Sorry Ontario, you get no love this trip.
We solved the problem of where to stay for the next 8 days or so. I believe I’ve mentioned this already, but this is something we’ve not yet entirely gotten the hang of, as we’re not thinking in terms of weekends / weekdays, and aren’t yet comfortable rolling into an unfamiliar area with a “I’m sure we’ll find something” mindset. We’re hoping that this will be the last time I’ll need to spend 6 days straight (plus commute) gone. It shouldn’t have happened this time, but I made a bit of a mistake with my trip bidding, and with August being high season for airline flying as well, there’s not a lot of wiggle room for trading out of trips, dropping trips, and the like. The up side is that I was able to manage 20 hours or so back in Annapolis to check on the house, run a few errands, and collect wayward mail. The considerable down side is that, with Tacco (and consequently me) not entirely comfortable marshaling the Davista/Toad beast down the highway, we needed to have a place, somewhere near an airport, where she and the kids could hang out productively for a week while I’m gone. And airports are in short supply in the U.P. As are campgrounds during high season with a week of availability.
This all sounds somewhat inconsequential as I type and read it, but quite a bit of time and mental energy was expended trying to work this out, and we’re still not certain we have a good solution. The plan was to stay a night at Brimley State Park on Lake Superior on the Eastern U.P., then drive across to Van Riper State Park semi-near Marquette, where Tacco/kiddos will homestead for a week. We know nothing about Van Riper, and are a little concerned by the fact that it had so many vacancies when everything else was booked solid. We’re not even sure there will be cell phone coverage. At any rate, though, that’s the plan, and we’ve resolved to resolve these types of issues further ahead of time in the future. Nothing like resolving to resolve — sort of like having a discussion about what we need to discuss…
Michigan continued to delight, scenery-wise. The drive up Grand Traverse Bay was stunning, with several towns we would’ve liked to stop in and explore awhile. The picture above is, of course, the Mackinac Bridge (only one “ack” sound in that), which is quite long and spans the strait between Lakes Michigan and Huron.
There was a noticeable difference in landscape between the lower and upper peninsulas. The upper was much more heavily forested (mostly evergreens) and has a distinct “remote” feel. We didn’t see too much of it as we headed straight north to Brimley.
Not a bad spot at all. Dipped our toes in Lake Superior, did our first real campfire / s’mores evolution, and got a great sleep.
One observation, before signing off. There has, to this point, not been a night when we didn’t fall into bed, shortly after the kids, completely exhausted. And the perceived “to do” list hasn’t shrunk to the extent I had imagined. I don’t know how this is possible. One of the things I was looking forward to during this year was having the time available vs things I need to get done ratio swing radically to the other side. Time after the kids are in bed to sit outside and write, read, talk, etc. That hasn’t happened. This is not a bad thing, in fact the flopping into bed after a full day feels extremely satisfying. But I’m intrigued by this idea that no matter how much or how little I need (or feel like I need) to get done, I allow it to fill up my free time. Either we’re just not in the swing of this lifestyle yet and we’re still in the process of reinventing the wheel, or it’s a deeper issue of time management and mindset in general. I’m looking forward to tackling this.