A Weekend in Rural Michigan

We drove down the narrow rural road with the top of the convertible down and I was convinced my young cousin was going to kill us, though she hadn’t yet on the many trips between my aunt’s house and grandpa’s house. With the wind blowing through my hair, I thought, it wouldn’t be that bad if I were to get a job in the area and lived there some day.

Much of the weekend was spent with family and I wished so very hard that I had the opportunity to go home after my trip to Austin and get my camera. Come the end of the weekend, I didn’t really care too much about the clean clothes, because I was able to borrow some from my aunt and cousin, but a camera cannot be borrowed.

The first day or so was spent at my grandpa’s house. Grandpa would putter around the yard terraforming, as my aunt called it. He has a few piles of dirt from when his barn was built and insists on levelling out the yard and leaving dirt patches everywhere. Then he wonders why he has no grass….

The rest of the weekend was spent in town with Mom, four-wheeling with my cousin and uncle, cooking delicious kneophla soup for them, and watching a dog.

Four wheeling was terrifying and fun. My cousin, C, was a little bit too adventurous on the machine. She would go up steep hills I wouldn’t dream of going up. She would bounce over fallen trees like it was nothing. At one point, after the many times of me refusing to following her up and over the almost literal cliffs she turned and said to me, “Wait here while I do something stupid.” At least she knows it’s stupid, I thought to myself as I valued my self preservation instincts.

We wound our way through the trails and down the dirt roads. The first night, we passed a lake with a beautiful dock. C told me how the druggies shot up with their drugs down by the dock at night and would chase her down the road for a while. I went down to the dock anyway, being a little fearless and overconfident in my ability to talk to stangers like that considering I had never talked to strangers on drugs, that I was aware of at least.

On the way back, I let C blast ahead. The dust she kicking up was just too much for my eyes to see through. I would hang behind and pull out my phone and snap photos. While they don’t compare to photos taken with an actual camera, they turned out good enough. Next time, I plan on taking my tripod in addition to the camera.

The next day, I spent the morning with Mom while she washed the dog blankets at the laundromat. While waiting for them to wash and dry we went shopping for road trip food, ingredients for kneophla soup, and alcohol. After all that, they still weren’t done, so Mom took me to Lake Michigan. I had no idea it was so close. We spent a little bit there, but since the dog we had with us was not allowed on the beach and she bonded to me, I felt bad leaving her in the crate for too long.

Not long after, C, my uncle, and I were blasting down the road at 50 mph on the ATVs. The speedometer said mine had a max speed of 120 mph. I did that in my car once and I wasn’t the least bit scared, but I think it would be terrifying to do that on an ATV. Thankfully, mine had a govorner on it and it maxed out at 50 mph.

I followed them on road after road until we ended up at a small camp ground on a small lake near their house. It was peaceful, but the houses dotting the lake shore were far too many for my taste. Has North Dakota tainted my idea of civilization and population?

The camp ground had a general store with the most delicious ice cream I have tasted in a while, it reminded me of the ice cream I would get as a child at the Turkey Store in Middleville. We stayed there until the owners kicked us out saying that they were closing.

The rest of the night was uneventful. I made the soup and grandpa loved it so much he had three whole bowls full. My cousin, a picky eater also loved the soup.

The next day we were up really early, trying to beat the rush through Chicago. I think we made it, but I fell asleep as we left the city and didn’t wake up until we were halfway throug Wisconsin.

Mornings in Chicago are one of my new favorite things.

Have you spent time with family recently? Are you planning on visiting soon?



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