Dueling Drive-Ins

Race Pennants

We’ve always gone to Clyde’s. There are two drive-ins in the Soo, Clyde’s and West Pier. Anne’s mom graduated from high school, the same year Clyde did, but of late West Pier has been getting a fair amount of critical acclaim. So, I figured that we should at least try it out. Located in the former Soo Line railroad freight depot, it was a little hard to find at first, but it is located almost beneath the International Bridge, at the west end of tourist row, also-known-as Portage. We arrived at noon to a full lot. It looked like there was limited seating inside and no outside seating, so we ate in the car. It wouldn’t be our first time for that. It was as good as advertised and I should have heeded the warnings about their huge portions. In the end, it is still a close call. I like Clyde’s ambiance, which you can read as the seagulls, but in order to ensure that their diner is really the best, further research is required.

No Rollerblading
No Skateboarding
No Snowboarding

After lunch, we hit the marina to checkout the boats for tomorrow’s Trans-Superior sailboat race. I keep wanting to call it the Trans-Siberian. At the marina, we saw the above warning sign, only in Sault Ste. Siberia. Crews were getting ready for the race. One crew had the tiniest marine toilet that I’ve ever seen, ready for installation. There are two 70′ boats and they’ll go head-to-head and after about 36 hours, one of them will be the winner in Duluth. The other twenty 40′ boats hope to finish in about 48 hours. Then after a night of revelry in Minnesota and a corresponding amount of  time to get back, we’ll likely see them all after their return run. After the marina at Meijer’s we saw what looked like one of the 70′ boat’s twelve man crew. They were loading two pickups full of food for the journey. I hope that that new little toilet is up to it all. 

Ezekiel 4:9

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley

When I first began coming to my in-law’s cabin, I stirred up a breakfast cereal controversy. I liked Cocoa Puffs, which my mother-in-law thought was simply horrid. While maybe not as healthy as the rather bland and tasteless cereals that they preferred, I liked it and in the scheme of things, what is really all that awful about chocolate frosted sugar-bombs anyway?

Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself… – Ezekiel 4:9

Anne and I were in Meijer’s yesterday, working our way through the shopping list, when we came to bran. Harry had asked for it and had just written the word bran. When we got to the cereal aisle, we spied boxes of Food for Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Cereal for sale. Maybe if you find yourself lost in the desert for forty days and forty nights, it might be a good idea to have a bowl of it. I mean, how much more inspirational can you get, then by quoting the Bible, chapter and verse? We thought of getting some for Harry, just to see his reaction, but it cost twice as much, for a box that was half the size of other brands. In the end we decided not to and got raisin bran and not just bran. Hang the expense. 

Today, Anne went to town to do yoga and I went for a bike ride. I rode out to the lighthouse. On the way out, I rode through where the 6 mile construction crew had constricted traffic down to one lane. I almost made it through the mile and a half, before cars began coming the opposite way. I ducked into the closed lane.

I got to the lighthouse just as the Soo Locks Tour Boat, which was doing its regular Wednesday run out to the lighthouse and blew me a master’s salute. On the way back I first stopped at the Dancing Crane for a little latté. I again navigated the construction slalom and again couldn’t make it to the end before the other cars began coming at me. Another cyclist going the opposite direction had just made it through in time.

I stopped at the Bay Mart store in Brimley. Going in, I noticed a sign on the door that read, “Cyclist, please remove your helmet.” Figuring that the sign was for full face masked motorcyclists and not bicyclists, I didn’t take mine off and I thought I detected a look from the clerk, but it must have been something else, because he greeted me warmly with the news that tomorrow they will stripe 6 mile. Plans are to have a bike lane for the entirety of the newly paved road. 

Back to the New Normal

Zion Turkey

Jay and Carl left yesterday, making me the baby again in this geriatric ward, but Anne’s conversation choices are now reduced again to , “What?”, “Huh?” and me. I got myself into a bit of a snit, when after formulating the best ever rendition of my “California” chicken salad, I discovered that we were out of bread. I had to wait until Harry back from the store for more bread. By dinnertime, I was over it though and helped Anne fix fish tacos for dinner. We also finished up the last of the hummingbird cupcakes for dessert. Continuing with this theme of eating, I fixed avocado toast for breakfast today. It being Saturday, Anne’s special day. Of course since I retired, every day is Saturday.

Anne and I had a very productive beach walk. We saw a willet, which is pretty rare around here, but not unheard of. At first we thought that it was a Spotted sandpiper, which is very common on the beach. Then we decided that it was a Solitary sandpiper, which is supposed to also be common around here, but we haven’t seen any. In the end, I decided that it was a willet, because none of those other birds have the distinctive white wing-bar that the willet has. I just couldn’t convince Anne of this, because Lake Superior is outside its normal range. All her research did elicit these different names for a group of sandpipers though: bind, contradiction, fling, hill and time-step.

In addition to seeing the bird, we saw a parade of sorts. This parade was sponsored by the Corps of Engineers. In its vanguard was a tug, the Bill Maier. It was towing not one, but two barges. The first barge had a huge crane on it, while the second one appeared empty. The pilot boat brought up the rear of this entourage. Usually, cranes and empty barges signify channel dredging, but at last report, via the marine App, the Maier has just rounded Whitefish point. This same App is no more help, because it lists its destination as Burns Harbor, IN.

Huevos were the walk’s final attraction. Thousands of huevos were washing up on the beach or so we thought. What we saw were clear, gelatinous, pea-sized globules. They looked like the tiny jellyfish that wash up on Florida beaches, but that could not be what we found here. Then we figured that they were fish eggs or maybe giant brain eating amoebas, but a search of the web determined that these so-called “goo balls” were actually the gelatinous mantle coverings of tiny zooplankton crustaceans called Holopedium gibberum. Adults of this species live inside this layer of goo for protection, with only their limbs sticking out for locomotion and for feeding on other plankton. As part of their natural life cycle, they shed their gelatinous mantle, which floats to shore for us to find. 

We saw this turkey in Zion. It was hanging around the Weeping Rock bus stop. It looks hot. It was a hot day. It was not particularly frightened by me or the other people who were watching it. I think that it was looking for a handout. I had already attached this photo to this post, before we saw any of the day’s sights. So, it will be a day or two, before their photos appear on this blog. Still, it was a pretty amazing beach walk. 

Lettuce Give Thanks

Sleeping Porch Bunnies

Kind of a quiet day today. The calm before tomorrow’s storm. I photographed these two rabbits from inside the sleeping porch. I think that they’ve taken up residence under the cabin, because I’ve seen one or another of them darting out from beneath the cabin, for the last several days. One of them has white socks, but they are both rather badly infested with ticks. I wonder what they make of the two neighborhood hellhounds, Vivian and Mocha, who daily patrol this place. I think that the rabbits might have the weight advantage on them.

I’ve been doing a fair amount of cooking up here. I made a version of my avocado toast for the 4th of July potluck and there was enough of it left over, so that I could fix Anne and I breakfast on Saturday. We made dinner last night, pasta. We used blue cheese to make the sauce, which we laced with vegetables, but the secret ingredient was in the noodles, which were made from chickpeas. Don’t tell Bubs though, because she really liked it and I’m not so sure she would take that news well. Anne tossed a salad. Today, I made Californian chicken salad, which is basically just chicken salad, with fruit and nuts added. This also went over well. Tonight, Anne and I helped Harry’s frozen Stouffer’s lasagna, with fresh garlic bread and a tossed salad. Tomorrow, I plan on doing a London broil, complemented with roasted zucchini slices.

Lettuce Give Thanks

Portland (2)

Portland’s Japanese Gardens

We walked to breakfast at La Luna, which is close to the motel. I had their Irish Benny, which was perfect and and Anne had their frittata, which featured a carrot pesto. Looking forward to a day of grazing, as we amble about town. After fighting Portland’s traffic last night, coming into town, I’m in no mood to move the Prius until it’s time to leave. We have a parking space at the motel and I haven’t seen another one yet around town. Google maps warned us that parking here would be difficult. Fortunately for us, one spot came with the room. It’s a very walkable city and today we’ll try its public transport too.

After breakfast our goal was to see Portland’s Japanese Garden. It took us hours to travel the few miles to get there though, but we weren’t in all that much of a hurry anyway. First, we hiked out of our way to cross the river. We crossed on the Hawthorne Bridge, instead of the Burnside, except the bridge operators chose this time to test the draw feature on this bridge. Once across, we went to the visitor’s center and bought trolley tickets to Washington Park. Although, it might have been train tickets that we purchased, there are four T’s here in Portland. We walked the trails portion on foot and I know that it wasn’t the tram, because that’s an aerial transport and we got off our railed vehicle in a tunnel.

From there we took an elevator up to the park. We surfaced near the zoo, which meant we still had some walking left to do. We walked through the city’s arboretum, which was fantastic. Got to the nature center there and then hopped the free shuttle around the park. The driver had great commentary. She dropped us off at the Japanese Garden. Portland has both climate and topography that is closer to Japan’s and this is reflected in their garden. I was impressed.

Afterwards, we began walking back downhill towards the river. We saw some more sights within the park, most notably Portland’s Holocaust Memorial. Earlier in the day, Anne had asked directions from this bicyclist. He was Jewish and had a Saint Louis connection with U-city. He gave us some great leads on places to go. People out here are amazed that we have driven so far, then they become positively stupefied when they learn that we have been tent camping. I know that we are way outside the normal demographic, but we like it.

We did a Kevin and snagged some frozen yogurt. That kept us going a little bit longer. We shopped Patagonia, but found the prices Pata-Gucci. I ended up buying a Timbuktu messenger bag, to replace my rather grody REI one. Anne hit Eddie Bauer here and even though we have one back in Saint Louis scored record discounts and bought a new t-shirt and backpack for half of what I spent.

In-between all of this shopping, I had to get off my feet. We did happy hour at the Zeus Café. The northwest’s version of Florida’s senior citizen early-bird suppers. We ordered the kale Caesar and a beet-strawberry salad and the cheese plate. We got props from our server, for ordering “a nice little meal. We both enthralled and got our ear talked of by the owner, with our STL-tent story.

We crossed the river and because our nice little meal was wearing off, hit Base Camp Brewery. It had food trucks. We had toured Portland’s downtown food truck mecca, which unfortunately, is scheduled for demolition next week, but that was too soon after Zeus. The extra miles made it perfect.

Saturday-Saturday Silliness

Playing with My Food

When Comerciante Jose’s French croissants go bad… I can’t have my other breakfast dishes scarfing up my bacon. No, no, no this will not do, especially on a Saturday-Saturday. (When everyday is Saturday, you still sometimes have to differentiate the days of the week.) Otherwise, who knows what will eat all of your bacon and then where will you be? Without any bacon. D’oh!

Anyway, Saturday-Saturday is the day of the week that I usually fix Anne a special breakfast. Lately, I’ve substituted out toast in favor of Comerciante Jose’s French croissants. They require some forethought, because one needs to stay up all night kneading the dough. I usually do all four of them that come in a pack, so that we can again enjoy them on Sunday-Saturday.

I’ve been on a bit of an avocado toast tear of late, but today decided to mix it up with eggs and bacon. Ahhh… bacon. The eggs are mixed-up omelet style, with cheese (gorgonzola) and veggies (green onions and bell peppers), but I find it too much trouble to keep them all together and usually go with a scramble.

It is a rainy Saturday-Saturday and cold too. So, not exactly a good day to go out to play. Still, there is something guilt free about lounging around the house on a rainy day. The sun will come out tomorrow and I’ll get out then. Fiddle-dee-dee.