It’s been a bit since my last blog for a few reasons:
1. I’m lazy.
2. My computer shit the bed, so I had to to order a new one and wait for it to arrive at my cousin’s house in Canton, MI. I had started my notes for the next blog on the old computer, but since it won’t even turn on, they are all gone, and I’m starting from scratch. Harrumph.
3. I got distracted in Garden by having so much fun that anything resembling responsibility went to the wayside.
That being said, I clearly have no idea what Day it is, and am not going to put in the effort to find out. All my effort today comes from trying to remember the last couple of weeks. Also, I’ll have to edit pictures in later. I’m on my hotspot right now, which lends itself well to basic internet activities, but something more robust is necessary for mass amounts of pictures.
When we last parted, I was heading back to Garden on a Tuesday, with the intent of leaving the following Saturday for the powwow. Spoiler alert – I didn’t leave until the following Wednesday, completely missing the powwow.
I had a couple of delightful lakeside overnights en route back to the peninsula and have firmly decided that boat launches are my favorite boondocking sites. While Gatsby loves the freedom of the forest (and I, too, love the psithurism, and really everything about the forest), there is something about sunsets/sunrises over the water. They are glorious. We did one overnight at Caribou Lake, and another at MacDonald Lake.
Speaking of sunsets over the water, we got a spectacular one here over Lake Erie at our beachside location tonight in Westfield, NY, where I am parked and have a western-facing view over the lake. Side note: Gatsby dipped his toes in his fourth Great Lake today, but she was incredibly moody, so he got a little scared and didn’t linger.
Anyway, back to the last couple of weeks.
I really couldn’t even tell you what happened in Garden, because it all blurs together in a conglomeration of late-night dance parties, drinks at The Dock, trivia nights, and hanging out with Lonnie & Barb (I’ve been adopted in their family at this point). After joining them for a night of grilling at their place across the street from the golf course, they invited me one Friday to go into Manistique for the Fish Fry at the Elks. I said yes before I realized that meant I’d have to passenge. Fun little tidbit for you: I am a TERRIBLE passenger. Like, really bad. It stems from a couple of car accidents (along my extremely enjoyable everyday anxiety) I was in when younger, that have at this point also merged together in my brain.
The first was when I was 20 and stationed in Korea for the first time. I was a passenger in the front seat of a car, and someone blew a red light and T-boned us, hitting my side. I ended up with some knee injuries, because like a drunken dumb-fuck, I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt, so I went knee-first into the dash, and also got to enjoy some staples to the back of my head where I went into the windshield. No biggie, but let me tell you, glass will make its way out of your body, so since the i̶n̶c̶r̶e̶d̶i̶b̶l̶y̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶p̶e̶t̶e̶n̶t̶ doctors at the SUSLAK hospital didn’t actually clean out any of the wounds before stapling me shut, I had glass shoving its way out of the back of my head for many, many months. It was all very charming.
The second car accident happened a few years later, when I was stationed in Hawaii. I was the driver this time, going down the highway in the appropriate slow-person lane, and some guy coming in hot on an entrance ramp side-swiped me, causing me to spin around a few times, where I ended up in the middle of said highway, facing into oncoming traffic while a mac truck barreled at me. Miraculously, that one only ended up with whiplash, but one might theorize that it had a longer lasting mental impact. I’m pretty sure the handful of people I have ridden with since then can attest that when someone is doing anything resembling merging next to us on my side of the car, I’m either putting my horse blinders up (that would be a hand to the side of the eye to block out the periphery, in case you needed a picture painted), or just having a run-of-the-mill panic attack. It’s a very attractive quality, I know. Pleasant for everyone involved.
At any rate, it didn’t really dawn on me when I agreed that I’d have to endure a 25-minute ride into Manistique and back with (and no dig on Lonnie, it’s just a fact), an old geezer (also, I hope everyone realizes that I use the term geezer in the most Brit/Aussie & loving way….we may or may not have previously covered that; also he’s 74, so he’s no spring chicken) with one eye (he’s a Vietnam Vet who lost an eye in the war). It was a hard notion to wrap my head around, so I had myself a cannabis gummy to make it all a little hazier. Let me just tell you…..Lonnie said he got commendations during his time in the service for his stellar driving, and I 100% understand why! While he drove a little faster than I would have liked to be going, he was paying attention to every damn thing around him, and I shit you not, I could have taken a nap during the drive. I was thoroughly impressed.
I made another journey, solo this time, to Fayette State Park, and while it was still glorious, it was extremely hot that day, and since it was just me and G, with no Jack to babysit him, I didn’t get to swan about in the lake as I would have liked.
There were copious amounts of cheese ravioli at The Dock, but this time we really kicked it up a notch and added cheese curds and buffalo wings to the mix. I wasn’t mad about any of it. Speaking of food, we ate at Duck Duck Taco in Manistique, which was a fusion of Mexican/Korean. I wasn’t mad about that, either. If you ever find yourself in Manistique, MI, I recommend stopping at both Clyde’s and at Duck Duck Taco. Just go ahead and resign yourself to being fat for a spell.
I honestly can’t remember at this point what came up on Saturday that prevented me from going to the powwow, but there will be other opportunities for that, and they’ll find me when I’m meant to actually go. I think this was actually a way to get me back to Garden.
I finally left on Wednesday, to get down to Canton for family time on Thursday. I wanted to get over the Mackinac Bridge while the weather was pleasant, being that I had my very fancy bridge-variety-anxiety going on. I believe the bridge spans 5 miles, or something appallingly long like that, and I’m not a fan of anything about this, other than taking pictures of it. I was told by well-meaning people to stay to the inside lane, but as soon as the toll booth broad said those were all grate, and the outside lanes were asphalt, I think you know where I wanted to be. It started off smoothly, with little between me and the water besides a bumper and some steel cables, but then it went down to one lane at the crest of the bridge, and wouldn’t you know it? - the one lane available was the inside lane – all grated! I nearly panicked, and truth be told, if I hadn’t stopped at the rest area in St. Ignace, I may have shit my pants at that point, but then I relaxed into it because you know what? Everyone else was driving slow, too, and this meant that even if I bobbled on the grates, I wasn’t going to hit an actual vehicle in the lane beside me; at most I’d annihilate a cone. After I came to that realization, I was golden.
I spent the weekend with one of my favorite humans, my cousin Stevie, his wife Tricia, and for an added bonus, my Uncle Larry came up from Indy for a couple of nights! I love family time. Family or framily time. It’s good stuff.
G and I departed Stevie’s on Monday morning, and I’d had these grand plans to take myself out to lunch at a schmancy restaurant in Toledo, OH called Mancy’s. I haven’t been to Mancy’s since I was probably 16. My Granny used to take me there every great once in a while, and I loved the Tiffany lamps, the stained-glass windows (I think they had once that as Wizard of Oz-based, and I need to see it in person again), and the dark wood. Granny took me there just a handful of times, but one time that I distinctly remember, she ordered me a hamburger, and must have ordered it cooked medium. Now, my palette has been a little bit slow to mature, one might say. I didn’t drink coffee until I was about 27, didn’t drink wine until I was about 30 (I know, who even WAS that younger me?!), and didn’t appreciate a medium-rare steak until I was about 35. So at this juncture in my life, when I bit into my medium hamburger and saw pink, I promptly started bawling. As one does. In fairness, this episode did not happen the last time I was at Mancy’s at age 16ish, this would have been more around the 8-year-old mark. I digress. I was dying to dress myself up and take myself out, but the weather said no. We were topping out at 91⁰, and we’ve probably already discussed that my main priority in life is not accidently killing the puppy. So we bypassed Toledo and set our sights on Sandusky, OH.
In Sandusky, I had another bee incident! Do not, I repeat, do NOT wear vanilla scented body lotion when lunching outside if you plan to lunch in peace! Gatsby and I found ourselves at the appropriately named Dockside Café, and no sooner than I’d sat down with my rum punch at a shared table with two gents (ballparking here – 70y/o & 30 y/o; I’m guessing grandfather/grandson, but it all went to shit so quickly, I’m not quite sure), when several bees hastened to my immediate proximity. Like, the landing on me variety of invading my space. I went to get a lid for my drink, thinking they were all amorous because of it. That wasn’t it. By the time my fish tacos were ready, I had ‘gently’ brushed off a half dozen, the younger of the geezers had unburdened me of half dozen more, and I’d flailed at least another ten or so away. Mind you, nobody else was being bothered by flying bastards with stingers on their butts, but that’s probably because they were all actively trying to kill me. At this point, I said the world’s quickest and least graceful goodbye, largely through interpretive dance, and fled the scene, lest I end up in the ER dying of anaphylactic shock, whilst the dog dies in the van of heat stroke because my throat has closed up and I can’t let the doctors know he’s out there boiling.
We overnighted at a golf course nearby that’s not even in the same solar system as Garden or North Shore GCs. I asked for a G&T the size of my head to assuage the concern over bee stings, and the bartender said something truly appalling to me: “I don’t think we have tonic. I haven’t seen any tonic here all summer.” What on God’s Green Earth do people drink with gin if not tonic?! I ended up having a gin & soda, since she’d already poured the gin before telling me the bit about no tonic, and I didn’t want to be wasteful. Do not recommend gin & soda.
Hecate rocked and rolled for a while, as a doozie of a storm rolled through. It cleared up just long enough to catch the dregs of a sunset. It was a vivid and spectacular 90 seconds before resuming the deluge.
From the golf course, we made our way to North East, PA. The original plan for the night had been to go hiking at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but weather once again had other ideas, and it rained all day. Sugar melts and shit floats - G and I wouldn’t have survived, so off to Presque Isles Winery we went. I had a lovely tasting (it was actually a double tasting, since they had so many dry reds, which I favor), and I used my very thoughtful and mature method of scoring the wines, which involves happy/sad/neutral faces along with a numerical score out of 5. The winner was the Cabernet Franc, which I bought a bottle of. My first bottle of wine purchased this summer, can you believe?! We lucked out and were the only HH-ers there, so we had an area to run, a babbling brook, and a fire pit all to ourselves!
I think the change in itinerary was the universe at work, once again, as I decided today while looking at my short-term rental calendar to go back to Wells earlier than planned. There are a few days that are vacant right after Labor Day, and since the two weeks that I’m going to be home before heading off on the next coddiwomple (more on that upcoming) will be consumed largely by both cleaning/restocking/reorganizing Hecate and a production of Radium Girls that I’m in that was postponed from the spring (so akin to someone turning a firehose of shit that I need to get done on me), it would be lovely to have a few extra days to get things under control. Why does the change in itinerary benefit me in that way? I am three hours closer to home, and that made this choice easier than if I’d had to tack several hours extra each day onto the drive.
Until next time, adventure on.