After realizing how many days I would lose just trying to get to the tiny city to catch the ferry to camp on the island that you’re not allowed to camp on, I decided to skip it and hop on the car ferry over to Wisconsin. Missing the ferry by an hour with the next one leaving in 9 hours left me heading north to the Mackinac Bridge. This bridge has an excellent history which I will leave up to you to google. Had I known a Yugo was blown off of it once, I would have avoided this white knuckled experience altogether. But I made it across safely into this Upper Peninsula place I never knew existed until about 24 hours prior, and decided to hit the 2 west and pick a campsite near Brevort as I was directed by the Upper Peninsula welcome center. Headed in the general direction of a friend of a friend’s father’s place in Bessemer (I know), I found a peach of a spot
right on top of this sandy bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. The spot was offered to me for free! by the Campsite Host, who shall remain nameless, at the Mackinac Recreational Campground. Indeed, nothing is ever free. While I did enjoy my visit to that stunning place in perfect weather and even got a little painting done, a good bit of the magic was sucked out of the experience by the host fellow, a seemingly harmless man in his late 60′s. I don’t want to speak badly of a person that was so generous to me, but I cannot not mention here how offensive and discomforting his “sense of humor” was when he was “only kidding around”. His ever-presence and rude comments left me feeling compromised and, at night, wondering if I was in fact being spied on. When I hit the road again, it took a lot of miles and many hours of driving to shake off the soul sucked feeling.
A few days before I left Nashville I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful family of art lovers thru my friend Martin. The 76 year old patriarch of this family is a man named Ron Carlson,
the friend of a friend’s… I had the even greater pleasure of spending a few days with Ron, who is a stark contrast to the previous host I have just described. I don’t know how to put into words how much I admire and sincerely enjoyed my time with this man other than to say a part of me fell a little in love with him. I was welcomed by his entire family into Camp David for the family pig roast, went rafting down the Black River the color of sweet tea from all the iron mining, climbed to the top of Copper Peak’s ski flying jump www.copperpeak.org, hiked down to Rainbow Falls, strolled the shoreline of Lake Superior for a couple hours, then dined on pasties at Little Girl Point. The U.P., as they call it, is border to border unspoiled nature that I am happy to know still exists in our country. We ended the day at Ron’s favorite watering hole in Ironwood called the Brite Spot where we drank, laughed and danced until after midnight. Ron is the perfect gentleman, a wonderful dancer and a breed of man I thought only existed in movies. I will be back in the U.P.
Southwest to Minneapolis is where I stayed at the hostel and met the lovely George from my previous post. The much hyped gallery scene in Minneapolis was mostly non-existent as far as I could tell. After struggling for hours to find a single gallery in the “Arts District” I gave up and went to The Walker Museum. I was blown away by this Rauschenberg piece
so much so that I tried to leave the room three separate times but kept getting magnetically pulled back in. I spent a fascinating half hour tucked in a dark hallway conversing with an oracle-like animated dolphin through a wireless keyboard. This is difficult to explain, but trust that it was pretty amazing.
I met up with another friend of a friend, due to the wonders of facebook, for dinner. My final night in Minneapolis was spent with the adorable Christopher Carr whom I now get to count among my friends along with his teeny little yorkie, Weezy, whose cuteness overpowers her rank breath.
Now I am sitting in an overpriced hotel room in Mitchell, South Dakota. So far, I wouldn’t mind deleting the entire state.