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Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

I’ve seen many TV interviews and read about it in papers and magazines, couples who have been married a long time are asked to what they owe their happy, married longevity. It’s never “We’re both successful with lots of money” and it’s certainly not “The sex is still great and abundant after 40 years together.” The most common answers are, “We can talk about anything,” or “he/she still makes me laugh.” The photo for the mug shot today is to ensure the longevity of my own marriage. It will make David laugh!

I wanted to write about an experience. I felt like describing something I enjoyed. I knew exactly what I wanted to write about and which mug I needed to photograph for it. Trouble is, I couldn’t quite reach the mug to take it down and photograph it. So, this picture was taken on my tippy toes reaching up to put the camera in front of the mug!

Okay, David, that’s enough laughing at “your shorty.”

He doesn’t mean it in the pop-culture term of endearment way when he calls me his shorty. He is simply calling me short. At 5’7”, I am NOT short!

David, you can stop laughing any time.

I’m just going to go on to today’s Mug Shot.

Mackinac Bridge
Mackinaw City & St. Ignace, Michigan

The Mackinac Bridge connects Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. There was a time that the only way to get from one to the other was by ferry or through Wisconsin! (by way of Indiana and Illinois) With entries in Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula and St. Ignace in the U.P., The “Big Mac” is the only road connecting the two halves of the state.

I remember traveling “up north” when I was a child what an amazing site it was to see the bridge in the distance as we got closer. You can see the bridge for at least a good half hour from the I-75 before you actually get to it. Dave and I would crowd in between the front seats to see it as soon as my Dad announced that it was visible. It was a giant monolith, welcoming visitors to the Upper, home of great camping and Ledo’s Pasties right off the bridge for lunch.

Pasties are stuffed pastry pockets with meat and vegetables, sometimes potatoes, but the original ones had rutabaga. They were an easy to carry lunch for loggers.

Of note here is the proper pronunciation of this classic Michigan meal. Pasties are past’-ease NOT paste’-ease. Past’-ease are meat pies. Paste’-ease are the tassels strippers wear on their...NOT MEAT PIES!

I recall listening to the Bridge radio station when we were kids to see if we’d be able to cross. I never understood that. There was even a time that we could cross, but had to have a police escort to cross because we had a trailer. Didn’t understand that either.

Then I remembered a news story as an adult, a Yugo basically jumping up and over the side of the bridge. WHAT? It seems Yugos are very light cars and this one got caught by the undercurrent of wind on the middle, grid lane, of the bridge and it just picked it up and away it went.

In 1992, Mom and I took a trip up to Sault Ste. Marie to go to the Soo Locks. I drove. Going North on the I-75, I saw that powerful monolith of my childhood for the first time from the driver’s seat. An excited tingle ran down my spine. Approaching the Big Mac to drive across it for the first time was a half hour of building excitement. It was more than when I was a kid. Back then, it was like watching something exciting live on TV. This time, I was the live excitement!

When we got into radio range for the bridge station, Mom tuned it in. They were talking about wind conditions on the bridge. They were moderate and trucks or cars towing trailers should use the paved outer lanes only. Cars could proceed on the center grid lanes, but use extreme caution.

“The grid! I just HAVE to drive on the grid!” I told Mom.

She said I ought to start on the paved side and then if I felt comfortable with it, switch to the grid side. I did just that. After about six feet on the paved side, I changed lanes!

The thing about the Mackinac Bridge, is those grid lanes in the middle are an aspect of the engineering design. They allow air to flow through instead of beating against the bridge. It makes the bridge safer and more durable. But the winds in the Straights of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet, can be very strong!

As, I moved the Camaro over to the middle lane, I could definitely feel those winds pushing up on the bottom of the car. Camaros are low to the ground, so in normal driving, even on the freeway, they are mostly under the radar of crosswinds. Fighting or even feeling the wind was kinda new to me! It was a thrill ride! Both hands on the wheel as we crossed, I dealt with occasional gusts that actually moved the car! Now I understood why sometimes you can’t cross!

As our five mile journey, my first time doing it in the driver’s seat, from the lower to upper parts of Michigan drew to a close, I felt energized. I had faced a challenge my Dad and Grandfather boldly undertook when I was a kid and reached the other side victorious!

We got off the freeway at the first exit, Highway 2. The road to Ledo’s. After all, I’d earned my pasty this time!

1 comment:

Edna B said...

You have awards to pick up on my blog. Have a great day. Hugs, Edna B.