Friday, July 26, 2013
Home again, home again, jiggity jig. Today we head home. I wasn’t sure I was ready to leave as several large-ish things awaited us when we got home–Backyard VBS and Michigan Family Camp. Both of these events needed more work in the Creative Energy department, and I find the Creative Energy Department about as draining as running a 5K. We do Bible skits at both of these events, and creating a skit from a blank Word document exhausts me. Don’t get me wrong. I love doing it, but creativity is draining.
But first let’s eat some breakfast.
Scrambled eggs, bacon (of course), and grits. Grits are a southern dish of dried hominy.
My momma was from the South, so we were raised on beans and rice, grits, collard greens, jambalaya, etc. . . Now my kids are being raised on beans and rice, grits, jambalaya, but they can’t swallow collard greens.
Dishes. There are always dishes. But after dishes and packing up came. . . .
DOUGHNUTS!!!from the Wilderness Park General Store.
The Hunni had made a doughnut run earlier in the week, but all the doughnuts had been eaten before I woke up enough to realize what I was missing.
And since EVERYTHING reminds me of a book, let me here tell you about Homer Price by Robert McCloskey (who also illustrates the book.)
The book is as funny as the illustration on this front cover. Among other adventures, Homer Price learns how to operate the doughnut machine at the local diner, and like on other adventures, Homer Price doesn’t know when to stop.
We arrived at the Wilderness Park General Store just as some doughnuts were coming off the line.
The recipe for all the doughnuts is the same, only the toppings differ.
I generally choose a Maple Dip, Eloise always chooses the one with sprinkles, and the kiddos along with The Daddi like chocolate.
This was the sign hung above the Doughnut Machine. That would be 612,786 doughnuts.
Now at $10 a dozen, that equals out to $6,127,860???? Did I do the math correctly?? Seems like I need to buy a doughnut machine.
The doughnuts are not “kind of good”. They are really, really, really, really good!
We headed down the back roads of Michigan with a doughnut in our hands and a song in our hearts.
We had a very happy vacation, and we were thankful.
We had to take some back roads as we were headed to Traverse City for lunch and some cherry pie. We entered the “town” of Bliss, Michigan where we found a general store, a cemetery, one house, and. . .
POLO FIELDS!!!! Here? In ruralville? I looked around to see if I had missed something, but no. Bliss was a cemetery, a house, a general store, and POLO FIELDS.
I have never seen a polo game, so we stopped the car and watched for a bit.
“Hockey on a horse,” was my son’s description. I was surprised that it was really interesting and thought how fun it would be to be able to ride a horse well enough to play polo.
Another unexpected surprise on this unexpected vacation.
We took route C81 until we reached State Route 31 which runs along the edge of Lake Michigan–going through Petoskey, Charlevoix, and finally Traverse City. We saw several signs for fresh cherries, and finally stopped and bought some.
Cherry stained we continued along the lake. There were several summer fairs, sailboat regattas, and other local events that made the drive interesting, but slow.
I really wanted some sour cherries for a pie, so we stopped again.
Friske Orchards is part store, and part restaurant,(hot sandwiches and pies), and. . .
. . .part fruit stand, and. . .
. . .part gift shop, and. . .
. . .part petting zoo, and. . .
. . .part kitchen gadget central. I loved all the kitchen baking gadgets.
I wanted to buy this cherry pitter that screws on top of a Mason Jar, but decided that the unfolded paper clip I have always used worked just fine. I bought some sour cherries then headed back outside to the kiddos.
They had stretched their legs and so once again we piled back into the car.
Up North is snowmobile country. The roads and restaurants all cater to the snowmobile crowd. Hotels up in the U.P. don’t plow their parking lots as most of their visitors come in on snowmobiles. Across the roads in the U.P. there are road patches where snowmobiles can cross a cleared road without damaging the surface. The Great Lakes dump a lot of snow Up North, and if you like winter, it truly is a wonderland.
Lunch had been a long time in coming, and tempers were all short. We stopped at a Crepes restaurant only to learn it had closed 3 minutes prior. Parking with a trailer in Traverse City was difficult and when we finally found this restaurant, we pulled in.
Unwittingly, we had stopped at a local favorite–The Chef’s In.
The Chef’s In is a hot sandwich stop, and here you write up your own order.
The chef then grills up your sandwich while you watch.
Soup is also on the menu, and also delicious–turkey, wild rice, with veggies.
I ordered a Ruben, and loved every bite! Taken separately, I am not crazy about corned beef, or sauerkraut, or Swiss cheese, or Thousand Island dressing or rye bread, but somehow altogether, the combination is wonderful. There is some debate about the origins of the Reuben sandwich with Omaha claiming it’s origins as well as New York. Old menus have been compared and debated and the verdict is clear. Omaha claims origin. New York claims origin.
In the same shopping complex, there was a Grand Traverse Pie Company restaurant, so we walked over for a slice of pie and a coffee (excellent pie and horrible coffee.)
Baseball Boy loves chess, so he played a game with his sister.
(For some reason, I found this painting funny.)
We thought about driving out to see Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but time and daylight just wouldn’t allow another side trip. The kiddos were ready to get home, and The Mommi and The Daddi were beginning to feel the same way.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore remains on our “To Do in Michigan” list. We dropped down to the city of Cadillac and headed on a diagonal (State Route 115) to Mount Pleasant. Along the way we saw this. . . .
The Hunni said, “Looks like the trailer was trying to pass itself.”
We had friends in Mount Pleasant, and we decided that we were going to call them even at the risk of being inopportune.
We only gave them about 30 minutes notice, but they were very gracious and asked us to stop in for coffee. Now for some reason, I sometimes get shy about my whole blogging life, and I hesitate to photograph people I love. Things are easy to photograph, but sometimes photographing a person seems–invasive or something. So I snapped a photo of the coffee,. . .
. . .and the kids (3rd cousins). . .
. . .and the amazing wood shop (The Hunni’s dream shop!!!)
. . .but I didn’t photograph the people we came to see.
Well, okay, I have shots of the cousins, but not of Greg and Karin. Greg is a university professor, and my husband is a pilot. Greg is academic, and my husband is manual labor. You would think that they wouldn’t have much in common, but the funny thing is they get along great. Karin and I are both teachers and share the love of teaching and kids and cooking and travel and many other things, so I find her very easy to talk to. Our “20 minute stop to say hello and have a coffee” turned into a two hours stop. And a wonderful time.
Remember that I said The Hunni was about manual labor? He decided to see if he could pump up a car tire with a bike pump!! It took a bit, but he did it! And it was a good thing he decided on this method of Energy Exertion, because we got a call on my phone that I had left my purse behind. Greg and Karin thought we were 20 minutes south by now, but no, we were only two blocks away.
From Mt. Pleasant, it was a long, rainy, drive home. It was time to end this trip. We had seen three of the Great Lakes bordering Michigan. It was an unexpected trip (went because we won the District Tournament). It was unexpectedly beautiful up in the Michigan U.P. (our first time up there.) It was unexpectedly fun. (I had some reservations about trailer and kid hauling for a week without The Hunni around.) And it was a somewhat unexpected good-bye. We have plans to move to Florida this fall/winter and are heading down this coming week to house hunt.
Thanks for joining us on this adventure up in the Michigan U.P. Please come along with us as we explore Florida and make it our new home.
P.S. If you are just now joining us, you can follow our entire trip via these links.