Have I Every Told You About The Time I Tried To Walk From Ann Arbor to Chicago?

3 May

(This is Part One of Two.  Maybe Three.  Probably not Four.  It all depends on how much I feel like writing each day.)

If you’ve ever met me in person, the answer is probably yes.  (Possibly at length.) If not, here’s the story:  (with photos)

It was May, 2010.  Having entered my second year at my current job I was granted a full week’s vacation, with pay,  to do whatever I wanted.  I decided to walk to Chicago.  No particular reason, I just felt like doing it.  According to a wide variety of sources, it’s a little over 200 miles.

chicago hike

I was thinking of it as an extended bar hopping expedition.  I decided to take US 12, because it’s the most direct route, isn’t an interstate (which you cannot legally walk down) and there are towns, stores, restaurants, hotels, and of course bars all along the way.  I brought only the bare essentials with me, and all of it fit in my backpack.  (It was not the right backpack for the trip, but luckily that would be remedied on day three.  The shoes I chose to wear on this long walk were Chuck Taylor’s.  People thought I was crazy, but I explained over and over that when you’ve been wearing them all your life, and when you’ve done as much hiking as I have,  they’re perfect.  (I was right, as usual.) 

Good ole Chuck Taylors

As far as preparing for my journey I had a little orange notebook in which I recorded the mileage between each of my stops, and the names and phone numbers of hotels within the vicinity.  I saved up no money.  I simply planned my vacation to begin on a payday, and figured I would “wing it.”

My stuff

My stuff

The very first thing I did on my “grand adventure” was cheat. My friend Melanie wanted to have a drink with me to see me off, so we figured what better place than Dan’s Tavern in Saline, about 10 miles west from Ann Arbor on 12.  (She drove us there.)

We had a couple drinks and I was on my way, already having to pee by the time I got to the city limits of Saline.

21

The view of “The Road” on my first day of hiking.

Luckily, it was only a few miles outside of town before I came to my first pub, where there was a large penguin at the door to greet me.  It had always been my plan to have one drink in each place I visited and then move on, but it was a lot easier to have two or three.  I left that place and continued on down the road towards Clinton, where I took a left turn and headed south to Tecumpseh.  I took this detour because although there is a small inn in Clinton that would have been ideal, the lady who I spoke to when I called there a couple days before was very rude.  So I decided to add about 16 miles total of out of my way hiking.

I made it to my room in Tecumpseh, after stopping in a very crowded bar that was basically standing room only where I quickly downed three pints of Labatt’s Blue.  I made it to the hotel at around 11:00 p.m.  I was very glad to get there, and as I crashed out for the night, seriously wondered if I was going to be able to continue on the next day.

31The next day I was surprised to find that I felt fine and continued on my way, after stopping at the local grocery store for some sun block, which I hadn’t thought of getting before.  (It was MAY!  I always thought you only needed sunblock in July and August.  Go figure.)  I also had breakfast at McDonald’s.  DIGRESSION: Tecumseh is a town named after a Native American guy who was very much opposed to the idea of white folks encroaching on his land, and banded a bunch of tribes together to fight them.  He even helped the British in the Revolutionary War and was abandoned in the end for his troubles.  So now there is a small town in Michigan named after him.  It is inhabited almost entirely by white people.  Tecumseh really plays up it’s namesake, and the local Mickey D’s was no exception.  The inside was decorated with large paintings depicting Pilgrims and Indians happily consuming Big Macs and French Fries together at their first “Thanksgiving.”  (Naturally they left out any depictions of the small pox infested blankets that were handed out after this glorious feast.)

Here I am at the grocery store, with the only Native American person I spotted anywhere in the entire city of Tecumseh.  He 36was very stoic and quiet, though I tried to tell him I’d had nothing to do with any small pox infested blankets.

It took me about two hours to get back to US 12, and soon after that I was in the Irish Hills area. where I saw a whole lot of cool stuff.

At one point I came to a really cool bar called Randy’s Roadhouse something or other.  I was going to have a tall glass of Guinness.  I had 3.

So I had a pretty good buzz going at that point, and was enjoying myself immensely as I continued on my trek though the winding roads of the Irish Hills area.  It took me all day to get to Somerset, where a former employer and his family had offered to put me up for the night.  On the way I took a side trip through a graveyard and a little trail that featured a sort of comic strip about Jesus.

In the Irish Hills area you see things like this:

83

And This:

65

And this:

71

Not long after Randy’s Roadhouse the going got a little tough.  My back started to hurt from the book bag I had stuffed with all my travelling gear.  There were no more places along the way to stop for drinks, and that was probably a good thing, because once again here I was hoofing it down the side of the road and for miles and miles there would be not so much as a tree to duck behind for a urination break.

Shortly after I crossed the intersection of US 12 and M 50 I happened across one of the coolest discoveries of my entire hike.   A Civil War reenactment was going on so I wandered right up to a group of friendly looking Union soldiers with their families and told them all about what I was up to.  (I told everyone I encountered, in fact.)  They were very friendly and gave me some apples, some fake civil war currency, and were kind enough to pose with me for a photo opportunity.  (I’m the one not dressed in Civil War era garb.

107

Not long after that I passed this monstrosity, where millions of people come from all around to watch people drive in circles.  (There’s not enough beer in the world to make me want to sit through that.)

111After that there was a lot more of this:

123

And not much more to see for about three more hours of slugging along the side of the road.  Eventually I made it to my friend Craig’s party store, and he drove up there and picked me up, because at that point I didn’t want to walk anymore, though it was less than half a mile to his house from the store.  I hung out and had a few beers with him and his family, then sacked out on a giant sofa for a much needed night of rest.

166

(To be continued)

9 Responses to “Have I Every Told You About The Time I Tried To Walk From Ann Arbor to Chicago?”

  1. Tanya May 3, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    I knew about your trip of course but you never mentioned anything about a Civil war reenactment or your meeting people into these types of things. I am so beyond jealous.

    • domingosaurus May 3, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      Well, there are some 300 or so pictures of my trip up on my Facebook page. But of course nobody ever actually looks at those. (I know I don’t!)

      I met a lot of people on my journey. Like I said I told everybody, which actually scored me quite a few free drinks in the bars I was passing through, not to mention one girl’s phone number, which of course I lost. : (

  2. Christopher May 3, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    “The Road goes ever on and on
    Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can,
    Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Until it joins some larger way
    Where many paths and errands meet.
    And whither then? I cannot say”

  3. the winegetter May 13, 2013 at 3:00 am #

    What an awesome trip! And yeah, those circle races? Not made for me…

    • domingosaurus June 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      I know right? Another way I’ve heard them described is: 3 hours of people turning left. I think I would have more fun trying to watch my fingernails grow.

  4. foxywholefoodie May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    Loved part 1! What a unique idea of how to spend your vacation week – and I love all the cool people you stumbled upon along the way – and I’m glad I’m not the only one who can’t stop at 1 Guinness!

    • domingosaurus June 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      There would be very little point (for me at least) in drinking one Guinness!

  5. domingosaurus June 30, 2015 at 12:02 am #

    Reblogged this on Not Necessarily About Dinosaurs or Anything Else.

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AlyZen Moonshadow

The words and works of AlyZen Moonshadow, digital mixed media photography artist, designer, musician, poet, philosopher, mother, muse, Goddess!

Are You Finished Yet?

I like to write about stuff. I usually try to be funny. Take it or leave it.

Michael Rios

Sherlock unlocking the past

anewperspectiveperhaps

This site is about everything from my philosophy on life to the little things that make me laugh. IIt is about living, and breathing, and pausing long enough to take it all in. I hope it makes you laugh, sometimes makes you cry, but always makes you want to come back for another visit. It is your words, and your likes that inspire me to keep writing. And it is through my writing that you have a very large window to my soul. Relax awhile, read, and enjoy!

Be Free 2 Love

Soaring through Life, Love, & Happiness: One story at time.

PotatoPen

That's right! I write!

Forty, c'est Fantastique !

La vie est belle !

Mr Tookles

tee hee

The Dependent Independent

TV, movies, books…rants… just trying to put skills to use.

Fictional Kevin

Cigar Fueled Creative Writing

Tubularsock

". . . first hand coverage, second hand news"

Elizabeth Conrad

True stories from a recovering asshole.

jenny's lark

the beauty of an ordinary life

Skinny and Single

Single and Over 40 and Not Suicidal About It

BunKaryudo

Lovingly Hand-Crafted Humor Blog

Life After 50

Life at any age can be amazing! We only need to grab hold & experience it!

Lessons from my daughter

Although all doctors agreed she would do nothing.....

lindaseccaspina

remembers the invention of the wheel

Fiction Favorites

with John W. Howell

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emmakwall (explains it all)

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