Monday, August 18, 2008

Last Days in Michigan










Friday morning we got up, leisurely packed up the car -- seemed more packed than before. And made the drive down to Holland. No golf today. Seems weird, but relaxing. Stop in Cadillac for breakfast -- try to go to the place we went last year. But it's closed. The Big Boy looked packed so we headed back through Cadillac to Bob Evans. I'd never been to a Bob Evans-- great coffee.

Off we go. Frank's driving. He knows the way. Get to the motel and check in. What do do? Decide that we need to show Ryan Lake Michigan and head to the Holland state park. All of those years in Michigan and I didn't realize that Holland had a beach. Only thought that they had a Mejiers Thrify Acres. Ryan is impressed -- not just with the beach, but the young girls. Have to take a picture of the seagulls since that's what Ryan called Tom during the week when it came to food. Perfect nickname for him, even though all I can hear is that seagull in the Little Mermaid that sings really really poorly!

After the beach, then off to a blueberry farm -- Frank's good friends with the owner. We graze. Graze some more. Learn about the blueberry pickers. Graze some more. LOVE blueberries.

Drop Frank off at Linda's mom's and then off to play miniature golf. Tom, Ryan and I all start off with hole in ones! But that was just the first hole and we proceeded to get eaten up by the course. There are hazards (Tom found), four putts, and more. Tom took $1 from me and $4 or $5 from Ryan.

Dinner then bed. In the morning, we're playing the Ravines and have to leave before 6 am for our 7 am tee times. The Ravines is in Saugatuck. I'm carting Tom around this morning and playing the womens tees -- just worn out and want a relaxing round. Not even playing in the game. I manage to shoot a respectable 82. This is a great course that I hope we can play again. Saw some turkeys. This trip hasn't been as full of wildlife as other years.
The greens are in excellent shape -- even though you have to be on the proper side of the hole or three putts are definitely easy. Ryan's putting saga continued. Until the 17th hole -- a par three. He four putts.

And then proceeds to hurl his putter into the ravine in between the tee box and the green. About time. Time to buy a new putter!
The golf vacation is over and we pack up the car and head to the Grand Rapids Airport to drop them off and then head to Chicago. Stop by and buy blueberries and peaches and a blueberry pie on the way at the exit that would take me to Glenn Shores. It's not a bad drive to Chicago, except for the construction zones that slow me down. And all of the cops on the road preventing me from going 80 mph.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wheels are off








Well, Thursdays the wheels are really pretty much off - except for Tom. Well, maybe also Tom but he's so much better his misses aren't as bad as our duffs. But, we're at Bay Harbor. My favorite. Breakfast first at Sagamore (sp) at the hotel. First real meal I've had in a few days. No gurgling stomach. Get to the club, check in, check out the pro shop where I quickly decide on what I'll purchase later this afternoon.
Morning: Preserves/Links

Beautiful day. Not too windy, sunny, not too cold or hot. PERFECT. I know I haven't been really good about blogging this trip, but we've had a lot of fun, despite my ickiness. Ryan is a great addition. He started off as a legit 26+ handicap and has improved tremendously. Good enough that we don't mind having him as our partner (especially with all of the strokes) in a robin. Good enough that he's taking all of our money with all of his strokes. And I guess we can say that his putting has improved. Each of us has a different way of helping him with putting. Tom gets him all aligned. Frank works on his stroke. I just tell him in my own way where I would putt it and kinda how (i.e. dink, tap, easy). Depending on where he is on the green, it works. Sometimes...

Frankie is good at giving him nicknames. If only I wrote them down. Let's see: Dingleberry, Fuzznuts, Doofus, Baby, Lug nuts, Big Foot... all in love, not meanspiritness. And he takes it well.

Lunch on the patio in our regular spot on the Quarry 9th hole overlooking the water. Perfecto.

Afternoon: Quarry/Preserves. But, we have a problem. A deloitte "outing" that makes the round five and a half hours long. Killer. And no beer cart woman. Ugh...

Another beautiful day, but we're all dragging. Decide on pizza for dinner. And then at dinner decide that golfing isn't mandatory and we're going to sleep in (read: 530), pack up, have a nice breakfast and head to Holland early to goof off, play miniature golf and enjoy the day. How 'bout that? Yes, no golf one of the days. Just one more on Saturday in Holland at the Ravines.
Michigan trip almost over and time to head back to Chicago to see the family. And have more Aurelios!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 2, 3 and 4: True North/Little Traverse Bay, Hills/Heather, Ross/Moor





















I'm usually pretty daily about my blog, but haven't been this trip. For the past three days I've been suffering some sort of "intestinal malady." Don't know whether it's food poisoning or a bug, but yesterday afternoon Powerade became my savior and made the gurgles stop. Sitting next to my computer now with that same wonder beverage, hoping that today the gurgles will end. Sorry, but the photos are a little lacking too. I'll try to fill in with new "color" later, but I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things.

So, recap:
Monday, normal morning. Wake up, stretch, get in car, drive to McDonalds, get to True North. In the fog. Lots of fog. True North is a private club just past Boyne Highlands and is beautiful. Today, Frank didn't shoot a 78/79 -- I definitely didn't either. But I enjoyed the course more time #2.

Then off to Little Traverse Bay Golf Club, 995 Hideaway Valley Road, Harbor Springs, MI 49740, (231) 526-6200 (Golf Shop), (231) 526-7800 (Restaurant), http://www.ltbaygolf.com/

Get a little lost, but find it. Then off to the snack shack for brats and beer. Have to say then that it didn't sit really good on my tummy. But nothing was that day. Little Traverse Bay is a really pretty course. Great views. Like most of the Michigan courses, lots of elevation.

Dinner on the patio. I still just wasn't hungry, but ordered something thinking it would go away. Needless to say, after a really really long wait for our food -- plus the darkness and chill setting in outside -- I took two bites and ran to the golf course. No more dinner for me (Tom said it was pretty good). We get back to the condo and I promptly retire to chills and ickiness. Sleep pretty much none and then find I can't hold down pain reliever in the morning (that really sucks)

Next morning is Hills and Heather. I'm still not feeling great. Definitely not hungry, gurgling stomach. But, we head out into the fog (which looks like driving rain when you're in it). Hills is one of my favorite courses. And it definitely becomes Ryan's -- he shoots an 80-something (wonderful considering his handicap is about a 26 and he's been shooting 100s) -- and takes all of our money. Fewer three putts helped that score. I dont' shoot that bad either -- Tom thinks because I purged the night before.

Heather. I like this course too. I always forget which course is which until I start playing.

Dinner at Bob In.

Wednesday: Ross and Moor. Up again and still can't hold down pain reliever and have the gurgling stomach. I actually contemplate NOT playing golf. But the idea of golfing feeling awful, or watching the Olympics and Oprah at the condo. Well, golf of course seemed better. So, off we go again. I don't really care about golf in the a.m. and it shows. Oh well. The view is at least nice. Moor. Last time we played, we only made it through about 3 holes and it was so slow that we went in. So, I haven't really played this course. First cart girl I decide to get Powerade. SMART move. It made the serious gurgling stop that was so distracting (and a bit alarming).
I started playing better, but not great. It's nice just to not hear the gurgles. Moor is a pretty course. Lots of little marshes. The wheels have fallen off most of us -- this is round nine.
Dinner: Bob in.
Tomorrow, Bay Harbor.

First Two a Day - Alpine and Monument

Our first two a days began with an easy day at the mountain without much driving. Alpine and Monument. Start off with heading to the lodge for breakfast -- and we discover that there is no more buffet! We like the buffet at Boyne. Especially grabbing a couple of apples and some cereal for the course. But don't really need that much food.

Then off to golf. I won't retell these courses since I did last year -- in fact, don't have many photos yet. Maybe today at True North and Little Traverse Bay (new course).

Will tell everyone that it was CHILLY all day. The marshalls and cart girls (from Michigan) had on gloves and sweatshirts and were talking long underwear. And then there's this group from Texas all wearing shorts. But, as we kept saying, it's not 107 degrees!

Dinner and then watch a bit of the Olympics. Then bed.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Chicago to Michigan







Okay, seems like old times, only this year I'm blogging sitting on the floor in the loft of the Bowne Disciples condo we're staying at. Haven't figured out if this is going to be the place.
The adventure began uneventfully. Upgrade to first class. Flight gets in on time. Pick up Mini Van at Hertz (it's a Kia), and head to Al's. Lots of construction in the area, but I make it there in good time -- in such good time that noone is home. But, it's only 80 (yes!) degrees so I sit on their front porch and rock in the glider. I'm on vacation.

Al shows up and gives me a tour of the house (hard to believe how long it's been). Looks great -- so much roomier than before. Before I know it, the girls are home. A little shy at first, but then -- I'm their buddy. Don't know what they say half of the time, but they are adorable. Can't tell Lily and Clara apart at first, but get the hang of it. Good thing is that Clara likes green -- green clogs. And Lily likes blue -- blue clogs. That helps a lot!

They're having neighbors over for a pizza party in honor of Lily and Clara's birthday -- number 3. Robert makes yummy margaritas. After they leave, we give the girls a bath (they definitely aren't modest!) -- and then they help me get ready for bed and proceed to dress up in my golf clothes and high heels. Note to self: ship them old party clothes for dress up.

Off to bed. Don't sleep much at all so I slip out the door at 445 am and head to Michigan. My goal was to stop by the golf course and the cottage. Don't get that opportunity. Easy drive and find Glenn Shores without any trouble. It's amazing how much closer things are when you're older.

Glenn Shores is for sale. I walk around, look around. The course is in pretty bad shape -- actually, the main house more than the course. That's the sad part. Cars all over the place, weird fences. So, I get in the car and drive around to the cottage. Again, no more red house that you can see from the road. It's now behind stuff. And brown.

Enough of that. I head to Grand Rapids to pick up Frank, Ryan and Tom. Jason calls on the way. We'll miss him this trip. And he's missing us already.

NOTE TO PEOPLE READING THIS BLOG FOR THE FIRST TIME: Yes, if you don't golf, you'll be BORED. Yes, if you don't know these people, you'll be BORED. And, I'll edit postings and add photos as I find the time. It's hard to blog on the floor. And when you don't have time, since you're doing two a days.

On the way there, I stop by the HD store in Grand Rapids and then Mejers for sodas, pretzels, cherries (yum) and gas. By the time I get to the terminal, Frankie's here and Linda's already gone. Next: Ryan.
Now the adventure begins. Ryan's here. No bags. Don't know which flight. OK, now for Tom. We head to the bar and have lunch and watch golf. Pete calls to talk about Saturday at the club and "equitable play" (that's worth another blog). Tells me I suck because we had Aurelios. Tom shows. His bags too. Decision time: hang around GR until about 330 and get Ryan's bag. Let them find Ryan's bag, possibly ship to Chicago, then to Traverse, then drive to Boyne. 50/50. Tom sits down on the floor, boots up the computer and finds a course near the airport - Thornapple Pointe (www.thornapplepointe.com). Tom did say something about the movies -- but we nixed that idea.

We decide to hang out. Ryan's wearing flip flops and a tshirt, but they let us on. The internet calls it a nice, but "strange" course. Wonder what that means. The course is right next to the freeway and the airport -- and the wind is kicking!

We're in Michigan so the games begin: robins and trash! Ryan gets us a bit worried with a par, net birdie on the first. We didn't see much of that after that hole. Frankie's playing well. Tom... Me, not so good. The strangeness of the course is that if you haven't played it before, you have no idea -- even with the GPS -- what's over the hill. Note to newbies: GUNK -- thick GUNK.

But, the back nine I woke up and shot a 39. So far: Tom's a three time winner in Robins. Frank's killing in trash (12). I'm not doing bad. Ryan's trailing.
So, off to the airport to pick up Ryan's stuff. We pull up to the pick up drop off and drop Ryan and Tom off and pull over. Think the security guard is going to make us drive around. Instead, he chats us up. Just moved here from Idaho and Phoenix of all places. Hates Texas. Used to live in San Antonio and thinks it's an armpit. Oh well. He still lets us stay on the side. Tom and Ryan come out 10 minutes later -- emptyhanded. Seems that the competent airline (Delta) decided to ship them up to Boyne. They're on their way (we think). Tom and Ryan talk about the intangibles. Whatever that means. We'll see.
Drive to Boyne. Yes, bags are there! Check in. Shower. Sleep. Wake up. Blog. Pretty soon: breakfast. Today begins our two a days at the Mountain -- Alpine and Monument.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Vacation time

In about 30 minutes, I'll be heading to the airport for some time out of Texas. First, off to Chicago to spend the night at Al's house. Hard to believe how long it's been since I've seen them. Just was alerted that I've been upgraded to first class, so I'm even happier.

Tomorrow morning, get up bright and early and head to Grand Rapids to pick up Tom, Frank and Ryan. Then our golf adventures begin for a week.

After Michigan, back to Chicago to see Al -- Dad's coming in too, so we can celebrate Lily and Clara's birthday. That should be fun.

Last leg of the trip is NIRI SWRC in St. Louis. Happy to see that coming to an end. What a lot of work. We have a good showing and I'll be happy to see old friends. Ken from Aflac is making it in to speak and hang out with us.

Well, time to file the last few emails. Be ready for some pictures. Lots of pictures!