Monday, June 24, 2013

The Dreadful Drive

What lay in the future, after some time sleeping, and then some early morning waking and dog walking, was some extended road tripping. We got into a little city with a small co-op, where I bought a little wine and some chocolate and other things to fill out camp meals. We had a cooler packed with mostly enough food for one camp meal, but would need to get food for a further camp meal.

We had the monks on our radar, but decided that we would hit the monks in  the morning, as that night we were going to camp out in High Rock Bay. This is a little-known point somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the Keweenaws. This was supposed to contain the road that I would theoretically not like. We had the dog all bundled up, the car was packed, the tent was good, and after taking some random touristy-type shots I was ready to embark on hitting the road.

We pulled out onto a pointy promenade at the top of a mountain and looked down into the pretty valleys all around us. The sky was clear, open, and blue, not a cloud in sight. We walked about, got swarmed by flies,  and then headed back to the car for a long gravel-road trip.

As we pulled out toward the state park to head toward the bay I was feeling pretty good. The road was gravelly and bumpy, but for the most part I found myself liking the road, as I tend to do.

“This is not so bad,” I remarked.

“We aren’t there yet.”

“What do you mean 'we aren’t there yet'? This is pretty off-road.”

“This is nothing.”

“So the next road  is a little bumpier?”

My queries were met with silence, which should have been some kind of warning.

At the next turnoff there was a half-hearted sigh, and something that sounded like “here we go” and then we pulled onto a road made of clay. When I say a road made of clay, I do not mean that it was a road. It was mostly clay, red-packed clay, but clay, where you could clearly see the tire tracks of those who had gone before, in trucks and SUV’s, and where they had clearly got stuck and spun out. I found myself suddenly playing the role of navigator after we almost ripped out the engine by putting the wheels of the car on opposite sides of a very high hump in the road.

“You are gonna have to get up on one side or keep it angled on the side,” I said.

“Yeah, I get that but I can’t quite tell.” Which lead to me pointing and calling out directions as the Boy very patiently maneuvered around the road. I worked to keep us from spinning out, which we managed to mostly do with only one or two moments of gut-wrenching terror. The dog, poor Gracey, was not amused, and tried several times to climb into the front seat. From what I could tell she thought it might be a good idea if she drove, and her mind was set on turning the hell around.

We kept pushing down the road until we came to quite a steep incline.

At the bottom of the incline was a creek.

The creek ran across the road.

“You have got to be kidding.”

“It’s not that deep,” he responded.

“No. No. We are not driving through the river.”

“It’s not really a river.”

“There is no road.”

“There is a road, it  just happens to be under water.”

“No.”

“You want to turn around and go back?” He had me and he knew it. I still made him get out of the car and walk through the creek so we could see how deep it was and know what we would need to avoid to successfully make it through and avoid a suddenly awful drop off. I closed my eyes tight after calling out to stay to the right, and we managed to push on through.

After that it was only about an hour more of the sickening clay road with sickening clay holes before we finally managed to pull off onto the end of the world, the pretty little prominent spot that was High Rock Bay. The sea was gorgeous and flowing and looked far too much like a sea to insult it by calling it a lake. This was, indeed, a Superior body of water. I scoped out the area, but we had it all to ourselves, so after a few minutes, I figured out where the tent would go. We divided the labor, with me putting up the tent and the Boy starting a fire and unpacking the dinner equipment. Within forty minutes we had a tent up, and I was ready to start the cooking part of our trip.

Dinner were some lovely cooked-over-an-open-fire chicken sausages with grilled asparagus and some nice cherry tomatoes from the local farmers market. We enjoyed it thoroughly while we had the place to ourselves.

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