Mostly Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes

March 24, 2013 21:34 – 21:34

I’m at the Comfort Suites in Twinsburg, Ohio. I left Traverse City after attending the service at the Traverse City UU Congregation this morning. The service was about the exodus. I elected to hit the road immediately after the service because I wanted to beat the snow to Twinsburg. I won. On the way down, I stopped for an early dinner at Tony Packo’s Cafe in Sylvania, Ohio. Yum.

The internet speed here is glacial… about .5 to 1.2M at best. So, for the most part, I’m using my MiFi device. It clocks in at 25M in this location. Thank you, 4G. Unfortunately, it’s not unlimited, so I have to avoid streaming or other activities that take advantage of the speed. Sigh. Shrug.

Last night (March 23rd) I was at the Cambria Suites in Traverse City, Michigan. That was my first stay in the Cambria chain. The room is nicer than Comfort, but it poorly illuminated, and it had a few other flaw as well. All of the lamps could stand to be many watts brighter. I used to bring 100 watt bulbs along with me on trips, but in recent years, hadn’t needed them. But, this is the 2nd hotel on this trip that is going for the dark look. One can’t help but wonder if when someone who’s depressed and suicidal checks into a motel, the lack of proper illumination sometimes pushes them over the edge. On the other hand, the internet speed isn’t too shabby… about 20M.

Another flaw was that the microwave was enclosed in a cabinet that put it at the ideal height for someone who’s no more than two feet tall. This is perfect for all those little people who feel discriminated against, and I was amused to imagine someone 7 feet tall trying to use it. Note that I said “was” rather than “is”. That’s because I moved it.

The other defect was the shower. While it’s a very classy-looking shower, it’s not the most intelligent design. Rather than a door or a curtain, the shower (not a tub/shower combo) has a glass pane that encloses it. You know how you need to make sure the water temperature isn’t too hot or too cold before diving in? Well, apparently, the designer of that shower has never used an actual shower. There’s no way to turn the water on without being in the shower. As a result, you’re treated to a very cold burst of water at the outset (the flow speed cannot be controlled) followed either by a gradual warm-up or by alternate freezing and scalding—your choice! If you happen to have arms that are six feet long, no problem. I don’t. Nor does anyone I know.

On the way up to Traverse City, there was a slow but sure increase in snow cover. A little northwest of Clare, Michigan, the snow cover finally became total. Along the day, I passed some drifts that were still over 10 feet high… and this is after several weeks of melting. I’d put the depth here in town anywhere from 10 to 30 inches. Around this part of Michigan, anywhere from about a foot to six feet—and that’s real accumulated snow, not drifts.

On the way up, I stopped in Clare, home of the Cops & Donuts Bakery. It’s supposedly world-famous. I first heard about it a couple hundred miles south of there, on a billboard in Indiana. It’s “100% cop-owned” and there’s a decided law enforcement theme. The staff are all wearing what looks like police uniforms. How are the baked goods? Meh. The raspberry jelly donut was passable, but icing a jelly donut is overkill IMO. I sampled parts of two cake donuts, but they weren’t very impressive, so I dismissed them into the trash.

For dinner last night, I ordered delivery pizza from Pangea’s Pizza. It was purportedly the best pizza in Traverse City. Color me unimpressed. The sauce tasted like it had a ton of black pepper in it. While I like black pepper in some contexts, I don’t like it in red sauces. Pizza by Alex in Biddeford, Maine remains the only pizza place I’d actually drive 50 miles out of my way for.

After checking into the Cambria, I hopped into my car and drove to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore, where I finally found some deep snow to drive in. The Crosstrek does well in snow, I discovered.


This is the car parked on some not-so-deep snow. And this is me standing next to some very deep snow.


After finding that the scenic drive was closed (a two month delay due to the sequestration), I drove to see the dunes. I’ve been here before and climbed all the way up… but not yesterday. Snow was 1 to 2 feet deep making it a very slippery climb. So, I made it up only about a third of the way before I decided that a fall would not be good.


The West Potomac cross-county team comes up here every summer and trains on these dunes, by the way. Unlike the dunes in Kitty Hawk, these dunes are fine for climbing… there are signs that encourage it, while at the same time, other signs urging caution.


And yes… the snow at the edge of the parking lot is that high. While it looks like it might’ve been plowed that high, there is a natural drift that high on the other side of the sign.

So, here I am in Twinsburg, Ohio. My plan is to drive the rest of the way back to Virginia tomorrow, get my mail, and then decide where to go next. I really don’t like sitting still for very long.

I have the muted television on CBS so that I can see when The Good Wife starts (it was delayed for some reason… probably a football game or something similarly irrelevant to my viewing druthers). A bunch of scantily clad men are putting scorpions into their mouths. Whatever this show is, I will not become a fan.

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