First we started with leaving at 8AM Saturday morning. We packed the rental car the night before and all that was left was a couple of last minute things, like my travel bag.
We drove for 4 and a half hours and took about an hour lunch break. We had Burger King. After eating, we went to a local outdoor and sporting goods store that was right there, because Dad needed more of a break than the 20 minutes it took for us to eat and we just wanted to check it out. It was a pretty nice outdoor and sporting goods store. They had a lot of camping and hunting stuff. I'm not a big fan of camping and outdoor sports, but I appreciate a nice boom stick and accessories. We enjoyed looking around and just gazing at the fire arms.
One point of mention is the convenience store/gas station we stopped at out in nowhere. We just had to use the bathroom, get gas, and maybe some snacks. My brother and I both got a party bag of chips for snacking on the way there. Well the place was selling live bait, and not some little tubs of worms that are stored in a refrigerator, I mean minnows. They had this big tank in the back with nets to scoop out your minnows. As a city boy, this was a little different for me. Here's a picture.
After 3 more hours of driving, we got to our motel. As a small motel out in the middle of nowhere, it had a lot of character. Check out the pictures.
The room was quite small, like 12 foot by 12 foot. The bathroom was also really small.
For dinner, we went out to this restaurant called "The Dog Patch." Apparently it's based off an old comic strip that I've never heard of. It was recommend to us by my uncle. Unlike the motel, this place had theme. Everything was hillbilly themed, because that's what it was like in the comic apparently. The menu was quite hard to read. I had to go over it like 4 times just to figure out what the hell it was trying to say. It was quite confusing. I eventually decided to get a burger I think. It was called something really crazy, like "Ma Strader's famous budiddle." I get that it's theme and what not, but when your customer has to read the menu 4 times to figure out what is being said and you have to send the waitress away not "because you need more time to figure out what you want," but "because you are still trying to figure out what the menu is saying," that's a little much. It was still pretty good.
The place we were staying was once an iron mining town, with a lot of water falls. We went to a small iron mining museum that is run by the DNR. It was pretty cool. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures. Since my family has a little back yard forge and do some occasional blacksmithing stuff, I enjoyed it. After the museum, we went to some water falls and a cove. After seeing Niagara Falls, all other falls are a little lack luster, but it was still cool to see them. The cove as also really cool. The look out point was like 200 feet above the water. We looked at the water and saw a little cave at the base. We made jokes about going caving. It was low tide, and if it was high tide you couldn't see it because it would be under water. If you went caving without scuba gear, you'd likely die. Here are some pictures.
After doing some exploring, we went to a small grocery store and bought bread, pop tarts, mountain dew, beer, and wine. We called it "the breakfast of champions." When we got back to the motel, we just hung out and watched 60s Batman with Adam West, and then some every Simpsons ever on FXX. That was fun to find.
After that night, we packed up and left around 8 again. We traveled for about 2 hours before we met up with my aunt, uncle, and PepperBC while they were moving PepperBC in at her college. My brother and PepperBC don't go to the same college, but they are about 20 minutes apart from each other. We helped get my aunt and uncle out of their motel room. Their motel had some good character as well. They had a nice lake view and a deck that over looked the lake. After helping them check out, we went out to late breakfast (lunch basically) with them. It was a nice little diner restaurant. I had pancakes. After late breakfast, we said our goodbyes and continued our journey up to my brother's college.
After a couple more hours of driving, we got to the hotel and began to check in. After taking a breather at the hotel (watching Simpsons and surfing the web), we went out to some sites that my dad used to go to as a kid and an old copper mine. The copper mine was really cool. We go into the gift shop and ticket purchase and what I notice first is that the lady running the register is holding a skunk and petting it like a cat. She had another one running around behind the register. My brother said "that's a cool ferret," and she said "oh he's not a ferret, he's a skunk. They're like cats but more social." According to her they make good pets. We had to watch a safety video and a video about a dive exploration that looked into the tunnels of the mine that are under water.
This mine was really cool. We had to walk down 100 steps into the mine and looked at all the cool things. We had to wear hard hats because parts of the mine ceiling would erode and fall onto the people. Nothing big, just the small rocks you would find on the path. At least that's my assumption, because if there was anything significant like a cave in, you'd be dead. They had signs that pointed out some things that were used in the mine. One thing they pointed out was a vein of copper. At one point in the mine, they had it lit with the same amount of light that the miners had. It wasn't easy to see a lot of things with the low light, but a cool experience. Then my brother had his flash light so we would use that to see things better if we wanted to. Really cool place. I didn't get a ton of pictures because it was bad picture conditions and all we had was a point and shoot, but I did get some
After the mine, we saw some ruins of the old mining establishment. It's quite amazing to see all that nature took back. It's only like 100 years old. I got some really good pictures of that.
After the mine, we went to check out the places my dad went as a kid. We went to the top of a mountain, or like the highest place in that part of the state. It was so windy. They had a big hanging sign that I'm guessing weighed like 100 or more pounds, and it was blowing in the wind. Dad and I made sure we took off our hats because they would surely blow off. My vest almost blew off. I was ready to fly off with my cape like in Super Mario World. After the mountain, we went to the end of a major high way that goes from one end of the United States to the other. That was pretty cool. We got a picture with it. After that, we drove around some more to see nature and stuff.
After seeing nature, we hit up a gas station. We were almost out of gas. Dad saw the tank before we left and thought it would be enough for us to get up the mountain and back down. Well it was barely enough. I have a feeling he was just riding gravity at some points of the way down. I bet he was also expecting to hit a gas station while we were heading back, but we just hit a whole lot of nothing. We were like 1/16th full when we found a gas station. Crazy. After getting some gas we went to dinner at Applebees's. When the waitress asked if we wanted anything to drink, Dad said "oh yeah, get me a beer." Not much else happened that night. We just hung out and watched more Simpsons.
Well it's day 3. This day is when we moved my brother into his dorm. We woke up at 8AM and had free hotel breakfast. We went over to his dorm and started moving his things in. Well, actually we pull into the parking lot and all his friends come out to help him move in. They start saying "hey [VikingPollock], how have you been, give us stuff to steal..I mean help move in." Yeah fun stuff. It took us like 2 hours to move in. Everything got up in 2 trips, and then unloading was really easy without "mom help."
After moving in, we made a trip to Wal-Mart because my brother forgot some things. One of his friends decided to tag along. I looked for my cargo jeans, but they didn't have them. I did find a couple of PS2 games, and you can read the full story at Bitlanders, because if I went into detail on that, this blog would be significantly longer. After Wal-Mart, we went to lunch with all my brother's friends. His friends have many similar traits to my friends. I know people just like his friends.
After lunch we kind of went our separate ways, brother with his friends and Dad and I out to explore. We looked around some places to see if we could find a place for my brother and his friends to go camping, because they like to do that. We found a lot of private property no trespassing. We also found a whole lot of nothing. We went down this one road and there were literally no buildings off the road for 16 miles. And I mean real "literally," not teen white girl "literally." We saw a couple of unmarked streets which we assume to be drive ways to some far back house, but nothing. We eventually found this city called "Gay." That's right, the city was called "Gay." There was a bar called "Gay Bar in Gay." We have a picture of it.
After leaving Gay, we decided to see if we could get some lake views, but we just kept getting trees. We went down this one road to see if we could reach a lake view. Dad said "this is either going to dead end or we're gonna get some lake." Well we stumbled upon a coast guard station. There was a big fence with razor wire and a sign that said "Coast Guard. Keep Out. Trespassers will be federally prosecuted." OK we're turning around. We then found some garage/antique sales. I was hoping to maybe find some inventory for ebay or maybe just something for me. Unfortunately not. It was all basement antiques, really old but really common and not worth much. After that we headed back to the hotel.
Close to the hotel, there's this videogame store. They have everything from NES to modern. I looked at the PS2 selection, but everything was retail price. The PS2 is still relatively new enough that people don't consider it retro and I can get them really cheap. Also I'm not at the point where I'm looking at select games, just a bunch of games. It'll be a little while till I have to buy separately. I got 3 N64 games; Army Men Sarge's Heroes, South Park, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six. If it wasn't for the buy 2 get 1 free promotion, I would have overpaid according to price charting, but price charting doesn't consider shipping so it's about accurate. We went out to dinner with my brother. We had pizza and garlic toast. After dinner we dropped my brother off and said our good buys. We were going to see him the day after, but we knew he was going to be up all night with his friends and we wouldn't see him the next day. It was a nice goodbye. We then went back to the hotel and just hung out.
Well it's day 4, and we found a bag of my brother's dirty clothes in the van before we left, even though we ask him if this was everything before we said our goodbyes. We packed up everything in our hotel room and checked out. We went over to his dorm and I ran the bag up to him and just left it on his door, because it's 8AM and he's not up. After that we left and went on our way back home. We passed a lot of things we saw on our way there. We were going to see some museums that my uncle suggested we see since they were so close to the motel we would be staying in that night.
After many hours of driving, we get to the motel. Like the one from before, this one also had a lot of character. It had 2 rooms, a bathroom, and a kitchennet. What I really enjoyed was that the owners of the hotel had to go out and just left our room open and said "went out, you're in room 1." I have a picture.
Dad took the room that was closest to the bathroom and I took the one that had the TV.
After unloading, we went to the museums. We went to a boat museum. It was pretty cool. Lots of old boats and other nautical things. Just check out the pictures.
The other museum was basically the city historical museum, which is fancy talk for "here's some cool old things from back when the city was founded till now." It was cool to see all the old stuff, but nothing super impressive.
After the museums, we explored the town. They didn't have much of anything. We did find an endangered species. I got my picture with it.
Yeah I found a pay phone and phone booth. That was cool. We found a little general store close to the phone booth. We picked up more pop tarts. Other than this phone booth, there wasn't anything to really write a blog about, so that's when we went back to the motel.
Once we were back at the motel, we officially checked in. The people that ran the motel lived above the main office and were in the back in their garage. The dog ran over and greeted us. We just hung out for a couple hours, watching storage wars for a couple hours (they didn't have FXX so no Simpsons) and me checking the internet. Unfortunately for me, there was only 1 outlet that was 3 prong. There were plenty of other outlets, but they were all 2 prong and my laptop charger is 3 prong. Surprisingly the air conditioner used a 2 prong, and all the air conditioners I know use 3 prong.
We went to dinner after a couple hours of storage wars. We went to this little family owned restaurant. Apparently it was a "please seat yourself" place, but we didn't see any sign that said "please seat yourself," so we assumed it was a "please wait to be seated" place. We're standing by the front door and waiting to be seated. Then one of the local customers tells us that it's a "please seat yourself" place. We sat ourselves and ordered our food. We both had the french dip, roast beef and mozzarella cheese on a sub bun with au jus dipping sauce. We shared a side of french fries just for some more food. After eating we headed back to the motel.
But before we went to the motel, we went to a gas station so dad could get a caffeinated coke for the morning. We went in and they had coffee, so we didn't need the coke. I looked around a little bit, because as with every gas station I go to in the middle of nowhere, there's always more to the gas station than just gas and a slightly smaller 7-Eleven convenience store. This one was a pretty big convenience store, gift shop, and video and game rental. I checked to see if there were some sales on videogames or movies. Unfortunately not, but they had VHS tapes for sale, which I thought was funny.
After the gas station, we headed back to the motel. We watched some Big Bang Theory and Storage Wars. We wanted to get back home at a reasonable hour so we decided to leave as soon as we woke up. Dad went to sleep around 9PM, and I was thinking about going to bed around that time as well, but then I decided to stay up a little later and watch some youtube videos. I fell asleep watching youtube videos around 10. When I saw all the lights were still on, I thought it was morning. Then I looked at the clock and saw it was 1AM. I passed out on my bed.
I woke up around 7AM and we left soon after that. I told Dad about passing out watching youtube. We drove home and made great time. That pretty much sums up the trip. 5 days, 1500 miles. If you'd like to see the pictures I wasn't able to include in this blog, check out the myspace album. Well this has been Pokematic signing off and bu-bye.