Saturday, September 4, 2010

Road Trip Adventure: Day One

    I crashed on Justin, my buddy's, couch the night before our trip started. We spent the evening throwing odds and ends into the car which added up to a traveling total (estimated) of:
Somewhere on our journey...

  • 2 skateboards
  • 2 folding cloth lawn chairs
  • 2 sleeping pads
  • 1 sleeping bag and 1 blanket
  • 1 change of clothes each
  • 1 backpacking stove and titanium cook pot
  • 1 large box stuffed with cereal boxes, ramen noodles, tuna, plain instant oatmeal, and canned fruit
  • 0 eating utensils (as we realized later, to our dismay)
  • toiletries and other odds and ends
The uses of some of these items will be explained all in due time, have no fear. So with these items packed we set ourselves about the monumental task of trying to fall asleep the night before a much anticipated event. It's something like trying to fall asleep the night before Christmas, it just doesn't work very well. My friend's brother and some of his friends were up in the house preparing to leave for the Renaissance Fair the next morning. So I stayed up until 3am with them and finally crashed, getting a full six hours of sleep before being awoke and kept up by the sunshine in the living room.
    We left after Justin so generously read excerpts of The Dangerous Book for Boys over our breakfast of cereal. It was 9:30am and the open road stretched out endlessly before us. The gas gauge on my '01 Intrepid was reading 1/4 tank so we stopped to top it off before hitting the highway. We bought four energy drinks, two apiece, for the adventure. You see, road trips mandate drinking excessive amounts energy drinks, this is something you will come to learn. We hit 127 North, breaking open the drinks with that crisp snap. Some good punk music (it was most likely Gaslight Anthem) motivated us to knock down some miles on the trip while we were nice and fresh, ready to go!
    The first major "roadblock" of our road trip was my own huge oversight to have somehow misjudged the weekend of our trip. You see, Black Iron Days, the blacksmithing event that was first on our list of things to see and do on the journey, happened on the weekend of the 27th. We arrived at Hartwick Pines State Park just after noon on the 21st and realized, with a great deal of cursing, that we were one week too early. The spirit of a road trip prevailed in us and we were soon on our way north again with little complaint. Off to a new destination, somewhere unexpected, and a day early too. This actually bolstered our drive to adventure as we now had all the options in the world open to us. As we drove a back-country road in no particular direction, I consulted our map. We decided to head north, and stop somewhere across the Mackinaw Bridge. Two hours later, the bridge towers loomed into sight just beyond a forest covered hill in the distance. We pulled off in Mackinaw City to poke around for a while, since we still needed to find some Magic: The Gathering cards to bolster our adventure.
Mackinaw City Lighthouse
    There is very little in a tourism destination for the open heart and frugal soul of a traveler. The whole place is packed with the same stores, selling all the same useless trinkets, and all for an amazingly extortionist price. In fact, even the people were making us sick. Everyone looked the same to us, all the same middle aged travelers on their disgustingly embellished Harley's. All the same tourist families, with teenage daughters and every one of them had the same straight hair, the same cell phone, the same ridiculously oversized designer sunglasses, and the same super-short-cut blue jean shorts. The teenage punk guys were the same way, flat brimmed hats pointing sideways, striped polos, or a "Knockout" shirt to show the world that they think they're cool for watching shows where men punch other men's brains out for fun. It was claustrophobic, polluted, and fake.
    Now, this is NOT to say that Mackinaw doesn't hold some gold nuggets for the rest of us. My friend and I walked out to the Mackinac Fog Horn at the end of a nice boardwalk next to a beach riddled with sharp seashells. We went into the shops in the city to try to find some Magic: The Gathering Cards, and succeeded in finding some over-priced starter packs. We coughed up for them only because they were the ONE thing we had promised ourselves we would buy. With the success of having found our cards, we set off to leave the city and all of it's pretentious tourists behind us and find a spot in the middle of no where to play Magic and camp the night.
St. Martin Point, Night 1
    We payed up the $3.50 to cross the bridge, took a right in St. Ignace and stopped at Betsy's Pasties for dinner. Once again we gritted our teeth and payed for dinner which we now realized was necessary since we had the great oversight not to pack any dinner food with us. We forewent the gravy on our pasties since it was an extra ¢50 and used the free ketchup in copious quantities instead. The waitress almost spilled water on Justin and apologized ten too many times for it, while I laughed relentlessly at Justin because I really wanted to see him get soaked in water just for my own amusement. We left again heading back onto 127 North and then exiting again to take 143 east into Hiawatha National Forest. We slept here in a private community where it was quite obvious that people who are not members, are not welcome. We took our chances because the view was PERFECT!
    The sunset wasn't much because the weather was very overcast, however we sat upon our folding chairs, overlooking the vast waters of Lake Huron as the day came to a close. Our adventure was well under way and so far well worth it. Price of adventure so far:

  • $15 per person for gas
  • $15 for Magic The Gathering cards
  • $4 per person for gavy-less pasties
  • $1.75 per person for bridge toll
One would not have to pay for Magic cards normally on this trip so, without having paid for cards, this trip's day one price comes to $20.75. 269 miles, lots of small towns, several major ones, a new card game, and a beautiful view later our first day comes to a close as we crawl into the trunk of my car, back seats folded down, to make a bed. Before falling asleep we decide to go get gas first thing in the morning and pick up some milk for our cereal at the station, then eat and find somewhere to start our first game of Magic.

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