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My great Michigan vacation

Scarlet Stone
Posted 5/19/21

Well, first things first....time to step up to the plate and say my KETO diet temporarily went by the wayside. I went to see my doc and she said my triglycerides were going up and suggested I try a …

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My great Michigan vacation

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Well, first things first....time to step up to the plate and say my KETO diet temporarily went by the wayside. I went to see my doc and she said my triglycerides were going up and suggested I try a plan that was “lowfat”. That was discouraging. I was told by some KETO supporters to ignore that advice and my levels would drop. Some other experts said to eat more natural fats like nuts and avocados, but then Easter came a few days later and a Chocolate Bunny got in the way. Then efforts at a KETO restructure were further annihilated by the upcoming trip to Michigan with my son and his fiance. I did not undo all of my efforts, a few pounds and that’s a good thing, but I can say in confidence that Upper Michigan has really superb fudge.
I’d forgotten how really exciting going on vacation can be. Like so many others, I got to Virginia several times and maybe Duluth towards the easing days of COVID precautions and after receiving my two vaccination shots. We three headed to Upper Michigan on a Wednesday afternoon following the Timberjay press deadline and were aiming for Marquette that afternoon. It had been a toss-up to travel to the Black Hills or the Upper Peninsula. We had already seen the Black Hills, so headed east to Yooperland. I hopped into the back seat with my pillow and big toothy grin. It was a new and rare opportunity for me to be a back-seat driver for the entire trip! I did not even drive for one mile the entire distance to Mackinaw City and back.
I gave my young travel partners the chance to dump me and go on the trip by themselves but they really wanted me there and I was glad. The plan was to split expenses three ways. I had decided to try to “go with the flow” and soon discovered that millennials don’t do as much planning as my generation. My son was annoyed when I had asked him if he had put figures on paper in regard to what food, hotels, gas would cost? He replied, “Mom you get so uptight about everything; we are bringing tons of money.” I replied, “Good, because I’m not.”  Ya know, I’m not dishin’ out the wad this time kids.
At home, my elderly cat had been seeking comfort on my shoulder and in my arms for months, before him it was my older female cat. So back-to-back felines cuddling, sneezing and aging faster than a movie star, had been on my shoulder for the past two years. It was past time for me to have a vacation. The kids had their ideas of places to stop and we took in some scenic views all along the way. I had been on the Upper Penninsula when I was twenty-three and remember longer stretches of woods bordering the roads. It is a bit more populated nowadays but then again I may have been napping and missed the dense forest stretches. As a young girl I had traveled that way with my parents to stay at an aunt’s cabin on Lake Superior. I will always remember how big and blue and exciting it was to look at. The thoughts were altered after feeling the deep prolonged chill of its iciness. We did not go up to those towns on this trip but I plan to visit and explore them in the future. I’m calling the whole area “my new Bayfield” because I exhausted that area with another travel partner years ago and fresh territory has now been discovered.
We shared a nice lakeside suite at a hotel in Marquette. It was very enjoyable to walk the wide boardwalk along Lake Superior’s south shore and watch the seagulls and other birds roosting and carrying-on across the water on a small island. Later, the kids went to retrieve a great pizza to eat-in and I lounged while they fetched. Wine, pizza and laughter filled the first night. The next day we checked out a “Green Goods” store, a legal recreational and medical marijuana dispensary. None of us had been to one before, but in Michigan marijuana use is legal and we were curious. It was very interesting, and I was surprised as I didn’t know what to expect. It was like when my second husband dragged me into a strip bar in Gilbert after my spoken curiosity of such places over the course of time aggravated him to the point of action. Upon entering the strip joint, I couldn’t look up from the floor for about fifteen minutes. It felt a bit like that going into this dispensary. I thought it might be seedy, like so many tobacco shops with poor lighting, smelling of cheap incense, with skinny patrons wearing saggy dirty pants. Not so! I thought it was like visiting an AT&T store, actually, because it was so clean and uncluttered. Under glass at the various display counters were the “buds” under domed magnifying glass for close viewing. One might expect an insect of some kind. I was thinking I should be viewing a crown jewel or something besides cannabis erectus. Under another counter were candies such as gummies and chocolate bars, or “edibles” as they are called. We learned from one of the local restaurant waiters that at Marquette’s Northern Michigan University, there is an undergraduate degree program on cannabis studies for focus on either the science or business side of the plant. It was interesting to imagine anyone trying to accomplish studying for exams after any sporty indulgence of the herb. Hey, I’m not here to judge...just sayin! After checking out the town a bit the next day and enjoying some more great food, we headed toward the five-mile Mackinac Bridge that separates Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. I filled the back seat again with my very relaxed vacationing self. We drove south and traveled along the north shore of Lake Michigan where the sand sweeps across the road every chance it gets. I was getting a bit nervous about the bridge. Tales of it “blowin’ in the wind” were sketching me out.
My son started driving across the bridge and pulled over to the right lane where I glanced over at the rolling waves below. Immediately my fear of heights forced me to zip across the seat upholstery and ride the center hump for the duration. I felt silly, as if it would make any difference if the wind blew us off the bridge...but somehow, I was more at ease. A calm matriarch is key on any family vacation.
In Mackinaw City we investigated an old fort, collected lots of white lime rocks and agates from the shore, and stayed overnight. It’s very much like a set for a movie rather than a real historic town with a typical city hall, churches and such. It seems something like a Main Street renovation program came in and tore all the authenticity from the place. I don’t care for that. In the morning we rode the ferry over to Mackinac Island as no cars are permitted on the island. The goal was fudge and sweatshirts and we succeeded. We didn’t ride bikes or hike around the island because it was drizzling, and flowers were not in bloom. Perhaps another time. There were many charming horse-drawn carriages taking the place of all motorized vehicles. We poked around the next day and ended up staying in another hotel in Ironwood after visiting my favorite antique shop and eating a pastie, of course. If you travel Michigan’s Upper Penninsula and don’t have fudge and a pastie you might as well have just stayed home! We had lovely weather and I felt I could have relocated to Marquette for a fresh start and all new things. I think a good vacation should have that effect on a person. While pulling my suitcase into a hotel I was reminded again of how fun it is to travel and that I need to do it more often.  
Scarlet, telling it like it is, appreciates your comments and can be reached at scarletstone60@gmail.com.

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Barbara Lofquist

Love your tales Scarlet! Keep them coming.

Wednesday, June 2