Vacation: Unplugged

Laura and I spent the last week in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula visiting my relatives. We left Sunday afternoon and returned last night.

Sunday: Drove to Lansing, MILansing allegedly won the capital of Michigan by a single vote over Calumet, which is in the northwestern Upper Peninsula.. Spent the evening with the Wiitala family. Ate ice cream, played UNO.
Monday: Got up early and drove the rest of the way to my parents’ place. We left Lansing at 7:30AM and arrived at Messy Manor Ranch at about 4:30PM. Managed to not get eaten by Onyx, my parents’ German ShepherdOnce Onyx determined that it was not necessary to eat me, she wanted to play fetch at every possible opportunity. The dog is absolutely insane for her tennis ball, and will chase it all over creation for hours at a time, if given the opportunity.. Mom baked two large piesThe pies were baked in half-sheet pans, and I’d estimate them to be about 16″ x 22″. Dad claims to have eaten eighteen pieces of the rhubarb in the course of the next four days. I’m not sure this is possible, as I ate nearly half that many myself. The apple pie was also quite good, but everyone was rabid for the rhubarb..
Tuesday: Lazy, lazy, lazy. Also, Dad made about eight dozen cookies (oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip) because Mom wasn’t around to tell him not to.
Wednesday: See Tuesday. Brenda showed up a day ahead of schedule.
Thursday: Ditto. We did run into town in the evening to get some frozen treats (Lemon Chill, Bomb Pops) to soothe Laura’s sore throat.
Friday: The big trip into town. Breakfast at the Suomi restaurant, then a visit to Dee Stadium (the birthplace of professional ice hockey) to view the exhibit chronicling the history of Houghton County. Afterward, we went to a junkyard in a failed attempt to find a head for a Dodge Caravan, then took Laura to the emergency room at Portage HospitalLaura had a bit of a sore throat early in the week that developed into a very nasty, wet cough by Friday. At the ER, she was given some sort of inhaler, a prescription for Robitussin with codeine and a prescription for an antibiotic, the latter to be filled only if she got worse. She was feeling quite a bit better by Sunday, but still has coughing fits.. Then it was off to ShopKo to get Laura’s prescription filled. After that, we bought groceries, went to lunch, dropped by the Jeffers High School open house, stopped to see some relatives and went home.
Saturday: Karen arrived at 1:58AM. She drove in from Chicago after Brenda’s plans to visit her there fell through. Laura and I attended the all-school reunion dinner at Jeffers with my Mom, Dad, one uncle and two aunts. There were only three people in attendance who graduated between 1981 and the present. I didn’t know the other two.
Sunday: Croquet in the early afternoon followed by a cookout and birthday celebration at my aunt and uncle’s “camp” on Lake Superior. Dad was born on this day in 1939. The water was cold but certainly not too cold for swimming. Alas, my trunks were back at my parents’ place. To make matters worse, the flies were biting, which kept most everyone inside the whole while. Volleyball in the evening. The flies back at Messy Manor Ranch weren’t anywhere near as vicious as those at the lake. Adam and Brenda went back to the lake to watch the fireworks, but Laura and I skipped them due to exhaustion.
Monday: Drove, drove, drove. Thirteen hours and forty-one minutes from door to door. On the way back we saw one black bear (in the U.P., between L’Anse and Alberta) and fireworks from perhaps two dozen different communities (along the 80/90 turnpike and driving through Cleveland in Ohio). Average speed in the Upper Peninsula over a five hour periodIt took us precisely this long to get from my parents’ house in Toivola to the center of the Mackinac Bridge, including a stop in Chassell (not South Range) for gas.: 56mph.

Mom is very eager to clean out the attic, so I took four large boxes of comics back to Ohio. I’d guess that’s 800 or more comics. They’re not worth any money, but they sure bring back a lot of memories. My brother, Adam, and I spent a couple of hours sorting through the boxes separating his comics (Silver Surfer, The Flash, The Punisher, Amazing Spider-Man) from mine (pretty much everything else).

At some point during the week, we were visited by the Toivola Volunteer Fire Department’s new pumper truck. Several members of the TVFD drove to East Jordan to pick up the truck earlier in the week. My father has been a member of the TVFD since its inception, and the entire family has been involved in various events sponsored by the fire department. The firemen were very excited about acquiring this new truck, and I suspect some of them slept in cots at the firestation that entire week.