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the story of an invisible girl
Weekend Up North
I went up north for the weekend with S, R, and a couple other friends. Our main goal was to go bicycling on Mackinac Island. The weekend was a grand success!

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.

"Lone Star!"

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!)

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(Deleted comment)
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: September 24th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Lone Star

Well, since Texas is the Lone Star State, I am not surprised.
joline From: joline Date: September 24th, 2007 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
You look really cute in your "Mackinac Under Attack" photograph. You play hard ... and well!
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: September 24th, 2007 08:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Do you have any friends with more than one letter names? And Jay or Dee won't count!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 28th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well sure: JR, SGW, SC, CVB, DS, KP, KW.... just to name a few.
radiantsoul From: radiantsoul Date: September 28th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank god SGW set up a three letter precedent. Otherwise we would be limited to a mere 676 options!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 28th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know! That would never do.
min8ive From: min8ive Date: September 24th, 2007 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I enjoyed reading this story. Thanks for posting!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 24th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Econoline 150 is built on the F150 platform, which is classified as a truck. Which means that the vehicle transporting the Alpaca is technically a truck.

Looks like you're better at identifying dromedaries then vehicles.
niiicolaaa From: niiicolaaa Date: September 24th, 2007 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was up there for the Republican thing this weekend! I am glad you got your Rogers sack, if you hadn't I would have totally offered up mine! They are cute. Glad you had a good time, despite the conference. I always wondered what it would be like for people who aren't part of the conference to be on the island the same weekend, because it can get kind of crazy!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 28th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
No way... I'm surprised we didn't see each other! After all it wasn't very crowded or anything. ;)

It was rather surreal, horses, bicycles, republicans, fudge. But it was fun, and a perfect weather to be up north.
cannibal From: cannibal Date: October 2nd, 2007 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't there, and I didn't see you either!

But seriously, if you'd like any other political paraphernalia I think I have a bag from the republican convention when Justice Weaver was running....

Even more seriously, I actually have convinced people to give me their shirts... more than once, possibly. :-)
onemorethanten From: onemorethanten Date: January 22nd, 2008 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Andian Pride's Lone Star - revisted

After reading about "Lone Star" my intention was to be "clever/funny/"a magician of the search" and when I showed up at our mutual friend's party, to amaze both you and SGW with my "733t Google skillz"...

That was the original plan. But you know, it's hard not to sound confrontational after witnessing the partial immolation of a poor innocent frog. Even an origami one. Would you have done that to an origami alpaca? I think not.

And while I still claim to be the best at finding stuff, I find I cannot (in good conscience) base that on finding Lone Star... because, like I mentioned at the Con, when I went to do the search again, it DIDN'T WORK! Well actually it just looked like it didn't work... this second time I had made the same mistake you probably had when searching: I had typed Ohio as ohio...

Yup, case mattered when searching for Lone Star...

alpaca Ohio "Lone Star" search worked great
alpaca ohio "Lone Star" search failed
Alpaca named "Lone Star" search failed
alpaca from Ohio named Lone Star search worked fine
alpaca from ohio named "Lone Star" Search failed

So, to update common wisdom, remember to watch your case as well as your speed when driving around and trying to find stuff in Ohio.

renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 26th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Andian Pride's Lone Star - revisted

Holy cow, at least right now this blog entry shows up first!


Wait a minute... according to this listing you found, it looks like he lived in Michigan but was recently sold to somebody in Ohio. I wonder if that was actually moving day for Lone Star that we saw????

You are completely right: I would not have been nearly so cruel to an origami alpaca. Please accept my apologies. *grin*
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 9th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

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