I’ve gone almost 400 miles since yesterday morning, and I am spent. The campground last night graciously decided not to charge me for my stay (in that no particular person asked me for money). So I drove away pretty happy, although to be fair, it was a bit noisy and the electricity didn’t work. Lola performed beautifully under pressure as I strove to leave early this morning (I tried for 7 am, and finally pulled away about 8:30). Because the gas line was one of the things I never got around to fixing, I made my coffee with my little Coleman camp stove burner, a wonderful $30 buy on Amazon, and my aero press coffee maker. There wasn’t much time, because I was trying to make the 11:30 ferry to Beaver Island.

Pay attention, that’s important.

So apparently it takes 90 minutes to get from Cadillac to Charlevoix, where the Beaver Island ferry (the “Emerald Islander”) departs. I was pulling the trailer along nicely, apart from a pretty strong tail wind from the south, which pitched her about a bit. Had it been as strong a cross wind, I don’t believe I would have driven at all. Wind, particularly northern Michigan wind off the lake, is pretty hazardous for trailers. I couldn’t very well speed, nor would I want to. The road from Mancelona, an hour or so north of Cadillac, to East Jordan just south of Charlevoix is one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever driven. It’s not what I’d call a “driver’s” road. It is beautiful, rolling with views of the surrounding hills, and has some nice banked curves which are pleasant, while not what I would call “challenging.” Some day I want to take a fast car and zoom around on it. Today, however, was not that day, and Lola and I acquired a bit of a queue behind us while we putzed along on the two lane track.

In any case, when pulling a trailer, it does take a bit longer than 90 minutes to reach Charlevoix. I might have taken a longer route than normal. I’m trying my best not to use GPS, one because it distracts from my driving, and two, because I can’t afford the extra data. So I tried to memorize which way to go. I got close…I think. I mean I MADE it here. But it definitely took a while.

About 20 minutes too long.

Because I’d arranged to park my car and Lola at the top of the hill in Charlevoix, a typical lake town with a “bridge” street down the middle, I’d need to walk down to the dock to catch my ferry with the dogs in tow. If I’d arrived earlier, I might have dropped my baggage off at the dock before parking, but I didn’t. I arrived at 11:10. I scrambled to park the car, grab my bags and the dogs and hurry down the hill (about a half mile). I was puffing, and the dogs were no help, stopping to pee on every bush. I’d purchased a good amount of food to stock the trailer, and the only thing I didn’t want to leave sit were a bunch of bananas, which I foolishly grabbed in the hope of keeping them and the dogs and my bag and the bag with the dog food all together as I ran down the hill. The minutes ticked by. I’d like to apologize to the city of Charlevoix for the two dog doodoo’s that I didn’t stop to pick up. Also for the bunch of bananas that might have ended up on the ground somewhere on Bridge street. I did lose them somewhere along the way.

About 11:22, I stuck out my hitch hiker thumb in the hopes that somebody with a pick up truck might cart me and the dogs the last quarter mile. No such luck. And as I arrived at the park bordering the dock, the clock in the yard just seconds from 11:30, I heard the horn of the Emerald Islander and saw her pull away from the dock without me.

It’s not like a taxi. You can’t ask them to wait. When the bridge goes up, the boat leaves without you. And this time of year, there isn’t more than one trip a day. I sat down in a huff, and called my family to tell them the bad news.

Well, my mother being my mother, she immediately set the problem to rights. She said, “Wait right there. Someone will be along to pick you up.”

And there was. They even took the dogs. And LOOK WHAT WE DID TODAY!!!!!

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Bless them, they had extra room on their noon flight. Fresh Air flies to Beaver Island on these tiny puddle jumper planes, and yes, they will take dogs. Monty and Niko had their first flight today. You should have seen Niko’s face when we took off.

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Although Monty was perfectly happy, Niko was pretty scared. After a while though, he managed to sum up the courage to peek out the window.

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While the ferry takes a good two hours, the flight took minutes.

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It costs a pretty penny more, but wow, was it great. Sure we missed the waves and the water, but we got to see the whole island from the air!

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Upon landing, we got into our “Beaver Island limousine.”

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I’m pretty sure this was the most exciting morning the dogs had ever had.