In Search of…

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N. Gould City Road

I smile when I remember our search for the quilt store on N. Gould City Road in the eastern half of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We decided to do one more camping trip before Jim got our away-from-home home ready for its long winter nap. Our destination was St. Ignace on the other side of the Big Mac bridge, where we could get Bessie’s Pasties (click on link to learn more about them) and explore back roads, small towns, and shorelines of that part of the Upper Peninsula.

Just before we left home I checked out the 10-day weather forecast for the second week of September (cloudy, really cold at night, and some rain) and if there are any quilting stores in the region (two). I made notes of important information on each store and collected squares of fabric I’m using for quilts I’m working on so I could get a new new fabrics. I put these very important items on the table with other items to pack in our electronic and reading bags. I felt so organized and so excited about spending some time in a different location – one with quilt stores I haven’t visited. I packed up my lap top and Jim’s tablet along with cords and chargers for my I-pod and Kindle. I packed assorted items for our reading enjoyment on cold, wet evenings as we have a cup of chamomile tea and molasses cookies. And I left my notes and swatches on the table; they didn’t seem to belong in either of those bags and I didn’t put them in my pocket or the truck.

No sweat – I knew what I needed to know to find the stores and get what I needed. Tuesday was suppose to be cloudy so I thought it a good day to look for the first quilting shop and because state highway 2 follows the northern edge of Lake Michigan, we could maybe stop for a stroll on the beach. I didn’t have the address but I remembered the road it was on, and remembered the map that was on their Facebook page. Jim was doubtful when we turned onto N. Gould City Road because it was a dirt road and looked very wilderness-like. But I knew it was right so he drove, and drove, we saw a couple of houses, and he drove, and drove, and drove some more. He suggested it couldn’t be on this road, and I said it was. He suggested we turn around, and I suggested we go a little further. And he drove some more.

We carry a very old book of Michigan county maps that has every road and fire lane ever created. Many years ago we used it to search for ghost towns in the Upper Peninsula and now we use it to track where we are when we are almost lost. We found the paved road that goes to the small town of Curtis and Jim wondered if the quilt store was there. I said it was on the dirt road and asked to go a little further. We eventually went back to Curtis.

It was very good decision because we found an ice cream store and we were the only customers. Wearing our masks, I ordered Mackinaw City Fudge that I ate while sitting on a bench watching the water gently moving around rushes on the shore of South Manistique Lake. The ice cream was the best I have had in a very long time and I had a loaf of cinnamon bread that the owner said made really good french toast.

I also popped in the Chamber of Commerce to ask about the quilt shop. There was a local man sitting in a chair across the desk from the woman who worked there. I could tell they were having a relaxed conversation and they invited me in. Keeping a good distance from them, I asked and they looked puzzled. I said it was on N. Gould City Rd. and that sparked a memory – must have been the Thompsons. He died a couple of years ago and she closed her business.

It’s strange how a dish of amazing ice cream and a loaf of cinnamon bread can ease the disappointment of not visiting a quilting store. We took some back roads to St. Ignace and enjoyed some delicious split pea soup for supper. What a good day!

B&W Photo Challenge: Avalanche Tunnel

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Cee, who loves hosting and participating in photo challenges, called for geometric shapes for her black & white challenge this week. I immediately thought of this “tunnel” built on the highway going west, beyond Kicking Horse Pass. This is a treacherous pass in the winter due to frequent avalanches, and thus they built these structures on the sides of the mountain to cover the highway. I assume that the snow continues to move down the roof and on down the mountain. I’m not sure I would want to be in this “tunnel” when thousands of pounds of snow was passing overhead. This is a major highway, so needless to say we didn’t stop in the tunnel so I could get a sharp photo – I had to settle for clicking on the go.

Which Way – to the Red Horse Diner

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A couple of posts ago featured a window with a view from inside the Red Horse Diner – where Jim & I indulged our hankering for a hamburger and fries. We always split meals so we also claim the right to split our guilt. Some may call it rationalization.

We like the atmosphere of diners, Jim has the Michigan guy thing of loving anything cars, and we both love the taste of a cholesterol filled burger and fries. We had a really good time and I might be pushing it a bit to think I can frame it to be included in San’s Which Way photography challenge. But here in the U.S. we unfortunately almost always have to rely on an automobile to travel any where. As soon as roads were built, signs popped up telling drivers where to get their cars filled with gasoline and serviced.

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And if you look closely you also see signs for finding comfort from sodas to ice cream and most importantly what people in the U.S. call “restrooms” although they areĀ  intended not for resting but relieving oneself.

And of course a map is always useful for helping people find which way they need to go.

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We stopped in Oregon once for gasoline and the attendant saw me sitting in the car with a map spread across my lap. He became excited and exclaimed, “How quaint, you are using a map.” Of course I use a map, it is the only way to find my way when I don’t know where I’m going.

Windows with a View

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We were slowly heading south, biding time until we could get into the campground outside of Portland, Oregon. We were staying a few nights in Ellensburg, Washington and decided we needed a burger so went to The Red Horse Diner. It looked like a fun place to visit with lots of Mobil Gas signs – but that post will come.

This post is about a window with a view, although when in a place like this with so much to look at, I wonder how many people notice the view out the window.

To see more interpretations of window with a view or to participate, you can visit Becky.

Mushroom Houses

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One of the perks of living in a state that caters to tourists is that we can be tourists – close to home. Earlier this summer we spent some time along Lake Michigan in the northern part of the state. We drove and explored from Wilderness State Park (in the northern most part of the Lower Peninsula, just west of the Big Mac bridge to the Upper Peninsula) down to Charlevoix (pronounced Shar’ la voy) just north of Traverse City.

Charlevoix is best known for its mushroom houses, designed by architect Earl Young. They are houses that trigger my imagination, make me think every day would be a funday if I lived in one. No two are alike but there is usually something whimsical in the design. I wonder if the people who live in them have pointy feet and ears and are a little shorter than the norm?