Saturday, October 4, 2008


Frequent visitors to this blog know that I started working for General Electric the last week of April. Since I started working for GE, I had not take any time off. However, this past week I had an opportunity I could not pass up: to attend a conference in the Upper Peninsula with Wife. The conference ran from 1-3 October at the Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. This is the tale.

On Wednesday morning, we dropped Handsome Boy off at Whiskers, the pet resort and spa where he spent a few weeks of doggy daycare during our kitchen remodeling project. We had not take Samson there since the end of the aforementioned project. To say that he was excited to be back at Whiskers would be quite an understatement. Samson hopped out of the kennel when we arrived at Whiskers and he immediately began squeaking. His was talking to us, saying, "Hey! Thanks for taking me back here! All my friends are here. Let em in! Let me in!" We took Samson inside and the squeaking became more pronounced and frequent. Samson immediately ran over to the door heading to the kennel and play area, and then he started to bark at the door, then look at me and bark, then bark at the door again. Clearly, he was ready to catch up with his friends. Sensing Samson's desires, one of the handlers took him back to the play area while we sorted out the details of his stay. Samson did no even look back at us, when he left, so we were pretty confident that he was going to enjoy his stay. This was the first time we have boarded Samson since we took him home from the shelter, so we were concerned that he might be anxious that we were leaving him there for good. We would not know how Samson would adapt to his stay until our return a few days later, but the initial indications were that he could not wait to get back to the play area and catch up with his friends.

A little before 10AM Dee and I started our drive to the Upper Peninsula. The weather when we left GR was clear and cool, with the threat of rain. We were hoping that the drive would be uneventful and for the most part, it was. We did run into a little rain, on and off, during our drive. We stopped for lunch, grabbing a quick bite as our drive and final destination were a lot more important than stopping for lunch. A few hours after we left Grand Rapids, we were at the sounthenr approach to the Mackinac Bridge. This bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of the Enchanted Mitten and it just celebrated its 50th birthday. The simple elegance and grandeur of its desing and presence makes anyone who sees it stop and say "Wow."

Dee and I stopped at Fort Michilimackincac to take a few happy snaps of the Mackinac Bridge and stretch out legs. I looked at the bridge and thought about the dreams of people to build such a bridge for over a hundred years, while many people today take this modern wonder of the world for granted. Did you know that during the four years it took to build the bridge that work was only 9 months out of the year? From December to February, the weather was so harsh that all wor
k was halted. Dee and I took a few photos of the bridge and then headed north to Sault Ste. Marie.

For the non-Michiganians, Sault Ste Marie is a city located at the northern end of the Upper Peninsula, and it is pronounced "Sue Saint Marie," as apposed to "Salt Saint Marie." We arrived at the Kewadin Casino, Hotel & Convention Center at about 4PM. We checked in, and immediately went exploring. We went to the Soo Locks (yes, they are spelled Soo, not Sault), drive around downtown Sault Ste. Marie, and generally were tourists in our home state. We found time to stop at the VFW Post 3676 to have an adult beverage before we headed back to the hotel in time for the "Welcome Party" got MI CUPA-HR. This Welcome Party was heavy hors d'oeuvers, and we washed them down with oat pops. And wine. We ended up at the bar in the hotel where we watched some of the Cubs loss to the Dodgers.

Dee had to work on Thursday, while I spent some more time poking around the city. However, the weather was nothing to write home about. Actually, it was raining, windy and cold all day, plus the leaves had not yet started to turn, so there was really not much to see.

On Thursday night, we had dinner with our friend Scott. We had dinner at a local restaurant, and on the way back to the hotel we stopped at American Legion Post 3, which was conveniently located right on the water by the Locks. Scott had never been to a Legion Post and I think that he had a good time. I showed my Legion ID card, which allowed me to purchase a round of drinks. Follwoing our stop at the Legion, we headed back to the hotel where we tried our luck with, well, Lady Luck!

I do not enjoy gambling. As a math major, I know that the numbers are simply not with the gambler. The House makes the rules and the rules and the probability of winning are against any bettor. The only game where the you have an advantage is in Blackjack. Armed with a few dollars in chips, me and my aforementioned friend Scott and I hit the tables and I did pretty well. After 20 minutes or so, I was up $40. I knew it was time to leave with my winnings and call it a night. While I was playing Blackjack, Dee was having similar luck playing nickel slots. At the end of the night, we were up about $80, so it was a good evening for us. Following our winning, Dee, Scott and I retired to the bar to watch some baseball and listen to what had to be the worst karaoke singer the world has ever known. We sipped on a few more adult beverages and called it a night by 11PM.

We left the UP on Friday morning, and had a pleasant and easy drive home. The leaves in the upper part of the Enchanted Mitten showed more color than those in the Upper Peninsula. Go figure. All in all it was a great trip and we had a great time.

1 comment:

Lisa... said...

You will undoubtedly spend your remaining winnings on portable oxygen tanks to counteract second-hand-smoke-induced respiratory ailments. Lady Luck was probably gasping for breath at the roulette wheel.

Glad you're back safely and enjoyed your time as a tourist in the U.P. Such a beautiful place.