Deer Skull Boiling: We’re Not There Yet

We made it to Hancock, Michigan, which is right on the canal that sets apart the tip of the Upper Peninsula. According to signs, there’s a lot of these activities around here:

  • Snowmobiling
  • Drinking in roadside bars
  • Hunting
  • Selling handicrafts (these seem to be mostly wooden spoons)
  • Living in giant, rundown frat houses (Michigan Tech).

I’ve gathered these seemingly unrelated impressions while working to fix all the things that we’ve broken recently.

The Awning

This is the big bad break. I think it worked as of last week at Perch Lake, but it stormed so much there that I don’t remember if we did open it there or if the last time was Copper Falls.

In any case, it won’t open now. Even worse: it won’t properly close.

This sucker is machine-driven so that it calibrates with its own tilt and angle and I don’t know what else: it’s more than vaguely like Hal from 2001: A Space Oddesey. What I do know is you’re never to cut the power when it’s open, because from this reset position it can’t recall where it currently is so can’t make the precise maneuvers to retract exactly against the trailer.

I don’t know if that’s what we did, or if we let it gather rain water while rolled closed for too long, or what, but when we pulled up here yesterday and tried to open it, it jerked and stuttered and then wouldn’t close.

Tracy got the manufacturer on the phone this morning, who told him to use a certain rare-sized Allen wrench to hand-torgue it to close.

This story actually gets me back to learning about what people do around here, because visiting hardware stores and auto parts stores, over and over with diminishing expectations, during a pandemic, will teach you quite a bit.

Oh, this is turning into a long story, and the awning is only the first broken item.

I’ll wrap it up by saying that Tracy found the right wrench in the first store he went to the second time, and after trying to saw the wrench down, he was able to hand-crank the awning closed.

And it’ll have to stay that way until we get to an Airstream dealer with a decent service center. Dallas?

My Laptop

It’s not really mine; it was my sister’s, and when she died I brought it back with me from Napa as a tool to help me unravel some of the mysteries she left behind.

It was in better shape than my laptop at the time, so I adopted it, and we’ve had a good working relationship, up until this morning.

I’m lucky this odd northern town has a certified Apple device center. (I’d trade it for an Airstream one, though.) The jury’s still out if my sister’s digital repository will be okay. I haven’t had unlimited WiFi for several weeks so I don’t remember when I last backed it up to the cloud, but I know it’s been since we got the road. Right?

My Phone

So I’m writing this entry on my phone, which has a cracked screen I’ve been nursing carefully. There’s a phone fix-it place in Minnesota.

Our Brains

After driving around searching for the wrench and dropping off the laptop (and picking up the bike tire pump that turns out not to work but that’s minor), we drove up to the tip of the peninsula, Copper Harbor, to enjoy the day.

Turns out we’d left our brains back in Hancock, right at the gas station we drove by instead of pulling into. You couldn’t pay at the pump there so we drove to the next one, and it turns out there is no next one.

So, we cut any hiking and exploring to one wayside stop. Lake Superior looked gorgeous. For about eight minutes.

No harm done though: we filled up with diesel back closer to where we found the wrench on the wrench-seeking tour part 2.

That was our first full day here “getting things done.” No deer skulls were involved, but we’ve just gotten started.

Gratuitous Banjo picture where she’s sleeping in the truck during all this driving.

4 thoughts to “Deer Skull Boiling: We’re Not There Yet”

  1. Shelly,
    I love reading your blogs (especially the last one
    about Banjo). You are so funny and had me laughing out loud this morning as I sat on the porch and sipped my coffee. All the little “bumps” along the road you do with a sense of humor that I love. I look forward to Friday mornings and seeing what adventures you, Tracy and Banjo are having. Living the dream!

    1. I know people are suffering out there and I certainly don’t want to add to that with any complaining. Glad to hear that’s not the case!