The trip North.


(Note: this post was hand-written when I was in da U.P.  The publish time is approximate.)


These are my new Birkenstocks, my favorite brand of sandals; and this is their first trip to the U.P., my favorite place in the world.


This is my VW Bus, it likes to break down create interesting stories pretty much wherever it goes.

Yesterday I drove to the U.P., my favorite place in the world.  It’s a long drive from home, about 5 hours to “da bridge,” and at least an hour more to get someplace quiet and secluded.  I got a late start, as usual; hit up Meijer on the way out of town, as usual; stopped in Grayling to fill up with gas, as usual; and slowly made my way Northward.

The sun was far to the West when I finally made it to “da bridge,” the cold rush of air felt good after a long, hot drive.  I was about halfway across when I said to myself, “Well, I finally made it to da U.P.!”  Then I thought better of it and relented, “I’m still on the bridge, I haven’t made it yet. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, Kris.”

There was blissfully little traffic, so as I pulled up to the Cash Only lane at the tool booth I was only second in line; finally da U.P. at last!  Then it happened, as I got in line behind a red pickup, the Bus stalled.  I was still rolling, so I went to pop the clutch but I just didn’t have enough momentum to get it going again.  The red truck pulled away so I pushed the starter button… and nothing happened.

I pushed the button again, still nothing.  I turned off the headlights and pushed it again, nothing.  I looked in the rear-view mirror at the line forming behind me, then I looked at the tool booth lady, then I looked back at the line, then the lady.  Shit!

I undid my seatbelt, opened the driver’s door, popped it into Neutral and pushed.  I got as much speed as I could, jumped in (tearing my shorts on the rusty fender), and tried to slam it into 1st and pop the clutch again.  No dice.

By now I was up to the toll booth and the lady asked me if I needed a tow.  I replied, “God, I hope not!”  I continued, “I think if I can get it rolling I can get it started.”

She said, “OK, pay your toll, then I can open the gate and you can push it through.  If you need help The Bridge Authority is waiting for you.”

So I handed the toll lady a $20 bill, she gave me $16 back, opened the gate for me, and said “Good luck!”

I pushed the Bus up the hill, through the toll booth, crested the peak, gave it a good push down the hill, jumped in, jammed it into 1st, popped the clutch, and she roared to life; thank God!

So now back to the Birkenstocks.  They have finally been inaugurated in the U.P., and the very first steps they took on U.P. land were used to push the Bus into the U.P.

How unusual!

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