Respite in Grand Haven

Grand Haven

Leaving the twin cities after our wonderful visit with the Dears, we headed to Manitowoc, WI, from where we planned to catch a ferry across Lake Michigan. We arrived at the ferry and were surprised to learn that we don’t drive our cars on or off the ferry ourselves, but that ferry employees take the cars and drive them on. This would provide fodder for both an interesting thought experiment, and a bit of frustration later on the trip.

The ferry, the historic S.S. Badger, looked on the outside much like a normal ferry. However, the inside was surprisingly luxurious. There were private rooms, a quiet room (for ‘retiring’), a theater room, two cafes, and reclined pool chairs outside on the front of the ferry for laying down. There was also a bunch of entertainment for the 4-hour ride, all led by the cruise director. We started out watching the very exciting women’s World Cup finals. After the game ended, Kenzie went to explore the boat, and found a nice place outside to finish reading her book. Erin and I stayed in our seats and napped a bit. We also heard the one song performed for Badger Idol (I kid you not). One man got up and sang all of Crocodile Rock. He was enthusiastic about it, and people enjoyed clapping along. Afterwards, the cruise director started Bingo, which included him telling corny jokes in between each called number. Eventually, Erin and I got up to walk around the boat. Erin was wearing her Cabot House sweatshirt, and as we walked past the Bingo game, the cruise director called out that anybody wearing clothes that said ‘Cabot’ had won a free drink at the boat’s cafe. She excitedly went up to claim her coupon, and he also gave her a little temporary tattoo of the S.S. Badger. She got a root beer from the cafe.

The ship:

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Kenzie, Erin and I met up to watch the ferry come into the dock in Michigan. Kenzie and I discussed how we expected the cars to be returned to us, since the ferry employees would be driving the cars off the ferry. Our big question was, would there be anyone checking to see that each person got into the correct car. We discussed several ways this might happen, but none of them seemed that likely. As we disembarked, we found out that there was nobody checking, but that each person was just responsible for making sure nobody else took their car. The ferry had about 6 employees who were responsible for driving the cars off, and then running back onto the ferry to quickly unload another car. People then just picked up their cars with keys in them from the line of unloaded cars. This process was extremely inefficient, and it took at least 30 minutes for them to finally unload our car. Kenzie and I occupied ourselves by discussing how we could take advantage of this system to steal a car.

After finally getting our car back from the ferry, we drove down to Grand Haven for a very nice dinner at Snug Harbor with Kenzie’s dad and grandmother, with whom we were staying in Grand Haven. We had a lovely time chatting with them both at dinner and afterwards back at the house. The house is very old, but still very nice. The next day, we had breakfast and lunch with Kenzie’s dad and grandmother. The food at each meal consisted largely of fruits that they had purchased at a farmers’ market the day before. Michigan has a lot of agriculture and seems to be especially proud of its cherries.

On the house’s screened-in porch:

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Between breakfast and lunch, Kenzie, Erin, and I walked down to the beach along Lake Michigan. It’s a very nice beach, with soft sand and a rock pier leading out to a lighthouse. We walked along the beach and the pier, and then set up on the beach to do some reading and a crossword puzzle. It was a bit cool outside, and the water wasn’t warm, but eventually we decided to go swimming. One remarkable thing about swimming in the Great Lakes is that while they look like an ocean, with waves and all, they are fresh water, so when you inevitably swallow some water, it doesn’t taste salty.

The lighthouse pier:

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The beautiful beach:

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In the afternoon, we went to see the final Harry Potter movie! Erin had to fill me in on what had happened and part 1, but I was all caught up by the time we got to the theater. We were worried about getting good seats, but it was actually surprisingly empty, so we got great seats. It was interesting watching a movie for the first time when you know basically what is going to happen and you’re mostly just waiting for the cathartic end. We all enjoyed the movie, but not in the way that one typically enjoys a movie. Rather, it fulfilled our expectations of what the final Harry Potter movie should be.

We went back to the house, where Erin and I read the newspaper and nibbled on more fruit, while Kenzie went out for a walk around Grand Haven. Overall, it was a very nice, relaxing day.

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