Thursday, May 22, 2014

Road to Traverse City: Old Mission Peninsula

It's the morning of day 2 of our Traverse City/Power Island adventure. I had hoped to grab 3 Sleeping Bear Dunes Virtuals either last night or this morning, but we decided to pass on this trip (more on this later). If we added them to today's itinerary, that meant not taking the time to enjoy the Old Mission Peninsula before our excursion out to Power Island.

This trip was about spending quality time and finding quality caches with my Sweetheart.  As it's one of my favorite places - so beautiful - I wanted us to explore this area at our leisure. As this was TaGeez's first trip on the Peninsula, I wanted to share every view and every secret this Michigan gem held.

We started the day's explorations driving the Western coastal road.  This would take us past Power Island, The Jolly Pumpkin (Bowers Harbor Inn), Bowers Harbor, and the Bohemian cemetery.

Power Island viewed from Old Mission Peninsula
5 hours until the main adventure
Although I had promised him he could sleep in, TaGeez was up early and we were on the road quickly.  Since we had an early start and were not doing the SBD Virtuals, we had time for some extra peninsula caches.  Old Mission Peninsula has over a dozen "barn quilts' dotting the area, and almost all of them had a corresponding geocache.

These were fabulous caches!  Most of them were regulars, located within view of the barn, and some with creative containers.  My favorite was the birdhouse near the Johnson 2 barn and the mailbox at the Feiger barn/antique shop.  We grabbed all 10 of them!

To see all the barns, you can visit my blog post here: Big and Beautiful Traverse City (Barn) Quilts

Chown Quilt Barn GC3MAB1

Scenic Overlook from Center Road

Feiger Quilt Barn GC3MA4N
Bowers Harbor.  Beautiful, isn't it?  That calm water boded well for our excursion out to Power Island later in the day.  From this point, it's only about a 3-mile ice walk in Winter to reach the Island.

Bowers Harbor GCT7Z9
There were several caches that were "must-do's" with TaGeez.  One of my favorite caches is the Zombie cache at the Bohemian Cemetery. I discovered it in a rainstorm about two years ago (scared the heck out of myself) and shared it with my sister last year.

The cemetery sits opposite Bowers Harbor, just past the Bowers Harbor Inn. Many of the headstones in the cemetery are handmade or unique.

Bohemian Cemetery on Bowers Harbor
You have to pass through the cemetery to reach the woods (again, replanted trees from possibly logging?).  In the back is the spooky-themed cache.  I think TaGeez got a real kick out of this stop. Afterwards, we took a new-to-me road further up the West side towards the Northern tip, grabbing barn quilt caches along the way.

Near Zombie Cache GC2DCG3

I tripped over this listing recently.  I was looking for older caches to fill my JASMER grid. I have no expectation of filling my grid - I'm too poor for all that traveling.  But I'd like to get as many older caches as possible while they still exist.  Jack's is from December 2001.

According to the cache description, you have to park in the lighthouse parking lot across the way and then bushwhack (there are some trails in these woods).  That seemed like an awful lot of work, and we were running out of time.  There was still a long drive to the Marina.

As we were heading to the lighthouse to park, TaGeez and I looked over and saw an opened gate on the wooded side of the road.  It had a big, yellow sign that read "NOT A COUNTY ROAD".  Just beyond it were a few parked cars.  Was this a residence?  ATV trails?  With the prospect of a long walk with time running out, we turned in and crept along a tiny, dirt trail into the woods (Don't tell Jim, OK?)

Believe it or not, this trail took us within 100 feet of this oldie.  With a climb up a mountainside, TaGeez made the find!  Woot!  Just at that moment, my fears were allayed that I was not parked on a hiking trail as a Jeep roared passed and continued down the road.

Jack's Old Mission Fox Trot GC2E53
With Jack's quickly dispatched, that left plenty of time for the Old Mission Lighthouse.

Old Mission Lighthouse on the 45th Parallel

Virtual - Old Mission Home GCBB86
Unfortunately, two of my favorite caches (I Am The Walrus GC4BCET and Northern Rocks Between the Bays GC42C4H) were both disabled.  Probably because the little isthmus appeared to be under the water.  You can read about that adventure here.

Beach viewed from the Old Mission Lighthouse

The morning was drawing to a close, and it was time for a treat!  We grabbed several more quilt barn caches on our way to the Old Mission General Store - 163 years in the same location.

Old Mission General Store

Well?  Is it?
Of course, no trip would be complete without a stop at the Historic Old Mission Inn - Northern Michigan's oldest continually operated Inn (estab. 1869).  There's a funny story that Henry Ford (once an owner of Power Island) had invited Babe Ruth to Power Island to meet some children (Ruth was doing commercials for Ford Motor Company at the time).  Ruth arrived drunk, and Ford, a teetotaler, kicked him off the Island.  Babe Ruth then stayed at the Old Mission Inn (they have his autograph posted in the lobby).  The story goes he bought 12 sandwiches from the Old Mission General Store and spent an afternoon in front of the Inn, batting balls into the bay.

Old Mission Inn and Out GC14RW0
We were really blessed on this journey.  The weather was stunning, the water calm, and we enjoyed every stop on our excursion to the Old Mission Peninsula.  Our next stops included the last of the quilt barn/caches and a trip to the winery for my brother.  Now it was time to head into Traverse City and meet our new friends at the Clinch Marina.  Boat leaves at 2pm.

Here are links for all the posts in the Road to Traverse City series:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sign my (b)log!