Adventures in the Mitten (& Above).

Over the past couple years, my girlfriend (Ashley) and I have taken a few trips.  They usually end up getting planned months in advance then going through so many itinerary changes, we just give up an pick somewhere at random 2 days before we leave.

True story – that’s how it was when we went to Chicago.  We were planning a 6 day trip.  36 hours before departure we still had no idea what city we were going to.  We’re very forward-thinking individuals.

Anywho… this time around we were actually pretty meticulous.  It was mostly because we were camping the whole time and it would be super inconvenient to have to drive 40 miles to the convenience store to buy socks or something.

Every time we plan to go traveling, we usually just default to a trip somewhere in Michigan (we live in Michigan).  It might not seem terribly adventurous, but after 30 years I’m still finding awesome stuff in the state I never knew about.  There’s also the topography.  We have forests, swamps, plains, mountains, dunes, cliffs, over-developed cities, and true wilderness.  Not to mention that the entire state is pretty much surrounded by freshwater oceans.  Oh – and we have, arguably, the best cider mills on the planet.

But back to the trip!  Departing from Metro-Detroit, we hit up Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Tahquamenon Falls, Grand Marais, Munising, Pictured Rocks Lakeshore, St Ignace, Cross Village, The Tunnel of Trees, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Traverse City, Glen Haven, Glen Arbor, and Sleeping Bear Dunes.

We were pretty busy.

It was also Ashley’s first time camping, so that was neat too.

Here are some of my favorite shots, as well as a brief Go-Pro video of our adventure.  If anyone is interested in any prints, please be sure to let me know.  I’ll be get these images posted to my fine-art site along with some other recent work and I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re up.

Thanks!

– Jon

A Legacy For The Ages.

Murphy_01

This Tuesday my golden retriever, Murphy Riley Kopacz, passed away.  He is 11 & 3/4 years old.

It’s sad.  The events of the last 3 weeks cycle through my head on a loop and it hurts.  But that’s where it stops.  Everything else is happy and, frankly, hilarious.  I just have to think about who he is and not about what happened.

He pooped on a shrew at the park in February.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen.  He hunkered down just as the little guy popped out of its hole to see what was going on… imagine what went through that shrew’s mind.  Hilarious.

We ran out of dog food one morning when he was about 5.  So we gave him a can of SPAM.  You ever see a dog try to eat a cube of SPAM?  It’s terrific.  Every time they try to take a bite it slides across the floor.

I was about 22 when I was hanging out with him on the beach.  A couple of rather attractive young ladies walked past and exclaimed how “OMG absolutely adoooooorable he was and if they could PLEEEEEASE pet him.”  Knowing precisely how to use my dog’s charm for my own gain I of course said that they could…. then he brought them half of a rotting dead catfish.  That one was probably funnier to him than it was to me.

Here are a few of the things he was by my side for:

  • The end of high school
  • 2 cataclysmic exes
  • The best relationship anyone could ever have (her name is Ashley and he ran to HER when he was in trouble).
  •            – Fun fact: Ashley was terrified of dogs until she met my 100 pound, teeth filled, carnivorous beast.  Now she loves dogs.  Yeah – Murphy did that.
  • 2 degrees
  • The entirety of the development of my career.
  • weight loss
  • weight gain
  • He was also the inspiration for me to undertake the longest-running project of my career.

He’s my hero.

If you knew him, you already knew how awesome he was.  For those who didn’t, here’s a look at Murphy

– Jon