Saturday, June 22, 2013

Carpe Diem, Smith Plant!

Confession time.  I'm a completely negligent plant owner.  I tend to get a little attached to my houseplants, and it's always hard for me to give them away when it's time to move.  It was no different this time around. - I gave away two, but I just couldn't bring myself to part with the third.  It was given to us by a friend about 8 years ago as a housewarming gift, and I've carted it around in the back of the Jeep since we left Key West two weeks ago.  Until the other day.  

I didn't want to leave it in the car overnight, so I was constantly bringing it in to friends/families houses and/or hotels the whole time we've been traveling.  I realized yesterday that "Smith Plant," as he's been named, was nowhere to be found.  Nowhere to be found because I abandoned him in a Best Western hotel room in Manistique, Michigan.  I can only hope that the house keeper noticed, and maybe took him to the front desk.  I sort of had a feeling he wasn't going to make it to Kodiak for one reason or another, so I like to imagine him front and center at the Best Western front desk, with a new job greeting the Upper Peninsula tourists.  Moment of silence for Smith Plant.  And let's hope that's the only thing I lose along the way!

Hitting the road again (in the rain) from Albany, NY

Aside from my plant negligence, the second leg of our road trip is humming along smoothly.  We left family in Albany, NY and basically did this:

Pasties by the welcome center in Wakefield
I think my favorite part so far was driving through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  There were so many cute little towns, and I was endlessly entertained by the UP accent...aye.  

We stopped in Wakefield, MI to get some lunch, and ended up giving the local cuisine a shot.  I'd never heard of pasties (pronounced "pass-tees") before, and they were everywhere up there.  It was good. - Sort of like pot roast dinner wrapped in a pastry.  We popped in to the welcome center and met this jolly old guy named Don manning the post.  He was very nice (probably the perfect person to be welcoming tourists) and gave us a pasty recipe on a postcard after we chit-chatted about our epic road trip and our "first time eating a pasty" status.  (And you bet your ass hubby will be experimenting with that recipe.)  Don had a big Santa Claus belly, and rubbed it in a circle saying, "This right here is from pasties!"  (And in my mind he ended it with, "aye?")  It was also my first time seeing Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron in person.  They didn't disappoint - very pretty.

After the Upper Peninsula, we had a days drive to our first time zone change & Duluth, Minnesota.  Which has probably been my least favorite part of the trip.  The area of town we stayed in was on the shady side.  Oh, who am I kidding, it was totally in the hood.  The best was watching the news in the hotel that night, and the story was all about how there's been an increase in crime in the downtown area. - And the reporter was about a block away from our location.  So Duluth was...a little ghetto where we were.  I'm sure it has a good vibe elsewhere in the city, but the vibe where we were was, ummm, we'll call it economically and socially depressed.  With a side of drug addiction and wayward teens.  

Built in 1892 - Historic Central HS
On the lighter side, they (apparently they means all people in Minnesota?!) don't know how to cut pizza.  Yes, I know - who in their right mind would order pizza in Minnesota?  Hey, it was easy, and I totally acknowledge my pizza snobbery right now.  I'm sure Minnesota is known for some notable food specialty, but I have no idea what it is & it certainly isn't pizza.  Anyway, we ordered a standard, round pie and it was inexplicably cut into squares.  Squares!  The New Yorker in me was incredulous.  Not to mention it was ridiculous to try and eat.  The highlight of the Duluth portion of the program was the very impressive Historic Central High School that we stumbled upon while walking Cheety.  It was enormous and towered over the street, screaming old world architecture and history.  That and their sweet Minnesota Welcomes You sign:
My favorite "Welcome to fill in the blank" sign yet

The drive through North Dakota was mostly open, grassy prairies and oil drilling fields, and Montana was sweeping, hilly grassland & unbelievably big sky.  You almost couldn't fathom the depth of the clouds and sky.  That part of the country is aptly named, to say the least.  We've driven through 16 states and I can definitively say we live in a big-ass country.  Next, we cross the border into Canada.  You know, America's hat.  Stay tuned.


  1. You'll be pleased to know that Freddy-Tom (we renamed the precious plant "Fred" you gifted me) is happy and thriving outside in all our rain and sun! Sorry about the "Smith Plant."
    Seriously, you as a pizza snob, ordering a pie in MN????

    1. Oh good! Glad to know Fred is happy and thriving. You're right - I should know better than to get pizza in MN!