austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Lookin' for a home in the heart of the country

Back to the Leelanau Peninsula, though I wanted to mention I just discovered that I passed my 3500th Livejournal entry back in August, and didn't notice it. Obviously I should hit the magic 3653 come January.

With the lighthouse well-explored we went out to the shoreline, which we could see had clearly receded in recent years, just like the water depths level chart and the question about the lighthouse moving implied. This has a good side since it means there's a lot of beachfront, although quite a bit of it is pretty rocky. I thought over in the distance I could see people walking out on a spit of land and bunny_hugger humored me by going out along it too. This had the marks of being some land that's only been above the waterline the past few years, or at least was a string of little islands until fairly lately.

It's a pretty spot, with a lot of marshy lands where geese and ducks and that sort of bird putter around in low pools and grasses cling around rocks and all that. The spit itself just kept on going, though, through a lot of small hills thick with grasses and small trees dense enough that we'd lose the trail. The trail itself seems to have split a couple times over, which would be good for the traffic flow between going out and coming back, but might also just reflect that there wasn't really one and if we hadn't been lured out by seeing other people there we would've figured we had gone as far as we could and turned back. I wonder if we lured any people out along the water that way too.

But we eventually, finally, found the unmistakable end of this tiny peninsula, petering out in a couple of muddy rocks and piles of clamshells that didn't quite get above water level.

And we walked back, my taking a path I could have sworn existed and which disappeared in a thick tangle of flowers and grasses. bunny_hugger more sensibly retraced our steps out and while I wanted to cut across the spit to get back to the path that I knew logically had to exist I somehow managed to fail at this. She got a good bit ahead of me and was coming back to find me when I got out of the worst tangle. On the way back she and her brother had a phone call where we worked out when to meet in town.

Beside the Old Mission Lighthouse is an historic log cabin, dated to somewhere around 1850 and with a small area one can enter and see the reproductions of beds, saws, stoves and the like. There's also a motion-activated audio tour which tries to explain the history of the cabin, and which is hard to listen to in its entirety because if the sensor picks up any motion it restarts from the beginning. The spiel has some broader narrative problems too because it's just not very organized: buried about two minutes in is a mention of how Abraham Lincoln had to do something which involved clearing up the title to the house, but just what wasn't clear to me, and that --- which would seem to me the most obviously interesting thing anyone could say about it --- came after talk about how the cabin had been relocated and in the midst of stuff about how it had been a cow barn at one point and used as shelter by migrant workers at, presumably, another. We stood very still for maybe a quarter-hour to get the whole thing, and it really could have done better with a couple of memorial plaques, I think.

We left the lighthouse and, after stopping at a scenic overpass to photograph vineyards we wouldn't visit, returned to Traverse City and that parking garage. We met her brother and his girlfriend in a bar --- I'm not sure which, but for some reason my mind has preserved the recollection that I got a Commodore Perry IPA, part of my ongoing attempt to try out beers by grabbing whatever words I first recognize on the list --- where we learned they had enjoyed a tolerably warm night and had been shopping during the day. She'd gotten a new dress. He'd gotten a new hat. This hat would be almost as big a topic of conversation as his relationship with Siri on his new iPhone.

See, he got your classic steampunk-y style tall hat, something that manages that blend of being kind of out of his style but also kind of fitting into it because it's just the right amount out of his style. We couldn't stop looking at it. Passers-by couldn't stop looking at it. I don't know if he's still months later wearing it but there's a good shot he is and he's probably still, even in the heart of Brooklyn, getting comments on it.

Though the bar was fine for a couple drinks it wasn't really a dinner spot, so, her brother walked up to some people who were playing darts and asked them where they'd go for dinner. They told him he had an awesome hat. That's just the world that he lives in. He managed some remarkable feats of small talk in scouting out where people would go for a not-too-pricey dinner and figured out on a restaurant a couple of blocks west. (We actually got the address and then had to rely on one of the tourist bureau's maps on the street because somehow we managed to get lost and Siri was being amusingly unhelpful for her brother.)

We got a spot on the restaurant's patio, a couple tables away from some guys playing guitar and one drummer whom we supposed was probably actually with the band. And we talked about various things (eg, her brother explained how a waiter would card a group that contained some clearly-legal and some maybe-possibly-questionable folks without being embarrassing), most notably our sharing our experiences at Conneaut Lake Park. Her brother, who's been infected with the love of carousels which bunny_hugger shared, wanted also to talk about those. (He's even giving some carousel tours to people who donated to his Indiegogo project.) He even mentioned how her fascination with and fandom for carousels and band organs and the like put her into a particularly interesting part of the counter-culture. She rejected the idea that this keen interest in a section of Americana put her in the counter-culture. ``That's just culture,'' she insisted.

We moved inside, after dinner and after the performances finished, to carry on talking for a while longer and to make rough plans for what we'd do the next day. bunny_hugger had wanted to bring me to the Sleeping Bear Dunes for ages, and her brother's girlfriend had never bee either, and we gathered together rough ideas of how we'd meet up and share part of the day.

We wandered out, managing to not forget his girlfriend's dress despite a false start, and down the neon-lit buildings of Front Street.

Trivia: The Board of Proprietors of West New Jersey (owners of all unclaimed land in the western half of the colony-then-state) have issued dividends --- granting warrants to land --- to Proprietors seven times, most recently in 1859. Source: New Jersey From Colony To State, 1609 - 1789, Richard P McCormick. (They still exist, having merged about fifteen years back with the Proprietor of East New Jersey at last.)

Currently Reading: Road to Revolution, Avrahm Yarmolinsky.

Tags: traverse bay

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