Clare County Review & Marion Press

Postcard from the Pines: Got the Travel Bug?

These days our travels are rather limited. We shop, we tour the local countryside to see what’s new, there usually is something, and we await warmer weather. It’s just one fun-filled, armchair adventure after another. We are more than ready to travel again. It’s too bad that safe travel isn’t ready for us. Our son is heading for a warm tropical island this month. He can’t wait for some sunshine on his face and warm sand between his toes. We hope that when it’s time to come home that he; a) does not bring any unwanted covid virus with him, and b) that he can get back in and when he expects, and c) that he brings me a really good belated birthday gift.
We generally like to head south to Ohio between Christmas and the Super Bowl. If our daughter and family do not manage to get home for the holidays, we visit there. Our holiday visit is one of several we try to make through the year. We enjoy a trip into the historical and long settled places in southern Michigan and northeastern Ohio every so often. Once south of here, below James Hill and on into the southern portion of the state, the highway is lined by miles of farms, flat fields and disappearing woodlots.
Around Michigan’s big southern cities we always note changes, beyond the ever-changing freeway system. The southern landscape is punctuated by new construction and miles of suburban landscape, from one urban center to the next. Our favorite pit-stops, always dependable, are uncertain during the time of covid.
Things other than the landscape have changed so much that we have not set out to make the long trip between here and there and quite some time. We miss the travel and change in scenery and above all, we miss our family. We are most thankful that they have come home to visit us and we look forward to heading for Ohio again when Old Man Winter clears out.
And we miss the people we meet. We once had a conversation with a woman who thought she was somewhat familiar with northern Michigan. She asked if I wanted further wrapping on an item I’d bought. I told her no, that it was okay and that I’d pack it up later as it had a long ride ahead. She asked to where, so I whipped up my own personal right-handed Michigan map.
I have to say that I’d waited a long time to do that. There’s not much call for that hand-map stuff when you live in the mitten and everyone knows where they are.
I showed her where we live. “Oh,” she said, “near Clare?”
I replied, yes, it was close and narrowed my location to between Harrison and Cadillac. Had she perhaps heard of it? She lit up. Yes, indeed. She had good friends who once owned a summer place at Cadillac. She assured me that it was quite a primitive place, miles and miles from anywhere; no electricity or plowed roads, and the cabin had for a door, one once belonging to a wooden meat locker, several inches thick. This fended off the wild animals which lived in the surrounding miles of thick forest.
I just nodded and chuckled. It was clear that this much misinformed woman completely believed that vast areas of untamed wilderness still existed in parts of our state. This may have been the point where I should have asked her if people there still traveled the Ohio River on rafts like Huck Finn.
“Yes,” I agreed, “it is a very long ride between here and there.” On that account she was right.

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