___________ June 01, 2015 ___________

Vacation Time!

((day six, part one: Turned around day!))

NoTe:  I’m splitting day six into two parts – everything but KISAFB, and then tomorrow I’ll do KISAFB.  Which hopefully won’t be as tricky as it sounds!

Today was THE day.  The day I went home.  For the first time in twenty-two years.  To the equivalent of a ghost town.  Which… to be honest, was scary.  I was so worked up… that I forgot to take the SD card for my camera out of the computer (where I’d inserted it, saving the pics from the night before).  And we took off on our adventure without it.

Okay, so here’s how NOT to go about today. There was a waterfall in Palmer that I wanted to go to, and I thought that if we drove past Gwinn to the waterfall, then worked our way back (Gwinn, then the not-so- Air Force Base), it would work best for us.  Then we’d have lunch back in Marquette, and go up Sugarloaf Mountain before seeking out Walmart and supper.  Except for two things:  1) I didn’t know I didn’t have my SD card when we left for the day, and 2) I didn’t know that Palmer was 5 minutes from our hotel room – I thought it was far, far away… somewhere.  (((O_o)))

IMG_6176 (416x555)Warner Falls in Palmer.  On the side of the road.  Bring yer SD card.

So when we got alllllll the way to the waterfall and my camera read “SD card not located”, I FR-eaked out… until we looked at the atlas and realized that we pretty much made a huge circle back to the hotel.  So we just picked up the SD card, and started ALL over again.  Only backwards, this time.

Don’t do that.  It’s kind of time consuming, and makes y’feel dumb.

Used to ride the MarqTran to college!  ((squee!!))

So we headed out, again… this time starting in Negaunee, because it was right there.  We had to go to Negaunee, because that’s where we spent some time renovating an old house with Pop’s co-worker, Parker.  It’s also where I was first on stage, at the Vista Theatre.  It’s still there, and my friend Joe still does shows there.  Joe and I became good friends after doing ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘Best X-mess Pageant Ever’, together… we even went out a couple times.  (I digress.)  I also met Dave G. at the theatre… except he’s from Ishpeming, and we didn’t go out together until three years later, when we re-met at the Billy Graham crusade.  (((O_o)))  (Still digressing. Sorry.)

IMG_6155 (416x555)During our earlier (wasted) circuit, we passed the Empire Mine, and homigosh, so incredible!!!  I’d never been down there, before!  It looked like what I imagined mountains out in Colorado would look like.  And right here, in Michigan.  Brian really liked the mine, too – wished we could go in and take a closer look.  Businesses mostly don’t like that, though.  Too bad.

IMG_6170 (555x416)The Empire Mine.  It’s BIG!!IMG_6171 (555x278)Doesn’t it look a little like a volcano, r’something?!IMG_6173 (555x426)Or the Rocky Mountains… as I imagine them to look…

And just down the street from that was the Iron & Mining Museum.  So we went to the museum (which was way more fun than we expected it to be – with a working model of the ore docks for the kids to manipulate and an indoor re-creation of going down into a mine!).

How ore docks load ships.  This manipulative even had tiny pellets dropping in!

Then we drove toward the Empire Mine, and stopped at the railroad tracks, because I told Brian there were iron ore pellets on any train track in the Marquette area.  He didn’t realize I meant that they were covered with iron ore pellets.  My kids and husband were flabbergasted, then delighted.  So we picked up iron ore pellets.  I jokingly said that they should get a mason jar and fill it up.  More on that to come.

IMG_6158 (555x470)Iron Ore pellets on the train tracks.  Brian was flabbergasted.

We saw the mine, went to the falls (again), and then drove down to Gwinn.   Gwinn, where I went to high school for three years.  Where I’d gone to church in elementary school.  Where my FB friend Paul lives (although I never met him before FB… we became friends through a U.P. page).  And no, I didn’t meet Paul on our trip.  He makes me nervous, a little, as he’s friends with a kid I graduated with who used to make cow noises at me in gym, which was just stupid, because I was 5’9 and 125 pounds at the time – a total string bean and the exact opposite of the heifer-size that I’m edging up on, now.  (I didn’t just say that out loud, did I?  Well, there it is.)  I mostly stayed FAR away from boys in high school.  They weren’t nice.  ((Except Dan, my best friend.  And that was complicated.  And Mike, but we’ll mention him, tomorrow.))

IMG_6185 (555x317)I showed the kids where I graduated from High School.  Where I won third place in the 1st annual talent show.  Where I did ‘Help, I’m trapped in a High School’.  Where I mostly wasn’t on the swim team (don’t ask).  I don’t remember it being so small!  Brian laughed.  It’s even smaller now that the base closed.  They shut the middle school and combined it with the High School… someone said that for a while, they even moved the fifth and sixth grades to the high school, too… but that was a little much, and didn’t last.  ((!!))

We also stopped to see the little church where I was baptized as a child.  I said, “Back then the pastor was Ron L – my mom was friends with his wife, Norma.” and I had a bunch of stories to tell them about Norma… and as we pulled up at the little church, who should be pulling out of the driveway but Norma!!  I know that there was time between when they were gone (because I graduated with girl who’s dad was the pastor after them), but apparently Ron’s back to being the pastor, again!  So funny to see her.  She had NO idea who we were, but thought it was strange, a blonde woman taking pictures of the church.  LoL!!

IMG_6184 (555x305)Then we went to the decommissioned air force base.  I’m going to blog about that, tomorrow… because this entry would be a BOOK to read, otherwise.  Just know that I talked non-stop, went severely emo, and was totally spent and had a headache by the time we left, so I popped aspirin and took the drive back to Marquette to get over it (showing everyone where my best friend Dan lived at the Sands Crossroads, and where I did a play at the church there in college, and where my family used to go cross-country skiing at Blueberry Ridge…)

NoTe:  I should probably admit that I did NOT contact Dan about being in town, even though he lives in Marquette.  First, because we didn’t part ways on a good note – in fact, it was a desperately bad note, and mostly I tiptoe around Dan, on FB.  Second, because I come with five kids and a husband, which is a LOT to foist on someone.  And third… I’ll be honest.  It’s the same reason that I didn’t suggest meeting up to Gregg – because I’m extremely self-conscious, and it’s been two decades and six pregnancies.  I can’t do it.

We drove back to town and up to Sugarloaf, where we climbed to the summit and looked at the beautiful views (and Aaron picked up a tick, naturally).  I’d been up Sugarloaf so many times, I lost count.  So my kids HAD to go and see.  And Brian was curious, too, of course.  But after all of our hiking?  It’s like aches were accumulating over the week, I swear it!  Everyone was dragging.  Worth it, but oi…!  We were all feeling the climb.

IMG_6278 (416x555)
Lydia did manage another pic of me.  There ya go.

IMG_6273 (555x309)
But because of the hour detour in the morning, we decided that would be it for the night… we still needed to go and visit my friend Dave N. at WalMart.   Dave and I met at Hardee’s, and became good friends when I was back in college.  Went out together a few times.  He came to visit me in lower Michigan, kept in touch, had met (and liked) Brian.  I’ll be honest – I contacted Dave because I’m not afraid of him.  And I knew he wouldn’t have a problem with us stopping in to just say ‘hi’ and then moving on.

NoTe:  This is not Ishpeming Dave that I’m talking about, this is Marquette Dave.  And I feel kind of trampy, talking about guys like this.  But it wasn’t like that.  I… was raised differently.  I was supposed to wiggle my back porch while being chaste and holy – my mother had some conflicted child-rearing problems.  So I learned that having guy friends was the way to go – being seen with a boy made my mom happy, but not being in a relationship kept me righteous and virginal.  Anyhow, I just have always gotten along better with guys.  Which is why I hung out with Dan in school.  After school, I just continued to make guy friends, and we went out together.  I wasn’t anywhere near trampy – Jee-zus wouldn’t have approved.  And yeah, I was an extremely good little chrischun girl.  Who just hung out with dudes, mostly.  In case there were any misconceptions.  Moving on.

I had this map of Marquette that said there was a back way from Sugarloaf out to WalMart, so we were taking that drive, and I looked over out the window and shouted “Turn around!  Turn around!” … because we found the Dead River Falls!  I had no idea what they were, only that they were pretty, and there were beautiful trails to take, and we had a really nice walk up and down along the river.  And checked something off our list that I was debating putting on for tomorrow!

IMG_6300 (487x555) ((If I could have a do-over, I would’ve replaced the lost hour of my stupidity in the morning with rock-hopping at Presque Isle, but oh well.  Prob’ly was just as well… we were pretty packed on activities!))

So that road popped us out at WalMart.  It was so nice to see Dave again – I’ve missed him.  And the kids liked meeting one of Mama’s friends.  Instead of me just throwing names and stories around.  And he didn’t seem too overwhelmed with the sheer number of us, thankfully.

Then we did a little shopping – my suggestion about getting a jar to put iron ore pellets in?  They really followed thru with it! – and we picked up snack-y foods for us to have in the hotel room, later.  And then it was supper time.  Our hotel came with a 10% discount to Perkins, which also gave us a kids-eat-free-with-adult-meal discount, so we paid the same for dinner as we do for a meal at McDonald’s.  Very kewl.  And the waitress lady doctored the kids’ Mello Yello’s with blue raspberry syrup, which they loved.  So that was a huge win.

And then back to the hotel for a swim/soak in the hot tub… and whew!  Done for the night!

NoTe:  I’m thinking I might share some kid cameos at FB, tonight.  I found them while editing Sugarloaf pictures, and they’re really good.  As a bonus.  Ya think?

day oneday twoday threeday four
day fiveday six aday six bday sevenday eight

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