Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Thrilling Invasion

We've crossed the bridge a second time and then the journey to Ludington began. The way back always seems shorter. Perhaps because the route and sites look more familiar. This time, John had to drive and Mayette sat beside him. I and Jhoanna sat at the back, chatted for a long while until we dozed off to sleep. From time to time we wake to snack on Chips Ahoy and Doritos and then we go back to sleep again. The world is a beautiful place and Michigan is farm space everywhere --- mostly empty from recent harvest.

I have mentioned in prior articles that I have a great appreciation for wanderlust and random trips. And I feel like I am going to sound contradicting if I say that I am all for a well-planned itinerary. Thanks to travel friends like Bee and Brennan who introduced me to the practice. Drafting it is a very engaging process and when you are assigned to complete a portion of the blueprint, it can both be exciting and dreadful. Nothing prepares you for the hurt of instant, random changes to plans you have been working hard all along to happen. On the other hand, there is nothing more rewarding in a group travel than when your plan succeeds and everyone ends up happy of the experience. They don't even have to thank you. Their gush and spoken reverie pays for the effort. Above all, you get the satisfaction of designing the fun the way you envision it.

Amish farmer on a carriage

--- Some good things are found when you're not looking. ---

Our Ludington tower trip set off late because we missed the first trip to Mckinaw Island and had to wait approximately one and a half hours for the next schedule. Of course that could have been avoided if we woke up early and made it to the boat on time. However, not all delays are because of undeliberate reasons. Some are welcomed random interruptions. While the car sped through the highway, we caught sight of locals in costume tending their farm. If my recollection is right, they appeared to be harvesting crops when we saw them. We realized they are people of the Amish sect, "a group of Protestants who broke away from the Mennonites in the seventeenth century. The Amish live in close communities, farm for a living, and do without many modern conveniences, such as telephones, automobiles, and tractor-drawn plows" (Dictionary.com). We have had quite a discussion about them and then we saw a carriage moving opposite our direction with the driver in dirt-smudged farm clothing (long sleeves, suspenders, and a bonnet). It snagged Mayette's attention and she could not resist a U-turn to follow the guy. That had to be our first stalking experience. We followed, hoping to go unnoticed as the horse was reined to turn right. I was reading the signs and found "Maple Syrup for Sale". It was a scary move as this community is known to be discreet and exclusive. The moment we turned on a bend we stopped to a dead-end facing the beautiful barn. On the left, we saw two ladies in full Amish costume doing some lady chores as they greeted the arrival of the carriage driver. I lifted my camera to start taking pictures but before I could press the trigger, my eyes locked with their stern glares and knew that they were warding me off. Mayette found the courage to ask permission if we could take a picture with them but was answered with "I'd rather not". Afraid that our presence is becoming a nuisance, I pitched the interest on buying their maple syrup. We bought two and were told that we can take pictures everywhere else (barn, etc.) but not of the people. We conceded and took a picture of ourselves with the red barn on the background. While focusing my lens on the subjects, the sight of a young lad being motioned by his father to hide inside the barn was quite noticeable. Once or twice he would peek to see what we were doing and then hide again. My nerves are telling me not to linger longer lest we get shot for violating personal privacy.


--- What you are not meant to see stays out of sight. ---

The encounter could have been worse as we were clearly trespassing on private property but thank God we got out unharmed. We were chatting non-stop about the experience, drove through a mini forest, and not too long after (around past 5PM) we arrived at Ludington State Park to see the Big Sable Point Lighthouse before sunset. We parked the car and then asked the passersby which road will take us to the site faster. We were told that the only way is around -- by the shoreline. Hills of sand dunes seem to provide as wind and wave breakers. At that moment, the ocean was calm, the sunlight was soft and gentle, the wind breeze was mild and soothing but the lighthouse was out of sight. I ran to try to be ahead so I can signal when we are getting close. We've covered almost a mile but there was still no lighthouse. The sun sat on the horizon and we gave up, rested and watched the sun set before our eyes. We were silhouette figures bathing on warm sunlight as it bid us its momentary farewell to give way for moonlight.

It was time to head out to our hotel and we were starved and thirsty. Despite drained batteries and the near nothing internet signal, we managed to locate a restaurant an hour before its closing. It didn't take us long and then we left for hotel check-in. One more trip tomorrow (at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park) and then we head back to Chicago -- back to the comfort of our bed and pillows, my freedom to snore as loud as I can and to my friends -- away from its deafening sound.

Final check! Phones, cameras, tired bodies - reCHARGING!!




Prequels:
There Somewhere in Time
Shoes, Elbow, Tunnel
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I end my Michigan travel blog here. If you've been around Michigan drop me a comment about your favorite nooks and what you like about this beautiful state in US. Enjoy the slideshow (works only on a full browser, not on its mobile version) below. By the way --- that maple syrup was good!


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