We spent seven-and-a-half years in the U.P. -- that's the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for those of you not in the know -- up by Houghton and Michigan Technological University. Then we came down to West Michigan and the likes of Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University and Hope College, and have been here ever since. Hey, we're academics -- colleges are important.
On the other hand, we do have occasion to leave Michigan from time to time, since all of our relatives live elsewhere. (grin)
Something We've Noticed
Though it's not like the middle of July is some big holiday weekend, heading to/from Chicago is one helluva lot better for those of us in Michigan than for those of you in Chicago. You can see it in the traffic. Since 1984 we've been able to slip in and out of the big city, while watching traffic jam up and crawl in the other direction. It's not like we never slow down, come to a stop or sit and wait in the heat while everyone's engines overheat and the A.C. is ineffective because the engine RPMs are too low.
But unlike a couple of summers ago, the temps weren't in the 100degF range. Indeed, we had the A.C. on going down because of the damned humidity. Gray all the way in and heavy rains in Michigan. And at my oil change last week the mechanic suggested that "sometime" I get the serpentine belt changed, because it was getting too many cracks. So I changed the belt before we left -- A.C. purred contentedly the whole way. No way was I going to break down due to a broken belt in Nowheresville.
Coming back, though, we had nearly blue sky -- and clear roads. I say this because much of I-94 in Indiana was undergoing construction and we immediately noticed that the lanes going towards Chicago were clogged and not moving very fast. The traffic jam went on and on and on and on. Within a mile of the Michigan border. According to my quickie calculations, twenty-five miles of slow moving traffic. Oh, the humanity. We zip on by. Some of these people had been headed to Michigan to play for the weekend, leaving the city of Chicago relatively free and clear. Now they had to pay the price for returning to their crowded city.
Our quick in and out trip, virtually guaranteed. Priceless.