Aug 15, 2012

Cycles and Swimming

Our last full day on the island before moving on to the Upper Peninsula was full of simple fun.  We rented a couple tandem bicycles for a ride around the island.  Not "riding around the island" but actually riding AROUND the island.  It's really easy, because all you have to do is "keep right" and "stay out of the water."

A halfway stop at British Landing for ice cream was a welcome break.  Not from the strenuous riding, but from the weaving and dodging slow bikes, people standing in the road, bikes parked across the road.  It was an encyclopedia of bad bike etiquette and poor bike safety.  But that's to be expected.   It's a lovely ride, however, and the lake views are unparalleled.

Near the halfway point of the ride you pass by the docks.  They are a simple concrete and steel pier that is used by delivery boats and some other utility craft.  We passed a lot of people stopped there, relaxing, taking pictures, and having a grand time.  I'm pretty sure most of them thought they were at British Landing.  And in some of those groups were an annoying person saying "but I don't think the British build a pier and then invaded.."

When the groups get back on their bikes and head down the road, they will find the real British Landing, complete with restrooms, ice cream shop, parking areas, picnic tables, and most importantly, signs.  And that annoying person in their group would have their proud "told you so" moment.

I told Eli he was not permitted to use any kind of accent while we were at British Landing, but I have to say it was hard not to say it internally as "Bri 'ish Landing."

A picnic lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches was capped off with ice cream from the stand.  It was soft serve, and I really enjoyed my "twist," as I hadn't had one in many years.  But I think Jill may have been thinking it was going to be a gourmet ice cream stop, with many flavors and decisions to make.  Of course, that would have made the order more complicated, etc.  On a hot day, any ice cream is a win.

After the ride we returned the rented bikes and headed off to the Grand Hotel to go swimming.  For a small fee non-registered guests can enjoy their pool.  It's a classic, and it felt like a scene from "Dirty Dancing" with the resorts in the 50's.  Shower before you go in?  We don't have showers, sorry.  Lifeguards every ten feet watching you every move?  We have a guy who wanders around occasionally yelling at kids not to jump off the large pool toy anchored in the shallow end.  It was awesome.  The water was warm, the Styrofoam noodles plenty, and we had a lot of fun jumping in the deep deep end (9 feet!) over and over.

Jill and began our pool experience by sitting down comfortably in the shade.  She passed out and I sat there in a stupor trying to decide on a nap or not.  I made a joke about finding a cabana boy to bring me a Pina Colada.  The deal we worked out was that if I went in first she would get me my Pina Colada.  So I went in. It was warm water, crazy kids, and a great pool.  After having a few boot camp flashbacks while trying to get from deep water to shallow water, I fell into a nice rhythm of crazy fun with Eli and then a little more deliberate fun with Lily.  She always has some sort of mission or plan she's working on.  Eli just wants to make big waves or stay underwater longer or some sort of mischief.

When Jill and I traded places and I had my trusty Pina Colada, all was right with the world.  For a while.  Until Lily decided to walk across the bottom of the hot tub.  She ended up going in over her head in boiling hot spa water.  She was not pleased.  Eventually she was ok, but it took quite a bit of love and a new sno-cone to fix her.  Did I mention the pool had all you can eat sno-cones?  Nice.  Overall the kids loved the pool.  I enjoyed it as well.

We went back to the house for a good old fashioned Craig Happy Hour.  Lots of good eats, as many family members as we could find within a state's borders, and lots of laughter.  We had so much to eat we decided to skip dinner an just pig out.  The dog, Bentley, even got in on the fun.  At least most of the family got to try Jill's famous devilled eggs before he got to them.  I hope he liked them!

Speaking of Bentley, I found out early on that if I did a particular goofy voice and narrated the dogs actions, Emma would be put into fits of silent laughter that only revealed themselves by her choking noises trying to gasp for air.  It was awesome.  So I did it a lot.  It didn't help that the dog has these expressive eyes that look human.  I think it's the spacing.  But when he looks at you he judges your soul.  And with my narration.. well, it gets kinda goofy.  So we did that a lot and it was good fun.

Jill and I went out on a double date with Lisa and Steve.  It was great fun.  We were adults going out on the town.  Well, as long as there wasn't live music, because that's a little annoying.  And we wanted to sit down. And a patio would be nice.  Oh and appetizers.  But they have to have good beer.  Ok, it was a couple of old couples looking for the least annoying nightlife ever.  But we did find the right spot and it was great.  We got to try good drinks, made quiet judging comments about the young family that didn't seem to understand that a baby in a bar was a bad idea, and we got to see how close the bat would fly before hitting Lisa.  Sadly, the bat never got her.

We did, however, move on to the Best Bar Ever.  Of course I don't remember the name, but that usually comes with finding a good bar -- fuzzy details.  I know our server was Luke Perry researching a new role.  And that he knew beer better than I did.  Which isn't hard, but it's still impressive.  Jill ordered (and enjoyed) something called Grog.  Kelsey came to join us and might have made Steve tear up.  Which isn't easy.  Kelsey left for his ferry and ended up missing it.  When we asked why the responding text was "it's complicated" and it truly was.  Rather than tell the story, I'll let it be mysterious and thus ten times more interesting than it was.

We also got to meet the girl Kelsey had been on a date with earlier that evening.  She was a really nice, really pretty and really interesting girl.  We were almost polite to her, but Lisa knew her and that allowed us (me) to be as obnoxious as we (I) pleased.  Pretty sure I didn't say anything horrible.  The evening eventually ended and we passed out happily in our wonderful guest room in an awesome house build in 1848.  Never did get to see a ghost, though.

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