Aug 16, 2012

Wet and Wild at Whitefish Bay

Waking on the island for the last time, perhaps for a year, I ran through all of my options.  Coming up with no reasonable way to just stay there forever, I got up.  After ferryinig back to Mackinaw City, we headed to Mill Creek for their Adventure Tour.  Along with the real working sawmill they have an :adrenaline course” that includes a climbing tower, rope bridge, and most importantly a zipline.   The last time we were there Lily was just a smidge too little to do it, so for the last two years it’s all she could talk about.  The weather wasn’t exactly cooperating, so they did the course backwards in order to get the zipline in case it rained.  It did, but not much.  Lisa and I waited on deck to wait for the folks to come down the zipline and had a nice little brother and sister chat.  I caught video and pictures, love my phone!

At one point Lisa thought she heard the kids on the climbing tower, and we were worried we were going to miss them.  So I did “the call” and a few moments later got the return call from the other direction -- over by the zip line.  We both laughed, and I said that was the most effective and practical use of “the call” we’ve ever experienced.

What’s the call?  I don’t exactly remember how it started.  We think it began when the new neighbors moved in with two kids just about the same ages as ours.  There is a creature in Episode I of Star Wars (Boga) that makes this whoooop whooooooop screeching noise.  So Eli’s imitation of that noise has become the family “call.”  When he or the neighbor kids want to play they just go outside and whoop.  Sometimes when we’re in a crowd and I need to get their attention, I whoop.  It’s one of the best ideas our family has had.  Every family should have a call -- just make sure it’s not ours or we’ll get confused.

After a successful Adventure Tour we got to watch the sawmill demonstration.  I’ve seen it before but it’s aways cool.  So much wood and water working hard and making so much noise and action -- and then more wood.  I said something about maybe building a miniature version of a sawmill at home and when Jill said it was a good idea I mentioned I meant a life sized one and thank you very much for the permission.  I was kidding of course, but now Lily wants me to do it.  Jill talked us down to simply a zipline in the backyard.  I’ll help, but that’s all her problem.  I mean idea.

I checked out the gift shop and once again found nothing of interest.  Sometimes I find something cool though, so I keep looking.  I really enjoy gift shops and most of the time I don’t even buy anything.  Some of the requirements of a cool item are:

  • Unique to that location
  • Not something I can get online (have to waive that rule a lot, as most things are)
  • Not too expensive
  • Must cause someone else to go “oh that’s cool!”
  • Must be something I can live with.

For the most part I fail at gift shops, but sometimes I win.  Like the time I got a flint and steel kit.  That was (and still is) awesome.  I even started this evening’s fire with it.  Ok, I used a few lighters also, but it began the embers quite nicely.  Another great gift shop purchase was the sunglasses holder that didn’t end up working on my glasses, so Eli got to use it.  It’s a simple strap but it has a huge fishing bobber in the middle, so it looks like you’re walking around with a bobber on your back.  I guess you have to see it to really understand.

As we’re making our purchases Jill throws something on the counter and tells me I can’t look.  So I’m not sure what she’s getting -- there was nothing cool.  I checked!  When we get out to the car she says “Happy late father’s day!” and gives me a twelve page set of instructions for building your own saw mill.  Seriously!  So now all I have to do is translate feet to inches and build me a mill!  She rocks.

Lunch in Mackinaw City at Darrow’s with the cousins before a sad farewell was successful.  Super good Mushroom burger.  Hit the road and made it to Whitefish Bay by late afternoon.

The shipwreck museum was great.  I was holding my expectations down, and it was better than I could have guessed.  We got to climb the lighthouse, I saw the rescue exhibit in the boathouse, and we saw a little film about the Edmund Fitzgerald.  The gift shop had me all aflutter, but I think they figured out that boat nerds tend to be old men with lots of money, as the prices of some of the prints (come on, they’re posters!) were astronomical.  But I got a “make your own Fitz” kit and a map of the great lakes and a book about crime on the lakes.  You can’t pass up a book that has “booze” and “broads” in the subtitle.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.

The rain started on the way up to Whitefish bay and really never stopped until dinnertime.  Setting up camp in the aftermath of drizzle was fun.  When you hear the wind come up, hide under something, as the trees are about to dump water on you.  But the sun came out a bit and we had a lovely evening.  The park ranger came by to tell us the weather service was warning of high winds and rain later.  We just decided to use all the tent stakes and hope for the best.

Dinner was Dinty Moore stew and buttery biscuits.  The kids mostly ate biscuits, but Jill and I made obscene noises while eating ours.  They were that good.  Being out of the rain, tent set up and some beverages with Jameson in them might have had something to do with that.  But they were indeed good.  I chose it as one of our meals as it was my Dad’s secondary meal.  His primary of course being beans and weenies.  I think we did him proud.

So here I sit blogging by the fire as Lily roasts mashmallows and Eli reads.  Jill’s puttering around and all is well.  If this is the last blog entry, it likely that storm came in stronger than we thought.  Or we didn’t cook the biscuits long enough.   Hopefully we’ll let you know.

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