Never go into the woods with Bill. That has always been my rule. Ever since that one time, when I was standing next to him in the woods, furiously swatting mosquitos and he was just standing there seemingly oblivious to the bugs and they to him. It has been a good rule. One that I had abided by for years, until yesterday. After considerable coaxing from my wife and with much trepidation we joined Bill and his denizens of the woods for a three-hour tour. The local chapter of the North Country Trail association had organized a four-and-a-half-mile hike down near St. Ignace. This hike was just a warmup for today’s Mackinac Bridge walk, which is a 30,000 people annual event. Yesterday, there was less than twenty of us. I knew that I was in trouble almost from the beginning. When we reached a rallying point only half-a-mile in, I thought of turning back, but I pressed on trudging along, one foot in front of the other. It really was not all that bad. There were almost no bugs, except at the end. Marching up and down the ancient sand dunes was tiring, but at their tops, there was nice cooling breeze. I pressed on regardless and eventually made it back to the parking lot, where our car awaited. Anne and I drove back to the cabin together, where I showered, and I felt like a new man. I was glad that I had done the hike, and I was even more glad that it was over.
The weather this weekend keeps getting better and better (read warmer), with each passing day. It is almost as it the cabin does not want to see us go. When the weather here is so fine, it acts as a siren’s song, calling us closer and closer, only to end up crashing upon the beach and lay sprawled across the sand. Hey, there are worse things in life. With every remaining day here forecasted to be a beach day, we only have found a little bit of time so far dedicated to the cabin closing. It will get done, but not today. I won’t worry about that today. I’ll worry about that tomorrow or maybe the day after tomorrow. Yesterday, we lost Jimmy Buffet, the patron saint of beach life. A cautionary tale of too much fun in the sun. We’ll raise a glass for him tonight, as we waste away in Manhattan-ville.
It is Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of summer. After this weekend decorum demands that I put away my white shoes and white belt until next year’s summer season. Fortunately for me, I own neither such clothing items nor shall I be observing that end of season ritual. Still, Anne and I have been to varying degrees on the road since late April and it is time to go home. When I announced my retirement at work, everyone seemed to want to know, what would I be doing when I retire. I soon came up with a pat answer. The first activity was always, “I would travel until I got tired of not sleeping in my own bed.” After almost four months on the road, I think that I have reached that goal. After this weekend, we will be headed home. Besides, as soon as we get back to Saint Louis, we have a funeral to attend. This year, Jane has entrusted to us the duty of closing the cabin. By now, we have opened the cabin several times, but this will be the first time that we close it for the season. Winter is coming!
These duties can be loosely grouped into two categories: 1) Rodent proof the place. 2) Do not let the pipes freeze. Because of our previous, unfortunate involvement with squirrels with the RAV4, we have come armed to the teeth. Before leaving Saint Louis, I bought what I would surmise to be a lifetime supply of rat poison. I brought most of that supply to the cabin, where it might last a season or two. The bucket is in the shed. When first arrived here this summer, I refilled all of the new traps that Harry had purchased that were designed to use these green bricks. Before we leave, I will check them all to see if mice have found them or not. I could also leave a couple of them unenclosed for squirrels and larger rodents. I would run a nail through each block’s central axis, to prevent that block from going walkabout. I am sure that the landladies will let me know about this.
Now about freezing pipes. We bought a gallon of RV antifreeze that will be poured down all of the drains. I hope one gallon is enough. I will be watching a YouTube video or two on this subject, just to become educated. Reading the instructions on the jug, I noticed that the active ingredient in this RV antifreeze is not ethylene glycol, as in automotive antifreeze, but ethanol as in whisky. I am sure that the other lesser ingredients make this pink stuff undrinkable but be warned if I should offer to make you a watermelon-tini.