Sunday, June 5, 2011

Turtle Lake

I'm starting to specialize in last-minute adventures. An opportunity came along that was too good to pass up. As part of my current job, I need to be in Michigan on some weekends. The most efficient way is to work two weekends in a row and find my own place to stay during the week. On a Thursday evening, I learned that I would need to work the next two weekends. Percilla's work was slow so she was able to take the next week off. The weather forecast looked surprisingly perfect. The next morning, we headed East and made reservations at Turtle Lake Resort on the way.

Keep in mind that this was probably the first week that was nice enough to be nude outdoors. I was fully expecting the resort to be in "recovery mode" from winter, and to be a ghost town. It was. The resort owns 163 acres, all of which seem to get used somehow. There were at most 20 people at the resort during our stay.

Monday afternoon we checked in to our Mirror Lake suite. We got the obligatory newbie tour around the resort in a minivan, since the golf cart had a flat tire from sitting all winter. She did a great job with the tour and told us everything we needed to know for our stay. Some of the bathhouses and the conversation pool were still closed. Most striking to me was that she pointed out the tire spikes at the exit, and noted that we shouldn't worry because the go down as we exit the premises. I'm in a company vehicle and will be driving over tire spikes with no repair shops nearby. That thought concerned me.

We drove to the cottage and checked out the room. All of the Mirror Lake cottages are nice rooms with a full kitchen, dishes and cookware, full-size fridge, microwave, and propane cook-top. We had three complaints though. First was that the propane room heater roared while it ran. It's the loudest room heater I've ever heard even though I kept it on the lowest setting. We ended up shutting it off at night so we could sleep. (With that off, all we heard was frogs and other critters outside.) Second was that the bathroom sink was plugged and mostly full of water. It's likely that the problem was from last fall and communication broke down between housekeeping and maintenance to get it fixed. No big deal, they let us switch rooms. The third issue was water. The water had a horrible smell, and it concerned us so much that we didn't use it all week. (This was our first of three challenges today.) Per recommendations from the staff, we should've turned the tub full-on and left for a couple of hours to purge the old water. We'll leave it to housekeeping to do that. We filled up some bottles at the clubhouse for our use.

The room switch was certainly an upgrade! Two suites face Turtle Lake, which is somewhat distant and the view you get is mostly grass and trees. The other two suites face Mirror Lake, which gave us a week-long view of the small lake with ducks, geese, and a swan. My recommendation is to get the suite by the parking lot that faces Mirror Lake if it's available.

The next challenge for us was internet. Since this was a work-vacation, it was critical that I could log on. I got a username and password from the office, but it didn't work. The office was closed by the time I knew it was having problems, and nobody looked young enough to be tech-savvy. We called the only person we knew who has used the internet here -- Bob -- who stayed here three years ago and had to plug directly into the ethernet at the office. Since then, they upgraded to wifi. Their system is outsourced similar to most hotels, but it seems more flaky than the hotel wifi that I've used. If your user/pass doesn't work, bad things happen. Tuesday morning, after a couple hours in the office, we finally got it working. I was able to work from the suite. Signal is strong in all of the common areas.

The final challenge for Monday was food. We were hoping that the Sunnier Buns Cafe would have some weekday hours, but they didn't. The kitchen was closed and there doesn't appear to be a community kitchen. If we were tent camping, like we usually do, this would present a big problem. The suite was fully capable of storing and preparing food, but we needed to put on clothes and brave the spikes to get some.

Union City, with a population of less than 2,000, isn't actually a city. It certainly has the small town flavor. Everyone knew each-other by name. We stopped at a family restaurant on the way which had ginormous and delicious sandwiches, then went in to town to the small grocery store. We stocked up enough to survive for the rest of the week.

After we got settled in we really did start to enjoy the resort. I worked in the mornings and evenings when it was a bit chilly to be naked outside. The whole time, I was enjoying the view of the lake and the abundant wildlife making use of it. Percilla would usually do a morning swim and walk around the resort. When the moment was right for me, we would both venture out for a swim. We played mini-putt, pool, ping-pong, shuffleboard, and air hockey. There weren't enough for volleyball, and we skipped tennis, badminton, horseshoes, and bocce ball. The resort has several frisbee golf holes, but they don't have a map yet. If I had the time, I would've drawn up a map for them while finding and playing each of the holes.

Two of the days we spent a lot of time in the paddle-boats. We cruised all around the clothing-optional area in the regular paddle-boats, and bravely covered up and ventured out on to the main lake for a while. The second day, we tried out the more challenging boats. They are a big tricycle with floating wheels. They were twice the work so we didn't get too far. We enjoyed it all.

Most nights, we went for a "late night swim" as I jokingly called it. (The intent was late night, but it ended up being around 9:00 since the clubhouse closes at 10.) The clubhouse is quite nice. It has a big recreation area for games and dances, a kids room, locker rooms (mens, womens, and two co-ed), a decent sized pool that is geared for water volleyball, and a decent sized hot tub. The air jets on the hot tub were another thing that didn't work yet, but we still enjoyed soaking and watching the sun set through the big windows late in the evening.

We met a few other guests, but not enough for me to report any conclusive demographics. There were a few of each gender. There were also kids present from two different families, but all wore clothes while their parents went naked. Everyone we met in the office also wore clothes -- we never saw them naked either in the office or elsewhere around the resort. Regulars wore clothes a lot too, even on days that were warm enough to be naked. Since this was a big AANR resort, and most were wearing clothes, we wondered if AANR people just enjoy clothing more. Percilla was a little uncomfortable walking around the resort alone when most others were dressed despite good weather.

All-in-all, we had a wonderful quiet stay at this huge resort. I'd love to attend a summer event, since I'm sure the place would be rockin'. All the problems and challenges we had this week would disappear. We won't need the heater, food and water would be available, and there would be plenty of naked guests to chat with and play games against. I would highly recommend this resort for both first-timers and seasoned naturists.

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