Friday, October 7, 2011

Back to the trip; Part 2

I left everyone at the campfire, waiting for whatever comes next...

Tom had a chicken that he wanted to cut up and barbecue. I was interested in his methodology, being that he is a former meat cutter by trade. I asked how the chicken would be presented to the charcoal... Will you be slathering on sauce and then burning?

I offered an option; Why not slow cook the whole chicken using the Weber kettle and indirect heat? I guaranteed that dinner would be ready in an hour and that it would be the best tasting, most moist chicken evah, without using anything more special than garlic powder and salt/pepper.

Well, Tom looked at me like I was telling him what-to-do again (I seem to always try to take a situation over and run it my way), but he reluctantly agreed to try out my method. Seems he wants to learn how to cook a turkey on the grill (His Dad taught me how to cook turkey on the Weber kettle in London) for this Thanksgiving, being that his boys are coming home for deer season (but that is another story!) and they plan on spending the time at the Snake Camp.

Whew! I'm outta breath from that run on sentence.

Anyhoo, Tom was also interested in not standing over the hot grill, carefully monitoring the burning of the bird while trying to be involved in the commentary by the campfire. Those beers weren't going to drink themselves, are they?

I coated the guest of honor in garlic powder, salt and pepper while the charcoal was readied. As the gray ash covered the briquets, I separated them into two piles and placed the bird in the center of the rack. We placed the cover on and returned to the PBR cooler, by the fire.

"That's all?" Tom asked.

"Yep, don't lift the lid for an hour, otherwise you add 15 minutes of cooking time due to lost heat." Said I.

And so it was. The chicken came out golden brown, crispy on the skin, yet moist and flavorful inside. No knife was needed for serving because the nice bird fell apart on it's own, right onto the plates which were heavy with potato salad and beans.

The sun was completely gone and the night was chilling to about 65 degrees F. Good thing we had a toasty fire. Why, there was talk of the possibility of Northern Lights! How cool would that be?

Tom brought out the only form of entertainment; A portable AM/FM radio powered by batteries, which looked about thirty years old. We tuned in 103.3 FM which is a country station out of Marquette. Some DJ named Elmer Aho was coming on (The Students of Northern Michigan University absolutely LOVE this guy!). Here is a wonderful tribute to the Elmer Aho show.

Elmer was a country singer in the 50's and 60's who had put out one album of his music. Elmer hosts the old country classics phone in show, and he will give long winded shout-outs to whomever calls. Then he plays your request (or not, depending if he remembers to do it) but the guy is a gem. About every half hour, he claims that someone requested one of his own songs for play. Another endearing quality of Elmer Aho is that he either forgets to play a request or plays another related song. For instance, someone requested Johnny Cash and June Carter's rendition of "Jackson". (Cool song and all) But after Elmer announced "Jackson", we were treated instead to the tune sang by Johnny Cash called, "Sunday Morning Coming Down".  Not exactly a funtime song, but it'll do, I suppose.

Hi-larious! And the night was still young... Elmer Aho is Yooper Gold!

The spousal unit called him and asked for a song, and Elmer asked where she was. She told him we were from Florida and enjoying the Indian Summer at the Snake Camp in the Keweenaw. "Could you play some Lefty, maybe 'Saginaw'?"

Elmer was pleased to do so and he spent about five minutes giving the visitors from Florida a proper UP welcome, and so forth.

We whooped and hollered like little kids, I'll tell ya!

Then we settled in for some Camp Pies. This was my first camp pie, it is two pieces of white bread that have been buttered on one side, pie filling placed between the slices and then you place the pie in an iron device which goes directly into the fire for toasting. After counting a few 'mississippi's' or 'potatoes', you open the iron and eat the hot pie.

Goes well with PBR, Well, not really. The pie was good but the sugar rush made me slow down the beer intake. That and we ran out of beer.

Soooo, we watched as the moon rose and enjoyed the quiet night, with old country classics in the background on that old radio. Did I mention that ELMER Rocks?

Tom decided he needed to fire up the sauna, anyone want to join him? There is no shower at the camp, you use the sauna and towel off. In the Winter (Which lasts from end of September to June) you might roast in the sauna for a bit, then jump into a snow bank to close your pores.

Well, hmmph. It ain't cold enough to really enjoy a hot box and I didn't feel like getting sweaty.

So I wandered back and went to bed in the camphouse. It was a great night with the Spousal Unit's family.

About five the next morning, I awoke in the usual manner, needing to make a trip to the outside to use the facilities. I found an appropriate bush and stood there admiring the clear dark sky, looking for the familiar navigational stars to re-orientate myself to North and South. I walked around to the front of the cabin and stood in the little meadow, observing the beauty of the moment, seeing the heat rising from the untended campfire, which would come alight if we would only brush aside some ash and add some kindling.

Yep, there's old Orion the Hunter, heading inexorably Westward...

Pretty quiet out here. Calm, no wind. Just me and the silence. And Bears.

Really? Bears???

I'm standing in an open space, wearing a t-shirt and skivvies, lolly-gagging around, eyeballing the stars and I just remember that Bears! also frequent this camp?

I quickly begin moving towards the camphouse and slink back inside. I creak my way back to bed and catch another ten minutes of shuteye before Sue gets up and makes coffee for us all.

After coffee, Tom and I get the fish killing sticks and head to the "crick" in search of Speckies. Before we leave the house, Tom hands me the Taurus .357 which is loaded with magnums. Since I had a belt on my trousers, he reasoned, I could wear the holstered pistol.

"Why do I need to carry the pistol? Oh. Bears. I remember." "I guess it's because I can be trusted to hit the target, right?" I snickered.

Tom made a face and we left into the cool morning, brushing aside wet branches as we made our trek to the fishing hole.

We caught about five very small speckies, which we tossed back. After fishing we returned to camp, picked up the trash and went back to Mohawk for brekkies at the house.

I got a glimpse of Tom's daughter's convertible college conveyance.

Is there was a crankstarter in front?

Which car belongs to the student?

Glad to see the Spousal Unit has some sort of positive influence on her niece. Convertible cars are a taste that runs in her family, I suppose. Niece says her car goes from 0-60 in five miles.


We had some waffles and more coffee, then it was time to say goodbye to everyone, Tom was leaving for work and had to be there in an hour. SO we packed our gear and headed out on U.S. 41 for Traverse City. An eight hour journey...

Driving along Lake Superior on a beautiful Michigan day

My presence here has been spotty, I know. We have been quite busy this past week and hope to be on the blog a bit more in the next week, and for now on. The Spousal Unit is traveling up North today to be with family and I have a big State licensing test on Tuesday, so there will be a great cramming this weekend along with some other fun stuff. Oh, and a chili cook off at the Yacht Club. I have the pot of the Spousal Unit's Dos Carne/Frijole chili which will be entered tonight.

Also, today is my final day at the J.O.B.; I wish everyone there luck and good fortune for the future, and thanks everyone, for tolerating me for the past six and a half years.

I'm outta here!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.


Ken n Cheryl said...

Last day at your job ... congratulations! Sounds like the weekends will be a lot longer now! This post really makes me want to go camping soon .. perfect weather for here in Louisiana. Not too hold or cold. That chicken recipe sounds great. We'll have to try it, along with those pies!

Buck said...

So, what's after the Last Day? A new jobbie-thang? Or a life of indolence and sloth (which I can highly recommend)?

Lots to like about this post and it brings back memories of Former Happy Days when TSMP and I used to journey north from Dee-troit during the summer. There really is NOTHING like a gorgeous summer day in Michigan.