Schezwan Hands

Yellow Swallowtail

As it turned out Anne ended up doing the painting in the bathroom. This freed me up and allowed me to do some cooking. I prepared another batch of Maque Choux or what I call Cajun corn. I love this dish and I have made it often enough that I’ve started to ad-lib a little with the recipe. In particular I now eschew the use of fresh corn for frozen. It is much easier and all of the other ingredients kind of overwhelm the corn anyway. The recipe calls for hot peppers and even though the finished dish is not too spicy, I managed to burn myself by handling them again. My right hand is feeling a little burned. I’m sure though that this little bit of pain will be worth the final product.

In-between spells in the kitchen, I took the RAV4 into the dealer for its first checkup. Going to the cabin, we had finally put enough miles on the car to activate its nag-ware that kept reminding us that it was time for some service. I think all that they did was check on things. The car is still brand new, with barely has 5,000 miles on it after eight months of ownership.

In sense, I am suffering something like buyer’s regret with the RAV4. Don’t get me wrong I still really love our new car, but with the plague it hasn’t been as useful as I had planned it to be. For example, we went from March to June on just one tank of gas. It’s a hybrid, but it doesn’t get that great a mileage! We specifically bought the car to do epic road trips, not to drive just a few miles to the park. In this sense, though no fault of its own is has been a disappointment. A similar thing occurred when we bought the Prius. While we were shopping for that car, gas was pushing five dollars per gallon. Almost as soon as we took delivery though, gas dropped to two dollars per gallon and has been hovering there ever since. I just can’t win for losing.

Ann Arbor Interlude

Fly Fishing the Huron

For a rest day, a lot happened on Friday. Apparently too much to blog about then. We did a small hike in the next door Dolph Nature Area, read trolling for ticks. Cruised the old family homestead on Lincolnshire. Drove out Huron River Drive first to Delhi. Snuck in for lunch with Bluebirds, but got scoped by the park police. Not a problem. Snapped the pictured fly fisherman before beating feet. Cruised Dexter in our AWD PPE. Then headed back to the ranch for siesta.

Dinner at Chez Harry’s for his 93rd birthday. The menu included Jane’s signature enchiladas, Harry’s delightful salad and Anne’s angel food cake topped with strawberries and cabin blueberries. Jay hosted a zoom meeting and the boys offered their well wishes. There were presents, but Anne stole the show with the presentation of her memory, remembrance, clan Farqhuarson quilt. One half tartan and one half family photo gallery. Harry loved it! It was a big hit.

Harry Admires the Quilt

Serendipity intruded when the first friends that we made, after we first moved to Saint Louis from Ann Arbor commented on the blog last week that they now live in Ann Arbor. They live quite close to where we are staying and we arranged to meet for breakfast at nearby Zimmerman’s Roadhouse. We had a delightful conversation over coffee and pastries, catching up on old times.

In Ann Arbor, Anne read Carsick by John Waters, director of the movies Pink Flamingos and Hairspray. It was on the bookshelf at our Air B&B. In it was a gift receipt indicating that the book was to our hostess from Jane. The book recounts tale of hitchhiking across America. The story is divided into three parts, “the best that could happen”, “the worst that could happen” and “the real thing.” Anne liked the first part, found the second part disturbing (that’s Waters), but it was an episode from the third part that piqued my interest. Waters was hitching through Saint Louis and while crossing the Mississippi River was marveling at the Arch, his favorite public sculpture. He knew that he had caught a good ride, when the couple giving him the lift, told him that they had had sex in the Arch. More particularly in one of the tram cars that carry people to the top and back. These tram cars normally seat five, but on off hours it is easy to believe that a couple could get there own private car. The rub is that it only takes four minutes to get to the top. The return run is even faster, three minutes. No time for foreplay!

On our way home now. Headed back to the Lou. Looking forward to sleeping in our own bed again tonight. It’s been a great trip.

Mental Cruise Control

Open Road

We got an early start on our down state journey, crossed the bridge and entered troll land. It was foggy when we began, with the island stolen by Canada, but we broke free from it when we got on the highway. Anne took the first shift, getting us to West Branch and I drove the rest of the way. Traffic was light. We stopped for gas at Birch Run. For some reason the RAV4 is getting less range than normal when I fill up in Michigan. I don’t know if it is the formulation or what? Satellite radio supplied the mind floss for the journey and served as our mental cruise control.

We arrived in Ann Arbor and found our Air B&B. It is a basement studio apartment that is billed as an urban treehouse, which seems like an oxymoron, but is actually quite apt. We inadvertently tried to enter the neighbor’s house first, but it was locked and we were fortunate no one was at home as we tried to break-in. We’ll stay here two nights. We have a backyard pizza party tonight and Harry’s birthday party tomorrow. There is also our friends from Saint Louis who now live in town. I also hope to visit my family’s former house.

Road Tripping

Yesterday, we got up at 4:30 AM and launched an hour later. 750 miles in twelve hours. We arrived at the cabin by supper time. The early start was a good thing, because we got several hours of driving in before the traffic started. The drive was mostly pleasant. Even going through Chicago wasn’t too bad, someplace we try to avoid. We stopped four times, twice for gas and twice more for nature. We wore masks whenever we were outside the vehicle. The still “new” RAV4 ran like a champ and its satellite radio really helped the miles fly by. We mainly listened to sixties Rock & Roll. “OK, Boomers.” What can I say?

There was one downside to our early departure though. Actually more than one. In our haste to hit the road, we forgot a few things. Except for the sandals that I wore, I neglected to bring any other shoes and except for a vest, I also forgot to bring a long sleeved fleece. I hope that it stays warm up here. Otherwise there is always Portage, also-known-as tourist row.

We also somehow left a watermelon at home that we’ve asked Joanie to rescue, but most importantly, I forgot the laptop and without which I’m relegated to using my iPhone for blogging. Now this isn’t impossible, but it is more difficult. So, for the duration of this trip I am going down to only one post per day. I’ll keep the evening post that usually has writing with it and suspend the morning post that is always just a photo. Desperate times call for desperate measures.