armed with these, we were able to bring the boat close to the dock so Mary Margaret, Linda and Steve could get off, on to the dock. It was thundering and lightning and our thoughts were that we wanted to get off the water. Susan suggested we retire to her house to wait out the storm in comfort. Steve and I suggested that the ladies so do but that we should stay on the dock to fend off the boat as it oscillated back and forth and at times hitting the dock and little fenders very hard.
Dark Skies Mark The Storm
Fortunately, the storm was moving to the southeast and we were on its western edge. Thus, the rain, thunder and lightning were a few miles away and appeared to be slowly moving away from us.
It took about an hour of manually fending the boat from the dock but finally the winds had shifted and the lake slowly laid down. We decided that it was worth the chance to make the run over to the lake’s boat ramp where we could haul out and put an end to our adventure.
After hugs and kisses with our wonderful hostess, we hopped back into the boat and off we went. All too soon we were hauling the boat onto its trailer and bringing it out of the water. All is well that ends well and now we had another great adventure to talk about!
We ended our day with a great dinner at the Thirsty Sturgeon. Armed with well earned drinks, we toasted to such a great time and thanked Linda and Steve for making the effort to come all the way up to Northern Michigan to share this time with us.
We will be getting together again soon as Mary Margaret and I will be driving down to East Lansing in a couple of weeks to attend my high school’s 50th reunion. Steve is on the coordinating committee responsible for setting it up and pulling it off. It is going to be a hoot to see schoolmates and old friends that I have not seen in 50 years…