Day 12: RV Maintenance Man, More Polar Plunges, and the Mineral Museum

My buddy Jeff recently asked his father-in-law and brother-in-law if their RVs had ever been problem free because they were always fixing something. Their answer: “When we drove it off the lot.”

All the big stuff on the RV, has been great. However, there is a steady stream of little things that require attention. The windshield washer jets stopped working, which required pulling the battery tray and washer fluid tank to access the pump. When I put a tiny bit of pressure on Will’s clothing drawer, I broke the frail plastic support that held the track in place. After repairing the track, the drawer remained a projectile on any turn faster than 5 mph so I had to install a wheel roller latch to keep it in place. The dump hose for the sewer sprung a leak at Knoebels. Monday morning was maintenance man day.

Fixing the little problems is oddly rewarding on the road trip. On a trip with only two goals — enjoy every day and return to a life that feels normal/pre-pandemic — accomplishing some little tangible thing is satisfying. It reminds me of a book, Shop Class as Soulcraft, that highly recommend. It was written by a guy, Matthew Crawford, who was in grad school at Chicago at the same time I was. After working at a Washington think tank after grad school, he decided to open up his own vintage motorcycle repair shop. The book is about the intellectual complexity and rewards of skilled manual labor and how its rewards are greater than many, even high status, white collar jobs offer. It is argument that resonated more and more strongly with me as my career writing academic articles only read by a small number of specialist progressed.

It was much cooler day than the last few days. In the morning, I don’t think that the mercury touched 70 degrees. That didn’t stop the Wagmiller boys from hitting the beach and swimming in the lake again. Will again was first in the water. We had a fun but chilly swim. The boys were shivering the second they hit land.

After a hot shower, we headed out for lunch. We went to the Ambassador, a restaurant with original wall paintings that pre-dated prohibition. Jenny got adventurous and ordered their most “famous” dish according to the college-student waitress, tostada pizza. It probably is not a great idea to order a tostada pizza from a place where the original owners had likely never heard of or uttered the word tostadas. I was never so glad to be on the keto diet. The pizza looked as disgusting as you might have expect, and as an added touch came on one of those cardboard circles that almost universally are found at bottom of a frozen pizza.

After lunch and a trip to a great mineral museum at Michigan Technological University, we headed to Great Sand Bay for a final chilly swim in Lake Superior. The boys enjoyed jumping in the ocean-like waves stirred up by the cold wind.

Before going to sleep, the boys enjoyed a last sunset with Jenny in the UP. Tomorrow Jenny flies home, but it has been a great trip to the UP. We will definitely be back.

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