Monday, July 27, 2009

Traverse City

I recently took one of those online surveys where you answer a bunch of questions and it tells you which Michigan location would be the best match for you. For me, if the result is to be believed, that match was Traverse City.
Thus I suppose it was a good thing that that's where I just spent a long weekend. As with the vacation in Washington DC, it was good to get away from my troubles for awhile and just relax and have a bit of fun. Among the highlights of the trip: reading on a beachside bench while my kids swam and hunted for fossils (they found some nice ones, too... quite the junior paleontologists).
We also rented some bikes and rode around the TART bike trail along the bayshore and around scenic Boardman Lake. (Being an eco-nerd, I was happy to see a small wind turbine along its banks.)
The highlight for me, though, was a public observing session at the Rogers Observatory south of town on Saturday night. The clouds were pretty thick around sunset, but we decided to check it out just in case. Good thing, too. The clouds drifted away as if by magic and we were soon treated to awesome views of Saturn, the moon, some multiple stars and some really cool star clusters.
There's a saying among amateur astronomers: never look though a telescope you can't afford. Well, I violated that one when I enjoyed the view from the nearly half-meter-aperture scope located in the observatory's main dome, but I have no regrets. The view of M11 was a fantastic sight through that scope and was worth the trip for that alone.
Almost as beautiful as the astronomical objects we were treated to was the view of the Traverse City area from the hilltop on which the Rogers Observatory is located. From that vantage point one could see both bays and the lights of the city. Very nice indeed!
But now it's back to Flint, fruitless attempts at job hunting and putting the finishing touches on the final schedules of WFUM.
But those few days in Traverse City made it more bearable.

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