Summer Vacation in Pictures

This is sort of like one of those back-to-school essays in grade school where I tell you all about what I did over the summer. Except with pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

Mr. Gaines and I went on vacation with my family in the upper peninsula of Michigan. We rented a cottage right on Lake Michigan, not far from the Mighty Mac. This was the second time we’d rented the same cottage as it’s just perfect for our small yet annoyingly loud and rambunctious group.

This is the view of Lake Michigan from the deck.
The view of Lake Michigan from our deck.

One day – Wednesday, I think, but honestly the days all kind of ran together – we went up to Sault Ste. Marie to see the Soo Locks. After we were done in Sault Ste. Marie, we drove along the Lake Superior shore for awhile, enjoying the pretty views and occasionally getting out to wade in the ice cold water. Mr. Gaines and my dad had decided on a test of manhood, which involved seeing who could go the furthest into the lake before getting too cold. (My brother did not participate in the test of manhood. I’ll let you decide whether that’s because he is smarter than my dad and my husband or whether it’s because my brother is a chicken.)

Calling it a Draw
My dad (left) and Mr. Gaines (right), each having gone equally far into Lake Superior, decided it was a draw and headed back for shore. So much for the test of manhood.

Mr. & Mrs. Gaines
This picture, also taken at Lake Superior, is the lone picture of Mr. Gaines and I together. This is because:

1. I’m usually behind the camera; and
2. I hate most all pictures of myself so any other pictures of me that may or may not have been taken on this trip are classified.

While seeing the Soo Locks and Lake Superior were nice, the primary reason for our day trip to Sault Ste. Marie was the West Pier Drive-In. You see, my dad had recently read an article in the Flint Journal about the top ten burgers in Michigan. West Pier Drive-In ranked second on that list so Dad was determined to see for himself.

Everyone ordered a cheeseburger except Mr. Gaines and my brother, who both ordered double cheeseburgers. It turns out, this is what the double cheeseburger looks like:

Double Cheeseburger
It’s a one lb. (after cooking!) monstrosity.

My brother said the waitress had warned him about how large it was when he ordered it. Mr. Gaines received no such warning. When he asked the waitress why not, her response was, “You seemed so confident, I thought you knew.” Needless to say, Mr. Gaines wasn’t able to finish his but my brother, able to unhinge his jaw like a snake in starvation mode, managed to get the whole thing down. We all would have been impressed but for the fact we’ve seen him perform similar acts of heroic eating on countless occasions.

And, as an aside, now seems like a good time to mention that I might, under other circumstances, feel badly about comparing my brother to a snake. However, in a campfire conversation about what our names would be if our family were Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, my brother suggested that I would be a dwarf named “Sleazy”. (If you must know, Dad was “Grumpy” and my brother was “Too Tall” which, while not seemingly fitting in the dwarf-y naming pattern, is appropriate because he is 6’4″ and I may have once, in an half asleep stupor, told him he was “too tall to love.” Unfortunately, I don’t remember what everyone else was named because, once I was assigned Sleazy I was too delighted to pay much attention to the rest of the conversation.) Anyway, the point here is this: I REGRET NOTHING!

One of the most delightful parts of the trip, for me anyway, was the Bald Eagles that paid regular visits to the lake and forest around our cottage. There were several of them and it was pretty amazing to watch them most mornings while we sat on the deck drinking coffee and trying to wake up. I am definitely not a wildlife photographer but I think the pictures are pretty cool anyway.


More Eagles
Bald Eagles aren’t born with the white head and tail – it develops as they age, becoming fully white when they reach sexual maturity around four or five years old. So the bird on the right in this picture is a young-ish eagle.

Another young-ish eagle.

We were also visited by several Blue Herons and Sandhill Cranes. Unfortunately, none of the pictures of the Sandhill Cranes turned out very well but here’s a fairly decent one of a Blue Heron.

Blue Heron

Another highlight of the trip for me was being able to watch the dogs run and play in the lake. Big isn’t much of a water dog but Lola and my dad’s dog, Bo, spent a lot of time splashing around in the water and even Big had to get in on it a little.

Dog Race

Water Dancer


Lola loved rolling in the sand…

That is, until her big brother came along…

And provoked a game of bitey face!
Bitey Face!

More Bitey Face!

After such a rousing game on the beach, both dogs were ready for a nap.

Big naps on the picnic table bench
Big, being dignified and, well, sort of finicky, thought it best to sleep on the bench of the picnic table rather than on the somewhat damp ground.

Lola naps
Lola on the other hand, being all around less civilized, wandered into the weeds, tromped around in a circle until she’d made a nice fluffy weed bed for herself, and settled in for a snooze.

Finally, although this post is already quite lengthy with all the pictures, I can’t resist adding these final two – quite possibly my new favorite photos of Big and Lola.



Believe it or not, there are even more pictures. If you’d like to have a look at them, go here.

Now, you go…what has everyone else been up to this summer?

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