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Monday, August 27, 2012

Vacation pt 1: Manitowoc

So it was just over two weeks ago when I loaded a tote bag, computer bag, camera bag, and cooler into Daughter Dearest’s car and pointed the nose north. Of course, I’d planned to leave around 10am, but it was closer to 1pm before departure. I had to pick up my BP/cholesterol meds early, and the wife was reluctant to let her slave labor the love of her life go away for so long. But go I did—I was on a mission, although I didn't realize it until I was already there.

I did manage to make the Columbus IN exit around bedtime, and settled on a Motel 6 for the night. The tall, tall sign, visible from the freeway, promised rooms starting at $44.99. I had to ask the desk clerk about that when she handed me the bill for $60. “Oh,” she said, “that’s the weekday rate for a single room.”

“Seems like you should change the sign for the weekend,” I suggested, not being overtly confrontational… yet.

“We can’t see it from here, and something’s screwed up.” Yeah, I think it was a fatal error in the morals circuitry. I haven’t emailed their corporate offices about it yet, but I will. I will. Misleading is the nice word.

The next morning was better—I met the couple that are affectionately called “the Fs” on their blog, for breakfast. All too soon, I was on the road again. But this time, instead of veering onto US31, I stayed on I-65. I got to geek out over the enormous wind farm south of Gary—hundreds of turbines on both sides of the freeway, for miles and miles—before getting stuck in Chicago traffic on a Sunday afternoon. I managed to make Wisconsin before needing gas, and tanked up for the final leg up I-43 to Manitowoc. North of Milwaukee, traffic was stopped up going south, but northbound was mostly clear sailing. I got to The Boy’s place in time for supper.

As always, The Boy has a crowd of colorful characters gathered around him. J (fourth from left), who also came from Planet Georgia and lived at FAR Manor for a little while, left Kentucky for Wisconsin at the beginning of the new year. He’s now The Boy’s official roomie. J’s new girlfriend Courtney lives at the apartment with him, and she says others have been coming around more often now that The Boy and Snippet are broke up. That has been six weeks and counting—probably the best thing for them both. Had I planned to go straight back to Planet Georgia from Manitowoc, I would have contacted Snippet and offered her a ride back. She wasn’t all that thrilled to move up north to begin with, you know. But, since I wasn’t going straight back, I didn’t contact her and we didn’t run into her.

Anyway, they live in a largish old house that’s been separated into three or four apartments. It’s not upscale by any means, but in reasonable shape for young working-class guys and surprisingly clean. He keeps night-shift hours, so I would get up in the morning and creep out to the porch to eat breakfast and write. That worked out well; the others would start moving around at 10:30 or so, about the time I was about wrote out for the morning.

THAT is a lake.
One question I was asked often, “are you taking the ferry across the lake?” The ferry leaves Manitowoc and crosses Lake Michigan (seen behind us) to Ludington. It’s a four-hour jaunt, and not cheap ($150, half for me and half for the car), but I’d get back $30 or $40 in gas and avoid all that traffic. I figured the travel time would be pretty close, but it was four hours I wouldn’t have to drive myself.

Of course, since we were right on Lake Michigan, we had to go to the beach. The weather was beautiful, and I wish I was still there.

On Tuesday night, I got a call from Other Brother. “Bad news,” he said. “Uncle John passed away yesterday. His viewing is Thursday night and the funeral is Friday. Are you going to be here for that?” Then the fun one: “Oh, and Dad totaled his car Thursday.” So at least I could be there not only for the funeral, but to make sure Dad got there.

Wednesday morning, I got The Boy some groceries (“I’m about over the thing with Snippet,” he said) and we had a quick lunch before I boarded the ferry. That’s tomorrow’s installment.


  1. Apart from the bit at the end, it sounds like a great time. Especially that time to get some writing done.

    I hate it when they say one price and it's different when it comes time to pay.

  2. Yes I agree with Craig apart from the sad news at the end it sounds like you had a good time. Love the photos!


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