The Slough of Despond
No doubt the Upper Peninsula and the Southwest coast is lovely, well-maintained, and a redoubt for the mostly wealthy citizens of the tri-state area and Amway reps, but we left feeling a certain rift with the citizens of "Pure Michigan". Actually, I felt like a stranger in a strange land (apologies to any MI Ranger readers.)
It is probably a Midwestern thing; the natives are very conservative to boot. Ottawa Beach had erected a plaque mentioning sometime resident President Gerald Ford, and then it struck home: Ford, Mitt Romney ... THIS is Michigan, and, of the upper echelon. "Cool" and "hip" are not the proper descriptors.
Hey -- it's not that FLA is a sack of hipsters ... it is just that we have enough heterogeneity as the land of grifters and witness protection program denizens to allow for some interest, Flannery O'Connor style, whereas Holland, Michigan and environs is predominantly Germanic (duh).
Being culinary travelers, there isn't much on tap anywhere. Traveling back across Ohio almost felt normal. We traveled through Holiday City (pop. 52) in the cornfields, and couldn't figure out what was "holiday" about it. Next was "West Unity", and the rupture of the potentiality bade poorly. We are still open to the messages the universe might provide Ranger in his personal journey, though.
We are in Port Clinton, a beachside retreat down on its luck. We had read about it in the NYT this summer and wanted to see if it checked out (Crumbling American Dreams); it does. Everyone wants his piece of the coast, and the builders during the boom era obliged with Soviet-era concrete condominiums which are now being raffled at bargain basement prices. The wealthy still manage to have their $500 K houses on the beach, out of sight of the riff raff.
Ranger will visit some friends and family over the ensuing days. The gustatory pleasures will be humble but genuine: fresh dairy products and Eastern European cuisine, which is to say, cabbage rolls, kolaches and Russian tea biscuits. Thoughts are many, but road travel precludes much writing. Stay tuned -- we will toss on various ramblings in the next week or so before return; it's all good, as the ersatz hippies say.