Forty-sixth Lighthouse Expedition

August 24-29, 2005
Bois Blanc Island and Straits of Mackinac

August 24, 2005, Wednesday

9:25 am
We left home and made a quick stop at the Meijer store.
1:00 pm
We stopped at McDonald's in Cadillac and picked up lunch to eat on the way.
2:00 pm
We arrived in the town of Manistee to view some of the 5' tall painted lighthouses. Local artists had painted them and they are located in various businesses in the town. An auction will be held on September 17 to sell them. The starting bids range from $325 to $2200. They were fun to see.
2:40 pm
We left Manistee.
3:20 pm
We arrived at the home of Dan and Trudi Hook in Beulah, MI. They are members of our church and have retired to this town on beautiful Crystal Lake. Trudi and Diana worked together for over 21 years. Their home is in a major state of renovation.
5:30 pm
We went to the nearby town of Elberta and had dinner at the Mayfair Tavern. After dinner we went to the overlook and saw the Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse. Dan and Don decided to walk out onto the south breakwater for pictures. We then took a drive around Crystal Lake and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. (On a previous visit in June, we also visited the Point Betsie Lighthouse which is now open for tours including the tower. The day after we were there, the scaffolding went up to start the tower renovation. Talk about good timing.)

August 25, 2005, Thursday

8:30 am
Since the Hook's kitchen is in the renovation process, we went to the Brookside Inn for breakfast. Trudi and Diana walked around the town of Beulah and after we returned to their home, Dan took us all on a boat ride.
12:50 pm
We left beautiful Beulah.
2:50 pm
We stopped in Charlevoix at the Dairy Queen for a traditional lighthouse tour treat.
4:10 pm
We arrived at the Super 8 Bridgeview Motel in Mackinaw City. This motel is located across the street from the Old Mackinaw Point Lighthouse. After we checked in we went over to the lighthouse and the gift shop. Don took pictures and then we walked along the lake to the base of the Mackinaw Bridge. Don stood underneath the bridge (on shore) while Diana took his picture - he was half in Lake Huron and half in Lake Michigan. Friends from previous lighthouse trips, Tom & Lynn Baumgarten from Tomah, WI arrived at the motel about 5:45 and Dave Snyder from the USLHS and his sister Cheryl Debelak from Cheboygan, MI arrived at 7:00. We all went to the Dixie Saloon in Mackinaw City for dinner at 7:15 p.m.
9:00 pm
We arrived back at the Super 8 Motel.

August 26, 2005, Friday

Our 38th Wedding Anniversary
7:40 am
We met Tom and Lynn for a continental breakfast at the motel.
8:15 am
Don, Diana and Tom left the motel and Lynn stayed in Mackinaw City to shop.
8:45 am
We arrived at Jim & Cheryl Debelak's in Cheboygan, to pick up Dave Snyder.
9:00 am
We left the Debelak's and drove the short distance to the Plaunt Ferry dock.
9:30 am
We left Cheboygan on the ferry to Bois Blanc Island. This island is located south of Mackinac Island in Lake Huron. There are only about 40 year round residents on the island. On the ferry we met Ray Plaunt whose family runs the ferry. His grandfather, Henry Metivier was a lighthouse keeper on the island and his mother was raised at the lighthouse. Also on the ferry was Tom Lower and his wife who have a home on the island. Because of the directions and assistance from these two gentlemen, our lighthouse journey was successful. Tom explained that many trees fall on the island, especially the north shore, sometimes blocking the road. He offered his chain saw in case we ran into such a problem.
10:15 am
The ferry docked on Bois Blanc and after a quick stop at Tom's to pick up the chain saw, we were off. Don drove as fast as the winding dirt and gravel roads would allow. The ferry dock was on the southern shore of the island and the lighthouse is on a peninsula on the northern shore.
10:40 am
At Tom & Ray's suggestion, we parked the car near Dear Lake and hiked the narrow tree rutted path to the lighthouse. ( A 4 wheel drive vehicle could have made the trip, but we did not want to chance it and get stuck.) We hiked the 1.5 miles to the lighthouse as fast as we could.
11:00 am
Arrived at the Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse. This two story brick lighthouse with attached tower is privately owned. No one was in attendance, and the house was closed up. We walked down to the beach and were able to get some nice pictures.
11:20 am
We left the lighthouse and retraced our way back to the vehicle and then drove back across the island to the ferry dock with short stops to drop off Tom's chain saw (While we didn't need it, it was comforting knowing that we had it. It certainly was nice of him to loan it to strangers.) and at the only store/deli/gas station on the island. We were hot and thirsty! We also enjoyed delicious cookies which Cheryl had sent with us.
12:20 pm
We arrived back at the ferry.
12:30 pm
The ferry left the dock. The reason we did all of this in a rush was the next ferry didn't leave Bois Blanc until 5:00 p.m.
1:15 pm
We arrived back in Cheboygan. We saw the Cheboygan Crib Light at the entrance to the Cheboygan River while on the ferry.
1:25 pm
We went to the Cheboygan River Front Range Light. This building is now owned by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. However, it was closed when we were there.
1:30 pm
We dropped Dave back off at Cheryl and Jim's house.
1:50 pm
We arrived in Mackinaw City.
2:00 pm
We toured the Old Mackinaw Point Lighthouse including climbing the tower. Lighthouse keeper Charlie was there to greet us. From there we went to Mackinaw City to walk around and do some shopping.
3:45 pm
We arrived back at the Super 8.
4:45 pm
We went with Tom and Lynn to Cheboygan to Jim and Cheryl's. We enjoyed a wonderful picnic and anniversary celebration. The weather was wonderful and we were able to spend the evening visiting outside on their deck.
11:00 pm
Arrived back at the Super 8 in Mackinaw City.

August 27, 2005, Saturday

(Raining)
8:30 am
Met Tom and Lynn for continental breakfast at the Super 8. Since it was raining we weren't in any big hurry to leave!!!
10:50 am
We checked out of the motel and went shopping in Mackinaw City.
1:00 pm
We had lunch at MaMa Mia's restaurant. It had stopped raining by this time and Diana walked around the craft show while Don walked around the Corvette Show. (This was the weekend of the Corvette convention in Mackinaw City and cars very old and new were parked all around town.) Diana was delighted to find the booth by Bill and Ruth Penrose. He is a lighthouse photographer and their books on Michigan lighthouses are excellent. We have recommended them to many people who have asked about touring Michigan lighthouses, as maps to locate lighthouses are included.
3:00 pm
Went to the Dairy Queen for another treat.
3:30 pm
Left Mackinaw City.
3:45 pm
Arrived at the Holiday Inn Express in Pellston.
6:30 pm
Went to the Pellston airport across the street from the Holiday Inn. This is where the people were gathering who were on the Eastern Great Lakes Lighthouse Tour led by Dave Snyder of the US Lighthouse Society. While we are not on the tour, (we have seen most of the lights on this tour on our own) we were invited to have dinner with them. We have traveled with over half of the people on this tour. We were very surprised to run into our friends Marv and Mary Jane Jewell from East Jordan. (We are staying at their home on Sunday evening!). After Dave made a few announcements and introduced the people on the tour (including those of us who were interlopers) we had a wonderful dinner.
9:30 pm
We returned to the Best Western and played the now infamous card game TIC with Dave, Lynn, Tom and Christi Pilon (from Channel Islands Beach, CA). Eric Maul and Leigh and Doug Shuck observed.

August 28, 2005, Sunday

(Beautiful weather again!)
7:30 am
We had a continental breakfast at the motel and bid our farewells to Tom and Lynn. They are heading over the bridge and visiting some of the lighthouses in the UP before going home to Tomah, WI.
9:00 am
We left the Holiday Inn Express in Pellston.
9:15 am
Arrived in Mackinaw City and did a little more shopping.
10:00 am
Went to the Shepler's ferry dock. At this time we noticed smoke coming from the downtown area and heard the fire trucks arriving. We were told that MaMa Mia's restaurant, where we had had lunch the day before, was on fire. The very sad part about this is that the Mackinaw Bridge Museum is located on the second floor and by the end of the day, both had been destroyed.
10:40 am
We left the ferry dock with the members of the Eastern Great Lakes Lighthouse tour. Dick Moehl and Sandy Planisek from the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association were on board to lead the tour. They shared many interesting facts about the Mackinaw Bridge and about the lighthouses. Diana purchased a book written by Sandy, Reliving Lighthouse Memories 1930's - 1970's. For her book she interview many lighthouse keepers and their children about their experiences living at various lighthouse stations on the Great Lakes. We traveled under the Mackinaw Bridge to view the lighthouses in Lake Michigan. We had taken this same tour with GLLKA in 2001. (Trip # 38.)
11:35 am
Arrived at White Shoal Lighthouse. Left at 11:45.
11:55 am
Arrived at Gray's Reef Lighthouse. Left at 12:05.
12:15 pm
Arrived at Waugoshance Shoal Lighthouse. Left at 12:25.
1:00 pm
Arrived at St. Helena Island Lighthouse. This is the light that has been restored by GLLKA. Left at 1:10 pm and passed back under the Mackinaw Bridge.
1:35 pm
Arrived at Round Island Lighthouse. Left at 1:40.
1:45 pm
Arrived at Round Island Passage Light.
1:50 pm
We docked at Mackinac Island. (Whether spelled "aw" or "ac" at the end, they are both pronounced "aw.") This is where we parted with those on the USLHS tour. They are spending two nights at the Grand Hotel and taking a tour of the lighthouses on Lake Huron near the Straights of Mackinac and then in the eastern UP. They will also see the Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse, which we saw on Friday, but they will view it from the boat.
1:55 pm
The boat left the dock on Mackinac Island.
2:15 pm
Arrived back in Mackinaw City. We bid our farewells to Cheryl and Jim Debelak. From the ferry dock we walked back into town and the firefighters from 5 area towns were still battling the fire at MaMa Mia's. They were tearing down the side wall and smoke and fire were still pouring out of the building. (We found out a few days later that they believe it was an electrical problem which started the fire.)
2:45 pm
We left Mackinaw City.
4:00 pm
We arrived in East Jordan.
4:20 pm
Arrived at the home of Marv and Mary Jane Jewell's on beautiful Lake Charlevoix. The Jewell's were members of our church prior to retiring to East Jordan. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner, evening and the sunset from their deck.

August 29, 2005, Monday

11:05 am
We left the Jewell's after a nice relaxing morning and wonderful breakfast.
12:50 pm
Made a quick stop at the Tangier Outlet Mall in West Branch.
1:00 pm
We picked up lunch at McDonald's before leaving West Branch.
3:35 pm
Arrived home. (About a half hour delay due to construction on I-75 & I-475.)

Trip Totals: 11 Lighthouses, (1 new), 6 days, 819 miles.
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Lighthouses: A Photographic Journey
Conceived and Developed by David S. Carter
Photographs by Donald W. Carter
Text by Diana K. Carter, Donald W. Carter & David S. Carter

Copyright © 1995-2006 David S. Carter, Donald W. Carter, & Diana K. Carter. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means, physical or electronic, in part or in full, without the express permission of the authors, is strictly prohibited.