Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The weekend in pictures.

We'll call it the "Tour of Eastern Michigan" weekend. Friday night in Berkley. Saturday morning in Ann Arbor. Saturday afternoon in Hell. Saturday evening in Oscoda/Greenbrush/Lake Huron. Sunday at Mackinaw and St. Ignas. It was the whirlwind trip.

It all started at Shanita's party in Berkley. I went up right after work and joined Shanita, Andrea, Annie, and Karen - right after a quick dinner at the A&W drive-up root beer stand.

Holly, Amy, Heather, another Amy, and a whole bunch of other Adrian folks joined us for flippy cup, my all-time favorite drinking game. It's more like a sport really.

This is Drunken Mike. I guess he has his own web site, but he didn't last too long. We saw he curling up in the grass, and later this chair, and we crowned him "Early Party Pooper." He was lucid for part of the bonfire chat. Then again, so was I.

Unfortunately I had to skip out on breakfast with the crew to head to Ann Arbor. Keith and I wanted to go to the Briarwood Mall Apple store grand opening. First we grabbed breakfast at Bob Evans, then headed to the mall where we waited in line for an hour.

The line stretched almost the whole length, and even double-backed in on itself. The mood was anticipatory. We all wanted to get a t-shirt (and most did). But mostly I just wanted to get my hands on an iPhone.

And what a joy it was. The keypad took some getting used to, but it wasn't long before I was checking my e-mail and looking up Katie's address on Google Maps. Keith downloaded a YouTube clip. The calendar feature is beautiful, and I even called and left Katie a message. On an iPhone. God, I love Apple stores.

After a quick ride to Trader Joe's for wine, I came home, took a nap, and loaded the car for our trip up the coast of Lake Huron. I told Katie that we had to "take a detour" first. She thought we were just taking the scenic route - and we were - but she's always wanted to see a little town called...

Hell. We stopped in Hell. We shopped in Hell. We took pictures in Hell. It's mostly two stores and a tourist stop, but it was kind of neat. They even sold one-inch parcels of land for $6.66. What a bargain. I got a coffee mug, and Katie got a dead rubber duck.

Fun times were had by all. Hell was right on the way to US-23, which we were taking the whole way north. I figured, why not? That, and I love taking the scenic route.

We drove up US-23, past Saginaw and Bay City and into Tawas City, Standish, Oscoda and stopped at the Pappas Motel near Greenbrush, just south of Harrisville. The motel was great - and one of the few vacancy spots the whole way up. It had a bedroom, a kitchen stocked with pots and pans, and seemed to cater to the hunting/fishing crowd.

We liked how it was right on the lake, so Sunday morning we got up and took a walk. This was Katie's first look at Lake Huron.

We had breakfast in Harrisville, at the Olde Place Inn. The breakfast buffet was sorely underprepared and understaffed. The poor ladies running the place never stopped refilling the eggs and waffles. But it was tasty, and we got our fill of fresh fruit.

A quick stop in Alpena, which had a beautiful marina and some sort of festival going on. The downtown section was really cool, and the breeze coming off the lake was refreshing.

Just north of Rogers City, where the highway ran alongside the lake again, we stopped at a little picnic area. I glanced out the car window and couldn't believe how blue the lake was. We walked down a sandy path to the shore, where some ladies were collecting rock, and Katie ventured out into the water.

I think it was Andrea who said people who haven't seen the Great Lakes don't realize how big and ocean-like they are. We were lucky weather-wise, because it was perfect. Sunny, warm, and breezy.

Ah, Mackinaw. Katie had been here, and to the island (spelled with a "c" at the end) before, but it was my first time. The town is one giant gift and ice cream shop, and I knew that if I came back home without some fudge for my grandma I'd be a dead man.

We browsed through the gift shops; Katie was looking for a sweatshirt, and inside the Mackinaw Outlet they had a giant fish tank full of salmon. Ugly fish, but they are yummy.

Just before you get to the Mackinaw Bridge they have a little park with a circa-1892 lighthouse. I wanted to get out and actually see the bridge before we crossed it. What a site. It didn't look that big from shore.

That changes when you cross over. To look out over Lake Huron and Lake Michigan - and see endless water on either side - was spectacular. And I couldn't believe that the shores were that close together. I guess on a map they look so far apart.

St. Ignas doesn't suffer from tourist-itis like Mackinaw does. It's more like a maritime town: a little grungy, with a fishy smell. We stopped off at the dock and went out to see the ferries come in.

And man do they fly. Katie said they're jet powered, and I believe it.

The waves from the ferry came crashing against the dock, and down below you could see the remains of the old dock, still intact.

That was it. We left Mackinaw about 5 p.m. and got home a bit after 9 p.m. The drive home was quiet (Katie was reading the new Harry Potter book) except for the wind through the windows and White Zombie from the iPod.

It really is a great state we live in, where you can see so many distinct personalities. Gov. Granholm, at the recent governor's meeting in beautiful Traverse City, pledged to protect the lakes from thirsty western states - and for good reason. The Great Lakes are a treasure, and make us a destination known worldwide.

How cool is it that, in a few hours time, we can see the largest freshwater lakes on Earth?

Pretty cool.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh you should have stayed for the Riverfest in Alpena. It's small but very interesting.