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Draplin Design Co., North America
November 13, 2005
DDC:GAA:FT: 11132005:L11:D61
Posted at 10:34 PM


After some squirming we packed the car and left the parental compound.

Down “into town” to Traverse City and quickly “across town” out to Acme to gas up. The wind was blowing pretty good out there off that East Bay. Overheard in line as I was awaiting to pay up, “Yeah, they closed the bridge down and everything.” The bridge they were talking about was that seven mile long Mackinac Bridge (484th Wonder of the World) up there that connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of my great home state of Michigan.

Closing down the bridge? Shit. We were gonna be needing that bridge in about an hour and half and, well, this could damper the “Trans-Canada” route I had been planning up.

The Mackinac Bridge was our gateway to the north. Our only hope.

I put a quick call into the bridge and got some old coot. “Hello, Mackinac Bridge,” he answered. “Bridge open?,” I inquired. “For now. Wind’s blowin’ pretty good up here. 10 for miles per hour and we’re shuttnerdown.”


It was as if I was calling some little bridge in a one horse town. This was the mighty Mackinac Bridge. I mean, don’t 1000 people work on it? Not today. One guy. One phone. Shuttnerdown.

So we had to decide: Should we go north and roll the dice, or, should we head south down around the bottom of Lake Michigan?

Fuck it. We went north.

249. “Up I-75 up towards The Bridge.”
250. “Bridge backup.”

Got up there pretty quick up off I-75. Big rigs and trucks with campers or trailers had to pull off and wait out the winds. Poor fuckers. They let us proceed and in no time we were crossing that big bridge. I had visions of being the first Passat to be blown over the side, and, the first people to survive the 295 foot drop to the icy waters below. I had it all planned out. Gary could have cared less.

251. “High profilers: Nope.”
252. “Whipping winds, you betcha.”
253. “Bridge crossers.”
254. “I remember stories about guys being poured into the concrete on this thing.”
255. “Green grating.”

We survived the crossing and raced north towards that Sault Ste. Marie border. Very little to report in between the bridge and the locks.

256. “Into the northern frontier.”
257. “Northern Ontario: A land of big trout.”

Now, that border has always been a “love/hate kinda deal” for me. I love going into Canada. They have the raddest haircuts and have kickass accents, eh! But, you get the wrong border guard and man, those fucks can ruin your world. I’ve been held at the border a number of times, all times, against my will. And “ha!,” they didn’t find shit, those fuckers! They’ve torn my car apart a handful of times. They’ve separated us and questioned us in little rooms.

One time, on our way over to Sarnia to go skating, this fucker stood in front of us while we waited for “whatever you wait for” at the border, with his hand on the top of his gun. “What you gonna do? Shoot us over trying to go skateboarding in Canada?,” I wryly asked. Prob’ly not the best thing to do.

I just hate the whole power play. Some poor sap who still lives with his parents or something, muscling longhairs and punks at the border. Horseshit.

We crossed with no incident. When asked about tobacco products, I did fess up and claimed my prized can of “Dental Snuff” I picked up in Mississippi last month. I handed it to the gal and added a, “I’d never try the stuff!” And she looks at me with this, “You are a dick.” look and well, handed it back to me and that was that.

We pointed it north along the Lake Superior shore and went north into the woods. The sun went down around 5pm and man, things went to shit pretty quick. Of course, some sort of freak snowstorm moved in on us, crippling our plans of “making good time along the shoreline up towards Thunder Bay.” Yeah right. We got as far as WaWa and had to call it a night. Couldn’t have been more than 7pm.

258. “Shuttnerdown.”

The highlight of the night was the gal at the local Subway who made fun of me for locking my car. “You think your car will get stolen up here?” Ha ha ha ha. Small town, right? Ha ha. I wanted to grab that mayo container and squirt it right in her toothy smile.

Wawa is a small town. Real small. Couple little motels. Couple restaurants. One Subway, which, is the only thing open after sunset.

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Ben up to da U.P.? You betcha!
We pulled into the only store we’d seen in an hour to get loaded up on snacks to meet our FDA daily minimums of the Slat and Sugar food groups. The store was a gas/convenience/hunting/snowmobile place and had some good random shit in it. We found a hat that said “100% Yooper” I asked what’s a yooper? and the guy’s only answer was “You’re either a yooper, or a wannabe yooper.” We figured out on our own that it was referring to the UP, Upper Peninsula, and decided we were buying the hat… no dice. He refused to sell a 100% Yooper hat to a bunch of wannabe yoopers in a fancy SUV with out of state plates.

Posted by: Andrius Simutis on 11/16/05 at 5:42 PM
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