Last night the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, this evening the lower. We’re at a KOA just outside Mackinaw City, a glorified hotel strip for those wishing to visit the island. Tomorrow we become one of the masses, crowding onto some boat for a 20-minute ride to what has been dubbed by many as a mecca for horseshit and fudge.
Today was a good day. After leaving Iron Mountain this morning, I did some quick backtracking so Lisa could get her photo by the Michigan welcome sign, and so I could figure out where I’d made a wrong turn on the way to the hotel the night before. From there we made decent time to Marquette, where we planned on spending a couple of hours but instead spent five. We found both of my old homes, and in one case inadvertently met the current residents, who came storming out at the sight of my camera.
“What are you doing!?”
“Sorry, I used to live here.”
With that the broke out smiles and waved. “Oh, okay!”
We also found the car dealership my dad used to manage, so I stopped to call and let him know where we were. A 15-minute conversation ensued, which eventually led to me going inside to see if some of his former coworkers were still there. In both cases they still were, over 25 years after my family had made its move south to Wisconsin.
I’m astounded that I’ve been with my current employer six years. I can’t imagine a decade, much less a quarter century.
Other than that, we spent some time out at Presque Isle, a fantastic park just north of Marquette, and some general bumming around. (Lisa got to see her first Michigan left, too.) I’m amazed at how much is the same as it was in 1982. Many buildings, stores and businesses were exactly as they were when we left. Heck, TV6 Marquette is still using the same logo as it did when we lived up there.
Before coming here I told Lisa that in some ways Michigan is a state where the past has made it to the present more fully formed than in other places in the country. She saw that today, whether it be the state trooper cars with the old-fashioned bubble machines, the traffic and street lights hung on wires over the streets, or the numerous old-school industries. In a way, Marquette is an extreme example, albeit one I’m very fond of.
The drive down to Mackinaw City was a bit long but generally scenic. (Lisa liked the bridge more than I expected.) We had some difficulty finding a place to eat this evening, but after one failed attempt at one restaurant finally found a partially-crowded pizza place (just about the only thing open after 10:00) that turned out to be reasonably good.
Well, it’s getting late, and we have a packed day ahead of us tomorrow, so I’m going to turn in. The next entry will likely be from Detroit.