October 16th, 2013

krazy koati

What can I bring to you to stand in your glow?

We had time for one last trip to Michigan's Adventure, and we were aiming for a rare convergence: sunset early enough and the park open late enough that we'd get to see it at night. Michigan's Adventure is so oriented to western Michigan's late sunsets that it's got almost no lights. There are, without exaggeration, about two weekends of its operating season when it's possible for the public to ride anything at night.

But we also wanted to split that day with a visit to Muskegon's lighthouses, given our newfound interest and bunny_hugger's new passport. There's a couple of them at the beach, including one that's at the end of a very long pier marked with the blank verse warning sign, ``Structure is Not // Designed for // Public Access // Proceed at Your // Own Risk''. Everyone walked out along that, to the lighthouse, and what it means is a mystery to us. This pier is made of concrete, and there's a drop of a dozen feet or more to the waterline, but don't worry, as on either side of the pier are huge rocks, some of them not jagged. I'm not particularly afraid of heights but this was still unnerving me.

Also fascinating is there's a little marker pointing to the Muskegon Fishing Reef, with the (it alleges) first underwater fishing reef of its kind, made of quarried dolomite, and a quarter mile off in that direction. Nothing shows above water. It could all be a prank.

Another lighthouse nearby The lighthouse is built in a severely late-30s style and looks like the sort of facility a cheap B movie would use for where the inept criminal gang drops off the ransom money. It's pretty heavily graffitied over, but has a sign asking for help in restoration efforts. The poster of course includes a QR code (remember QR codes?) that's been torn half away. A lot of the graffiti includes declarations of love or announcement of people's Twitter or Instagram feeds.

The last lighthouse in the area bunny_hugger thought was inaccessible, blocked by a Coast Guard facility. And it is on the far end of a Coast Guard facility, but there's a little sidewalk marked in paint as public access to that pier. I traipsed a little outside the lines because who wouldn't? That lighthouse is in the best shape of any in the vicinity, though whether it's because the Coast Guard groundskeepers take care of it or because the quasi-limited access reduces vandalism chances I couldn't say.

And yet we didn't get the passport stamped. The Muskegon lighthouse stamp is kept at the city's visitor center, a fair bit away from the beach, and which turned out to be closed on weekends despite the web site saying they were open that day. All we got from this diversion was the experience of walking an attractive part of Lake Michigan on a lovely late-summer day.

Trivia: British imports of rubber rose from 7,600 cwt [ about 350 metric tons ] in 1850 to 159,000 cwt [ about 7,200 metric tons ] in 1876. Source: The Age Of Capital, 1848 - 1875, Eric Hobsbawm.

Currently Reading: 1877: America's Year Of Living Violently, Michael E Bellesiles.

PS: From ElKement: On The Relation Of Jurassic Park and Alien Jelly Flowing Through Hyperspace, which is pretty self-explanatory.