In which Sarah and I travel to the coast of Lake Michigan, camp, swim, and visit lighthouses.
After a few minutes, Sarah (another of Jeremy's housemates) rushes in. She is pretty upset. Seems that she deleted some of her computer's files (``it looked so cluttered'' or some such) and it will no longer boot. Now, I have a sort of policy on dealing with friends' Windows machines: I don't. I don't use Windows myself and don't like to encourage other people to use it by fixing it when it breaks. But she looked so pitifully unhappy that she was liable to start crying into her drink at any moment. I decided to make an exception. ``It's all going to be okay...''
We all went back to their house to watch a movie (Almost Famous: good idea, but it drags on a bit). I lounged in the TV room for a moment, waiting for everyone to gather. Sarah came in and grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me upstairs to her room... to her computer. I looked at it and agreed that it was broken, and agreed to take a look at it the next day when I could bring some proper tools.
Monday: I went in to Michigan State campus for an appointment in the morning, then wandered over to the library after lunch and plugged in at one of the Ethernet-wired tables and stayed there until it was time for fencing practice. This is what I do pretty much every Monday and Wednesday, in order to get my bandwidth fix for the week (56 kbps doesn't cut it for upgrading Debian `unstable').
After fencing practice, I arrived at Bower House at about 8:30 pm to look at Sarah's computer. Fortunately it was a simple fix, even if it took a while (install Windows 98 over a broken Windows 95 setup, basically). Afterward she showed me some of her photographs, so I showed her some of mine from my website. As we looked at the sand castle pictures, she asked about Michigan beaches. After a little discussion, we decided to go on a camping trip out to Lake Michigan. She had the next few days off from work anyway.
We went out to my house and talked to my dad about the trip. We decided to go up to Silver Lake and hunted down things like tents and sleeping bags, then went back to Bower and made a list of all the things that we each would pack. We stopped at Meijer to buy some food. I got back home very late, did a load of laundry, packed, and got to bed about 4:45 am.
Tuesday: Woke up at 7:45, showered and packed some final things, and drove to Bower. Met Sarah there, moved all of my stuff into her car, and we left for Silver Lake by 9:00, stopping for breakfast. The drive took longer than it should have because we made a wrong turn at a highway junction (96 and 196 FWIW) and didn't realize it for a while.
We arrived in the town of Silver Lake about 12:30 or so and started looking for a campground. The state park campground was already filled up. We drove around for a long time looking for a cheap camp, eventually settling on Silver Hills Campground Resort (``Resort'' used loosely here), a few miles out of town. This one had the advantage of relative cheapness but the disadvantage of absolutely no shade. In the hellishly hot weather this latter was a problem.
We ate lunch (PB&J sandwiches and dried apricots), set up the tent, and drove to the beach. This beach is on Lake Michigan and it has Little Sable Point lighthouse on it. There's some more information on this beach on David Vander Velde's webpage (I don't know Dave, I found his page with Google). We swam there (it was wonderful) and built a sand castle.
We left the beach about 7:30 and went to get some dinner, then we went exploring a bit. Finally we went back to the beach to watch the sun set about 9:00. We sat and talked until 10:00 when the beach closed. We went back to the campsite, changed into pajamas, and slept. I slept uneasily on a leaky air mattress inside a too-warm sleeping bag.
Wednesday: We got up, showered, took down the tent, and packed everything up. We decided to leave today instead of tomorrow because of the hot-HOT-HOT! weather conditions. About 9:00, we drove into town, fueled up Sarah's car, and asked about local attractions besides the lighthouse and the beach. In the end it turned out that there weren't any nearby, but some farther north in Ludington.
In Ludington we found the state park without trouble, arriving about noon. This park is more impressive than the one at Silver Lake. There are bike trails, hiking trails, and more in addition to the lighthouse, beach, and campground. We walked along the beach for a couple of miles to get to the lighthouse. At the lighthouse we visited the gift shop and I paid $2.00 to walk up to the top. Sarah took some pictures of me at the top at my request.
We left the lighthouse around 1:30 pm and walked back along the beach to the parking lot. I bought lunch for myself at the beach house; Sarah wasn't hungry. We left for home a while later. While we were still in Ludington we stopped at the city park to take a look at another local lighthouse.
I suppose I could conclude here that the results of fixing Windows machines are not always entirely bad, but I'd really rather not.