Thursday, June 29, 2023

Road Trip

            Last week Kim and I took our first road trip in over a year. We drove to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in pursuit of butterflies to photograph. We found very few.


Northern Crescent

European Skipper meets Common Ringlet

Appalachian Brown

            But we did find an abundance of mosquitos, black flies, and wood ticks. Kim, with about 50 itchy and swollen bites, confirmed that she is a magnet for these pests. (Most of the bites were on the back of her neck – where I also like to bite her.) But despite the bites, we found enough to make the 500-mile adventure enjoyable and worthwhile.


            Our first discovery was a delightful family running a bed and breakfast in a large, old, frequently remodeled lumber baron’s house near Seney National Wildlife Preserve. The couple has ten (you read that right) kids, seven living at home, all of them home-schooled.

This Common Merganser momma only has six young to deal with. Imagine ten.

 Some are adopted, and all of them are part of a disciplined system where the older kids look after the younger, and several of them look after the animals – dogs, a cat, chickens, a donkey, an alpaca, a horse, and maybe more that I missed. (The chickens, by the way, are kept not for the eggs but because they eat ticks.) We immediately felt part of the family, with Kim playing patty-cake games with the younger kids, Ross, who is totally remodeling the previously uninsulated building, and I sharing life stories and views of parenting and the state of the world. I don’t agree with all of Ross’s views (guns, vaccinations), but we have a surprising amount in common. He and Andrea are so good-hearted, so loving, that political stereotypes fade in the light of his commitment to family and community.


            As our search for housing continues, near the B&B we found a cute little fixer-upper.



            We drove from the B&B to the lighthouse at Whitefish Point, at certain times of the year a prime birding spot for migrants crossing Lake Superior, but all we found were tourists and some fishermen unloading their catch into ice chests. We asked them what kind of fish they caught here. "Whitefish." Duh . . .. 


            The lighthouse was cool.



            From there we drove south to Trout Lake, a very small town featuring a general store, a bar, a family restaurant, and some railroad tracks, but it also featured a splendid lodge, built in 1912 and lovingly and faithfully restored and updated. We appreciate how they are taking the trouble to do it right, honoring the look of the past while including modern comforts.


It can be done right.

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