Sunday, November 21, 2004

wisconsin to michigan (UP)

We found the sun!!!  Woke this morning to ice on the car for the first time; I guess we found the  humidity also.  :)   Arrived late last night (around 5:30) and we’ll never start late in the day again.  Made the day seem incredibly long.  Kids had a blast at Grandma Elinor’s and were having so much fun playing that we couldn’t bear to break up their play and put them down until after 10pm.  Ellen was not ready to go to sleep and I actually fell asleep before she did.  Had a really nice visit with Elinor and emailed Dan some pictures (he’s down in the Gulf overseeing repair from the damage of a hurricane).  

Didn’t get on the road until 8:30 (ugh!) and while I’d like to make it to St. Ignace or Mackinaw City (great, incredible hotels at really low prices) since we’ll be driving along the shore of Lake Michigan, the going will be slow.  We’ll see how far we get.  If absolutely nothing else, we’ll have a pretty trip especially since the sun seems to be sticking around.  Kids are cranky and annoying each other.  Listening to NPR for the first time…  "Sweet Home Alabama" on the radio (hey, up here they call THIS the bay area also - Green Bay Area) and it occurs to me (as it does each time I hear this song) that Alabama has neither Sweet nor Home connotations for me.  I lived there for 4 years in the early 70’s and have no sweet or home memories of the gawd forsaken state. 

Jamie promised me rolling hills in northern Wisconsin, but we’re seeing farms and dairies up close.  LOTs of dairies and numerous billboards for cheese.  I think that maybe Iowa and Wisconsin got exchanged because we had wonderful rolling hills in Iowa (going up 35) and it is flatter than a pancake here along 41 (heading for the top of Lake Michigan) in northern Wisconsin.  Eeeep!  I must have forgotten that Wisconsin had cheese because here is yet another gigantic billboard announcing CHEESE so’s I don’t forget again. Driving along the coast of upper Lake Michigan, we are surrounded alternately by forest and wide open shoreline.  These lakeside homes must be incredible in the summer months and this route must be congested as hell.  This is a great time of year to be traveling through; no tourists (save ourselves), no traffic, blue sky, beautiful deep blue lake and water as far as the eye can see.  I don’t think we’d do well in a landlocked area; we are all drawn to water.  

"They" always say how resilient kids are and it is so encouraging to see it in action.  We started by selling the house and moving the family to my sister’s guesthouse (500 sq ft) and they rolled with that.  Then we moved out of that "home" and their world consisted of sitting in a car all day and playing in a pool every evening.  They have completely rolled and accepted each change that came into their lives (though we wouldn’t have attempted this trip if they weren’t so able to adjust) and thrived. 

Sissy is always very interested to know where we’re going and where we are (even if the answer is "St. Ignace" and "10th Ave") even though I can’t imagine any of hte answers make any sense to her.  As long as Ellen gets "nipsea" a few times a day she is happy.  The boys are quite content to play in the evening and listen to tapes all day.  I think they’ve exhausted all the books I got them, "The Theif Lord", "Oliver Twist", "Black Beauty", "A Wrinkle in Time", and the "Chronicles of Narnia".  I know I bought them "Inkheart" but haven’t been able to find it lately.  A favorite new game is for one of the four kids to think of a painful event, announce it to the others, "what if a car ran over my foot?" and the others will answer in unison, "EXCRUCIATING; very painful!"
Diesel in Michigan continues to amaze me.  For the first time ever we’ve found diesel cheaper than supreme.  Everywhere else in the country it

has been the most expensive grade, but consistently since we've been in Michigan, it is cheaper than WI (2.09) and only the 3rd most expensive grade. 

Since midday yesterday, we’ve been surrounded by hunters.  Along each and every highway, freeway, county and state road there are minivans and trucks pulled in clumps and figures in impossibly bright orange vests, jackets, bib overalls stalking their prey with even more impossibly gigantic rifles.  I am finding myself sickened by the sight but also recognize the need to feed the family over the winter.  I wonder how many of these hunters are filling their freezers for the winter.  We also get to see the results of the hunt; a pickup hauling a dead animal; all four legs completely straight and stiff sticking up into the air from the back of the truck bed.  Here is a picture of one lucky hunter (deer not so lucky) that I accidentally got as we came to the toll plaza to cross Mackinaw Bridge (over from the UP to "mainland?" Michigan).

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