I’m in a motel room in Manistique, Michigan, right across the highway from the north end of Lake Michigan. This is where I stayed in 2004, but things have changed and one of the good ones is that the motel now has wireless high-speed Internet access. It also has a very small TV, but I didn’t go on vacation to watch TV, did I?
Blissfest was, in a word, breezy. A strong low pressure system passed to the north early on Saturday morning, and there was about one hour of storms followed by 40 hours of high winds. It destroyed the two canopy tents we had put up for jamming, and overstressed all the tents—the shock cord in my tent is now permanently over-shocked (not the new one… I never got the chance to put that one up and waterproof it). It’s very hard to sleep when wind is rattling the tent all night long, although it was good that I tried to sleep since I was then able to hold the tent down.
The musical highlight for me was seeing Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul on Sunday night. She is a 9-time All Ireland fiddle champion, which ain’t bad for a girl from “County Bronx” (as she said). One of the songwriting events had an unannounced guest, Joel Mabus, and that was a close second (only because he got to play just three songs that I saw; he also gave a banjo workshop later).
I didn’t play any of the open mics, but jjfmi did:
Monday morning, we packed up and I went north, well, kind of, at first. First I drove along the Lake Michigan coast south through the “Tunnel of Trees” along a little tiny state road that winds through some historic Indian country and modern-day vacation homes. From the end of that road in Harbor Springs (like Grosse Pointe on vacation—ugh!), I drove back north through the village of Bliss, which seems to have gotten smaller, if that’s possible, and then to Mackinaw City where I took the obligatory Mackinac Bridge photo:
And then into the Upper Peninsula where the sun actually came out—woohoo! One of my favorite tourist destinations, the Cut River Bridge, was closed because of the I-35 bridge disaster in Minneapolis last year (same design, so they’re upgrading it), so there was a detour, but I eventually made it to Manistique and had a real nap in a real bed followed by a real shower. Ahhh. At sunset I also headed across the street and walked along the lakeshore looking for photos. I’ve photographed the lighthouse before, but wanted to do it again. I did get one nice view of it all lit by the setting sun:
Unfortunately, that’s a tiny portion of the whole photo, because they kindly built a condo development between the parking lot and the lighthouse:
I took lots more but need time to edit images. I’ll leave off with one more:
Now it’s morning and I really could use some breakfast, so off I go for more adventures.