Did you know that there are lake pelicans on Lake Michigan?! I learned that this morning when Gatsby and I made a quick pitstop at Bailey Park….the pictures don’t show them particularly well, but there were a couple dozen of those prehistoric delights bobbing about on the lake. It was a very exciting revelation for me, and Gatsby was excited that I was so excited, so we both had a real nice lakeside celebration. Now, we’ve already talked about my general dislike of birds, but there are some birds that I find absolutely brilliant…..generally the big, goofy birds a la flamingoes, pelicans, ostriches, and peacocks. There are probably a few more, but I can’t think of them at the moment. Ooooh, the now defunct Dodo holds a special spot in my heart because that’s one of my many nicknames for Gatsby (the others include ‘Sweetface’ (self explanatory) and ‘Biff’ (from Back to the Future because it’s one of my favorite movie trilogies (also love Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but only the OG versions…..anything after that, in my book, can suck it), and also because Gatsby is big and dumb and handsome, and a dick to other dogs……he can make like a tree and get outta here!). I feel like I may have addressed him being Biff in a previous post, but if not, now you know, and if I did already, you’re welcome for the refresher, and really, anything that is reminiscent of Back to the Future is good, yes?
Day 36 also brings us back to Garden Golf Course for the weekend, and I’m so excited! My buddy Jack welcomed me back with an agreeable combination of M&Ms, bubbles, and banter. He also crocheted me what he called a doily but I know to be a washcloth. I’d like to clarify to anyone thinking it that bubbles refers to real bubbles, not champagne. Like the kind you blow and the dog chases and pops with his snoot.
Let’s go back and revisit the other days we’ve missed here. Days 32-35 were either in or on the way to Milwaukee, where we had to backtrack to get the van’s solar repairs taken care of. In Wayne’s World, Alice Cooper exlpains that Milwaukee is Algonquin for ‘The Good Land,’ and I think he might have been a little off. Milwaukee makes me want to take back some of the nice things I said previously about Wisconsin, and I definitely rescind the part about the good roads. The roads in and around Milwaukee were total bullshit, and the drivers were even worse. I thought Hecate might break. Downtown Milwaukee itself was good; everything on the outskirts (which extends quite a bit farther than I would expect) was rubbish. Car theft is prevalent there, and I was informed of a game that kids play called, ‘Flip Car,’ which is where some asshole teenagers, or young adults, steal a car, buckle up, and legit TRY TO FLIP THE CAR! What in the Tom Fuckery is this?! Possibly Darwinism at its finest, depending on the outcome. You know what? As long as no innocent bystanders are hurt in the process, I say have at it, you fuckwits. I hope all Milkwaukeeans have good auto insurance.
The plusses about Milwaukee were that I did indeed get the major van issues fixed (we are back in power, that blasted awning is no longer occupying our inside space (I have seen the inside of my freezer for the first time in three weeks!), and my refrigerator is no longer overcondensating). I got to break fast with my longtime-ago Army buddy, Chris, and I got to meet my van guy and prime how-to-be-good-at-customer-service example, Oliver, in person! The world could use more Olivers. All-around good guy, has a strong sense of community, wants to have meaningful connections with people, and a feminist, to boot. I don’t think it gets better than that. If it sounds like I have a crush on Oliver, it’s because I totally do, but to be fair, it’s like a I have a wonderful human being crush, and I’d spout the same heart-eyes at him if he were a chick. Just in case you were wondering.
Day 32’s overnight was in Chilton, WI at a brewery. I am going to go ahead and say that the brewery probably shouldn’t have been part of HH. The bartender told me to park anywhere in the small lot behind the brewery, but that the business didn’t actually own the lot. He then proceeded to bash a HH client whose review had mentioned that the parking situation was iffy. He followed that up with about 50 minutes of asking me questions, and then interrupting me while I was attempting to answer them. It didn’t help that out of the dozen or so shot glasses of beer that I sampled, not one of them hit the palette right, so I couldn’t even alleviate the agony of the situation by numbing my senses. It was reminiscent of the BW experience early on where the dude wouldn’t get off my jock, but at least in this scenario, I was able to just get up and walk out.
On Day 33, we had a lot of day and not a lot of drive, so I did my go-to of finding a park to keep the van in the sun and us in the shade, since the temperature was something resembling Satan’s taint. There was a glorious breeze, and for almost 4 hours, we sat sweat free and WITHOUT SEEING ANOTHER DOG, which was good for both our souls. We had the superlative timing to show up just as some water guy showed up to flush the hydrant, so Gatsby got to play in his own personal shower/stream/lake, and I got to read 68% of my newest Kindle loan, a thriller called The Last Mrs. Parrish. Good beach read. 4.2/5 stars.
My last Milwaukee overnight was at a country club, but it just couldn’t compare to North Shore or Garden. I now hold all golf course overnights to those standards, but I feel I will likely be disappointed over and over. I once again left Wisconsin without sampling the Jucy Lucy my cousin recommended, but I have learned that the Jucy Lucy actually originated in Minnesota and not Wisconsin, which makes me feel moderately better about this.
Day 34 was the longest drive, so naturally Mother Nature decided to be a tempestuous bitch with wind gusts in the high teens, turning my 3.5 hour drive into closer to 5. We have talked about how much I enjoy driving in the wind, right? I didn’t actively appreciate it at all, nor did my now-arthritic hands, but maybe the universe was helping me practice for my pending Mackinac Bridge crossing, which just the thought of makes my sphincter tighten. If all else fails, I’ve learned that one can hire a driver to drive their vehicle across the bridge (you know, in lieu of having a panic attack and passing out, crashing your car halfway across), but realistically, that might be even worse for me. Anyone who’s ever had me in their car can vouch that I do not excel at passenging.
The both literal and metaphorical rainbow at the end of the wind tunnel was another day spent at North Shore. I trained a couple of clients, played some barefoot golf, and was way more social than I’m used to, once again (it does seem to be a theme on this trip, doesn’t it?) courtesy of the old geezers (and I use that in the fond Brit way, not the derogatory Yank way) plying me with food and drink in the clubhouse. I broke a few hearts, turned down a few marriage proposals, and drank a few G&Ts. On an aside, if you ever want to learn about local lore and history, particularly dark history (and let’s face it…..being a Halloweenie, how can I not have a love of the macabre?), go see my man Kurt. He’s a fountain of knowledge. I took the boy for a little galumph on the beach and we got there just in time for a beautiful incoming rainstorm/sunset which made for a bevy of beautiful photographs. It was a good day.
So here we are resting our minds and butts before trivia night at the Garden. We’ve (using the royal We, here) been promised the kind of luxurious and wasteful shower that allows you to run the water for the duration, and I’m not going to pass that up, since the next stop on our tour is two weeks in the middle of nowhere. In fairness, given Gatsby’s penchant for joining me in the shower, I might really be using the plural form. I’ll keep you posted.