Aug 16, 2011


I’m willing to bet that when the average American thinks of Michigan, they think of Detroit, and that leads them to think about the auto industry. And based on the recent government bailout, they then think negatively about Michigan. Am I right?

Well, I’ve always had good thoughts of Michigan. Until Tricia and I got together, the mention of the Great Lakes State did make me think of Detroit, but instead of that thought leading to the woes of the auto industry, it instead led to thoughts of music; good music like the MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the White Stripes, and Motown. I’ve always liked the style of University of Michigan football too, so there you have it. I’ve always had fond feelings of what’s also known as the Wolverine State.

Then Tricia entered the picture and since then I’ve made two trips to Michigan to visit her family. In Christmas time of last year and for eight days this summer, I got a tour of the greater Grand Rapids area, and now I have an entirely new appreciation for the state. I love it. Yeah, the white Christmas was a little rough on this southern California boy. I’m known for getting cold in Colorado’s Glenwood Springs hot springs, however when dressed properly (by Tricia), the Michigan winter is tolerable. Of course, I didn’t have to blow any snow, scrape ice off any windshields, or dig any cars out of any snowdrifts, but I did go for a 45-minute run in the ice and snow during my yuletide stay.

We recently went on a little summer vacation where we did all kinds of cool summer-camp activities that aren’t as common in the urban sprawl of southern California. All of it was done within an hour’s drive of the Fynewever homestead. Accompanied by Ryder, we caught fireflies, went skiing in the Grand River and in Lake Murray, spent a day on the shores of Lake Michigan, went to Grand Haven’s Coast Guard Festival, made s’mores around a fire pit, toured the 126-acre Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, drove through a summer rain storm, ran on lush well-designed pedestrian trails, and the list goes on. About the only time we found ourselves in the city of Grand Rapids was for an occasional meal, and to tour the Police Station where Tricia’s brother, Nate, is a cop.

If you’re from southern California and you’re lucky, you have family and friends in other parts of the world. If you haven’t taken the time to go visit, you should. There’s a lot more out there than your video game console, Facebook, the Staples Center, or Las Vegas can ever offer. If you don’t have anyone to visit outside of this concrete jungle, at least go ride a bike. It can take you places. It might just take you to Michigan, where I’ll be taking my bike next time.

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