RoadTrip America

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The Phoenix One Journals      Stories from the dawn of RoadTrip America

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Montreal, Quebec
November 24, 1994


Picnic tables propped up against trees and the delicious aroma of burning leaves made it clear that winter was on its way to Gages Lake, Illinois, where we stayed briefly after leaving Chicago. Heading North, we skirted the edge of Lake Michigan and spent three restful days at the home of Tom Rademan in St. Francis, Wisconsin. Marvin enjoyed the chance to run freely as we explored the fields near Tom's house. Hearing the fog horns off the lake at night reminded me of the Pacific coast and our once and future home.

On the morning of November fifth, we drove to a farm in southeastern Wisconsin to meet "Miracle," the white buffalo calf that has attracted national attention as the symbol for Native Americans of the dawn of a new age of world peace. Our friend Paul Bethe had located Miracle's whereabouts and knew the territory, and we joined him and his parents and aunt for the trip. Even though Miracle's home was just a simple pasture, and Miracle herself is just a buffalo calf, we stood in the pouring rain and marveled at the sense of wonder reflected in the faces of the people who had gathered there. The electrified fence around the pasture was covered with offerings -- feathers, stones, weavings, beads, tobacco, even poetry and photographs. It was an experience I had not expected.

After a peaceful night at the home of Noel and Laverne Bethe, Paul's parents, in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, we traveled to Lafayette and then on to a Yogi Bear Jellystone Park campground at Peru, Indiana. Near Peru, we passed Mexico, Texas, and Chili. See the world! Go to Indiana! Pleasant Acres Camp Lord Willing (!) near Monroe, Michigan, turned out to be Marvin's fantasy come true. Dozens of bunnies hopped freely about, along with hundreds of ducks and other birds. All of them steadfastly ignored him, but Marvin stayed in a state of perpetual excitement. He never went to sleep, and probably never would have, but we were only there one night.

Megan showed her true colors as a billiards shark while we were guests of Craig Smith & Susan Howson in Toronto, Ontario. We'd met Craig and Susan on our Alaskan odyssey, and it was delightful to see them again on the other side of the continent. We enjoyed a memorable meal in an Ethiopian cafe in addition to pretending we could shoot pool. On our way east from Toronto, we shared a delicious lunch, complete with home-made beer and home-made bread, at the lakeside home of Marilyn & Lloyd Smith, Craig's parents, near Brockville, Ontario. That afternoon, we arrived in Montreal, where François Souchay is a superb host and wonderful friend.

My Grandmother, Gert Hageman, has begun her tenth decade on this earth, and I am looking forward to spending the Christmas holidays with her. Marvin and I will leave for the winter plains of Wyoming in early December. Later in the new year the three M's plan to explore the southeastern section of the United States.


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