The Adventure Continues…

A Tiger In Arcadia

by | Sep 4, 2019

“I trust if your life is right, the right things will happen at the right time. If the chords are in harmony inside, I think other things will happen in the same way. That sounded highfalutin’ to me once, but I believe it now.”
-Gene Wilder

I never get tired of cruising up and down the hilly landscape and maneuvering the corners of M-22. It traces the pinky region of Michigan and is an iconic highway that’s been voted the Best Scenic Drive by countless tourist publications and television shows. Locals enjoy traversing it as much as the tourist for the stay-cation appeal.

If you’re traveling north from downstate, the M-22 cruise begins in northern Manistee County and reconnects to US-31 in Traverse City. The highway flows along the Lake Michigan shoreline and weaves its way through charming villages, farmlands and the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore to reconnects to US-31 in Traverse City.

On Labor Day I met two of my grandsons, daughter-in-family and her parents for a walk a new trail near Arcadia. The cool fall winds tussled our hair around and the skies threatened rain while we walked. It seems autumn blew in from the northwest a couple weeks ago and is here to stay with us for a bit.

Willie James and I followed behind my daughter-in-family’s car to Onekoma for late lunch at a small dinner with a partial view of Portage Lake. Afterwards we said our good-byes, and Willie James and I drove to Portage Lake channel to Lake Michigan. The cloudy skies had cleared up somewhat, and while I was in the neighborhood, I decided to take my time traveling home.

There’s no denying it – Willie James’ size and puppy disposition attracts a lot of attention. A simple walk across a parking lot now takes me 10-20 minutes as I am stopped, and asked the standard line of questions about my Chiweenie. Of course Willie James doesn’t mind, he’s loving all the petting and lovin’.

An older gentleman calls out, “Hey there, tiger.”

I thought he was talking one of the other dogs or maybe one of the children in the parking lot so I ignored his comment.

“Hey. I’m talkin’ about your small dog – Tiger,” calls out.

How wonderful, I thought. Willie James has a new nickname. I’ll be sure to add that to the list along with Precious (#1), Adorable, Puppy! (squealed by children under the age of three), and Doxie.

We finally made our way to the shores of Lake Michigan and found that, with the water table up so high, that there was very little beach to walk and a lot of people to walk around. With the desire to walk and not get asked the standard line of questions a million times (close, but not quite an exaggeration), I led our way back to the truck.

We continued down M-22 to Arcadia and stopped at the park to check on the condition of the playground and sitting area. With the water table where it’s at, it has eroded a lot of the sand away from the sitting area. We sat on one of the benches and watched another wind surfer cruise across the lake’s surface.

I hear a familiar voice say, “Hey there, tiger.” I know he’s not talking to me, but Willie James.

“I just saw you down at Portage Point,” the man stated.

“Yep. I remember.”

He leaned down and rubbed Willie James’ head again before we explored another area of the shoreline.

On our way towards Elberta, I stopped at the Lake Michigan overlook along M-22. There were too many people and dogs wandering around and a continuous flow of vehicles in and out of the parking lot. I chose to sit in the truck and enjoy the view. Willie James was asleep and I didn’t feel it necessary to wake him.

A few minutes later I saw the tiger-callin’ man walk to the wood platform on the bluff. I smiled, and thought, sorry, Dude, not this time.

M-22 has an array of spots to pause and enjoy the beauty. It was when we drove through the City of Frankfort on our way out of town toward home and I saw the gentleman again, I giggled. I reached over and petted Willie James, as I told said, “There they are again, Willie.” Looking in the rearview mirror, I said, “Enjoy your holiday drive, Sir. We’re headed home.”

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About The Author

CK Kochis

I am a writer; it's what I do. My mission in life is to guide women exhausted from nurturing others and the stagnation of daily routines to ignite self-love through the power of their words. I am utilizing my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach education as the foundation of to create a platform for coaches and leaders to share pearls of wisdom and professional insights. I wrote, designed and published “Get A Compass Not A Clock” and “UnLeash Your Story: A Journal Writer's Guidebook”. My virtual assistant clients keep me creatively busy, while my grandsons teach me about the importance of play.


  1. Barbara Parcells

    There’s nothing like sharing a day out in nature with a 4-footed BFF!

    • C.K. Kochis


  2. Vatsala Shukla

    Our pets are great ice breakers with strangers, Cindy. My dachshunds helped me make genuine new human friends and Miss Coco is a maestro in this. Enjoy yourself! Give my love to Willie James.

    • C.K. Kochis

      Willie James attracts love ‘n pettings from individuals from all ages and walks of life. I, too, have met and held interesting conversations with two-minute friends that I would not have otherwise had the honor to be in their presence. I will give your love to Willie James!

  3. Andrea

    Traveling with dogs brings a whole other layer to the experience. So glad you and Willie James found each other!

    • C.K. Kochis

      Yes it does, Andrea!

  4. Debra Oakland

    Go Tiger! You saw this man 3 times…no mistake. Willie James will open up your life in all new and unexpected ways. Enjoy the journey my friend! xo

    • C.K. Kochis

      Thank you, Debra. We are having fun.

  5. Kelley Grimes

    Cindy what a lovely story and adorable dog! With all the courage you have shown on your journey I would say Tiger is a fitting name for you too! Sending you much love and joy on your adventures!

    • C.K. Kochis

      Thank you for the kind, and encouraging, words, Kelley. He is adorable, isn’t he?


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