A close encounter with The Engineer

It is non-Thanksgiving here in the Great White North. Whaddya mean, ya old bag, y’all are wond’rin’. What is non-Thanksiving? Well, it is when Uber Kayak Woman and I can both be here in the season when most of the leaves are down and the cold north winds are a-blowin’ and we are hosting an early Thanksgiving dinner for our mooms and a few other beloved relatives. Actually, I am not much of a host, since it is at The Commander’s house and she is doing all of the cooking (except what UKW is doing), including the mashed potatoes that I volunteered to do. It’s okay and maybe I will manage to slip in the cranberry sauce. This particular holiday is a quickly thrown-together one-time holiday, so all you bankers (you know, all of you who read this here blahg), don’t get your underwear all up in a bunch and update your holiday schedule or anything.

So we practically broke our necks getting up here, getting to Houghton Lake at 8:40 last night and, after spending a short night there, back on the road by about 6:00 AM. Coffee and one of those cinnamon rolls at the Grayling McDonald’s, narrowly missed one deer family on the I75 SUV Speedway, sunrise on the Mackinac Bridge, and here before 9:00 AM. What did Stormy Kromer do? Clonked out, of course!

This afternoon, Uber Kayak Woman, Radical Betty and your favorite blahgger re-created a hike that three generations of Fins and a friend took in November of the year 2000. It was UKW’s idea. She’s been biking it lately and thought it might be time to take some new pictures of it. And I did. 142 of them. It was a gorgeous hike and I want to post a sort of then-and-now slide show about the 2000 hike vs. this one but it might take a couple of days for me to get it all sorted out.

We were up there on the Ganzhorn Gash, which is now a Little Traverse Conservancy preserve and we heard a lake freighter blow three long, two short. I thought, “Ryerson!” We got to the trailhead of the Jim Finlayson Nature Trail (my bro’, aka The Engineer) and decided to go up on the overlook platform. It was a random decision because we were tired enough that we could’ve easily enough decided to just keep on trucking and get back down to the beach. But I wondered whether we could see the river any better without leaves on the trees. So we went up on the platform. Can you see the river better without leaves? Well, not really. But. There. Far away. Between a faraway break in the trees, I could see the unmistakable front superstructure of The Ryerson! It was The Engineer’s favorite boat and we were on the platform marking the trailhead of The Engineer’s namesake trail. The first picture is a close-up of zooms in on the front superstructure of the Ryerson, just to the right of the birch tree. The second is the overall view from the platform. As UKW said, it almost looked like the boat was floating through the trees.

Ryerson sightings. For a while, the Ryerson was out of service (I think, somebody correct me). At any rate, we didn’t see the Ryerson for a while. And then it was back. The Engineer and Grandroobly were both dead. The first time I encountered it, it was right down there sitting by the Corps of Engineers and I almost fell over. Then there were the times it was the first and/or last boat I saw from the beach for the season. Getting a little far away. Today? Almost out of sight. It’s been a few years since they’ve been dead and today the Ryerson checked in but it was pretty far away. I guess that means the ol’ boys know that we’re doing okay and they’re probably finding other things to do. That’s okay, you guys. But please check in from time to time. Love you.

I am outta words for now. Sayonara. Kayak Woman.

2 Responses to “A close encounter with The Engineer”

  1. Dog Mom Says:

    Do me a favor? If The Engineer checks in with *you* before me, ask him where he stowed Val’s coin collection during her MSU Freshman year? She gave the collection to him and told him to put it somewhere safe while she was away at school…. and he never clued either Val or me in as to what he did with it!!!!

  2. Jan Says:

    Loved your blog today! It always brings tears to my eyes when I hear or see the Ryerson and think of Jim and Jack. Thanks for your thoughts of love!