Eventually, I finished getting dressed and ready to go. We were to head out to a Catholic church picnic with Melon Man's parents in Mikado (his parents are Catholic). As we walked out the door to go to the car, the heat and the humidity hit me again. It was so oppressive. I was really hoping it would be cool and dry while we were in Michigan. However, I took about 10 steps and suddenly there was no humidity and lots of cool air. Eh? What happened? It was fabulous! It suddenly was SO refreshing! We got in the car and started to head out to Mikado.
We began driving and I noticed this....
Yep, it's just a satellite dish. But, I started noticing that there were a lot of them just alongside the roads. It kind of intrigued me as to why. But, I finally deduced that it's because there are SO MANY trees that in order to get a good southern exposure, some people have to put their satellite dishes next to the road since that may be the only place that is open enough to the southern exposure. We saw tons of these satellite dishes along our drives today.
And, I noticed this...
That's right...you can't really see through the trees. The forests are so dense. Sometimes, I would see parts of the forest where it was super dark because they were so thick and the canopies from the trees had blocked out all the light. Amazing!
We continued straight on across the state to the east side toward Tawas City. Melon Man soon said "Get your camera ready." I wondered why and then as we rounded a curve in the road, I saw this...
It was my first view of Lake Huron! Of the Great Lakes, I'd only ever seen Lake Michigan - and only from the southern area of it near Chicago. It was so pretty, so blue. There were all kinds of sailboats out on the water cruising around.
We kept driving up the coast of the lake all the way up to just north of Oscoda. Then, we backtracked a little bit to the west and drove into Mikado. Now, the rest of this part of the story comes from a conversation between Melon Man and me. I have no idea what the conversation between Melon Man and his dad was so I can't confirm that this is exactly what was said, but this is the way it was interpreted...
When Melon Man asked where the picnic was going to be, he heard "at a building in Mikado. It's easy to find - there will be a lot of cars." No specific building, just "a building - with a lot of cars."
So, we come into the south end of Mikado...and....well, let me explain about Mikado. Mikado has no stop lights. It has one main intersection that you can easily tell is the center of town, yet it's only got a two-way stop. There are maybe 6 commercial type buildings, of which 4 are closed down, boarded up. There are possibly 12 residential buildings and they are all spread out. We drove around and around looking for "a building with a lot of cars." We went north, turned around. We went west. Turned around. We went east. Turned around. Went north again. Turned around. Went east again. Still didn't find anything...except the local Catholic church which didn't have anyone there, nor any cars let alone a lot of cars. So...we decided to head to Harrisville and see if maybe the picnic was over or cancelled or something. We were, afterall, an hour late due to my fall. So...we headed through the trees to Harrisville....
We drove the 8 to 10 miles to Harrisville and then cruised to Melon Man's parents' apartment. Right away, we knew they weren't there since the car they were driving wasn't there. So, we drove around Harrisville for about 10 or 15 minutes hoping maybe they would show up. But, they didn't. So, we stopped at a little craft boutique shop and looked around. I ended up buying a Petoskey stone necklace.
Petoskey stones are only found in one place in the world...the upper part of Lake Michigan, near Petoskey, Michigan. They are so beautiful! I immediately put my necklace on and we left. I really wanted to find my own Petoskey stone, but we were nowhere near where they would be. Bummer.
We drove around Harrisville for a few more minutes, bought some fresh cherry tomatoes from a local farmer, bought an ice cream at Dairy Queen (which every little town in Michigan seemed to have!) and then went back to check the parents' apartment again. Still nothing. So, we headed back to Mikado. Along the way, we saw this Amish buggy. I just had to take a picture (out the window of a moving vehicle, of course).
We got there and again drove north, found nothing, drove west, nothing, drove around and around and found nothing. So...we drove back to Harrisville again. I decided to take some pictures of some of the signs we saw along the road today...I'm sure there will be more....
This time, we drove down the road that Ma and Pa V walk down to go to the lake and harbor. What a view...just walk down the street and there's the lake. That would be so awesome! It looks like the ocean! If I had a view like this, along with the bench sitting there looking out over the water, I'd probably just glue my butt to the bench so nobody could ever move me.
Still no parents. Still no picnic. Still no phone messages or phone service. What to do? We finally just decided to forego the picnic and head back to West Branch. Along the way, we saw this...
|What the heck is a "Party Store"?|
I had heard the term Party Store just recently and still wasn't too sure exactly what it was. While we were driving back and forth between Mikado and Harrisville, I kept seeing this one. Yeah, still not too sure. Finally, Melon Man explained that it's essentially like a 7-11 or Circle K. You go there and buy your "party" goods like liquor, cigarettes, chips, etc. Um, okay. Party store, I guess, is just a generic term for the non-corporatized - non-franchised, version of a 7-11, except they likely don't have Slurpees there. But, I bet you COULD buy bullets and a hunting license! (Okay, Michigan family - I'm not making fun - it's probably true, right?)
Of course, to get back to West Branch, we had to head back through Mikado. As we drove through the tiny little town, we STILL did not see the picnic or the lots of cars we'd heard about. We came to the single, solitary stop sign and again drove north, just in case, and again didn't see anything so we proceeded south to head back to West Branch. Just as we passed the last building in Mikado, I looked off to the left and all of a sudden there were a LOT of cars! There were bouncy houses and everything! We'd finally found it! Apparently, we were never able to find it before because we'd been going all the directions other than the one we needed to go. Since we'd come in from the south, we never thought to head south again, but if we had, we'd have seen the pavillion and cars. They just weren't viewable coming in FROM the south.
We joined up with the folks and had a nice lunch with their friends and church members. We got to meet their Bishop Nabubu or something like that. He was from Nigeria. Look how dark his skin is...I think he is the darkest man I have ever met. He was super friendly and smiley! Dad V was happy as punch to introduce him to us.
|One of Melon Man's fake smiles...|
We visited with his parents in their apartment and they showed us all of their neat pictures and things. It was starting to get to be a little later in the afternoon and we wanted to get back to Kris and Jim's before dark so we wouldn't run the risk of hitting a deer, so we got on our way again.
As we were driving, we once again saw the beautiful, verdant green, pastoral lands of a hay field. Just look at those rolls of hay. I think I heard or read somewhere that each one weighs about 1,000 pounds. Don't drop that on your toe!
And, of course, what is today's trip without a picture of another cool red barn and some white grain elevators or silo thingies? Seriously, though, I LOVED this barn and farm. I could SO live there.
When we got back to West Branch, we were met by a houseful of family! Kris and Jim were there and so were Karol and Steve, along with their kiddos, Marty and Lorelei. We sat out on the back patio and watched the kids swim in the pool while we chatted and got to know each other better. Well, I guess while they got to know me and I got to know them. Melon Man already knew all of them!
It was a nice late afternoon - cooler temps, low humidity, and just a nice time with family. We barbecued some steaks and ate out on the patio. But then, the mosquitos - the size of walnuts - came out and started eating us alive. Normally, I am not affected by mosquitos, but this time, they LOVED me! Soon we headed inside for the evening.
Karol's family was staying the night because in the morning everyone (except us) was going to the Au Sable River to help do the annual clean-up. I played with the kids for a little while, helping Lorelei make a necklace for Ma V, her grandma.
Then, the kiddos decided they wanted to pose for me so I could take pictures of them - so I did - and they did. They were so hilarious!
It was soon time for all of us to go to bed and so off we all went. What a fun and crazy day!