“My mother hit me on the back repeatedly with a canoe paddle, but…”
“O-oh, there’s only one cookie left. Who gets it?”
“I did the grocery shopping,” said Mom.
“I did all the driving,” asserted Dad.
Stuart claimed, “I haven’t whined the whole trip!”
Prep: Stuart and I walked through our camping pack list and cut our supplies down to the bone. We would be sleeping in hotels for three nights and camping for the last four. We chose well, and only wished we had a few extra things, like a scrappy towel to dry the inside of the tent. We used Roger’s beach towel instead. (He suggested it.)
We started the day kayaking in Ann Arbor. Roger went solo and Stuart and I paired up, with me in the back. I’ve kayaked quite effectively, solo, but coordinating two people, neither of whom are particularly good at keeping “right” and “left” straight? Well, Stuart put it quite succinctly, “I’ve discovered the secret to learning something hard. Do it with someone who is just as bad as you, and doesn’t care.”
The beginning of the journey required navigating through 8 or 10 “cascades”, or drops, that allowed kayaks and tubes down past the dam, and fish to swim up past the dam. They were about four feet wide. By the end, we could get lined-up for the descent, first time ‘round, but every time we hit the bottom of a chute, it would throw us sideways. Roger just shook his head at us. Stuart and I howled with laughter, and spent a lot of time chanting, “right, right, right”, or shouting, “LEFT, Hard LEFT”, trying to figure out how to steer the thing, or to avoid a rock or… “Other Right!” when one of us either shouted the wrong direction, or called out the correct side, but the other got mixed up.
A dense, but narrow forest surrounded the river, and views of the city kept popping up unexpectedly. Quite nice! It was 72 degrees, but Stuart and I managed not to capsize on the cascades, and though our bums were wet, our spirits were high, our bodies warm from the exertion of paddling. By the end of the trip, we were coordinated… mostly.
Stuart was occasionally effective at saying, “Rock ahead”, and sometimes wasn’t. Identifying obstacles so they can be avoided is the front-man’s job. We all recalled the time I failed as front-man. Years ago, in Michigan, Roger’s and my brand-new canoe stopped dead with a stunning lurch. Roger had shouted, “What did we HIT?” and I was quite chagrined, and whispered, “Refrigerator?”. It gleamed white through the greenish water, and nearly tipped us over as we tried to un-beach ourselves. It seemed quite funny, now.
And yes, being rather uncoordinated as an individual, I did, repeatedly, hit Stuart on the back with my paddle. Fortunately, he wore a lifejacket, which worked better than armor. Armor would have made an unpleasant noise each time I hit…
After kayaking, we had pb&j, and discovered some bi-color frosted animal crackers in our pack. Normally they’re all pink or all white. We then drove to Ann Arbor. We spent quite a while in the Archaeology museum, looking at an amazing variety of artifacts, some from the time of Babylon and King Darius. Amazing.
The University of Michigan’s campus is beautiful. The clock tower sounds wonderful. The squirrels eat peanuts right out of your hand. One steadied itself while dining by gripping Roger’s thumb with its hand. Stuart attracted and fed squirrels too. Near the bell tower is a bizzaro brass sculpture/fountain, with spitting fish, and a barfing not-human humanoid. One of the fish was being quite fresh with his spitting, aiming his water at the privates of a small, very amenable brass humanoid.
We had ice cream – black cherry with thick fudge ripples. Yum! It rained some, but it had warmed up significantly by afternoon.
We ended the day at Marvin’s Mechanical Museum, which simply has to be seen to be appreciated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin
Marvelous_Mechanical_Museum It’s full of coin operated devices, from an organ/orchestra, to a “Bravery Test”: Insert your quarter, place your hand on a pedestal and see if you can keep it there. A dog growls, then the door opens and a “dog” peers out, then the dog sticks its head out. Stuart was super brave. Roger quipped, “The squirrels were scarier than that!” Stuart laughed. He IS brave.
Dinner was exceptionally good, though we sat for 40 minutes at the table before it arrived.
Spent the night at La Quinta, and in the morning, I achieved one of my primary goals for the trip. Waffles!
SATURDAY July 27th
Drive from Ohio 176 mi – about 2 hours 45 mins
B Ann Arbor Paddling http://www.a2gov.org/government/communityservices/ParksandRecreation/CanoeLiveries/Pages/RiverTrips.aspx
1055 Longshore Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Drive to Museum of Archaeology and U of Michigan 1.7 mi – about 7 mins
C U Michigan – Ann Arbor, Museum & Bicyling
University of Michigan - Central Campus, Ann Arbor, MI
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology (pg 12) 434 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1390 http://www.lsa.umich.edu/kelsey/publicprograms/visitorinfo
sat, sun 1-4, Tues-Fri 9 – 4
Marvin’s Mechanical Marvels: 31005 Orchard Lake Rd Farmington Hills, MI 48334 (248) 626-5020http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin
D Drive to Hotel - 12888 Reeck Rd, Southgate, MI 48195 Phone: +1 (734) 374-3000 34.2 mi – about 41 mins
La Quinta, with waffles for breakfast