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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Huron and Erie

As I drove down 123 South, I passed a lone bicyclist. At the junction of 28,I found a dozen more, an army of cyclists. They were going north and I south. It was a worthy hand off. They north and me south. I was heading for Lake Huron via the bridge. Got some smoked, fresh and spread trout. Funny how this works. Trout on both ends of Superior tour, but not in middle. Took 23 South after the Bridge. Getting passed all the schlock, I found a steady pace and fine road. Some overlooks, but they were occupied. Stumbled upon a public beach that was not announced. I did a U-Turn and backed the Scamp towards the beach. I used the Scamp to change from street clothes to beach clothes. Back on the road, some chores and heading to Harrisville SP. Stopped at a quarry view overlook. Amazing how the land has been carved out for calcite and all the freighters in harbor. Moving on to Alpena, I was looking for a brewery, but it was closed and another one was a month from opening. Nearest brewery 20 minutes south of Harrisville.  A man could do well with a brewery here, unless the folks here don’t drink beer. When I finally arrived at the SP, I was very lucky to get the last spot on the beach. I faced the Scamp East so I could enjoy the sunrise from bed. After setting a minimal camp, I took a walk and then a swim. I grabbed my book, a beer, and a chair and spent the end of the day on the beach with the sun warming my back. Dinner was fresh trout. I cleaned up and broke the minimalist camp and headed to Oscoda, 20 minutes further south to the only brewery in the area, Wiltse’s Brew Pub. It was Monday night in America. The place was packed and apparently they were down two servers. It took fifteen minutes before I could request a flight and fifteen more to get it. Forty-five minutes later I leave with a growler of good ale. Forty-five minutes??? Should have been more like fifteen. I got back to camp, set a good fire and lay out on the table looking heavenward. The sun woke me as planned and I hurried to the beach to watch it ascend from the lake. Magnificent!!
When I went out the seagulls en masse greeted me. Last night I skinned and boned four chicken thighs. I took the skin and bones out to the beach and fed the gulls. It was glorious and chaotic as they laughed and laughed. They were disappointed with my banana skin.
I went back to sleep until 8:30, had breakfast and took a swim. I read some and then took a shower. When I started to break camp, I discovered I had a flat tire on the Scamp. I changed into working clothes and found my Jeep Lug wrench didn’t fit the Scamp lugs. I borrowed a lug wrench from my neighbor across the street. Changed the tire, broke camp, set up everything to hit the road, and took another shower. Within a couple of miles out, I found a shop to fix the tire. While that was happening, I walked to NAPA, down the road, and bought a lug wrench. Got back and tire was fixed and I hit the road once again. I was an hour and a half behind intended time. I was heading to Caseville and a brewery named Thumb Brewery. When I got there at four, I found they were closed for the season. There are not many breweries in this area. Also driving Lake Huron is frustrating because when I am on the lake, I am looking at houses. The entire shore is house after house after house. BORING!!!! Lake Huron is like the East Coast. I really miss Lake Superior. And no Breweries!!! Lake access is very limited and exclusive. Seems like the temperature has risen ten degrees from my last three weeks. Doing one night stands to get through this non-scenic route around a lake. I found Sleeper SP, which was empty and took whatever site I wanted. In this case 150, simply because it was in the middle of it all. I had lake trout for dinner, the Yankees in Tampa, and a fire. I have a tree cover so not a good look at the evening sky.
It has taken three days to civilize me. After three weeks on the savage and wild Lake Superior, crossing the bridge has been life altering. Lake Huron is a different lake. It is civilized. Also the first four breweries were either closed or not opened yet. The flat tire, well I was not in good spirits. Lexington Brewery was closed and it wasn’t until Port Huron did I find some brew, Thumb Coast Brewery. Good stuff and spoke with the brewer. Tasted a new brown ale with maple syrup not yet ready for sale. Very good!! He told me about a new brewery down the road on my way to Algonac SP. Took a Lost Souls growler with me. Harsens Island Brewery didn’t have a license to fill growlers, darn. Drove by the campsite and got a view of possible sites. One I spied was available; took it. Big, very big ships going by on the way to Lake Huron through Lake St Clair from Lake Erie. I am looking at Canada. This is what I mean by civilized, especially after my Lake Superior experience. I am going to be blowing through Detroit and Toledo to get to the East Harbor SP. Then I blow through Cleveland to get to Geneva-on-the-Lake SP. Civilized.
I had the Scamp facing east so the sun would wake me. It rose over Canada. Had breakfast and took a sweet twenty-mile ride. I got home, took a shower and broke camp. Did some shopping before I hit the Interstate hell known as 94 and 75 heading through Detroit and Toledo to the sanity of Erie Circle Route 2 to 163 and East Harbor SP. Stopped briefly at Ottawa NWR and saw lots of pretty birds including some eagles. East Harbor SP has 600 campsites!!! I found a beautiful site away from it all facing east and with some shade. In another part of the park 300 seniors are camping together as some festival, but it is on the other side and mostly this weekend, though they are coming in. I’m in a section usually used by tenters and folks who don’t need full hookups: electric, water, and sewer. I’m happy with just electric or nothing. Being with those big rigs is weird and scary. Hung up my bike clothes, which I washed this morning and my other wet things. I had lunch, I set up the hammock and took a nap. Very delightful. Took a walk, had dinner, listened to the game, had a fire, the moon appeared. Woke and took the route around the peninsula of Marblehead and saw the lighthouse. Headed to Geneva-on the Lake. Drove through Sandusky, so depressing and then to the opulence of Amherst. Went through Cleveland to drive by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as one does through Springfield Mass. I follow the coast road stopping here and there. All the history I took and literature I have read is coming at me on the road signs and historical markers. Saw some eagles. Stopped at Willoughby’s Brewery in Willoughby, Ohio. Took away lots. They had a very good smoked porter as well as other tasty beers. I get a sweet spot at Geneva. Since it was Friday I knew the two breweries in the area would be open. After a swim and dinner I headed out. First stop was the Cornerstone in Madison, Ohio. I took away a lovely white ale. Reminded me of Iceland and Sweden. The next stop was though hither and yon on such backwoods roads I couldn’t believe there was a brewery here with music as advertised. When I came over a hill, I saw an establishment that could only be a brewery and the parking lot was packed. I wandered a curious path from the outside patio, which was packed with folks dressed as if they were at a wedding to a bar that was a bar and not the tasting room, adjacent, that I was looking for. I got a ten selection flight. Took it out to the patio, where the action and the band was. It was a freaking wedding reception. How wonderful. Theater and beer. No a wedding and a beer. Same same. After the bridesmaids had there dance, the bride and groom danced for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. After that, the band took a break and I left with a six of IPA from Cellar Rats Brewery in Madison, Ohio. . Had a fire and as I went to bed, I felt some raindrops. Good, bedtime anyway. No sooner had I cleaned up, secured everything the winds kicked up, the temperature dropped and it poured. I adjusted the awning and dove inside to close all windows and vents. Then the thunder and lightning came. The heater came on. I went to bed. I woke to a soaked campsite. After breakfast I walked down to the lake and took a swim. I love the water after a rain, cool and so refreshing. Got back to camp and finished the Willie’s Long Story. Brilliant!! I looked up and saw black clouds. Cleared the clothesline and secured everything out to in or under awning. Another deluge. Lucky the Yanks had a day game against the Mets. After the Yanks won and the rain tapered off, I took a nap. I woke at seven to clear skies and warmer air. Had a great fire and good beer and music on this Saturday night. I woke early Sunday with the sun coming in at my feet. I break camp and wander up Route 5 to Presque Isle SP. This is such a pretty and unique peninsula. It makes Erie PA, Erie PA. A perfect harbor. I continued up Route 5 to Evangola SP. I get a very sweet spot overlooking Lake Erie due west. The sunset was spectacular. I was wrong when earlier I said The sunsets over Lake Superior were in the water. The sunset tonight was into the water and a lot clearer than in Lake Superior. Lake Superior sunsets were hindered by the fires out west. Had a great fire and view of the moon over Lake Erie. I woke and left early; I had a long drive ahead of me to Taughannock Falls SP on Lake Cayuga, near Ithaca. The SP is in Ulysses, which seems obviously appropriate, as it is where I will end my travels. I plan on being in Berlin tomorrow night. I left Lake Erie at Blasdell, nine miles south of Buffalo, which I could see from the lake road. Followed 20A and 20 across to Seneca Falls and followed 89 to the Falls SP. The drive along 20A was over hill and through dale. It was a meandering path with steep hills in both directions. Warsaw was particularly interesting since trucks had to by pass it because of the terrain. I went through pretty little towns along the road when I discovered the Naked Dove Brewery in Canandaigua, NY. I got a flight that they served like a winery, one pour at a time with an explanation. I took a growler of their unique Local Hop beer, which is excellent. Once I got to 89 South, I came upon one winery after the next. WOW!!! Then I came upon the Boathouse Beer Garden overlooking Lake Cayuga. They had 21 taps of local NY beers. They were planning to host their first Oktoberfest and soon will be brewing their own beers. I took away a lovely IPA from a brewery in Honeoye, NY. I took a site at the Falls SP and then headed out to see these fabulous falls. I followed a very unique and well-marked and annotated trails through the gorge to the falls. These are spectacular falls that remind me of some spectacular falls out west and in Iceland. I was amazed they were here as well as this gorge. A miniature Grand Canyon, very miniature. This is good place to end my journey. I split the log that I have used for splitting other wood that I picked up at Presque Isle  early in my travels. I also cut up the emergency wood I had. Big bonfire tonight.
I woke early and drove the eight hours home.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Heading South from Lake Superior

 The clouds were passing through as they were chased away by blue skies. Then the sun came out and it was too hot. Camp set, I had some grilled lake trout for lunch. After splitting some wood for tonight I took a ride to L’Anse, drove around the quaint little forest town. Saw the shrine to Bishop Baraga on the way into town. Followed town roads out along coast to Aura and Pequaming. These towns hold wonderful beautiful secrets. They are quiet and gorgeous. The road hugs the Keweenaw Bay and is one dream cottage after the next. I discovered a phenomenal stretch of sandy beaches. This is such a protected bay and has to have been a haven for the Indians for many centuries. Another neat thing I saw were fish cleaning stations. Very civilized.  When I got back to camp, only one new camper. The campground of 75 sites has 10 being used. Now this is camping.  The best sign I saw were school buses filled with little darlings going home after the first day of school.
Woke at the crack of dawn, because the sun was coming in the window. First time this trip since I’ve been in woods. On the lake facing east, the sun wakes you up. Since I packed up the night before, it was just breakfast, hook up, dump, get water and I’m on Hwy 41 to Bay Furnace by eight. Into the sun, sweet. The drive is interior and easy. I get through Marquette without a hitch and onto 28 East. I make many stops along the coastline of beaches. I take a swim, I drive on to another beach, take another swim. The weather is incredible the water is gorgeous. It’s ten in the morning. I get to Bay Furnace and set camp by eleven and then have some smoked whitefish for lunch. Running out of fish so I inquire. From the camp host and he tells me of three shops just as I enter Munising. Two are closed and one is open. I inquire about smoked lake trout or fresh trout and am told only the Native Americans can sell it in Michigan.  I didn’t know this. I tell her of where I have bought and she tells me they are Native owned. The two closed shops are Native. As I’ve been driving around I’ve seen lots of houses with huge smokers in their yards. Maybe I should stop in at one that is cooking. After lunch I do a quick laundry and hang it to dry, wash the front of the Scamp, and head out up to Pictured Rocks National Lakeside. Munisink is a funny little town that serves as one of the ends of the Rt 58 Superior Lake drive. I first stop at Sand Beach and am sorry I forgot my swimsuit. Then I retrace my steps, which is so common on these adventures, back to 58 to Munising Falls and Miners Falls. The end is at the shore to walk paths to observe the storied Pictured Rocks. Magnificent!! Plan on a cruise to see them better. Another beach, filled with agates and wood constructed into tipis along the shore.  Mind blowing scenery and landscape. I decide to head home and save the trip to Grand Marais for tomorrow. Get some wood and stop at a brewery in Munisink; Shooter’s the Firehouse Brewery. When I sat down at the bar, a guy came up and said, “Long way from home?” I looked at him quizzically. He was referring to my Burley Oak t-shirt. They had been there and had liked it. We had a fun talk about breweries in the area and they left. Asked for a flight of what was available, three and found the stout the best. Stuff I would have preferred to drink was gone. I went back to camp, had dinner and took a trip to Marquette to visit five breweries there. It’s a nice drive in both directions.
I got to three of the five.  My first stop was Chocolay River Brewery which was a funky country bar restaurant on the lake just outside Marquette proper. They had a fine selection of Saisons, a very good IPA that I took home in a growler and a fine pale ale. My next stop was Ore Dock Brewing Company in town and a good ole brick building refurbished to be a well-stocked brewery. My takeaway from there was a glass, a six pack of Reclamation IPA, and a growler of a Harvest Saison. My last and favorite stop was Blackrocks Brewery which a fabulous quartet and a female singer who was GREAT!! Had a flight and loved their Scottish Ale, which I took home in a growler along with a glass in which to drink it. I stayed here for the music and missed to other two breweries: Vierling and Upper Peninsula Brewing. Next time. Got home had a fire, drank some of my booty and went to sleep just as it started to rain. Woke to a sunny morning, had breakfast and went down to the lake for a bath before setting out to cruise the lake and look at the painted rocks along the coast. The rocks were gorgeous, like the Paint Pots in Yellowstone as was reminded me by a friend. The size, scope, and color were astonishing and told so much history of this planet. Having already been to the Falls and overlooks, I now saw where I was and continued up the coast on the water. Water was rough and just like the ocean. When we docked I headed back on East 58 to Grand Marais. I stopped an scenic overlooks, the Dunes, and lighthouse before weaving along this scenic drive. When I arrived at Grand Marais, I found the Lake Superior Brewery and stopped for a flight, a sandwich, and a wool cap. It’s getting cold up here and I forgot my cap at home. Great night as the sky cleared and the stars came out in force. I found my bearings when I found the Big Dipper and then the Little and North Star. I broke camp in the last of the sunset and put the horse blanket on the picnic table, got my Vietnam poncho liner and watched the sky while the tipi fire warmed me. At 5:30 in the morning, the heater that came on awakened me. It was cold!! I woke at 7:30 to a light rain. Oh was I glad camp was deconstructed. Took a quick shower after breakfast and hooked up and headed out for Tahquamenon Falls SP near Whitefish Pt. Glad I have the new cap too. Got a great site.
I’ve been asked how I pick a site. First it has to be available for the number of nights I require. I like outside sites in loops so I have nature to my back and not another camper. I like a clear sight of the sky. I want my camper door to face south. I want some trees around not a forest when possible.
I left Bay Furnace at 8:30, shopped, got gas, got cash, and arrived at TFSP and set camp by 12:30. Sweet!! I had made some extra chicken the night before and hard boiled 2 eggs for lunch. Planning ahead, haha. After lunch, headed for the Grewat lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Pt. I took a leisurely drive through Paradise, aptly named, to the end and the museum. An amazing story about how these lakes have been so savage. Walked out to the point where a pair of plovers was protected this year. I spoke to the fellow there about the plovers at Assateague. He said how it was the model because of its success. From the point, I looked west and into the NW winds and saw 2-3 foot waves breaking on the shore and to the SE, a calm bay. I walked into the wind back to the overlook on the beach by the museum. On the ride back I picked up some wood and as I approached my camp, I saw a fireplace full of wood. It was at a site across from me. Apparently the young couple abandoned the site and left the wood, for me. Now I had twice as much wood as I had thought I would have. It’s cold up here and I need a good roaring fire tonight. Smoked trout for dinner.  I had decided on a bike ride back to the museum for Saturday. Weather was perfect and no wind. I roads are flat with a few undulations, so the 45 mile round trip to Whitefish Pt and back was smooth and wonderful. Took shower and nap upon return. The noise of the hiking campers woke me in the late afternoon. I cooked dinner and had a fire while I listened to the Yankees drop a third to Toronto at home, Yikes!! Sunday  was the most glorious of the three days and I had decide to do the hike from the Lower Falls to the High Falls since the trails would be more empty of hikers than yesterday. It must have been like Times Square on that one long trail from the lower to high falls. It was a mile to the lower falls and then four to the high falls. I snacked along the way, had lunch at High Falls and decided to venture onto another path but realized about a mile in I didn’t have time so I turned around and hiked home. In all it was a twelve mile hike. I showered and broke camp after dinner. The Yanks had finally won a game so I listened to the Big Broadcast while enjoying my last night on Lake Superior and a wonderfully full sky of stars. It is with a sad heart I have to leave Lake Superior tomorrow morning and head south to Lake Michigan.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Keweenaw Peninsula

I left Presque Isle and headed up the back roads to Lake in the Clouds at the summit of the Porcupine Mountains. Sublime. I continued along the lake drive and stopped often to walk over the dunes to the lake. At Ontonagon I turned off to replenish Propane and hammock supplies at a True Value. Lucky I did. Both tanks were empty. I was forced on to the interior rout up to Houghton where I gassed the car and went shopping for three days. An easy nine-mile ride up 203 to McLain SP where I’ve parked for three days. I’ve gone swimming three times my first day. Another fabulous beach. Lots of kids. About six boys made a huge raft from all the logs on the beach. The place looks like Rialto Beach in Washington State. Lots of damage to the shoreline over the years. The park camping has been altered radically by erosion. The western fires have caused the hazy sunsets here. Nature is a power we keep trying to harness and then bang, she shows us who’s boss.
Monday was a fine day. Went swimming and took a hike and then another swim. After dinner I headed to Houghton to check out the KBC brewery there.  Heard of another one called The Library, which I would do tomorrow night. A glorious evening and a late night swim. Took a great bike ride into Calumet, MI on Tuesday morning. Toured the cute little lake town and discovered a brewery and a laundromat. After the ride and a swim or bath in this case, I bagged up all the laundry and headed back to Calumet to do the laundry, write fifteen postcards and then have lunch at the brewery, Red Jacket Brewery. They had two good offerings and a great chili. Took a long nap when I got home. After dinner I went back to Houghton to check out the Library. They had a great Rye Ale, which I took home in a growler. Another stellar evening and moon and fire.  A light rain woke me and I stayed in bed. Got up at ten. A slow morning and I decided to go to MTU to see if two of my old friends still taught there. They didn’t and had moved on to OSU. I decided to have lunch at the Library only to find it had gone out of business that very morning. I’ve closed a few bars in my day, but never like this. I was stunned. So will thousands of students from MTU. So I decided to return to Red Jacket only find it closed on Wednesday. No luck today. Went to a neat little café called Rosetta and had a light lunch and did some Internet. Came home and continued with Willie Nelson’s new tale, It’s a Long Story. Rain on and off all day.
Wild Wednesday night, sky and moon and swimming. Packed up and left early Thursday morning for Copper Harbor. Took 41 North and at Phoenix took 26 N to Copper Harbor. Followed the lake through Eagle River, Eagle Harbor along a sweet ride up and down along the lake. A perfect bike road. I saw the Brockway Mountain Drive and considered taking it but decided against it. Good call. Took it in the jeep only when it was suggested I might try it on my bike. I didn’t like it in the Jeep, never on my road bike. Copper Harbor is where Houghton discovered copper in these parts and started a boon. The main street through town, Gratiot Street provided motels, restaurants, Post office, Community Center, shops and The Brickside Brewery just as I drove up a hill to Ft Wilkins SP. Took site 115, a pretty site on a hill, perfect for this fool. After setting camp, I took a swim in the lake behind the campsite, Fannie Ho Lake, which also serves the fort next door. After a shower I headed to the brewery. I discovered there was a huge bike festival here this weekend. Swell!! It is the Trails Festival of Labor Day in Copper Harbor. One of the top five trail bike events of the year. My trail riding days are over, strictly road biker now. I’m sorry I didn’t bring the Rock Hopper though. I found solace in my bike rides back to Eagle Harbor along 26 and Lake Superior. Back at camp, I enjoyed some new beer from Brickside. Eating lots of smoked lake trout and whitefish as well as fresh lake trout.
I woke to a glorious day, had a good breakfast and took a bike ride back on 26 to Eagle Harbor. After bike ride, I realized I needed stuff: groceries and wood. Nothing here. I drove back to Calumet to shop at major grocery store, get wood at McClain SP(best deal), and revisit Red Jacket Brewery in Calumet, MI. Took same route along 26 to Copper Harbor and this time went up the mountain trail. Thinking this might be good bike ride. Rough road and not good for road bike. Again I was sorry I forgot the Rock Hopper. Stopped at Brickside before getting to camp.
Took nap, had cocktail hour, read a chapter of Nelson’s Tale, had dinner, made fire, and looked at sky.
Saturday was very busy and noisy as the trail bikers were everywhere. I toured the fort, did some writing, had a swim, went to the brewery, and decided to do the sunset tour and Copper Harbor Lighthouse tour that night. As it turned out it was the last cruise for the season. Both the fort and the lighthouse were amazingly refitted and were good tours and finds. Another good evening at the campfire.
After Sunday breakfast and a little read, I took another ride along the lake. Took a swim in bike clothes and then a shower and rested amid all the activity of the racing.
Labor Day started with a good rain and the camp emptied out. I took another bike ride, swim, and rest or reading and writing. A final trip the Brickside. I liked all of their brew and bought quite a bit for folks at home. Hope it makes it home. Left Copper Harbor just as it was raining and arrived at Baraga SP as it stopped.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee is such a surprise. I know her first novel won many awards and accolades, but it pales to this one. We need the first one for the second one to be as powerful as it is. What is most bizarre is that we get this new novel now, not when it was written. Why? What Lee does and says in this novel is exactly what we need to hear today in our racially torn and intolerant society. We are all bigots. The language may offend or set you back, but remember when it was written and we still hear this language.  Pay attention to the law and to the politics. The Supreme Court, voters rights, education for ALL, equality are just some of the coincidental topics and we know about coincidences.
As soon as I finished God Help the Child by Toni Morrison I found Lee’s new novel. WOW!! Two gems in one week by two great writers.
Harper Lee tells all in this incredible, eye opening, wonderfully beautiful book, Go Set a Watchman, about evil. What we loved about Scout in the earlier novel was her decency, her color blindness, and her faith in her community. Her naiveté. We now see Jean Louise some twenty years later after getting educated and living in NYC for seven years. Upon her return, for her fifth annual two-week visit, she learns more about her town and its culture and vomits many times in her first week home. Fasten your seat belts; it is going to be a bumpy ride.
What has happened in Maycomb confuses, confounds and angers Jean Louise. She’s really confused about seeing Atticus in a meeting lead by a staunch segregationist. She’s even sicker to see her Hank there. When she has tea with the women she has known all of her life, she is sickened and overwhelmed by the ugliness she hears from their mouths. Of course all is built on hatred, rumor, and prejudice. Nothing is factual or accurate. It is opinion turned to fact or sound like fact and is passed on. Ignorance! No questioning just accepting. Jean Louise chooses to flee. Atticus prefers to stay and fight as long as he can and hope to pass it on to his protégé and suitor to Jean Louise, Hank Clinton.
So see runs to see Uncle Jack, Atticus’ younger brother for help and advise.  Their father fought in the Civil War. Chapter 14 is Harper Lee’s treatise on the current affairs of the South in the 1960’s as told through the character of Uncle Jack. It helps explain some. “Dr. Finch faced her and held her at arm’s length. ‘Jean Louise, I want you to listen carefully. What we’ve talked about today – I want to tell you something and see if you can hook it all together. It’s this: what was incidental to the issue in our War Between the States is incidental to the issue in the war we’re in now, and is incidental to the issue in your own private war. Now think it over and tell me what you think I mean.’” Page 201
BANG!!! This could be an important chapter today, too.
We now have a black president and the white members of Congress are beside themselves. They don’t know how to behave and as a result they behave badly, just as they were raised. Change takes more than one generation and Lee has hit the nail on the head. What Uncle Jack said in 1960 is still sadly true today. Look at the resentment to health care, to assistance, and to just plain common sense. White cops are killing young black men and women too often and with too much malice. Americans speak of their rights and yet more Americans kill more Americans than non-Americans kill Americans.
Atticus is a good man who will defend to his death the right for anyone to say what he wants, but he doesn’t have to agree with it. It is how he stays in the game of change and right. It is why he is liked by all and respected by all. It is why he is counseling Hank to run for the legislature and help the community move into the 20th Century.  Atticus is always fighting the ignorance of his own day in hopes the future will be better. He is maintaining the status quo in an impossible situation. Bravo, Atticus!!
Her first book certainly sets us up for this far superior novel as the second provides more insight into Scout as a young girl and her current romance with Hank. I was never very fond of the first novel and had to teach it too many years for my liking. Now if this novel had existed, well now we have a whole different kettle of fish. This novel is the haymaker; the knockout punch while the first one is merely the appetizer. It always left me wondering wanting more and yet it was never there. Now it is with the publication of this novel. It finally completes the cycle, the message Lee wanted to make and maybe balked or blinked when it came time to publish. Fear? Guilt? The topic of racism is tough and in her time and place it was dynamite and always broiling. I just can’t keep thinking how timely this novel is for us now.
The final and ultimate confrontation we all have with our parents and our children have with us happens with Jean Louise and Atticus. It is why our parents are proud of us and we of our children.
I will have to reread this novel a few more times, because it is so beautiful and because I put it next to Huck Finn which I consider the greatest US novel ever written. Both Huck and Scout are symbols of an American future and important because of how they learn and from whom.
Lee has written a masterpiece, far superior to her early novel. I’m sorry it took so long for us to get it.  Maybe we weren’t ready then and we probably aren’t ready now. Ignorance and racism still reign supreme in this country and perhaps even more than we think. Just look around.
Is there another one from John Kennedy Toole?  

Monday, August 31, 2015

Porcupine Mountains

With Tom safely tucked into school I headed for Moose Lake SAP in Moose Lake MN just south of Duluth. Upon looking at the map more carefully I realized I should have gotten off forty miles back and stayed in St Croix SP on route 48. So I did a U-Turn and drove back to Rt 48 and followed it to WI 77 to 53 North. I traveled through the lovely St Croix Scenic Riverway, making many stops to enjoy the beauty. I followed 53 to Lake Nebagamon, had lunch on the lake. A lovely, quaint community. Looks a fun summer destination. I advanced to Brule and Rt 2 East to Ashland where I saw Lake Superior finally. I purchased some smoked trout, whitefish and fresh lake trout. Can’t get enough of this fine delicacy. I continued up the road to Washburn and off on to County C to Big Rock Road and to a cute little rustic SP on the Sioux River. I used it as a base for the two days I stayed to explore this peninsula and the Apostles Islands. While flying in a plane over these islands in the early 60’s JFK was convinced by Rockefeller to make them a National Monument. Nixon made them the National lakeshore they are now. What a wonderful power the President has to designate land as National Monuments for us. Sand Bay is the destination for this peninsula to capture all the beauty of this area. Cornucopia is a hot spot for kayakers who wish to see the shoreline better and to see the caves. After being reintroduced to the Lake, I headed for the Porcupine Mountains on the Upper Peninsula. I found Presque Isle SP right on the Presque River that flows into Lake Superior. I took a site overlooking the Lake and looking due west. The sunsets rival any I’ve seen that set over water including Key West, Nantucket Island, and the west coast. Lake Superior is a wonder. I finally got a bike ride in and will stay here for four nights and enjoy the hiking, biking, bathing, and beauty of the Lake. Next to my campsite is a “Stairway to Lake Superior.” Presque Isle in the Porcupines is a must stop on every campers’ bucket list.