Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Labor Day Fun
For Labor Day weekend, Mike and I headed up to his hometown of Newberry, Michigan. It is about 350 miles and takes about 5 1/2 hour to drive there...on a typical day. Friday evening was not typical. I managed to get out of work about an hour early so I headed home to finish packing so that we could be on the road just after 5. We were taking the car Mike had been using that is his dad's because his was back in Newberry being fixed and we were going to drop off their vehicle and get his. After stopping for gas we finally pulled out of the city about 5:30. We were about a mile onto the highway when the car decided it didn't want to go above 45, and the brakes were acting really strange. We had to pull over and call a tow truck, because there is NO WAY we could have driven it all the way there. We waited an hour for the truck to arrive (on a side note, thank GOODNESS for the Amoco motor club my dad has been a member of all of these years with me as a user, because towing is not cheap, but it doesn't cost a penny if you are a member of the club...). He took us back to our apartment, and by the time we gassed up my car and hit the road it was almost 8 o'clock. Of course, gas prices had soared to about $3.39 here, and at 17-20 miles to the gallon on my car it was not a cheap trip. We made it to his parent's house just after 2 o'clock in the morning and his mom was waiting up for us.
The next day, after sleeping in a little, we got up and decided to head over to Tahquemanon Falls State Park. The drive there was absolutely gorgeous, I only wished we had made the trip in late September because the leaves were just beginning to change and they were so pretty already. The falls are a series of large and small waterfalls with a nice state park surrounding them. We first went to the upper falls which is the biggest and had a nice time walking around and taking in the scenery. Because of all of the leaves and other natural material that leaks into the water it tends to be brown, so a lot of people call it "Root Beer Falls". After walking around there for awhile (and taking a little jaunt through a backwoods path) we headed down to the lower falls. Mike had spent 5 summers being a ranger at the falls so he was familiar with the surroundings and all of the history and factoids. The lower falls were nice, they have an island that you can rent a boat and row over to, and then wade in the water, have a picnic and just relax. Of course, Mike had also spent numerous summers rowing buckets of gravel over to the island to add to the walking trails, and his idea of a good time is not in those boats. We walked around and took some nice pictures and then decided to head about 15 miles away to Whitefish Point.
Whitefish Point is an old Coast Guard station situated on Lake Superior and has great access to the beach. We walked along the beach, and I was cohersed into wading around in the lake (not warm, may I add). The beach has beautiful sand full of flat round stones of all colors. We stopped back at the pointe, picked up some Rocky Road fudge they make there and headed back to his parents house. Mike's grandma and grandpa, aunt and uncle and cousins all came over for a barbeque and some ruthless card playing. They taught me how to play Crazy Gin and it was so much fun!
On Sunday drove about an hour to the "Soo" (Sault Ste. Marie), which is about a mile from Canada and is home to the Soo Locks. Of course, we went and there were no boats coming through, but I did learn that it is the busiest locks in the country. The town is kind of beachy and full of restaurants and gift shops. There is also a great miniature golf course that we played and I won by three strokes. We had lunch and drove back to his parents where everyone came over again and ate and played more cards.
We left Monday morning about 10:30 and I finally got to cross the Mackinaw bridge in the daylight (the bridge is 5 miles long, spans lake Huron and Michigan) and also saw Mackinaw Island in the distance. We stopped for lunch and then were practically stopped on the highway for the next 3 hours full of traffic. We had a great time with his family and it was nice just to get away for a few days. Of course, it is is the middle of nowhere, so cell phone usage was out so I felt a little out of touch, but it was calm and relaxing and fun! The best part was getting to spend 3 days with Mike without any work, class or studying to interrupt it!