Yee-haw and whoop-D-doo! Mon afternoon 7/4

After the Independence Day Parade and while vehicles were trying to to leave the parade route, Jimmy and I pedaled the short distance to the festival at Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. Among the first to arrive, we found a “parking spot” for our bikes.  There was so much going on.  The museum was open and people were streaming in.  Everything was free, except your food.

On the grounds, two giant tents were bound together, one with seating in front of a stage with a band tuning up, and one with tables and chairs to accommodate folks with lunch goodies.

We picked Nowicki's homemade brats for our lunch.

American name ingenuity.

 Helicopter rides … $35/five minutes.  I would’ve gone up, but the line was too long.

It didn’t take long for the area for fill with people and lines form for food. After eating, we hopped on our bikes for a ride to the harbor. Matt called me; he and Jen were staying at our house in Nevada City for the three-day weekend, and he had a question about watering our keyhole garden. A quick phone visit, and Jimmy and I made tracks back to the festival.

A crowd had already lined the bridge and the east slope of Thunder Bay River for the day’s excitement: A cardboard boat regatta! A new one for us, we figured it would be hilarious … and it was. I think there were four heats (four classes), and the object was to paddle over to and around a buoy on the river's far side ... and stay afloat! First one to reach the starting point won. But, the real object was to entertain and have fun.

Local theater group boat.

Moustache boat.

These two li'l guys in their tiny Jamaica boat did a whale of a better job and beat the tar outa the bigger guys!

Blackie's Revenge.  During the first heat, Blackie's wandered off under the 9th Avenue bridge, which drew lots of pointing and loud hoots of laughter!  "They're going the wrong way, ahhhaaahaha!"

They're off!

Some of 'em never made it past the starting line!

The crowd cheered!  We shrieked, we laughed and we roared!

Gettin' a little tipsy!

And here are the two li'l guys just paddling toward the finish.

Into the Drink.

Jimmy and I were sitting on rocks on the opposite shore (cooking in full sun, yeow!), but we sure had fun, joining in these holiday festivities.  Aw, you just had to be there!  The boats had specific guidelines, water-based paint and tape, and cardboard only.  And they all ended up the same way, sunk ...

... in a sodden mess on this cart!

We pedaled home to Tergel after the festivities, ate, showered, readied Tergel to pull out tomorrow, and got ourselves ready for bed. We’d been told the fireworks would be visible from the fairgrounds, so we waited for the show to begin. And waited, and waited. I think it was 10:30 and barely dark when we heard the first blast. (Nighttime in the northern latitudes comes late in summer.)  We sat up on the top row of the bleachers to watch, and when the finale exploded, we were ready. Oh so ready to hit the sack. It was a wonderful day, very full, and with lots of laughs. Our stay here in Alpena gets a double thumbs up.


  1. Anonymous5:35 AM

    Cardboard boats: guaranteed hilarity!

  2. Cardboard and water ... hmmm ... the ending was inevitable.


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