Friday, August 28, 2009

There is so much to catch up on and so much to rattle on about. I’m finally getting back into the swing of my normal schedule, the house is getting less cluttered by the day, and the crispness is in the air everywhere here in Alaska.

Most importantly, I did get married on July 31st to the lovely Becky! Everything seemed to go perfectly and everyone seemed to have a great time. If something went wrong I either didn’t notice it or our guests didn’t notice it. Perfect. I did almost overdose on pictures with the photographer (though I was more than happy to take as many pictures as possible with family and friends), but that is the price you pay to get a nice album of memorable pictures. The photographer’s pictures are here and my flickr account is full of even more.

Everything has been completed, we’re back in Alaska, the bills have been all paid, and the thank you letters will soon be tackled. Life should be calm and back to normal in time for Christmas.

Through the high times and the low times I never waver in my love for horror comics --the scarier or campier the better. Bring them all on. Given my preference for pre code horror, I am well versed in the EC books, yet always aware that the majority of the other horror comics of the early 1950’s will be forever beyond my grasp, largely due to unavailability and price. Well, thanks to The Horrors of It All blog that has all changed. It’s just simply wonderful that he is sharing his considerable collection of rare comics. Great stuff and worth checking in on every few days.

Wayne always has something interesting to write about, but I call your attention to his recent entries because he has decided to perfectly describe a strange southside journey from a few years back that we took together (along with Scott). We attempted one more peek into the Marquette Park of a passing time to see if kicking the tires of 69th street yielded any Lithuanian mumblings.

Also, he has decided to scribble a bit about my grandparent’s old neighborhood. I spent a lot of time at the intersection of 63rd and California.

The honeymoon was a blast.

If you tackle any shipwreck tours or museums in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, expect to hear Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. A lot. And then a few more times for good measure. We spent a night in Munising, MI and took a 3 shipwreck tour in a glass bottom boat, leaving us at the final wreck with a 20 minute ride back to port. “We’ll just put on some music for the nice ride back.” Yep, you know it. We chuckled because we had already been singing it randomly in the car the previous few days.

Our drive from Munising to St. Ignace was fairly short, so a side trip was in order to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise, MI. We banked on a fun trip and a money shot of the Edmund Fitzgerald’s bell. When we pulled into Paradise (a one horse town if there ever was one) we were annoyed to see that we had to drive another 10 miles north. The side trip better had pay off. After 10 minutes of twisting through the forest we came upon a completely packed, large parking. Our excitement level was way up. Every exhibit, film, and building that housed some of the museum had the song playing. And those exhibits and films were fascinating. When the song would end, there would be 5 minutes of ambient music, which would be followed by the song again. Repeat. Very funny. Ultimately, stops like this on a vacation become the unexpected jewels in your trip.

Mackinac Island was just beautiful and amazing. We rented bikes and it was just … Please go if you can.

Aside from the horror comics, I can always be counted on to geek out on Hemingway anything. So our trip through Michigan had to include a stop in Horton Bay, the place Hemingway spent many summers in his youth as well as the location he wrote about in many of his early Nick Adams stories. We stopped in the almost unmodified general store, snapped a picture of the family cottage on Walloon Lake, and poked our heads into the Red Fox Inn bookstore. Holy cow, the Red Fox Inn was a trip. Historically, it had been a place to get a room and eat a chicken dinner, which Hemingway did almost a century ago. Today it’s a bookstore, though one housed in an interior shell where one can tell that the walls, layout, and furnishings have not changed beyond a coat of paint in the last 80 years. Bookstores have bookshelves lining the walls, but in this case you’ll find tables everywhere with stacked, organized Hemingway books. The place is organized in a way, but at a glance it is sort of a permanent, indoor garage sale. But I was all in, man. The place reeks of what you would hope to find and the owner certainly had the knowledge of all things Hemingway and Horton Bay. His grandfather owned the place and spent a fair amount of time teaching young Ernest how to fish the specific creeks in the area. This guy is the guy you want to talk with when you wander into one of these places. He also was a pretty odd bird, had a very strange way about him, and had a bit of an odor. Becky is infinitely friendlier than me to almost everyone, and she was a little off about him. However, he was extremely polite, helpful, and willing to talk. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to really buy a Horton Bay Hemingway cap, but I decided that I’d surely regret it if I passed so I jumped on that, along with a few postcards that he kindly postmarked with a Horton Bay USPS stamp. Very cool.

As he rang me up I asked if he would mind if I took a picture of the interior of his place. “No problem,” he replied as he quickly scooted to the middle of the room and plopped himself into a rocking chair I didn’t even know was sitting there. I wanted a plain interior picture, but this is what I was getting. Fair enough.

After some chit chat about where we were from he, like most people, had some random questions about Alaska.

“How bad is the winter?”

“A bit colder than the north woods, but much longer.”

“Ah, I can’t make it through the winters up here any more. I have to get out.”


“Nah. I head to the Philippines for the entire winter.”

Quickly, what are you thinking? Correct. Americans do not travel there to do things that are legal in America. My money is on things with individuals under 18.

I finished my first triathlon this past Sunday. It was a spring length and I enjoyed it much more than I expected. I may not enter any longer triathlons, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself in a sprint triathlon again.

I cannot wait for Cyclocross season. As we won the road lottery in Denali for mid September, we’ll be camping there in a few weeks. So much great stuff to do and see before the snow flies.