First we drove to Mackinaw in order to take the ferry to Mackinac. I don't know why the names are spelled differently -- they are pronounced the same. Somehow on the way there was a tattoo discussion, and I showed off mine. We decided that we could be a gang of pirates, because pirates have tattoos. Even though mine was the only one -- and "not a lot of pirates use butterflies and flowers as their tattoos."
So then we figured we could be friendly pirates, still heisting the ferry for our own purposes, but our purposes could be random kindness and senseless acts of beauty. We could go about scaring people with bunches of flowers, and have a flag with a kitten head and crossed roses.
Thus it was that, when we found a cannon half-way around the island, we stopped to take a "Mackinac Under Attack" photograph.
We bicycled around the island (8 miles), stopping many times so that crazy-camera-lady could fill our vacation with great photographs. It was a perfect autumn day, sunny and just a tiny bit cool. A beautiful ride. We all posed by the Mackinac Bridge, although in my treo pic you can barely see the bridge at all.
A couple of us cycled the other way around later, after we had lunch with an eloquently political thirteen year old boy and his campaign-involved mother. There was some kind of elaborate republican thing going on there that weekend. It made for a surreal mix of politicians, horses, fudge-shops, and bicycles, as there are no cars allowed on the island. There were also fancy martinis and the last-minute purchase of a 50% off pirate shirt. I'll be a real pirate yet!
A bunch of people had these cute little drawstring backpacks that must have been given out by some politician, and I was eying them longingly. Just recently I'd been thinking about buying one that exact style, since I thought it would make a perfect pilates bag. On the ferry home that night, the woman I was sitting next to had one. I was too shy to say anything, but R leaned right over and asked where she'd gotten it. Congressman Mike Rogers, who it turns out actually is R and S's congressman!
We explained that I thought they were really nice, so we were just curious. She told me she would be happy to give it to me, except that she was using it to hold stuff. I laughed, "No no no, I'm just admiring it, I don't need yours."
We chatted a little bit more, and it seemed to be on her mind. She kept saying she wished she could give it to me. I guess her husband had one also, and she wasn't expecting to use hers again after that evening.... I refused several more times -- I wasn't asking for anything, just making conversation!
Long story short, she finally convinced me to put all of her stuff into the plastic bag I was holding with my new pirate shirt in it. Much to my friends' surprise, I took my stuff and put it in her backpack! Despite feeling embarrassed, I was also quite pleased. It's a nice bag, and it was really kind of her to convince me to accept it.
The exchange attracted some attention and amusement from the other various political people and tourists sitting nearby. So then S said, "So what's next Rennie... do you want that guy's suit?"
He smiled a bit uncomfortably at us, and said, "You can't have my suit."
Sometimes somebody says something, and I simply can't tell if they are playing along or genuinely serious. This was one of those times. I hammed it up though, saying "Are you sure? We could trade outfits...." Another guy said, "You can't have my suit either." I offered my Gap sweatshirt up for trade, but they were concerned it wouldn't fit. Then the ferry docked, so there was no more trading.
The next day, on the drive home, everyone was pretty sleepy. It had been a full saturday! We were all doing our own thing, studying, napping, driving, staring out the window, when S discovered the final adventure for the weekend.
"Oh my... There is a llama in that truck!"
We all woke up and started looking out the window. "What? Where?"
"See, in that white truck up ahead."
"Wait, you mean the van? That's not a truck."
"Yes, the white van two cars up."
I raised myself up to see better. Then I saw what she had seen. I was amused by her silly mistake. "Don't be ridiculous... That's an alpaca."
And it was! There in the van just ahead of us, walking around in the fenced-off back area, gazing out the window, was an actual fluffy little alpaca!
This was quite possibly the strangest thing we'd seen on the road all trip, and it generated lots of hilarious conversation. Additionally, R started forcing his way through traffic until we were driving right behind the alpaca -- although some people in the car still thought it might be a llama. Naturally we pulled out cameras and started taking pictures of the fellow. He (or she?) was cute! ...not to mention unexpected.
Once plenty of photos had been taken, and the alpaca had been thoroughly waved at, R sped up so we were next to the driver's window. S called out to him, "Is that an alpaca or a llama?"
"It's an alpaca!"
We started to drive away, then I asked, "What's its name?" R slowed down and S relayed the question.
We thanked him, waved, and drove away. We figured an alpaca from Ohio named Lone Star might be unique enough that we could find him on the internet, and I looked with my treo, but no luck. Apparently there is a whole alpaca farm in Texas called LoneStar, which really cluttered up the search results.
(The incredible photography skills are all SGW's!)