You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
memorializing 30 July to 2 August 2021, for posterity
We were carefully whispering that we'd be heading off for Lake Superior soon, but Choupette's figured it out anyway
(30 July 2021)
It's a few hours' drive up to Ontonagon, in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, and it's necessary to stop in at the Randall Bakery in Wakefield, MI, for a bushel basket full of pasties.
Their Cornish style pasties are so famously wonderful that people will go to any lengths to get some.
The line's so long in the shop that Kristin and David have been in there for 20 minutes already, and Choupette may soon become irritable. (Melvin's asleep in the wayback.)
People come from all over to stock up on Randall's pasties.
All available space in the car boot is presently filled with Cornish- and Michigan-style pasties, and we're leaving Wakefield, past Sunday Lake, with its Nee-Gaw-Nee-Gaw-Bow (1988) wooden statue honoring the Chippewa Indians, at the bottom of the road, then northeast on Rte 28 to further our purposes.
Mr Wakefield, who incorporated in 1880 to float logs out to the sawmill at the mouth of the Ontonagon River, then incorporated this town in 1887; it's presently got a bit fewer than 2,000 proud inhabitants, but only one really enviable pasty shop.
And, some time later, we're entering Ontonagon, Michigan, itsownself.
Now we're processing down festive River Street, the high street with its prominent flag displays, with the huge ominous facility at the end, backed onto the mouth of the river.
Nothing that a good coat of paint wouldn't do wonders for. (Some more of last year's views of downtown Ontonagon, better ones, are stuffed away here.)
Now we just need to carry on eastward four miles out Lakeshore Dr, which becomes Driftwood Lane, to Four Mile Rock (of course), thence bouncing along a single-lane dirt track another mile or so (Bear Creek Drive) to the family's cabin, called 'South Beach', on the Lake Superior lake shore.
Like this. Our humble vehicle and another, belonging to our grand friend David, artist, curator and gallery director in Madison, who's joining us for this brief getaway to stressfree semi-solitude.
Choupette has a mind of her own, or a something of her own.
Always looking for something (probably just a tiny creature to bat around for a while, then release)
The beach facing northeast -- normally when arriving here, we have an introductory beach-walk out to the mouth of the Flintsteel River, about 2½ sandy miles, but on this occasion one of our party is whining about mobility issues, so the camera will have to suffice. That's the Flintsteel River way up there, followed by the Firesteel River, which we've never got to see (because we'd have had to wade across the mighty Flintsteel).
Kristin's family's South Beach facilites, the main cottage and the overflow called Bunchberry, and out of the frame to the left, a converted storage shed remodelled for the younger members of the clan, and behind the trees, the gross outhouse.
Bunchberry. Normally, that's for us, but this time we're in the master bedroom, and David gets the overflow amenities; which are just as cosy.
That's the kids' well-appointed pad (formerly Fr Richard's stash of expensively useless power tools and some guns, which have been disposed of in the approved manner).
We're off for a short walk and limp up the beach a short ways.
Profoundly glad not to have been here when this was going on
David is chilling out, which is recommended for everyone, but Melvin seems to be looking round for opportunities.
Two little feline demons -- when they act in concert, anything could happen.
They've taken a notion, and are refining it now.
That's a proper mess, please let them stay out of that.
Melvin is evidently supervising, Choupette is up to something ill-advised.
Choupette's always seeking out a challenge -- and last year, Melvin leveraged himself up, miraculously, over one of those sandy overhangs.
Not to be outdone, Choupette is routefinding, like any good climber searching out the route's weak points.
Choupette's not used to sandy overhangs, and needs some sound advice.
Luckily, Melvin's here to advise . . .
. . . and to look for a more promising point of attack. But this isn't any better.
Got it. Melvin's up and over -- Choupette's doubtful but entirely willing.
But she just can't get it done. Maybe next year.
But as ever, Choupette makes friends so easily that it embarrasses all of us humans.
Melvin's ascent into the forest above was not so convenient for us -- we've just spent 20 minutes trying to get a visual and talk him out of the foliage, and back towards home.
But all's well that ends well (they say) -- Melvin is exhausted from running all round in the sand, trying to keep up with youthful Choupette, and can only stare at the floorboards and breathe pantingly. Stertorously, we might say.
But Choupette's always ready for another challenge -- in this case, climbing up a ladder into the loft . . .
. . . and refusing to come down again.
The next day, looks like the surf's up.
Unfortunately, the front and back doors are selflocking, and the keys are inside. So we need to find a least-damaging solution. Kristin's found one, but we now need a volunteer to get it done. All good on you, David.
31 July is rather a white-cappy sort of day, after last night's meteorological shenanigans.
-- Sorry, you cannot pass. (Ausweis papiere bitte!)
Surf's up and sun's out, and Choupette wants to know what we're reading this morning. -- Never mind, Choupette.
(The novel is the first in a new detective series by Ann Cleeves, following her previous two series, Vera in York and Jimmy Perez on Shetland, both made into entertaining TV series, but this one is set in Devon and struck me as more soap opera than mystery.)
It's evidently a suntanning sort of day.
And David looks very relaxed indeed. Good on him. The sound of the surf can help with that.
That's probably a stork.
Brief consultations, always interesting when David's here, but . . .
. . . in the meantime, one of our party feels compelled to hobble down the beach a ways and record all of this arboreal carnage for the future generations.
By way of background, this provides some context to Lake Superior's dead tree harvest . . .