Making lemonade in Michigan 🍋
Wherein a confluence of unfortunate events prompt me to reconsider the course of the last major leg of my trip.
When last I wrote, I had just made the decision to skip Montréal in favor of Ottawa. Good decision in hindsight. Fun to be able to say I’ve now seen the capital of our neighbors to the north. Nice catching up with Jevin and Snook when I was there!
I’ve made a few scope decisions through the course of the trip, including cutting Charleston, South Carolina (which I’d like to go back to see), and not attempting to venture onto Manhattan with trailer in tow (having dragged David Towie through a couple of major cities, I have no regrets about this one).
This latest set of changes to my itinerary were less under my control, however. And, if you know me well, you know I prefer to be the captain of my ship of fate. Alas, the stupid pandemic caught up with me. Not in the form of me coming down with covid, thankfully, but in the form of both my good friend Chels and her partner coming down with it just a day before I was supposed to spend 3 nights hanging with them and their beautiful pups.
Chels felt terrible, of course, and I wish her a speedy recovery from the dreaded plague! ❤️
On top of this, my planned rendezvous with Lauren & fam’ in Minneapolis didn’t work out because they are on a school trip to Ireland. Knowing Lauren, she saw this coming for weeks, unlike me. 😅
Despite not getting to spend a few long, lazy days in Manistee, I’ve had a really good time the last few days. Michigan has exceeded my expectations, including in the mosquito department.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (the U.P.) has a reputation for mosquitos. Careful readers of #MegaRoadTrip2022 will remember that the disc golf course I played on Prince Edward Island confronted me with the swarmiest, most aggressive mosquitos I’d ever encountered. Up until that point.
I mean, I shouldn’t have been surprised. The place I chose to hike out to see Lake Superior was called Mosquito Beach. I am not making this up.
You know that scene in The Princess Bride where the Man in Black is escorting Princess Buttercup through the Fire Swamp? They have a conversation about its perils that I’ve adapted to today’s adventure as follows (except that instead of 2 characters talking to each other it’s just me talking to myself):
Me: What are the 4 perils of the Mosquito Beach trail? The slippery sandstones. The falling ticks. And the wily chipmunks.
Also me: What about the Giant Swarming Mosquitos?
Me: Oh, GSMs? I don’t believe they exist.
Then you take 1 step towards the beach and 💥 BOOM 💥 you’re in a fight for your life with seemingly thousands of the most annoyingly aggressive, small-bird-sized mosquitos forming a toxic cloud around your soul.
I’m exaggerating, but only slightly.
I made it out relatively unscathed thanks to 2 layers of T-shirt (thanks for the example last week at the disc golf course, PEI locals!) and a generous slathering of mosquito repellant, which thankfully didn’t act like an attractant like it did in Canada!
Oh wait, I realize I haven’t even mentioned the other changes I’ve decided to make to my remaining itinerary. I will spend tonight at a campground here in the U.P., as planned. After that, I had planned to go through Wisconsin to the aforementioned Minneapolis before heading back north, eh, and driving through Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia on my way back to home territory.
That’s all out the window. 😅
I’ve decided after 10,000+ miles that I’m kinda done. I’m tired of all the driving. I’m homesick for the old familiar routines. I’d love again to sleep in my own bed.
So, the plan is to spend the next 3 days hightailing it across North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho (as I told one person, the gas is cheap and the speed limits are high!) and land in the Puget Sound area on Tuesday morning.
Once there, I’ll spend a couple of days with my sister in Bremerton, then head up to Port Angeles to see a couple more friends before heading out to Neah Bay, the northwestern most spot in the lower 48 (an intended symmetry with my visit to Lubec, the easternmost point in the U.S.), before heading down the coast and home. Home! It’s hard to believe I’m writing that word!
Days on the road: 42
States visited so far: 23 (added Michigan)
Provinces visited so far: 6 (same as last time and that’ll be it for the trip!)
Miles driven: 10,023.9 ← New order of magnitude!
Gallons of gas used: 711.2
Average miles per gallon: 14.1 (still holding steady)
Average gas price: $5.24/gallon (down a penny)
Animals seen since last issue: swans, porcupine ☠️, sand hill cranes