I was able to shoot back to the Mitten 2 weekends ago for a quick weekend spent in Northern Michigan for my friend/ former teammate John Dwan, and his wife Katie’s wedding in Empire, MI. I took the redeye from Portland to Grand Rapids, and was able to meet our friends, Dallas and Janae Smock for lunch at Founder’s Brewery in GR. Dallas and Janae’s 2nd little boy, Barrett, was only about a month old and it was really nice to meet him, and see their other son Bodhi as well!
It was funny because driving north through Michigan’s beautiful countryside really made me homesick. Both Neé and I love Michigan, and being back in the northern part of the state made me feel nostalgic. We had great times in and around Traverse City, and it was great to be back!
Because I was late to the ballgame, and Northern Michigan is absolutely NUTS in the summer, I never got a hotel room… So I rented a Jeep Liberty, and packed my sleeping pad and sleeping bag, and planned on camping on the beach near Sleeping Bear Dunes for the weekend! When I arrived to Glen Arbor that evening I was able to find some secret, secluded stretches of beach to take in a good ol’ fashioned Lake Michigan sunset.
The next morning I took my morning coffee, and drove to the very tip of the Leelenau Peninsula to Leelenau State Park. It is a pretty drive, and the very tip has a beautiful lighthouse. By the time I got there, I basically had to turn around to get ready for the wedding. In true dirtbag style, I took a bar of soap, and went swimming in Lake Michigan to clean off. The water was like bathwater…literally! (has Oregon made me a hippie? Hmmm)
Dwaners wedding took place in Empire, at a small Catholic Church. I met up with my teammates and took in John and Katie’s Wedding. It was a great ceremony, and I was happy to celebrate.
The reception took place at Snow Moon Ranch, atop a hill overlooking the lakes. It was an outdoor reception with beautiful surroundings! It was so good to catch up with my friends, and we laughed, danced, and drank until the wee hours of the morning. I hopped in the back of the Jeep, and caught a few hours of sleep before making the groggy 3 hr drive from TC to Grand Rapids early the next morning.
It was a quick trip, but it’s always worth it to get back with my buddies!