House by the Lake

On our way southeast to Lake Huron we first went northwest. Because that’s how we roll. We wanted to see Whitefish point, which had a lighthouse and shipwreck museum we wanted to see. When we got there no one was into it, so we ended up skipping the indoor stuff to spend some time on the beach.

Whitefish point, MI photographed by luxagraf

Whitefish point, MI photographed by luxagraf

Whitefish point, MI photographed by luxagraf

Corrinne wandered off in search of rocks, I stayed to keep and eye on the kids, who were amusing themselves climbing up a rock retaining wall, or embankment really, not a wall, then they’d run over to edge and jump or slide down the sandy embankment next to it. The wall was adjacent to a little boardwalk area that you could get a view of the beach without getting any sand on you, something I’ve never really understood, but whatever.

Whitefish point, MI photographed by luxagraf

Whitefish point, MI photographed by luxagraf

Whitefish point, MI photographed by luxagraf

At one point a family with a couple of kids came out onto the viewing platform and I overheard one of the kids ask their mom what my kids were doing. “It looks like they’re climbing,” she said. But the way she said it, there was such disdain in her voice that made it sound like climbing was the worst thing in the world.

Naturally the little boy instantly said, “I want to climb.” I was thinking, cool, maybe the kids can make a friend. And then the mom said, no, you can’t climb up that you’d hurt yourself. I felt bad for the kid, but what can you do? I wanted to say, let him climb, let him find out what he can and can’t do, let him hurt himself if he needs to, but I didn’t. I sat there and felt bad for the kid. Then his mom added, “you’ll get all dirty.”

That got me to stand up and turn around to see what sort of monster was near me. I have as much patience, and love, for these so-called helicopter parents as I do mosquitoes. Alas you cannot swat the former, so I glanced up and tried to focus on giving them my friendliest smile. It’s not their fault really, this culture handed them a bum deal, made them afraid of everything. But I hate to see them passing it on to the next generation. Sorry kid, better luck next time.

I sat back down and watched my kids climbing, getting dirty and possibly even hurting themselves. Such is life. It got me thinking about an even sadder possibility though. Possibly that parent knew their kids limitations quite well, knew they didn’t have experience climbing sharp, quarried granite rocks, and knew they really would hurt themselves badly. Maybe those parents know their kids aren’t capable of it. That’s even sadder though. Get your kids outside, let them explore and learn for themselves. Let them fall down and get scraped up, that’s how they learn. Pain tells you where the edges are so to speak, that’s where you learn the edge of your current abilities and how to get even better. You fall down, and fall down, and fall down, until eventually you stop falling down.

After we’d had our fill of Whitefish Point we finally headed south toward Huron. It wasn’t a long drive, a little over an hour and we were setting up camp at Carp River, which alas, did not have easy swimming access.

Carp river campground, MI photographed by luxagraf

Instead we headed over to the cottage on the marsh that my parents had rented for the week. The first thing the kids noticed, aside from their grandparents was the spiral staircase. I shudder to think what that lady would have done when confronted with a narrow all metal staircase perfect for climbing. And climb our kids did. Up and down, up and down, up and down.

Pine river mouth, MI photographed by luxagraf

I retreated to the porch and watched the red winged blackbirds diving in and out of the reeds and cattails. Whenever I see cattail fluff now I always think about how it’s perfect for lining a babies diaper, that was the go-to material for nearly any tribe who had access to it. I grew up by a marsh full of cattails and I’d never even thought of that before. Necessity is the engine of ingenuity.

We spent most of the week playing in and around the house my parents rented. It came, as most everything up here does, with a couple of canoes and kayaks, which we used to explore the river a little bit. Lilah even wanted to paddle on her own, so I dropped off the other kids and let her take me on a little canoe ride. All I did was steer, and even that I only had to do because of the wind. It reminded me of the unfortunate truth of parenting, in a few years they won’t need me around much anymore.

paddling canoes, pine river, MI photographed by luxagraf

paddling canoes, pine river, MI photographed by luxagraf

paddling canoes, pine river, MI photographed by luxagraf

I finally gave in and went full tourist and picked up some smoked whitefish and lake trout, all of which turned out to be really damn good. I think we plowed through about four pounds in as many days. It took several more before the smell of smoked fish was completely gone from my fingers.

Carp river campground, MI photographed by luxagraf

Carp river campground, MI photographed by luxagraf
The $20 Sigma 28mm I bought off Ebay turns out to have pretty decent macro capabilities. And the map on this beer eventually led us to the north shore of Lake Superior, how’s that for travel research?

I took advantage of the grassy field surrounding the rental house to give our solar panels a full day’s sun, something they had not had in nearly a month. I took care of a few bus tasks as well, pulled my spark plugs and check them out, tightened some hose clamps, a few bolts and even pulled apart the wiring to the temperature gauge, which I’d still like to get working.

I figure the gauge consists of three basic parts, the sensor and sending unit, which I can’t get to, if that’s the problem I’m screwed, the wiring, which is horrid and needs to be re-run, and gauge in the dash. Any one, or several of them could be the problem. The easiest place to start is the wiring, so I pulled out a ton of electrical tape (why do people use that stuff?) traced the wire, and realized the metal inside the little covered end that fits onto the sensor is cracked, not connected and may well be the solution to the problem. I made a note to stop in the next auto parts store I see and pick up something similar and see if that fixes the problem. Right when I figured that out though the kids needed me to do something and I went off and promptly forgot all about it until now, when I was looking over my notes and remembered. So still no working gauge, but the next auto parts store I see, I’m going to get that wire, I swear.

dolls photographed by luxagraf dolls photographed by luxagraf
None photographed by luxagraf
The closest thing the world has to Birchbark House dolls.

There wasn’t much of a swimming beach at the rental house so one day we loaded everyone in the car and headed down the coast to Hessel, which had a little marina and swimming beach (and a wooden boat festival we’d just miss, damn it). We couldn’t leave the shores of Lake Huron without going for a swim. It turned out to be like the middle lake it is — warmer than Superior, colder than Michigan.