Sunday, September 5, 2010

Road Trip Adventure: Day Two

Cedar Swamp and White Birch Forest of the U.P.
    I woke up when the sun came streaming through the rear window of the car, directly into my face. I was greeted by a miserable headache which proceeded to worsen over the next ten minutes as I lay there trying to let Justin get some more shut-eye. Finally it was too bad to lay still, so I rolled out, threw on the flip flops, and tossed on a hoodie. The weather had gotten pretty cold, the whole trip had been progressively declining in temperature and the cloud was still overcast in the morning, with temperature in the low 60's and a 15 mph wind. I tossed the hood up, stuffed my hands deep in the pockets, and walked out to the shore where I let myself revel in the freedom of the open water. Twenty minutes later, we were heading towards Cedarville on 143, looking forward to a full tank of gas and some milk for our cereal.
    As we drove, we talked of adventure and looked for new places along the road to explore. Several times we passed promising looking roads the stretched out straight towards south, the coast of Lake Huron. The gas station rolled into sight behind a few small establishments, a brick BP that seemed to be the center of morning activity for the town of Cedarville. We pulled up and got out two unwashed, disheveled young men in a town where the only people out and about this early were all old men filling up their work pickups for a long day of manual labor. We filled the car, bought milk, and semi-secretly used their bathroom to brush our teeth. Then it dawned on us that we had no utensils to eat with Justin, however, managed to find a lunch-time soup counter in the gas station which had free plastic soup spoons sitting out. I think it was implied that the spoon was free IF you bought some soup, but we just picked up two of them and walked out. We were paying them $35 for gas, a more-than-fair trade if you ask me.
    We decided that it was necessary to find a good scenic view to eat our cereal. So the decision was passed to head back a few miles and venture off towards the coast. We did so, and stumbled upon a public access dock that let out in a beautiful secluded bay with tall water grasses growing thick on the edges of the rocky shoreline. 3/4 of a mile distant, at the very mouth of the bay, a large mining operation spout two very large conveyor belts out over the water where ships could pick up loads of whatever rock was being mined. We sat on a large steel-truss peer and ate up the Apple Jacks, discussing how awesome it was that we were sitting next to a bunch of fishing vessels in the complete seclusion of the morning in Michigan's U.P.
    De Tour, the farthest east one can go in Michigan without taking a ferry, was entirely unimpressive. We consulted the GPS on my phone and found out there the actual farthest east point was but couldn't even get to it, as the property was well marked to STAY OFF, and we were just too tired that morning to  feel like trespassing. The old tan car pulled into the State of Michigan owned pier and we used the john, while watching the car ferry travel back and forth to Drummond Island. It dawned on us that we didn't have any idea where we were going from this point. We debated going into Canada through the Soo, heading back west into the U.P., and a myriad of other options. Finally we settled on heading to the Soo and going whichever way we so chose.
    Twenty minutes back on the roads we passed the mining operation that fed the aforementioned machinery at the mouth of the bay. Broken rock piles acted as a fence, easily fifty feet high. Justin wanted to climb it and look over, so I slammed on the brakes and the car reluctantly slowed and pulled off. We tried to jump across the ditch, but I fell in with one shoe and got soaked. Climbing the little rocks was a lot like trying to climb a sand dune. At the top we found a vast expanse of mined earth (what did we expect?) but were high enough to have a perfect view of Lake Huron, stretching endlessly towards the horizon. Little spontaneous acts such as this are what a true adventure is made of.
    Around 11am we came up to the last rest area before the Soo and pulled off in hopes of finding a suitable location to play Magic (and relieve ourselves). We spent the next hour playing Magic: The Gathering in gusting winds on a picnic table surrounded by families and old people traveling the roads. This was quite a fun time, as the game its self is quite entertaining, and we both enjoyed just kicking back and killing some time. It's really the spirit of adventure when one is able to just make a decision to sit around and use up the time of the day doing whatever so pleases. We truly had nowhere to go, no schedule to follow, nothing mattered except finding the fun.
    Soon we moved on and entered the Soo, with no particular destination I followed the signs to the Locks. We parked, joined the stream of tourists, and observed the huge steel machinery that allowed gigantic vessels to be raised and lowered. The park was government owned, but free to enter and for that we were grateful as we would not have gone in if there had been a price. We took Justin's laptop and walked the city looking for WiFi. First we succeeded in finding a head shop on accident. This was quite entreating, but we quickly left after indulging our curiosity in the ridiculous amount of glass bongs of all shapes and sizes. An interesting sort of adventure, that's for sure, when one accidentally stumbles into the middle of part of society that is unfamiliar.
A river running out into beach sand.
    We found some WiFi right in the middle of a street corner, sat down next to a clock tower, and searched Couchsurfing for hosts in the area. We gave up soon after beginning, resigning ourselves to the fact that no one would want to host us with such short notice. Deciding to head back to the car, we passed an alluring smell and followed it right to the back door of a Subway. We split a $5 footlong to save money and then sat in the booth for a good fifteen minutes, talking about how tired we were. We truly must've been looking pretty run down, dirty, and disheveled by this time. We left and struck a course back for the car. Upon arriving we decided to eat most of a box of oreos to sate our hunger. We then decided that crossing the bridge into Canada was off the list, as it would cost us money to cross both ways, and going through Customs is just a pain in the arse. So it was that we decided to continue following the coast of the U.P. and we left Sault Ste. Marie heading west on the southern shore of Lake Superior. It had to be approximately 3 am as we set out.
Our pristine secluded beach of Lake Superior.
    As we drove, the road we were traveling on was continually graduating away from the coast which was our destination. This would not do! So we promptly decided to alter our course and we drove north on a dirt two track into the Hiawatha National Forest and towards the freedom of the open water. Some forty five minutes later, the dirt road dropped us out right on the shore. Now, you might think that "right on the shore" means near the shore, but I literally mean that this road ended IN the beach. There was one other vehicle parked there, and I turned the car to park beside him but found, to my dismay, that the "parking spot" behind the other car was actually a dune of beach sand. So we plunged head first into a sand dune with my two wheel drive tiny car and got quite entirely stuck. Thus we met Steve the Radio Tech who works for the DNR and his wife (name unkown) who helped push our tiny car out of the beach dune.
    As we got talking to the couple, they told us that it was "technically" legal to sleep on the beach. So we did. They also told us about a small little place called Vermillion where the beach is made entirely out of pristine tumbled flat rocks from Lake Superior. We decided to visit the place the following day, thanked the couple, and they left. The rest of that day we didn't see a single person and we had the virgin beach to ourselves. We discovered a recently shipwrecked paddle boat, half buried in the sand which we excavated and tried to ride in two foot swells. It went poorly, but was limitless amounts of fun. Afterwards it was time for dinner, so we hit the road again looking for somewhere close by to cook/eat.
Overlooking the setting sun on Lake Superior.
    A scenic pull-off served the purpose and we set up hobo-camp in the parking lot. No one was around so we threw out our lawn chairs next the the stonework ledge overlooking the setting sun next to Lake Superior. Ramen noodles cooked while we played Magic late into the evening and tuna fish added a little zest to the noodles. Some chips and crackers rounded out our meal and we headed back to our beach. The little two man tent went up quickly on the sand and we played one more game of Magic before falling asleep to the angry waves beating down on the sand. In the distance, red signal lights flashed in unison across the water where wind generators stood tall on a distant island.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell us what you think: