Having spent the better portion of a week in our favorite UP location, Grand Marais, we sorted out a plan for our time here that would allow us to participate in the local Thursday afternoon informal event as well as the big Saturday downtown market back in Marquette. The challenge is that we need to be at the latter no later than 8:15 AM, and it is a two hour drive each way from Grand Marais. We aren’t morning people, dawn doesn’t break until after 7 or so, and we just didn’t want to have such a long day. Our solution was to secure a Marquette hotel for Friday night using our still hefty stash of reward points.
So Friday afternoon saw us loaded up and headed to Country Inn & Suites where we could enjoy the heated pool and hot tub, luxuriate in an actual bathtub, treat ourselves to an affordable restaurant (Hong Kong Buffet in this case,) and not have to worry about getting up before dawn to make the market. This plan was doubly efficient because we expended points from a program that has been a bit challenging to effectively use in the past.
We also stumbled across yet another casino on the way to Marquette, so free soda and about $5 in profit from their new member sign up promotion made the day that much better. I have lost count of how many casino’s we have visited, but it has to be more than a dozen by now, almost all of which provided us a bit of extra funds due to our disciplined gambling with only house money. I figure we have almost paid for that stolen generator by now.
As pop-in vendors rather than full season participants, our particular spot at the market is subject to availability, but market manager Myra has been very proactive in getting us assigned and aware of our general location before we arrive. We set up in our spot, enjoying excellent weather and a reasonably steady stream of customers. The day was not as completely fantastic as the previous week’s record breaking sale, but we were more than happy with the final result.
As I mentioned last post, Downtown Marquette Market coordinates with the local food co-op to conduct healthy food demonstrations, and this week it was delicious and rather unique spring rolls, with 90% of the ingredients purchased from the farmers at the market that very morning, along with a few things from the co-op itself. The rice sheet wrapped rolls were so popular that getting a sample could be contentious, with two rather rude people stepping in front of those that had waited longer and trying to take twice the allotment. Thankfully the vast majority of the people here were better behaved.
After the market we took advantage of being in “the big city” to visit the local big grocery chain, a Wal-Mart, and the Goodwill thrift store before making the drive back to Grand Marais, with a quick stop at the Ojibwa Casino to enter the weekly NFL drawing and grab a complementary soda.
Once back in Grand Marais we settled in for another week, including another Thursday market (which continues to provide surprisingly consistent sales results and interesting additions to our cupboard) and a dinner out with our friends Nancy and Bruce, whom we had met in Whidbey Island and had made the trek here before they turned south for Ohio.
During longer stays like this we try to be productive, Rosemarie steadily producing an abundant supply of jewelry while we both take care of other necessary tasks. During a nice spell of weather I took on the front of the bus, the paint having become heavily oxidized and bug embedded. Through the miracle of rubbing compound, followed by polishing compound and then sealed with wax, I was able to get things back to nice, if not brilliant conditions.
We plan on running our Friday hotel/Saturday Marquette Market venture again the following week, but with some modifications to make it that much more enjoyable and efficient. Despite our hope that the manufacturer would get it here quicker, our refrigerator delivery is still estimated for early October, so we are making plans to continue the routine in some form until then.
This, of course, means we are pushing our luck with regard to the weather. So far we have enjoyed a pretty good run: lots of warm sunny days, some overcast but otherwise perfectly fine ones, a few socked-in foggy days, and a couple with drizzle to heavy wind and rain. Furthermore, all five of our market days have been quite good, no rain and but one challenging event with heavy wind gusts.
What we have not had is an early cold spell, which we are hoping to avoid as we are not cold weather people and would worry about not properly winterizing Serenity and thus sustaining possible water line damage. Last year we had already left the UP by this time, so considering we will be here until around October 8, we are taking a risk. We’ll keep an eye on it and modify as needed, but right now we are just hoping for tolerable weather the rest of our stay.