Beaver Island, MI

Today my mother and I quested to the south end of the island. We were looking for a road that led to a spring and an orchard, a small red line on the bottom of our map. We consulted our island guide, Ken, but he’d never been. He’s been to the outer islands, where nobody lives, and has a great knowledge of them, but not this little track in the woods. So naturally, I was interested. It was a long and windy drive down “East Side,” which is one of the less interesting names for the roads on the island. The King’s Highway bisects the eastern half, and is the only paved street. (The King was not …

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ou wouldn’t believe how much stuff fits in an 8×5 storage unit. I pride myself on the art of stacking, and boy is it a good thing that baby is 10 feet tall inside. I needed every square inch. I found myself suddenly wishing that I was a few years younger, and had acquired fewer things over the years. But I like my stuff. My antique desk, my fancy owl lamp, my copy of the Dark Knight trilogy on DVD…well whatever. I’ve got a LOT of it. Too much. You know it’s bad when I’m considering just throwing it all away to save myself the mumbo jumbo. “Do I really need this hard copy of iWork 2011?” …

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  Today my mother and I were convinced by our island guides Betty and Ken, that we visit a little-known spot, deep in the woods on the west side of the island, where you can pick fresh wild cranberries in the fall. A wild cranberry bog! We loaded up in our Beaver Island limo, and set off. The hike was lovely, the weather perfectly sunny and warm. Monty and Niko had their trail vests on as we hiked over a few hills. Now, let me explain something about the island, and probably upper Michigan in general. There ARE public lands for hunting and hiking, etc. There are also private lands for these things. But the further north …

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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 …

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Well, it’s been a big day! Lola and I set off about 9 o’clock this morning. I was so nervous, I nearly forgot the dogs. It took 6 months of planning, weeks of preparing, days of packing and storing stuff, and hours of driving, but here I am. Cadillac, Michigan at the state park camp ground. The drive was better than I thought it might be. State road 31 cuts straight through the heart of Indiana, a flat, uneventful drive full of cornfields. It gets a bit hillier in Michigan, though much looks the same. Grand Rapids is aptly named, not for a rushing river but for the lanes of rushing traffic that course through it even …

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