Early Friday I flew to the very tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, home of pasties, abandoned copper mines and the Bud and Jan Show. I did a post early in my residency here at OutsideIn on pasties and how they are different from pasties- it skyrocketed me to fame with comments (I was previously unknown so 11 comments constituted fame); that’s because it featured both a recipe and the only close to lewd picture I’ve ever had HERE .
Gratiot Lake, tucked 3 miles in from Lake Superior is one of those outermost places. There are fewer than a dozen year round residents on this large lake. I can drive to NYC in less time than I can drive to Lost Loon Lodge, their house on the lake. Driving is not feasible for these weekend visits; Truly- they live in the same state but it’s 630 miles away. Who would have thought?
Can I fly directly there? No.Only prop planes can land at the Houghton-Hancock one gate airport. Both Detroit and Minneapolis have special, hidden, double secret concourses that most people don’t know about, let alone ever see and that’s where they hide Mesaba Airlink. Mesaba is the only profitable piece of Northworst Airlines so it would seem as though they should spotlight these little gems right up front, in the middle of the main terminal. But no. In Detroit you take that fancy new high speed bullet tram as far as it will go and then you walk to Toledo. This is especially taxing if you are carrying home canned goods, specialty cheeses and breads from Whole Foods and the last tomatoes from the garden.
I fly to Minneapolis (hi Keri! hi Kathy!) and then, with 14 minutes between flights (because "on-time" means when you hit the ground, not when they arrive at the gate 28 minutes later), I find the next double secret concourse which is located-I am not kidding here- 2.1 miles from gate F12 where I came in. At this point I have to commandeer one of those go-cart vehicles, knocking some elderly handicapped person out of the way, and scream, "I’ll miss my flight, I’ll miss my flight!" The tomatoes have started to compost and they are seeping out of the corner of my backpack. Then I race onboard one of Mesaba’s lovely little 30 seat SAAB "prop-jets" with the dove gray leather seats. I used to think that this was a lowly job for a flight attendant. I now realize that the one who is on these flights actually has a good thing going. Everyone drops off their "carry-on" at the bottom of the boarding stairs and it gets stuffed in the underbelly and promptly handed to you as you exit the plane. This means no one is wrestling to get loaves of bread and stinky cheese into the overhead bins. You only have 30 people to wrangle into their seats and although everyone is wearing damp wool and Carharts it’s a pleasant and cooperative crowd, heh? The flight attendant only has to hand out, at most, 30 cans of pop and she can chat with virtually everyone on board from her leather seat up front. And no one ever needs to use the bathroom.
When I land at Houghton-Hancock there’s no waiting in line to get the plane to the gate. You’re just there. And there was Bud, anxious and pleased to see me, happy to have one of the children for the weekend. He gave me a big hug and said, "Oh hi, honey. Thank you for coming. Your mother can hardly wait. Rich called and said it was fine if you stayed for two months!" This is the first joke of the weekend about how there is just not enough time. There’s not enough time left at all and that becomes one of the underlying themes of the next 48 hours.
I’ll write more later today but first I’m going to go get un-kinked from the weekend at a pilates class and then I’m going to come around the neighborhood and say hello to you. When I got up this morning there were three comments appended to my last post from people I love and it made me so happy to think that these people know me and keep me in mind. And so, I can’t wait to pop over to your place and see what’s new.
Here are a couple pictures I took over the weekend. It is very beautiful, albeit remote, up there. The eagle parents were visible but high and far up. By the time I got my sights on the tree one had flown out over the lake. Click to enlarge.