That's right, our cast of summertime merrymakers headed North to make more merry. And so, away we go...
Monique is so proud of the kayaks mounted on Sprout (yes, our pickup is named Sprout) that you'd of thought she put them up there herself.
Sprout leading the way North.
Stella, Malcolm, and Henry having fun on the road.
After five hours in the cars with the gigglers, Michelle immediately decided to buy a car of her own for the return trip.
Our first meal together at the cabin in Traverse City. I can neither confirm nor deny the reports that the adults became the gigglers during the meal after a rather substantial bottle of Bushmills disappeared during the cocktail hour.
The next morning the pace was blistering....
Malcolm seems inordinately proud of his bowl of cereal. Henry just seems hungry.
Monique and John apparently both received the morning memo, which was titled "Wear Orange Today."
Arsen and Brigitte playing My Word.
Henry, Stella, and Malcolm playing Rummikub with Brigitte.
The beach was quiet early. This wouldn't last.
Malcolm and Stella led the charge to the beach.
Monique in the Adirondack fish chairs, waiting for the winery expedition to gain as much momentum as the beach expedition.
Brigitte, Michelle, and Monique all looking thoughtful after a visit to a winery. Yeah, I guess that's what we'll call their state after the winery visit: "thoughtful."
Michelle and Malcolm went kayaking into the dusk. Meanwhile...
Arsen, Stella, and Henry got the campfire going for s'mores.
The next morning the Dawn Cereal Patrol was back in the kitchen.
After breakfast it was time to head downtown to the Traverse City Civic Center to watch John play rugby with the Detroit Old Guys Select (DOGS).
As it turns out, the DOGS might've been well advised to wear just their tighty whiteys instead of their warm rugby jerseys, because it was 90 degrees and really, really, really humid. So instead of the usual action figures we have some photos of old guys walking around, gasping for air, and creating vast seas of sweat.
Here several members of the DOGS and the Michigan Old Blue fight over an ice cube that a spectator threw on the field.
You might think this is a photo of John, winded from several hours of rugby amid temperatures that rival the surface of the Sun. Alas, this is a photo of John, winded from tying his shoes amid temperatures that rival the surface of the Sun.
Meanwhile, the spectators found their snacks in the shade tres amusante.
And Stella was cool as a cucumber. Suspiciously so.
Mike Wilk powers over the hapless Old Blue scrum half while Stump, Toledo Doc, John, and Doc John think really, really hard about coming up in support despite the oppressive heat. I mean, we really thought hard about it. In the final analysis, if Wilkie had been carrying an ice-cream cone or a nice, cold glass of lemonade instead of a rugby ball, we probably would've made it there to take it from him.
Stinger scoring yet again against Traverse City. This was the culmination of our brilliant and complex game plan, which we called, "Give the ball to Stinger."
The fans erupted in applause and excitement.
Ahhh, now we see how Stella maintained her cool. She spent the afternoon sitting on a big cooler full of ice!
Arsen and John, discussing global warming's impact on scrummaging technique.
Malcolm and Henry running down the grassy hill. It was too bad they burst into flames when they hit the hot asphalt of the road.
Here is a photo of John stealing a ball in a lineout, then holding off four opposing forwards as he delivers a perfect pass to his scrum half. We're pretty sure it was Photoshopped.
Rob Jameson was so delirious with thirst afterwards that he tried to sip from the cup of tea in his Alice in Wonderland tattoo.
Dave Liedel dramatically re-enacted his head-splitting assault on Mike Wilk.
Then John and Rob kissed Mike's boo-boo and made it all better. In the meantime, Dan Pennington was checking out Wilkie's tush. Who can blame him, though? Wilkie does have a cute caboose.
After our voyage to the tropics, it was time to go to the beach in Traverse City. Here Malcolm wonders if he can jump far enough to clear the "No Swimming" buoy at the boat launch.
Later, after everybody had a nice, long, dip in Grand Traverse Bay, it was time for some hi-jinks with a local statue:
Stella dancing along.
John lends a hand.
Malcolm and Henry, along for the ride.
Events took a turn for the tragic, however, when Henry's head was crushed below the wheel of the totally immobile statue. We'll miss Henry.
Later in the evening Michelle read Stella's growing book of cartoons.
The next day we were on the road again, and headed up to Sutton's Bay.
Monique was very excited to call somebody so that she could tell them that she found an actual pay phone!
Shopping amid the colorful treasures.
Brigitte, Stella, and Henry.
Malcolm and the Dragon.
Stella sampling the tap water.
After lunch in Sutton's Bay, Arsen & Brigitte headed down the coast while Monique, John, Michelle, Stella, Henry, and Malcolm headed out to Sleeping Bear Dunes for -- you guessed it -- more time on the beach.
Michelle and John.
Henry hits the waves.
Michelle with a stick of driftwood. We weren't sure why she wanted the stick, but everybody kept well clear of her afterwards, just to be safe.
Henry, Stella, and Malcolm in the surf.
Finally, it was time to leave the beach...
... and hit the road back to Wolverine Lake.
(With a time-out for a lovely sunset in Cadillac.)
The next day was the last full day aux Etats-Unis for our French guests.
Henry and Malcolm launched a successful canoe fishing expedition.
Katie the Beagle was just happy that everybody had returned, and that she could once again bask on her own porch.
Our final big dinner together.
After dinner there was time for an evening pontoon fishing expedition. To be sure it was properly documented, Henry, Malcolm, and John brought Stella as their official photographer.
After looking more closely at her two brothers and her uncle, Stella decided there was really only one person worth photographing!
She eventually did snap a few action photographs:
Malcolm putting bait on his hook, while Henry casts.
Malcolm Paret, shadowy man of mystery.
John casts in hope of a big one. Or a medium one. Well, one, anyway....
One last sunset on Wolverine Lake.
The next day it was time to head back to Paris.
Stella managed to get her new mini-guitar through security, despite allegations that it could prove to be a weapon of musical destruction.
And here's one last photo of everybody hanging out at the airport with Arsen and Brigitte, getting ready to head off on their flight.
Goodbye and safe travels to you all! We had a great time hosting you again this summer (despite the wee septic tank issue, but fortunately there were no photos of any of that, so the blogosphere shall be none the wiser!) and we look forward to having you here with us for many more summers on Wolverine Lake!