Great Lakes State

Dear Friends and Family,

Oh! Wait some of you are here! Welcome, my audience πŸ™‚

I left western Minnesota around the 8th or 9th of August, and beat feet pretty quickly back to Michigan. Way back when this road trip started, I had planned to continue westward into the UP, but I was very tired of the road at this point and just wanted to be home for a couple days. So I raced through Chicago, and made it home to my parents and sister (Spencer was still in New Mexico at this point), and we quickly got to doing what Michiganders do best:

Chillin’ on the boat πŸ™‚

I was very lucky to grow up on a lake, which I am certain I have told all of you about at some point. And now you finally get to understand why I feel so fondly for them:

I mean, how could you not understand beauty like this?

If I may pontificate (and I will; it’s my blog, that’s literally all I do here), a lake is a large and chameleon thing. A lake contains multitudes. A lake moves and morphs and changes through the seasons, growing with you in time but somehow remaining timeless. A lake is as much its whitecaps and ice floes as its waterskis and sunburns and sunsets. Oh, what glorious sunsets; I think the only constant in a lake is its beautiful sunsets, seen at all seasons and from all manner of speedboats, and pontoons, and even humble canoes.

Yes, a lake is a fine thing indeed.

I don’t really have a segue from that.

So anyways, we spent a couple days lounging around the house and enjoying summer together. Alexis was on a jump rope kick (for reasons unknown to me) and insisted we all give it a shot. I don’t know if they still do Jump Rope for Heartβ„’ at the local elementary schools but they should be proud that Alexis is keeping the spirit of the challenge alive!

Mom was especially excited to get in the game and spit some skips and rhymes, which I have captured with the power of still-frame cinematography:

The approach!

The false start, because she hit the rope and the rope hit the out-of-frame car πŸ˜….

Now we’re cooking!

Mom’s rhyme is the classic “Strawberry shortcake, huckleberry pie-“. Mine is “Lincoln Lincoln, I’ve been thinkin, what in the world have you been drinkin-“.

It was a grand old time πŸ™‚ and a good cardio workout!

One day we went to Milford Memories, the annual art fair in the next town over:

A reminder of another home I haven’t seen in a while…

Family πŸ™‚

Yes, it was a grand old time. I caught up with some old friends too:

Tyler Brinks, my former co-captain of the cross-country team. We were both back in town to watch and run (me the former, him the latter) the annual XC Alumni race. He’s the only one that’s stayed in actual running shape πŸ˜‰

And for the next part of the adventure, I was very, very lucky to have my best friend in the whole wide world join me:

Hey buddy πŸ™‚

Andrew Glenn and I met all the way back in elementary school, probably in first grade. We became fast friends in around eighth grade, although the details tend to blur together with friendships this long. He’s timeless, to be honest.

Oh! Yeah, the background: we’re in the UP!

To those unfamiliar with the midwest, Michigan is comprised of a lower and upper peninsula. The lower peninsula is where I’m from (around Metro Detroit) and is the surrounded by Lake Michigan to the west, Lake Huron to the east, and interminable nothingness to the south. The upper peninsula is north across the Straights Straits of Mackinac, (pronounced “mack-in-awe”) (no, really) (it’s an eighteenth century French transcription of a far older Ojibwe word), and bounded by Lake Michigan on the south, Lake Huron in the east, Lake Superior on the north, and cheese curd aficionados to the west.

The UP (short for “Upper Peninsula”) is a land of rough, rugged beauty. Andrew and I went there to see a great example of that, in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which is along the UP’s north coast on Lake Superior:

Pictured Rocks is full of, well, lots of cool rocks blasted and formed by the pounding of Lake Superior against the rocky shores east of Munising. It’s a great landmark and well worth seeing from the boat tour:

Our captain leads the boat into a narrow cove.

Man he’s REALLY going to jam us in there!

The same cove from above, with pontoon boat for scale.

There are many beaches and dunes as well around Grand Marais, which is in stark contrast to the cliffs at Pictured Rocks:

Being true Michiganders, and obligated by law and custom, we jumped in the Lake.

What a lovely time it was!

The last day we spent together, Andrew and I went on a hike through the National Lakeshore:

Most people don’t think about the Midwest that much.

Far fewer think about Michigan.

And fewer still think about the UP.

Which I think is a darn shame.

I hope I have shown you all why πŸ™‚

That’s all for now,

Stay well everyone,

Evan πŸ’™