Brush with NASCAR Fame at Eagle Point

The King, Richard Petty, visited Clark Lake’s Eagle Point this evening, greeted fans, and signed autographs.  Petty has run 1,184 races over his 35 years.   His last win was the 1984 Firecracker 400.  The visit tonight is right on topic as this is race weekend at MIS. 

Both the old and young were represented.  The 79-year old Petty was joined by 27-year old Joey Logano, who races for Team Penske in car 22. According to Wikipedia stats, he has 28 wins, 132 top tens, and 33 poles.

Photos courtesy of John Czyrka

Meanwhile, everyone at the Pointe was enjoying dinner and sunshine splashing off Clark Lake.

A Day of Contrasts

Thursday started with an awe-inspiring sunrise.   Thanks to Nancy Gass,  who captured it from her Oakwood location.

A brief thunderstorm was accompanied by flashes of lightning overnight.  It included a brief downpour that freshened everything in its path.  Once the westerly breeze stirred the waters, one of Clark Lake’s favorite attributes occurred–the sweet aroma of wind touching the waves in a atmosphere cleansed by the change in weather.  Fast forward to the 7:05 pm when a quick burst of rain swept across the lake.  Those eating on the deck at the Pointe huddled under the umbrellas or headed inside. 

With sun still shining brightly, conditions were right for a rainbow, and Bill Leutz captured it here.

There were only a few clouds in the sky as the sun headed for the horizon.

After the sun dipped behind the landscape, a closer view reveals the richness of the hues surrounding the sun.

A few minutes later…

To sample the feeling of the moment, here’s a short video that starts at the water and takes you upward.

Power Is Back!

A large tree branch crashed to the ground, but not before striking a utility pole.  The impact caused a major short and immediately power went down for a few customers along Eagle Point Road. Once Consumers Energy began work, it was necessary to take down power for a much larger area. Power was restored in the noon hour.  For some, the outage lasted over 4 hours; for others, not as long.  But nonetheless, whenever the power goes out, it’s what everyone talks about.  

When the branch crashed loudly to the ground, the effect was immediate.  One neighbor reported a bright flash, along with the noise.  The branch’s contact with the utility pole left the structure to mangled.

Once the a tree trimmer cleared the area, restorative work began.

Voltage at the pole is 4,800 volts.  From there, it is stepped down so it can be routed through your house via the electrical panel.



A Tuesday Eye-opener

It was hot today.  Good news if you were at Clark Lake because the water was perfect for a long swim.  It was cold enough not to be a heated swimming pool, but it wasn’t the Polar Plunge either.

 Late in the day radar showed a storm was heading toward the lake.  It wimped out.  Just a few sprinkles that weren’t nearly enough to quench the thirst of lawns and plants that look like they could use a real soaker.  What did happen is this–a sunset afterglow full of pink, purple, blue, and from some perspectives, orange and yellow.

Bill Leutz, who also looks west along the Eagle Point shoreline, framed the sunset from his location that revealed some of what was going on above.  Check it out, below.

Sometimes sunsets show promise as their hour approaches, but then fizzle.  That happened Monday.  Once the sun headed toward the horizon, it slipped behind a bank of gray clouds.  Sunsets are hard to predict, and that’s part of the fun.  Here it is while it stilled showed promise.

The Plotters

These people are plotting fun!  The Raft-O-Rama Committee met Friday night, one in a series of many meetings that happen throughout the year. There is much more to Clark Lake’s iconic event than the parade of rafts on Sunday, August 6th.  At this meeting they worked on details of the post-ROR events and getting the word out. (Front to back, left side: Ron Runyan, Josie Hones, Dan Omo; Front to back, right side: Christy Runyan, Frank Hones, Tricia Boyers, Beckey Ligibel, Joe Collins)

You may not know it, but the Raft-O-Rama Committee also takes steps to promote other big events at the lake.  Tricia Boyers is holding a poster that tells the story.  Many of these posters will begin to appear around the lake.  And a precious few will be save for posterity long after the events, posted on cottage walls, in garages, or in a few man caves.

Also about to be launched are these banners.  They will be attached to utility pools on Ocean Beach and Hyde Roads, and perhaps a couple other places.  Joe Collins and Frank Hones show what they look like close up.

Now at Doyles are the latest Clark Lake items, the newest creations of the RoR Committee.  Just to prove that a photo shoot doesn’t have to be dull, Dan Omo and Jessica Tucker have fun showing  off the new t-shirts, kozies, and frisbees.

But wait, there’s more.  Expect an unexpected item this year.   More on this later!




Clark Lake’s Obligatory Ritual

This ritual is something that people at Clark Lake look forward to all day–the sunset.  Tonight’s sunset did not disappoint.

And the afterglow.
This obligatory ritual is what Clark Lakers put on themselves.  As people congregate on docks and shorelines, they time it expertly, never missing a beat, and always camera ready.  Sunsets here are always a well-documented event. 

Do Sunsets Rhyme?

“History may not repeat itself, but it does rhymes” is a quote attributed to Mark Twain.  Does it apply to Clark Lake sunsets?  Sometimes.  It can be said sunsets are governed by the chaos theory, where small initial changes can influence eventual outcomes. The variety of atmospheric conditions that shape sunsets are practically infinite.  And the exact position of the setting sun moves each day.  Just like the weather, there are lots of variables.  So no two sunsets could be exactly the same.

If you’ve been following sunsets on this website, you have seen sunsets that are wildly different.  Others seem to have common characteristics.  But individual similarities don’t mean sameness.  So welcome to nature’s ever changing light show.

Here’s a review of sunsets from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week.

The sunset on Monday started out this way–a bank of clouds blocked the sun.

Once the sun disappeared beyond the horizon, it’s afterglow left this mark.

On Tuesday, lack of clouds cleared the way for the sun to project a bright yellow hue.  Recently there have been several sunsets like this.

A closer view reveals more of the color.

Wednesday night’s sunset had some of the same color, but the design was entirely different.

The richness of the design can be seen here.

Observing the sunset across water adds another variable–a pleasing one.  In this view, the waves get to play a role.

On evenings when boat activity is muted and only a light breeze, there is a common thread–a sense of peace.  This video from Wednesday illustrates a feeling of calm.

And about history rhyming?  Here’s what Wikiquotes has to say.  “This is very often attributed to Mark Twain, but the earliest published source yet located is by Joseph Anthony Wittreich in Feminist Milton (1987) where he writes: ‘History may not repeat itself but it does rhyme, and every gloss by a deconstructionist need not be a loss, pushing us further into an abyss of skepticism and indeterminacy.'”

Cold Enough?

It wouldn’t be a surprise if some furnaces at Clark Lake cottages popped on during the night.  Recent weather has been cool.  The June average high is 79, and low, 56.  But was it cold enough to cause a dusting of this along Hayes Drive?

Even though it looks suspiciously like snow, it is the likely production of cottonwood trees.  The Mother Nature Network website comments “these trees grow very tall and have large leaves, although their most noticeable aspect is their cotton-like seeds during the summer. These often accumulate on the ground under the trees, and in places where there are large volumes of cottonwood trees, it can almost look like there is snow on the ground.” 

And then there are those wormy things descending from oak trees.  The SF Gate website says they are catkins “that drape gracefully from the ends of their branches. If your tree is shedding stringy stuff in spring, it might be engaging in its annual flowering where the long male catkins let loose pounds of yellow pollen and then fall from the tree as new leaves push them out.”

Oak trees aren’t alone in producing catkins.  If you have a hickory tree nearby, you are well aware of this.

According to Wikipedia, these catkins are the hickory tree’s version of a flower.  At Clark Lake, they arrived after the Oak catkins made their appearance.

If raking catkins seems like a chore, nature’s splendor around the lake makes up for it.  Recently this website told the story of the Garden Angels

Others around the lake enhance natural beauty as well.  The triangle at Hyde and North Lake Roads, manicured by Dr. Lynn VanWagnen is an example.

You don’t have to look far to find other displays.  This spring these locations along the Spirit Trail were putting on a show of their own.


The Beach Bar’s Gear Garage

Gone is the old storage building across from the Beach Bar.  In its place are the beginnings of an attractive new building–the Beach Bar Gear Garage.  As the name implies, it is there you will find Beach Bar branded favorites–hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, swim trunks, and towels.  Convenience items like coolers, ice, bait, and outboard motor oil are expected to be available.  

The building project is proceeding under the watchful eye of Mike McKay.  His company, M-R Builder, is responsible for building or upgrading some 100 homes that line the shore of Clark Lake. Add to that the Pointe Bar and Grill.  Mike’s eye for what looks great is bound to result in another eye-appealing Clark Lake landmark.

For those who moor their raft or boat at the Marina, there’s another plus–the new building will house rest room facilities and showers.

Click here for the video and story of the demolition of the old structure, including comments from Mike McKay.

I-94 Closure on June 11th

From the Jackson County Department of Transportation:

“On Sunday, June 11, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), with assistance from the Michigan State Police, will close both the westbound and eastbound lanes of I-94 between Michigan Avenue and Parma Road, near mile marker 129. This closure is planned so Consumers Energy can install new overhead lines. Please seek alternate routes during this closure.”