Before the journey could begin, I practiced my first amendment rights and
the activist van #1 was born
July 31st 1998 The Tour begins at Woodward campgrounds, Woodward Pa.
The event called The Central Pa Hoedown was described as hemp friendly. There wasn't any hoedowning going on, but plenty of drinking, and a lot of smoking. Kind Insight had a glass pipe and bong display set up next door to my campsite. Friday night about 200 - 250 showed up. There was major problems with the sound system, but the music finally started just after dark. The first band was a no name band, they finished off the sound system... The stage was reset with the last bands sound system and by 11:00 My friends in Dogtown road took the stage.. Kind Insight closed down their rolling head shop and took the stage about midnight. They gave an excellent performance of instrumental jazz rock fusion..
August 1st While organizers worked on repairing the sound system, I worked the crowd (about 100 - 150 spent the night) spreading the message and smoking the herb with various groups of people. The first few bands were unable to perform, by 6 pm the sound system was up and Ship of Fools put on a couple sets of grateful dead along with some originals. The music went on until some time in the early morning, I drank a bit too much and crashed before the show was over.
August 2nd Sunday morning got up early broke camp and headed home giving up the last day of music and fun. Checked my e-mail did some last minute updates and recovered from two days of hard partying.
August 3rd Repacked the activist van and headed out for the open road by noon. I made it to Toledo in time for the Candlebox show but missed out, while trying to figure out where it was... Headed north and west crashed (slept) at a rest area just east of Grand Rapids.
August 4th Tuesday I Arrived at Coopersville Summerfest about noon. Turned out the grand Summerfest consisted of five days of sidewalk and yard sales. Their live music was the local Legion's brass band. Highlight of the festival was a D.A.R.E. sponsored kids olympics. Being as there appeared to be more cops then people I decided to pass on this non-event. I returned to Grand Rapids for a day of shopping. I noticed that Michigan tended to put Lottery and Liquor in the same stores, I tried not to think about the logic of the grouping of those two compulsions.
I headed up the west coast of Michigan taking in the local sites, including the worlds largest weather vane in Montague. After stopping at several overpriced campgrounds I settled in at Oak knoll campground several miles north east of Montague. Gracious hosts, pool table, laundry, and electricity for only $13 per night.
August 5th Slept in until 11:00 am Fired up the computer and got some work done 3:pm check out ... Headed for Ludington for a day of site seeing and some shopping. I got to see sand lots of it and signs that said beware of drifting sand. What I was about to learn is that Michigan is basically a huge sand bar between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Got a new pair of moccasins! I went to the beach. where I saw that locally you could have and consume up to 2 liters of beer or wine on the beach. However music was banned so not being interested in those legal pursuits, I took in a concert in the village park. I hung around town until after 10pm then hit the road.
August 6th My new day began only minutes after the last ended!!!
At 2:00am After an exhausting day of site seeing and many hours of driving, I pulled into a northern Michigan rest area. I found a dark corner to park in and made my way to the rest rooms I then listened to the weather report, while perusing the area maps to decide my plans for the next day. By 2:20 I was laying down for a well deserved night of rest. Just as I was about to doze off I heard a car pull up behind me and two doors close. From my position in the van (no windows) I could see in the side mirrors, a flashlight coming up either side of the van. hmmm I thought police what do they want? As I answered the knock at the door, I could see both officers shining lights into my van from either side window. I asked if I could help them?
The officer identified himself as a Michigan State Police Officer and said that "they had received a call from a man, who had seen me arrive and thought I might need some kind of help."
I said that if I had needed help I would have called someone...
The officer said the man was concerned. I replied about what?
As his partner examined my pro-hemp bumper stickers, he struggled to find non offensive wording... I mentally prepared myself for another search of my personal property.
I replied "the man said I was suspicious looking?"
Well yes, the officer replied, "that is exactly what he had said."
"So what did I do that was suspicious," I asked?
"Well he said you looked confused or lost."
"You mean he said I looked like I was on drugs or drunk right?"
"Well yes that is what he said", replied the officer.
I also pointed out that the man who had sent them most likely had a problem with my purple t-shirt, rusty van and my hair being longer than his wife's."
The officer said I was probably right
Then I continued,"Well, I am not confused, lost, drunk or on drugs and I don't believe I need any help, but really could use some sleep.
He asked "Had I been driving all day? and Where I was going to?
I said, "I had driven most of the day and was on the way to a music festival at Mackinaw City."
He then asked if I owned the vehicle and if I had any identification.
I produced the proper paperwork and the officer examined and returned my paperwork.
I asked him "how long it was acceptable in Michigan to stay at a rest stop before being cited"
He told me that there was no time limits set for rest areas in the state of Michigan and I was welcome to stay as long as I needed and to have a nice night.
After a good eight hours sleep, I proceeded to Burt's lake Park. They only charge $13 dollars for campsite, but a four dollar per day "users fee" (annual $20) that is to say a tax on out of state visitors. The "park" consisted only of the campground itself. I spent the day, doing updates and answering e-mail. They have a beach and swimming. The ranger said that some people suffered from swimmers itch after leaving their water but not to worry, I couldn't find any water deep enough to swim in...
August 7th Friday I arrived in Mackinaw city mid afternoon so I took in the local tourist sites. The first annual three day music festival, as it turned out had only two groups scheduled for friday night, a local high school jazz band (that was quite good). The second group was canceled due to severe thunderstorms. I settled into a local bar (one of three) and played pool and put a couple drinks back. I then proceeded to try to find lodging that would allow me web access.. Many of the fifty or so hotel / motels were booked up as it was the busiest week of the year. Those that were not booked up were asking $80 -150 for a single. I stopped at one place which had almost no cars in the parking lot, the sign said guaranteed lowest rates, so I went in... How much for a single, I asked? The women behind the counter looked at the clock and replied $129 per night. That's the lowest guaranteed price I queried? She said that's what everybody charges this time of night. I informed her that three other place had quoted me much less, she said they didn't count only the ones in this neighborhood were used for comparisons, those past the highway were in a different area. I told her to stick her room and slept in my van that night.
August 8th Saturday I got up pretty early, It was too hot to sleep so I decided to check out the Cheboygan County Fair. It was close and it appeared that the better festival music was later in the day. I set up the van, placed out the signs, and hung out at the front gate for a couple of hours. Some people gawked, some came over to ask me what I was about, no one seemed interested in the literature. After a couple hours I decided to go on in myself pretty basic county fair. Plenty of D.A.R.E. shirts about and the only building that was busy was the gun show... I decided to leave and as it was so hot, that I would go find some place to go swimming. I then drove to the Aloha State Park. There was a small but nice beach there, clear cool water. I swam for about an hour, then took advantage of the free showers at the camp grounds. Afterwards, I returned to Mackinaw City for the Music Festival. I missed the first couple groups for the day, but stayed for the duration. Less than a hundred people sat for a nice afternoon and evening of music. I heard a couple women complain that they ought to do something about all those damn seagulls. Seagulls at a marina who would of guessed? I have to say the student groups seemed better than the "professionals"! They finished the day with a couple of folk singers, I enjoyed their warm up more than their show but that when they did cover songs... Their own tunes dealt with things like the famous Michigan Mosquitoes (which is called the state bird) and great lakes folklore. I had seen t-shirts and heard jokes about the giant mosquitoes but as of yet I hadn't seen a mosquito in Michigan, not yet...
After the show I headed right out (knowing the lodging situation), hoping to make Wisconsin before the night was out. I traveled along the lake on Highway two, and I was making great time. After about an hour I had to stop to clean bugs off the windows, it was first of three stops for this purpose. It turns out I took out about a billion (give or take couple million), of those pesky little critters with my van, which had become black on the front end. I made Wisconsin by midnight.
Sunday August 9th, I basically drove all day.
I did stop when I saw this and spent a couple of hours finding my way to the top. I also, stopped to wash the van. I noticed that in the midwest they call garage sales rummage sales still. I think that name was given up on the east coast because rummage looks too close to rubbish... Wisconsin was beautiful , a lot of water, lakes and trees. Kept on driving until I got to Mankato, Minnesota, where I checked into a hotel and spent the night doing my first updates this month and answered almost 5 dozen pieces of email that had accumulated...
The Journey continues
~ Return to Web Station # 19 ~