Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 1: On The Road

Thursday, June 13, 2013

After a mega-trek through the desert southwest last summer, Natalie and I decided that a “more local” twist on summer vacation was in order.  Basically, the route was the famed Lake Superior Circle Tour:  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario. 

Sure, birds can be the focus, but if your life revolves around only birds, I would argue you are a bit lost.  Beer?  Yes, now were talkin’.  History?  Always.  Life in general?  Got it.  Combine those factors and you have a trip the way they should be….

Keep in mind, for those of you that are taking notes, this is the first two-week trip I have taken in over 12 years (at least) were my chances of a “new bird” were basically zero.  This trip was built around Natalie’s needs to secure some boreal birds: Connecticut Warbler , Black-backed Woodpecker, and Boreal Chickadee just to name a few.  Sure, many of these birds can be found in Michigan (some even breed here). Trust me, that played into our decisions as went…

My National Park map, complete with pins marking the locations that I have visited (just like fourth-graders might do) had some holes in the region.  She gets some birds.  I get some pins.  We get some beer.  It all works out. 

In any case, mega-road trip ’13 didn’t start until the early afternoon. Natalie, a teacher a training, had to pass a test mandated by the State.  In short, it confirms you have a pulse.  She passed it easily.  Duh.  From Ann Arbor, we hit the road.

The drive was more or less uneventful.  The creamed Pileated Woodpecker on the I-75 shoulder was unfortunate.  On the positive side, the baby porcupine did not suffer the same fate.  Refusing to have dinner at the Big Suck Brewery, we pressed onto St. Ignace for chow.  (How Natalie’s bladder lasted this long is a question for the ages...)  Fresh salmon and a Mad Hatter at the Village Inn certainly worked.

Continuing to scoot, we managed Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by dusk.  Whipping up the tent at the Twelve Mile Beach Campground in minutes (we’re pros at this point), we wandered the beach until dark. 

Ovenbirds, Black-throated Green Warblers, and thrushes wished us well as we slept…in the cold.  It was quite chilly. I was already regretting the lack of cool weather gear.

Apparently, the star show that night was really something else. I, however, was perfectly comfortable in my sleeping bag.  I just couldn’t fathom getting up and out to see something I’d be seeing most nights for the next two weeks.  You can see where this is going, can’t you…?

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