travelogue part one...
so this is more for my benefit than anything else. i have a weird memory and pieces of the last ten-ish days are already slipping, and i want to try to capture a little of what i've been feeling here. so i'm back in good ol' north carolina. after so long a journey i was starting to feel ready to be back, to sleep in my own bed, to not live out of a suitcase, and to have hermes back on my lap. but with the exception of hermes (i definitely missed him the most), the excitement for the rest is already fading and i haven't even had a chance to sleep in that bed yet. for illustrative purposes i'll give you the geeky example of frodo returning to the shire after destroying the ring and finding that he didn't belong there anymore, then i'll take the example back again because it doesn't quite fit: neither did i love this place to begin with, nor is it that extreme a change. but something in me has definitely shifted. somewhere between the deceptively shiny handrails on that first train ride from newark to jersey city and the guy i made out with on the greyhound coming home, i picked up the nyc bug.
to preserve order, though, i suppose i should recount the first leg of my journey before getting to the rest. it was the largest part of my journey only in length of time, spanning 6 days from june 16th to the 21st. i flew up to detroit where my parents, brother, and sister-in-law (hereafter referred to as "sis") picked me up from dtw after their own 12-hour drive from kansas city. we ate at a typical sports bar in plymouth then drove to my aunt and uncle's house in brighton where we spent the night before the seven of us (aunt and uncle included) set out on what would become largely a labor of love and a practice in patience at which i was only mostly successful. i'll run through the events fairly quickly, and i'll post photos later once i get a chance to sort through them all. between the ones i took and the ones my mother sent me there are probably around 500 from this trip.
sunday june 17th. father's day. spent a good chunk of the day driving. with a pregnant sis there were frequent stops, which we all relished for the chance to stretch our legs. we made what was supposed to be a quick stop in frankenmuth to look at the old-fashioned (though not old) german architecture and visit the christmas super-store, bronners. we had a $20/plate chicken dinner at the frankenmuth inn, the only part of which i really enjoyed was the $3 side of warm german potato salad (it's one of my favorite comfort foods -- seriously, try it). after spending about 4 hours in the tacky town we made our way up lake huron where at one point we stopped at a very pretty little beach to enjoy the scenery. eventually we arrived in alpena, where we drove around the old family maple farm and briefly visited my great -aunt and -uncle. my great-aunt ila at once reminded me so much of my grandmother that i became somewhat emotional, but my aunt's humor, the same sarcastic ornery-ness my grandmother had, made me realize that i have that part of her in me as well. it was a very filling thought.
monday june 18th. we drove to sault ste. marie in the upper peninsula to visit the soo locks, which were pretty cool, but we were there for about 30 minutes and it seemed like the rest of the day was spent driving, largely due to my uncle's insistence on taking the "scenic route". when we returned to the hotel that evening i needed to get away from the family for a bit so i ran 3 miles along the lake huron coast in pouring rain. it was glorious.
tuesday june 19th. mackinac island. easily one of my favorite psuedo-natural places in the united states, and my favorite part of this leg of the journey. no motorized vehicles are allowed on the island, so my favorite thing to do is rent bicycles and ride the 8-mile circumference of the island, which offers beautiful rocky beaches full of little stone towers built by visitors, amazing knarled old trees, natural rock formations, and tons of wildflowers. combined with the constant breeze off the lakes (both michigan and huron), even a hot day there is pleasant. that night we drove to traverse city and i went 4.5 miles on the treadmill shortly after arrival to work off some steam and energy and my ass.
wednesday june 20th. caleb's birthday. again, most of the day was spent driving down the western side of the state, where we first visited a beach to dip our toes in the lake, then the sleeping bear dunes and the silver lake dunes, the former for its scenery, the latter for the recreational vehicles. i wasn't terribly thrilled about going in a dune buggy, risking life and limb, but it was my brother's birthday and my mom made me go with him. it was a freakin' blast. not only did i receive a nice micro-dermabrasion treatment from the sand flying in my face, i also got us airborne a couple times in the buggy. i was covered head to toe in sand the rest of the night, though.
thursday june 21st. my last day in michigan. we went to the tigers game in detroit, which was fun and hot and sun-burny and a little bit long, but they won, then we ate at the hard rock cafe and walked around downtown detroit a bit. it was a little sad how dead it was compared to how it should have been. here i parted ways with my family, which i was very ready to do at that point, and i hopped a greyhound for new york city, completely unaware of what was waiting for me there.
so tune in next time to hear all about it... i'm going to bed!