Monday, August 22, 2005
I was sort of dreading the drive back and forth up north this past weekend. The civic broke down in Traverse last week, and I had to go pick it up. It actually turned out to be a pretty good time.
We headed out of Temperance at 1:20 p.m. on Saturday. I rode in the back seat of my mom and her husband Phil's car (I forget what kind of car they have - a luxury car with leather seats - quite cozy!). We stopped at Ponderosa in West Branch, MI on the way. The buffet was $6.99, and the place was full of hungry patrons. I sampled various items from the buffet, and nothing really hit the spot - wait, I think the vanilla ice cream from the sundae bar was about the best thing I tasted.
We made it to Northern Auto Service by 6:30 p.m. The Civic started right up, and off I went. I headed down Garfield on some really nice twisty turn roads until I hit US 131. I headed south on 131 for about 80 miles. I managed to follow some fast pants trucks who were doing around 90 mph. I made the treck from Traverse City to Rockford, MI in about 1.5 hrs. I found Matt's place with no problem.
Matt is one of my best friends I met in junior high school. We've been through quite a bit together, and have remained great friends. It's like we never miss a beat, even though we haven't talked in months. Matt was hanging out at home Saturday evening with his two boys - Jacob -6 1/2 yrs old, and Brandon who just turned 5. He had, on ice, Samuel Adams Oktoberfest, and keg-can-Heinekans. He also was whipping up a batch of his famous enchilada's.
The boys quickly took a liking to me (I haven't seen them in months, so I wasn't sure if they'd remember me - they said they did). I was invited to play PS2 basketball with them. Brandon quickly took control of the game and was whipping Jacob and I 30 something to 16. After the 2nd quarter, I threw in the towel and went back to hang out with Matt. Brandon was all smiles knowing I was quite older then him, and he beat me at a video game.
We ate enchilada's and drank some beers. It was a nice relaxing evening. Later, Emily (Matts wife) came home, and Matt and I retreated to the basement to jam guitars. It was a pretty good time. We ended the evening around 1 a.m.
I woke up on Sunday around 10 a.m. That is probably the longest I've slept in, in a very long time. The futon I was sleeping on was actually really cozy, and the central air conditioning was at the perfect temperature. Matt and I sat and drank coffee for a while. Later, I walked up to the gas station near Matts apartment, and picked up a Grand Rapids Press. The Sunday edition must weigh 3 lbs, and is about 2 inches thick. I left Matts around 11 a.m.
I got on I-96, and headed east. I called my friend Russ from college, to let him know I was going to be at the Michigan Brewing Company in a while, and to join me for lunch. He talked me into taking a different route, and meeting him and his daughter at a park in Perry, MI. About an hour or so later, I pulled up to the park where he was with his 2 yr old daughter Julie Ann.
We chatted for a bit, and he asked if I wanted to come see his new house him and his friend were renting. I agreed, and followed him out into the middle of nowhere, where this huge farmhouse sat in front of giant corn silo's. The house was amazing. There was an 80 acre field of corn behind them, and a 40 acre corn field on either side of them. We stood around chatting for a while, then took off to the brewing company. The drive seemed to take forever..
We finally arrived at the Michigan Brewing Company in Weberville, MI. I went inside and got us a couple of beers. We found a cozy spot in the shade, and sat there for about an hour just chatting about what we've been up to.
Russ was my first dorm roommate in college. We hit it off right away - even though he was a high school jock/sports nut, and I was a guitar playing hippy. For whatever reason, we became best of friends, and still keep in touch.
We parted around 3 p.m., I got Todd (high school friend that I've kept in touch with) and my growlers filled up with IPA (side note here: Growlers are a 64 oz jug, that they fill for $8. Six packs are $8, where you get 72 oz of beer. My point is, that it's probably better to get the sixer, because then you don't have to drink all of it at once. Drinking a whole growler of IPA is a challenge, one I think I'm fit to accomplish,.. but it won't be pretty!), and I jumped back on 96 east. I drove for what seemed forever, and finally got on 23 south - where I eventually made my way to the Summerfield Rd. exit. I picked up the phone and called Shawn, a friend of mine from high school that lives on Summerfield. I talked to his mom, who was excited to hear from me, and invited me over - she said Shawn had just got home from work. I called Todd, and asked if he minded coming up and meeting me at Shawns to pick up his growler - he didn't mind at all, and was there shortly after I arrived. Shawns mom, who is the sweetest lady, was really excited to show me what she bought with her winnings from the nickel slots at the Detroit casino. She walked me in the living room and stood in front of a giant big screen television. She said she had won $1500 playing the nickel slots, and spent the money on the television.
Shawn, Todd and I hung out around the yard for a while, we checked out his mini (short) school bus that he's fixing up - it needs a new transmission, and a ton of cosmetic work. We looked at the fire pit that all of us spent many nights around in our youth, then hung out in Shawns computer room while he unsuccessfully tried to burn a copy of a movie for me. Instead, he showed us a video of a lady puking herself into a bowl. After she filled the bowl up, she drank it. I would expect nothing less at Shawn's house.
I headed back to Monroe. It was about 6 p.m., and I had been on the road, pretty much all day long. I mowed the lawn, and then grilled up a bunch of veggies for dinner. I had a Belles Cherry Stout before dinner - it was very strong, I wouldn't recommend unless your a big stout fan. It did have a good cherry taste to it, but it was almost just too rich for me. Dinner was great, and it was just nice to sit and talk with Jen about my weekend travels.
I think a long road trip really does the mind good. I played the radio some, but mostly just drove and thought about stuff. It's crazy the amount of thinking you can do on the road. I turned on NPR after a while, and heard a really cool story about this yacht that Hitler supposedly owned. The boat apparently is sunk off the coast of florida, but many people in this city have items from it. Plates and chunks of wood, etc. I really like how the audio story is put together. The reporter interviewed a bunch of people, then went back and told the story, and edited all of the interviews in. It really sounds great. I'd give you a link to the story, but I can't seem to find it - they mentioned it would be on Audible.com, but everything on that website costs. Ah well - take my word for it, it was quite interesting.
I took all kinds of pictures on this trip with my Pentax. I must not have loaded the film right, because not a one of them came out. DAMN! Oh well - guess that's the way it goes. I'll be sure to load the film correctly on my next road trip.