Road trip to Up North (or Day 2 of Nathan's visit)

Wednesday morning we woke up early and headed in to Fenton where we had breakfast with my Mom at my favorite restaurant, The French Laundry (no relation to the restaurant of the same name in NY City). The French Laundry is the second best thing that ever happened to Fenton in my opinion. I love to sit in the dining room, facing Shiawassee, (aka Owen Rd.) and look out at Mansion Row, the old stretch of huge houses all built around the 1920’s. Each one of these houses seems to display a grandiose style, as though trying to best the house next to it. The restaurant itself is a splendid mix of “kitch,” with mismatched tables and chairs, stain glass panels in the ceiling above, and some sort of plant growing gracefully, snaking up the wall on vertically strung wires. The specials, both coffees and beers are written on chalkboards on the back and side walls so that a person sitting at the unimposing bar might be encouraged to try something new. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so sitting there eating a wonderful “Luana Louise” sandwich and drinking fresh squeezed orange juice with good company was the perfect way to start Day #2 of our adventure.

After breakfast we said goodbye to Mom and headed to the grocery store to get some food for the next couple of days. Why mention the grocery store you might ask? I just had to share the funniest moment of the trip. Nathan and I are walking through the freezer section of the store when the Beach Boys song, “Wouldn’t it be nice,” comes on the radio. Being GFer’s at heart we start singing along as though it were a morning meeting song. While we are singing an old lady walks past us and says “oh, girls.” Ha ha ha. I didn’t catch it at first, but the look of horror on Nathan’s face was, how do they say it on those Master Card commercials? “PRICELESS!” He told me what she had said and I laughed so hard that I think I even snorted. Nathan’s hair is long enough that it was pulled back in a pony tail, but he hadn’t shaved so he had a goatee of sorts, which made the whole situation funnier. I tried to reassure him that the woman probably had poor eye sight or maybe girls in Fenton have facial hair…? Oh, poor Nathan!

We got on the road and in no time were flying up US-23 towards my aunt and uncle’s cabin which is situated somewhere Up North near the tiny town of Sharon on the Manistee River. The last half an hour had to be the best part of the drive. We found the cabin by which point I was really on Empty, so not really knowing where anything was made trying to find a gas station more fun, although the whole time I was praying to patron saints that we didn’t run out of gas because I was sure of two things: 1. AAA would never even find us to tow the car, and 2. Scary movies begin just like this. We finally found a gas station and I got to meet some of the locals, while Nathan put Premium gas in my tank…my car takes Unleaded Regular. Finally we were headed out towards Traverse City. It was a peaceful afternoon of window shopping and tooling around the downtown. We spent what felt like ages in this cute bookstore and eventually made our way down to the bay, where we walked along the water, and kept finding crab legs on the shore. Just one leg, no sign of the other leg or a body; I felt as though we had stumbled upon some weird seagull voodoo, hmmm…
We headed back to the cabin before dark since we were both sure that navigating the unfamiliar roads at night might not be the best idea. We made a wonderful dinner and sat outside enjoying the cool breeze until I noticed the deer head hanging from a tree in the neighbor’s yard at which point I decided that I needed to eat faster. “They are hunters,” I kept reassuring myself, but Nathan continually saying, “what’s that?” every time a dog would bark in the distance paired with the fact that I have “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” way too many times made the notion of going inside to watch a movie sound appealing.


French Laundry logo borrowed from: http://www.lunchandbeyond.com/
Pictures stolen from Nathan, thanks Nathan...I still haven't downloaded my pictures yet.

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