Thursday, August 11, 2011

End of the trip


We left Lakeport around eight this morning, after spending an hour drinking coffee on the beach and watching the sun rise over Lake Huron.

We fueled up in Port Huron, before crossing into Canada.  The machine has been yielding over twenty miles per gallon the last few tankfuls, pretty remarkable.  We made good time crossing Canada, including a stop for breakfast at a Tim Horton's in some town beginning with "S".  It was incredible to see how much traffic the place got on a Thursday morning, the road was even blocked a couple of times with cars waiting to enter the Drive thru lane.  

We got to see Lake Ontario as we approached Niagara Falls skirting the coast on Canada 25.  Once in Niagara Falls, we drove along the shore drive, allowing us a pretty good view of the falls from the Canadian side, before crossing into the US.  Once again I lucked out; a lane opened just as I approached and I ended up in that lane with only one car ahead of me.

We opted to avoid the Thruway to Rochester, choosing instead highway 104.  It took us through quaint towns and past many farm stands.  We bought fresh peaches and a sour cream cookie at one of them.  we arrived at Laura and Tim's place about two-thirty.  This is the official end of the trip, even though we still have the ride to New Paltz tomorrow. 

We actually saw only four of the Great Lakes - missing Erie. 

August 10th

We were on the road this morning just before seven am, our target Lakeport State Park on Michigan’s shoreline with Lake Huron.  On our way, we skirted Superior and Michigan.  Carol observed that we would touch all five Great Lakes before this trip was over.  We arrived at the park around four this afternoon, about four hundred seventy miles in nine hours.  Much like our experience at Van Riper, we have the best campsite in the park (#18.)

I’m writing this sitting in a chair at the back of our site, watching a fascinating dynamic unfold.  It started with three teenage boys, I’ll label them: the tough guy, the fat follower, and the nerdy friend.  I saw them on the beach first then they came to the “playground”(a group of five swings, four slings and one kids chair).  They hung around the swings not paying much attention to the equipment, just sitting and chatting.  In a while, another group came up from the beach: three pretty teenage girls and one boy about the same age, and a three or four-year old girl they were all caring for.  The first group separated themselves from the swings then the fat follower stayed while the other two left.  A few minutes later they returned on bicycles and rode in and out of the area for a good half hour while the girl-heavy entourage ignored them completely.  Meanwhile the fat follower just hovered. Tough guy and Nerdy are continuing to ride around.  Fat leans against a far support of the swings, not looking at the group.  Now Nerdy is on one of the swings.  There’s still no interaction between the groups other than their proximity.  Tough Guy keeps riding away and returning.  It’s truly a fascinating scene.  Nerdy and Fat are now standing some thirty feet away, consciously ignoring the other group.  Tough guy has once again disappeared.  He’s back now with his two friends.  The girl entourage just left.   Everybody but Fat is now gone; he sits on one of the swings, a blank expression on his face.

Now back to the trip.  We stopped in Gaylord to do a little shopping and get some more coffee.  The Starbucks inside the supermarket provided me with coffee and two mini cupcakes, a great addition to their treats.  These are a single bite (though Carol makes two bites out of it) treat, a perfect fit for a second cup of coffee.  I put Carol’s chocolate peanut butter cupcake on the passenger’s seat, still in its Starbucks paper bag, forgetting about my love’s powers of observation.  She sat on it.  She recovered by putting it in the fridge for half an hour before extricating it from the bag and eating it. 

Huron is calm and inviting, unlike the windy whitecaps we saw in Superior and Michigan.  A four-year-old boy just walked by carrying handcuffs – you can’t make this stuff up.



August 9th

Our only day on this return trip that did not involve driving.  We rose early this morning to visit Lake Michigamme, greeting the few campers who were awake at six-thirty with a mutual wave of our coffee mugs.  The wind coming across the large lake added to the chill in the air so we couldn’t stay long.  On our walk back, we stopped at the comfort station to comfort ourselves and wound up finishing the walk in the rain. 

I rolled the awning out yesterday but forgot to install the center brace.  When the awing started flapping in the wind this morning it occurred to me to add the brace.  It comes in two parts, one inserted into the other to make the complete, adjustable unit.  I assembled and installed it.  Later in the morning we decided to take one of the hikes listed in the park brochure and, since there were twenty-five mph wind gusts predicted, I chose to roll up the awning to avoid possible damage while we were gone.  That’s when I discovered that I’d assembled the center brace backward, which made it almost impossible to separate into its two component parts, and therefore unstowable.  With pliers and silent curses, I managed to part the pieces without damaging either significantly.  Given a fifty-fifty chance, I can screw things up almost one hundred percent of the time. 

We hiked the “Miners Loop” during which I fed several mosquitos and we got rained on, but it was a good walk anyway.  Back at the lake proper, we visited the concession stand for mint chocolate chip ice cream in wafer cones then returned to our Traveler, whereupon I opened the awning and properly installed the center brace. 

We had been discussing the merits of the two small, collapsible tables that we carry.  Carol is enamored with a circular plastic thing that we carry and treats the canvas square one with some disdain.  When she suggested Scrabble, I agreed.  While she gathered the necessities for the game, I set up the square canvas table, placing the Scrabble board on it.  We were five minutes into the contest when she remarked, “Oh you got the other table out.”  I love this woman.

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