Now these road trips that we take from time to time are always fun if only for the adventure of the open road. I like to drive and see places. But traveling with Aaron is more like The Call of the Mild, at least when he's driving. He never speeds, never passes on the double yellow line (and rarely even on the broken white ones), and won't even drive to the corner store without programing his GPS first then following it's instructions to the letter. (I am militantly anti-GPS in car, just FYI. I'm old and I love paper maps. (If it was good enough for Columbus...) Besides, the travel is half the fun, and getting off-track just means more travel and more new sights to see.
Finally we got to Alpena, A fair bit under our projected arrivial time because I drove the last part of the way. We got to a pretty decent little motel that Aaron found, The Dew Drop Inn. Now knowing how Aaron shops for motels from past trips ("It was the cheapest place I could find!"), I was expecting it to be right next to a paper mill or a rendering plant and have doors that look like they've been bashed in a time or two by the local police tactical units, but this one was actually quiet and clean and I didn't even smell curry when we walked into the office. It turned out to be a really nice place for the money. So after dinner at the John Lau Saloon, a local pub that was out of hamburgers(!) but sold 32oz beers(!!), we adjourned to our pretty decent little room and called it a night.
Monday morning came early, and we grabbed a kick but good breakfast at John Boy's Restaurant, where the waitress and customers at the counter were talking positively and even enthusiastically about "stand your ground" laws as we walked in. That told us right there that we were back up in God's Red-State America.
Then it was off to the boat dock, where the adventure really began.
First off, we got there and there was...nobody. No boat, no other divers, no captain. Just two guys going "WTF?" So Aaron calls the captain and I'm thinking that he actually woke the guy up. Then the captain is asking: "Who are you guys, again?" Not a good sign.
Next, he tells us that the weather is bad and he canceled the other divers last night but forgot to call us. However, he's still willing to take us out to the agreed-upon wreck if we want to go.
Dude, we're all the freaking way up here. We pretty much have to go now. So he promised to hurry up and get over to us, and forty-five minutes later, here comes a little 18-foot outboard piloted by this guy's twin in every way except thhe eye patch:
"Well guys, it's pretty choppy out there," he says. "What do you think?"
We're thinking that he's the captain, so if he doesn't think it's safe, he won't take us out. We're game to try the dive based on his willingness to take us out, so we toss our gear onto the SS Minnow's little brother and head out onto Lake Huron.
We go out, and we get into the waves, and it's up and down, up snd down, with tons of spray and water splashing over us. A little farther out, we saw a 1000-foot lake freighter heading north, and he was actually taking spray and rollers completely over his bow, and he was empty and riding high out of the water! Yeah, maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.
Finally we get right to the wreck sight, and the boat is riding up and down six to eight foot waves, many of which now have whitecaps. Captain
Some time later, we finally get to a bouy marked "Davidson" and Captain
We mae it back and finished the night with a nice dinner with Proud Hillbilly's daughter and Son-in-law, as they now live in this area. Good times, and worth doing just for the adventure even if the dive excursion did turn out to be a horrorshow. And there's always the next time.