MBcation Day 1 – Swimming for loons.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with this idea, but I’m going to try and document the day-to-day happenings of this July 2017 vacation/mecation o-mine. My writings typically shy away from documenting what has happened directly because it’s hard for me to get motivated into sharing that kind of unbridled, and usually very boring, information. For documenting my trip here, it certainly doesn’t hurt that the first day started out with some very out of the ordinary events.

What does it take to live in a trailer in the middle upper-north of the lower Michigan peninsula? Apparently, it takes a full Chevy Sonic worth of food, blankets, books, pillows, and many other items that aren’t worth individually mentioning. Brianna has a way of preparing that just isn’t possible in my brain. Prepping food is essential with the way we are eating now, which makes me especially grateful to have her helping me fit all of these trip pieces together. There are vegan type foods available, of course, if you’re willing to eat junk food vegan, which I/we are not. :-D.

Not having to work on Fridays means that I was able to get a 0900 massage and still be out the door and on the northern road by 1100 this morning. Even with the dogs and I stopping for a few bathroom breaks, we arrived at the camper between 230pm-3pm, a good hour before Brianna’s Mom & husband (Penny & Curt), allowing me to fully unpack and unwind before peopling.

For whatever reason, Curt and I thought it would be a good idea to take the boat out on a warm-up trip before our evening fishing trip, which wouldn’t happen until Brianna got up here after work. Everything started out great, the wind rushed our faces as we sputtered a semi-circle around the lake. Our intention was to scope out the entirety of the lake but were turned back by weeds before we had gotten halfway. The motor was sounding better than it ever has, but it’s still 50+ years old and doesn’t handle weeds super well… and this lake gets some righteous weed islands as the summer months’ press on.

A noise in the distance caught both Curt & I’s attention as we headed back towards camp, cruising along the lake shore to see if any Blue Gill beds were still around (there were none).

“What’s that sound?” Curt asked, straining his eyes and pointing off into the distance.

“Sounds like a Loon.” I casually responded, pointing to a pair of loons that were not too far from where his attention had been focused.

The next thing we know, two boats race towards a point just beyond where the loons were; a fishing boat from the east, a pontoon from the west. As the boats converge at the same point, we watch as they pull a person out of the water and lay him down at the front of their boat. I can’t 100% speak for Curt on this, but I feel like both of our stomachs became laden with guilt at the very same instant. We could have heard the person calling out if we had just shut down the motor for a minute and taken the time to listen. Feeling guiltily ashamed of our action, or inaction, Curt and I pulled beside the two boats to see if they needed any assistance. Maybe they were annoyed that we were in the vicinity and didn’t help sooner, or maybe that’s all in our head, but they didn’t need our help, and headed back off to the east. The man seemed fine, and they weren’t in the same hurry to get him home as they were to get there, something I take some solace in. He was probably in his 60s, out fishing on a kayak that had tipped over, no life jacket.

With feelings of shame still dripping down our faces, Curt and I were more than ready to return to port. I put the motor in reverse to clear some weeds off the propeller so that it doesn’t overheat and die from water blockage, a normal thing that we had already done several times on this “test voyage”. The difference between this time and all the previous times was that the motor didn’t shift back into forward after engaging the gear. The gear levers were turning, but the boat did nothing but keep going in reverse. It only took about 20-30 minutes of tinkering before Curt and I concluded that we had no other choice but to drive the boat back to port in reverse; I handled the steering wheel while Curt used a row boat paddle assist with quicker turns as they were needed.

As you might imagine, the boat motor breaking is quite the blow to my week’s worth of vacation up here. My brain went through the five stages of grief, trying to decide if it was even worth my time to stay up here for the week. Full of thought, remorse, and regret, I decided to go down to the dock and fish from shore. I didn’t get too many thoughts in before the rod of my fishing pole bent down on a big hit. I knew that I had been given an answer to my dilemma, even before I had pulled the 23” northern pike over the side of the docked boat; I stay.




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