heard of clouds of mosquitos but the cliche meant nothing to me until I
saw the vertical column swarming above the hood of my idling car.
Like the pillar of fire and smoke which led Israel out of Egypt, the mosquitoes
seems to indicate I should follow them. Mosquitoes, however, are
neither fire or smoke nor regarded as harbingers of good fortune.
So, I waited for the highway signal person to motion me through the construction
zone and away from the circling horde.
The mosquitoes, if they were guides from above,
missed their cue by 9 hours and 400 miles - or maybe not.
was scheduled to be a 420 mile, six hour journey from Duluth to Saint Ignace,
Michigan. I climbed in the MINI at ten o'clock and figured my arrival
around five or six. Nine and one half hours later I was idling in
traffic while blood thirsty insects circled my car.
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan extends eastward
between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Deeply forested lakeshores
are dotted with tiny towns. Clearly intended to provide accommodation
to winter skiers and summer travelers, the towns are largely empty.
The tiny motels are closed and many are for sale; a few lonely cafes await
the unlucky tourist. Between these small towns, either waiting for
summer or decay, the states of Michigan and Wisconsin are engaged in large
scale highway renovation.
I'm not slowing down to pass through empty towns, I'm waiting for highway
workers or creeping through partially repaired roadways. Miles and
hours creep by. The Upper Peninsula is beautiful and would be more
so at a speed greater than thirty five miles per hour.
Nine and one half hours after leaving Duluth,
I round the final corner to Saint Ignace. My hotel is just six blocks
away and I'm looking forward to getting out of the car. One last
time, I'm stopped by construction. This time, Saint Ignace has taken
to ripping apart the main thoroughfare and I'm stuck waiting a quarter
hour while the blond flag person flirts with a policeperson - both ignoring
the traffic piling up behind their government employee romance. The mosquitoes
descend and swirl in columns above the engines of idling vehicles.
Half inch long mosquitoes with furry antennae cover my windshield and sniff
around the vents of the car.
may have had 40 years to wander the desert. I, however, have to be
back to work in significantly less time. The Israelites would have
had less patience too, had they grown up in the age of the Internet.
They'd also have had a nifty 7-plague video game called "Pharaoh."
Thirty minutes and a can of Off later, the mosquitoes are vanquished and
I've reached my hotel.
From the balcony of my room I can see Mackinaw
after liberally applying mosquito repellant to the exposed areas of my
body, I will take a journey to explore the island. In the interim,
I will sleep and hope not to dream of insects wearing orange vests.