Day 11: Halfway Up the Mitten (Michigan, that is)

Crappy weather today:  grey and some rain.  Maybe half an hour of sun if you strung all the brief moments together.  Sparkle running fine despite the little warning light.  In fact, for about four hours the light went away, but then came back.  One big calamity (later in this post) but otherwise plugging away here.  Estimating that we might finish up Michigan, finally, in about four days.

I’ve got tons of photos today.  First off, let’s go back in time to my night off (last Thursday).  My friend Mark sent me these photos of us and I keep meaning to include them here to take care of the photo-of-me obligation on every major roadtrip.  I’m not thrilled with either photo of myself but they are what they are.  I think I’m hiding treats & toys behind my back to make the photo prettier?  Too many woods around and I had Grem (far right) on leash except when interacting specifically with her (retrieving & tricks for food).  Grip (2nd dog here) always seems to know where the camera is — even more mysterious now that she’s blind!

I think I’m trying to look taller here — realizing I was posing next to a 6 foot plus giant.  I’m only 5 foot.


Started the day in Grand Rapids.  This sign is an adapted Buick dealership sign.

Here’s the original look from a much nicer day in Pottsville, PA:


Another adapted sign — note the “R” on the left hiding behind “Middeletons”.  I don’t know the original name.


According to Fat Man’s Fish Fry website, the restaurant opened in 1953 and moved here in 1960:

The blue and yellow color scheme continues inside.  Those lights are extraordinary:


I’d love to know what this was originally.  Right now, it’s “Sweet Retreat”, an ice cream place.  It reminds me of a Woody’s Smorgasburger — but not big enough and doesn’t have the big chunk at middle side:
Most likely a tiki-style restaurant — but could have been anything really.


Still more in Grand Rapids:


A crudely adapted bakery sign.  Looks like it became a “beer” place from the bottom — maybe a bar or liquor store.  Probably “wine” at the very bottom of the sign.  And the top lettering was changed as well — though not enough to decipher the name:


Van’s Pastry Shoppe — wish they hadn’t added that plastic sign to the front.

Inside, a substantial cookie jar collection:

And, yes, I got a little snack:  peanut butter cookie & cream cheese kolacky.  I keep forgetting how sensitive Dee (my camera) is about closeups.  Must move further back but it’s hard to do when I’m behind the wheel and shooting at the dash:


Fantastic terra cotta details on this building —


Enough Grand Rapids.  Let’s move on to today’s big event.  I’ve always been too cheap to splurge the $10 to shoot the carousel & stork statue at this place — the Dutch Village in Holland.  Today was the day.   I realized the stork would make a great photo-op for the dogs & remembered that the desk person had said dogs were welcome.  So… bad move.  Maybe one of the 10 stupidest things I’ve done in my life.  I did notice there were ducks and geese around but figured I could just make things quick — take a few shots and get the hell out of there.  My dogs have a solid “stay”.  I got two photos and then… well, pandemonium.   This idyllic little fantasy of a family theme park turned ugly.  Luckily, just about everybody was in the center of the place learning to clog dance or something.

Nik got impatient saw some ducks by a fence about 40 feet away and broke from his storkie bundle of joy statue.  Grem joined him.  Fixie milled about.  Grip stayed with storkie since she’s blind and didn’t know how to get down.  For about 10 minutes, felt like 30, I chased Nik chasing ducks.  I think these ducks had clipped wings.  Instead of flying away, they headed for this pond which was only about 15 feet wide and maybe two or three feet deep.  I jumped in the pond to tackle Nik but it was no easy task.  The cement pond was slippery as hell and I fell about three or four times before catching the bastard.  I think he might have bitten one of the ducks but I couldn’t be sure.   Luckily, a bystander helped me tackle Grem before I finally caught Nik.  It was complete chaos and would have made a great video.  Hilarious if not for my injuries and possibly injuring a duck or two.  Though he never did actually catch & kill one, thank god.

No harm came to my glasses or my camera as I had the presence of mind to set them down the second that Nik bolted.  Once I had everybody back on leash, I walked out of there calmly, dripping wet from head to toe, like nothing had happened.  It was so completely embarrassing.  Back in the van, I assessed my injuries.  Not good.  I had hit the back of my head on the cement at least three times and there was blood pouring everywhere.  Here’s the towel from blotting — as Nik looks back in the direction of The Ducks, wanting more!

I worried for awhile about the possibility of a concussion.  Brain swelling and all that.  The bleeding seemed to last a long time — even six hours later, I think it’s still dribbling.  But I never got a headache, never got dizzy.  My neck is pretty messed up — can’t turn my head to the right very well.  My hands feel completely bruised all over — but I can still type and that’s the important thing!  I’ll be okay but I’m sure tomorrow there will be new surprise aches and pains.  This trip has been one adventure after another.

Still managing to get photos in despite it all…. Here we are in Norton Shores:


Moving on to Muskegon:


I don’t know if this sign will be with us much longer…

Here’s what’s left of the City Rescue Mission itself:


Let’s wrap up this post with some doggie pix from the river between Montague & Whitehall.  A perfect combination of grass and water — and nobody else around:

The girls in the foreground munching on some kibble I dropped while Nik bringing a toy to shore at far left.  That’s also the Montague Dog n Suds in the far background (yellow canopy):

The maniac:

Grem on a kibble quest:

Fixie, on the left, only swims lately if it’s really, really hot — or the treats I’m hurling are really, really good:

Grip may be blind now, despite two operations this year costing about $10,000, but her nose sure works good!  I keep a close eye over her at all times so she can’t wander off.


Tomorrow, hoping to get to Saginaw, maybe start on “the Thumb” if there are no set-backs.  Late, very late here — must do shorter post / fewer photos tomorrow night to recoup some sleep.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s