Overall it was a good weekend, (WorldCon didn't compete with the Mackinac Bridge Walk -- yay!) but there were frustrations.
The weekend was a long one, as is my post -- so it's behind a cut.
I learned on Monday, 8/31/2009 that my vacation request for Friday 9/4/2009 had been approved.
Thursday 9/3/2009: Since spouse will be home soon, I needed to make the house look less trashed. There truly was more order, but various flat surfaces (floors, etc.) had been taken up with creating that order, and I needed to undo some of that.
Also, there were things I needed/wanted to do to my laptop before taking it on a trip. Much of Thursday night was spent willing that to finish.
More memorable, was a skype call from the spouse. yay.
Friday 9/4/2009: My car had been increasingly more packed all week. Today jebra & I packed his stuff into my car and we headed off. The hope was to be on the road by noon, and if by "on the road" you include "going to get breakfast", we were. Even if you don't, we were only about 15 minutes behind "schedule".
The breakfast, at a place that jebra, mrs_sweetpeach, & I had had a good dinner recently, was a little disappointing, but not bad per se.
On the road a bit after noon, expecting about a 4.5 hour drive to get to Cheboygan. But that didn't take construction and other driver stupidity into account. I let/had jebra do all the driving this weekend, and I got some craft stuff done, and my car got better fuel economy. And we got where we were going safely.
At one point we took an exit from I-75 to get on a more scenic road and avoid the sea of brake-lights we saw ahead of us. A bit after that, some driver turned left across our path. jebra's fast reflexes (and my car's good brakes) caused us to not encounter them. My slow reflexes allowed my beverage (in a seriously not-top-heavy container) to spread itself about the cabin.
Dinner time came, and we found a small restaurant (Genii's, in Tawas) from which we could see sailboats on the water. Our choices of cuisine were American, Chinese, and Thai. We got an American and a Chinese dish -- with the chef's special general sauce -- which, when she asked us if it was spicy enough, I carefully told her it was tasty. The Chinese dish came with a soup, and I decided against the egg drop because the Clam Chowder sounded so good. And indeed it was -- VERY tasty. Perhaps even worth going back for. I had thought about ordering a Philly Hoagie. (When I asked if they put bell pepper on their Phillys, she said "no, just regular green pepper". I declined.)
It was about 8:30 when we pulled into the park and started setting up the tent. We got it all set up VERY shortly before it would have been too dark to work. And as it was, we missed a few bad rocks we should have moved. We each killed a few dozen mosquitoes that were inside the tent. A literal blood-bath.
Saturday 9/5/2009: I started the morning at a free buffet. It did prove fatal to a few of the diners, but there were a variety of entrees being presented, and when one of them would be able to move from the waiting area into the women's shower, one or two more took her place.
I always forget something. Last year it was a hat and socks. This year it was a towel. The shower was pretty nasty, but the water was warm. I utilized a (wet) washcloth left by a prior bather to "towel off".
We tried to go to a favorite place (Bridgeview diner) to eat for breakfast, but although the large sign near the street said "24 hours" and the sign in the window said "yes we are open" they weren't. We found a parking space near a family restaurant and went in there (Cunningham's) for food. It was okay, but I'd rather try somewhere else than go back.
While discussing what to do today, we considered hiking around the park we were camping in. But jebra remembered how last year we had been incredibly stupid and hiked around the day before the walk, and how our feet had paid for it. Not wanting to overdo it, we considered other possibilities. Heh. We could drive down to pop in unexpectedly at an anniversary party. And bring fudge. And the more we talked about it the more feasible it sounded. So that's what we did. And besides, there was a WalMart quite near this party at which I could buy a towel. Yeah, right. The sensible thing to do. We left quite early -- between 5:30 and 6pm as I recall -- so we missed a few attendees -- and we got back well after dark, but it was a fun side-trip. And it was good to say "Happy 30th" to Mike & Carol. We finished listening to an audiobook of "Neverwhere", and started on "Anansi Boys".
Sunday 9/6/2009: Having been so sensible the day before, not to mention non-present, we decided to be tourists. It was after 10am, so we first went to the Bridgeview diner. (It turns out they are not open 24 hours, only 18 -- 10am - 4am. I was very happy that they were still in existence.) We went to Mackinac Island. The price of the ferry was disgusting, but stopped a LITTLE short of being obscene, so we didn't change our minds when we saw that.
To my memory, I had only ever been in the tourist section of the island -- where there are many shops, and many many places to buy overpriced beverages, so I left my water bottle in the car. And because I didn't think of it, I left my hat in the car too.
Rather than "shopping" we wandered off on the Michigan Highway M-185? that circles the island. My everyday clunky black shoes that I bought in June are a tiny bit too small for my right foot if I don't remember to trim my toenails regularly, and at about 2 miles in, I realized I had not done that recently enough. AND I really wanted something to drink. At 4.5 miles there was a place to not only buy water & pop, but also to give it back, and I took advantage of both halves of the equation.
By the time we got to the end, 8 miles after we started, we were both hobbling or limping. And laughing at ourselves. We dined at Darrow's, first waiting in line for about half an hour. Discussed going back on Monday so I could get the fish, and a Lemon Meringue Pie. Amazing food there!
Not enough light in the tent to tell if I had a blister or not. And since I hadn't brought nail clippers, I couldn't trim my toenails. I think this was the evening that jebra signed into the network using his telephone as a modem. Not wanting to use his minutes, and expecting that we would SOMETIME have access to free internet, I declined to take a pass through everything.
Monday 9/7/2009: We got up at 5:00. Yes, in the morning. I grump at it being too early, but truth be told, we'd probably do a little better to start a little earlier. We got up to the north side of the bridge just before 7am. The sun was starting to come up. We stood in line for a porta-john, just because. About 7:30 in the morning we started walking/hobbling/limping our way across the bridge. A short while into the walk, I no longer grudge my laziness that kept me from wanting to get up earlier than 5, nor the stupid lines we were in (for the bus, for the can) that moved slower than all of the other ones. We were perfectly positioned above a grate as an Ore carrier passed beneath. It was filled with ... sand, guessed another walker, and there were cool pieces of construction equipment, most of which had tracks rather than wheels. We finished the walk at about 9:15. Not too bad for a couple of gimps. The other memorable walkers were a couple who had custom t-shirts with pictures of them as children on the front. On the back it said something to the effect of "We're sisters. We're talking. We're slow. Please pass on the left." Another walker was a woman with a rolling walker and a sign on her back which indicated that she was 93 years old and STILL walking! I'm pretty sure we've seen her on the bridge before. Also, there was an "Alice's Restaurant" banner (which I asked, and it is not yet on the internet) -- which has been photographed in many places including Antarctica, and autographed by several people, including Arlo Guthrie.
We tried to go to Darrow's again, but the line was longer than I was willing to wait, so we headed back to Cheboygan. Just before we got to food, I got a call. traveller42 is back in the country. Not yet home, not even to home base, but back in the country. We went to Alice's Restaurant. They seemed a little taken by surprise by the crowds, and my Eggs Benedict took rather longer than I'd expected, but they were well worth the wait.
We had forgotten again that Cheboygan does its own Bridge Walk -- we finished with breakfast/lunch a bit after noon, and saw that most of the few dozen folks who had gathered to walk over their drawbridge had finished the walk already.
Back to camp. We packed up. It took longer than we'd hoped, so we were a little late getting out. But we were leaving the campground at about 1:30.
We stopped in Gaylord (I think it was) at a
Since I couldn't even get a good connection using Windows (and after the last re-load I was not set up to use the internet under Linux -- oops) jebra did his critically important stuff, but cut his browsing short and we left. Traffic was nasty. We ended up picking up mrs_sweetpeach at about 8pm, headed for Outback. Delicious as always, although the first meal they brought me was yucky vegetables & rice, not the perhaps less good for me seafood & pasta I had ordered. I expect I'll be going back to Outback soon... there's a new dish on the menu I really want to share with traveller42.
If I had requested internet at Chez H. I would not have lost by default on the first of my "ladder" games. I was half way home when I timed out.
I checked my toe for a blister. It would not be fair to say that my toe had a blister. It would be fair to say that the last quarter inch of the little toe on my right foot WAS a blister. Plus, depending on how you count it, I gained between 5 & 7 pounds over the weekend. Oh joy.
I was beyond tired, so rather than fighting with all the web I need to catch up on, I went to bed.
Tuesday 9/8/2009: If I had played my IYT games last night, I would not have lost my 2nd game by default at 5-something this morning. Hmph. I did NOT wake up early enough to both get my car to the dealership (the "you needed this in last week" light came on during the drive home -- I'll be going over 35K probably today) and get to work early to work on the month end tasks which I am only now (at darn near 6pm) finishing up. I received over 350 messages over the long weekend and have (due to the month end responsibilities) not even managed to keep up with all of the ones that came in today. If I were to insist that I process the weekend's mail before leaving today, I'd miss class. I will certainly miss my walk -- but since it has been raining all day, that might have been the case even if I had left when I wanted to. Wednesday after work I have an appointment. Thursday after work I have a meeting. Friday after work... I expect I'll be picking up the spouse.
I can't get no...
Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping...