2023 Michigan trip

Day 4

May 21

99% of the time Donna is up before I am. She will sit outside, smoke a cigarette, and talk to her sister. Today was no different. She and Buford sat in the Sequoia since it was a little chilly.

There was a little extra excitement this morning. One of the people a few doors down had a minor medical emergency. Ambulances hold a special place for Donna and I. She was an ambulance dispatcher for several years and I worked parttime at the same ambulance service for over 20 years. That is how we met.

On my soapbox for a moment...the guy called an ambulance because he was detoxing. A medical emergency? No. But an ambulance was taken out of service anyway. Ambulances (and fire departments) across the country are being strained to the limit and facing serious staffing issues due to the staggering amount of non-emergency EMS calls. Our county is often out of ambulances due to being tied up on non-emergency runs. Some of the calls are utterly ridiculous. "My foot hurts". "My back hurts". "My wrist is sore". "I need a ride to the hospital". It is my personal opinion most of this is due to an overabundance of Obamacare, Medicaid, and laziness. One of the reasons I resigned from the ambulance service in 2015 was I was tired of all the nonsense. Being forced to write legitimized run reports for illegitimate runs. Soapbox off....

Bay City, MI. 10:55, mileage 111,059 - We weren't in any great hurry to leave. When I was planning today's route I wasn't able to locate any antique stores along the route. We had all day to drive 187 miles. We fueled up at a Speedway before getting on US10. We got 16.5 mpg on this fillup. I'm not complaining, and that was the worst mileage of the trip.

As we were cruising down the highway the idea of looking at Goodwill stores was brought up. Good idea. They are everywhere and sometimes you find something nice. I like to look for Dell monitors. Donna looks for clothes and crafty things.

A GPS search showed one in Mount Pleasant so we plotted a course. When we reached the plotted location there was no Goodwill. Unfortunately, this is too common when using the Garmin map data. A Google map search showed it being farther down the road...and it was. It's too bad the GPS can't interface with Google maps. We picked up something for my mom here. The next Goodwill in the area was in Big Rapids so we headed that way.

I have an app on my phone that allows me to hear our fire runs. The radio rebroadcast the phone receives isn't always the best quality. As we were driving through Big Rapids the app alerted. Through the crappy audio I could make out an address. Sh!t...it was my parent's address. The haunting fear that lurks in the back of minds of EMS/fire/police personnel is responding to family or friends.

Just as the dispatch ended Donna's phone rang. It was my sister. She had went to my parent's house and my dad was having some medical issues. He has been dealing with chest congestion (it ended up being pneumonia) and it had finally weakened him to the point he couldn't get up, and neither my mom or sister could get him up. Normally my brother or I would tend to him, but my brother was working and I was in Michigan, so my sister called an ambulance. The fire departments in our county also respond to assist the ambulances...hence the dispatch I received. I was concerned but not alarmed.

My dad is 82 years old. Several times over the past few years he has overexerted himself or had pnuemonia. At his age his body doesn't recover well on his diet of coffee and cigarettes and he gets weak to the point of falling down. My mom is 83 and can't lift him up. Normally, one of us boys lectures him into going to the hospital and helps get him in the car. At the hospital he gets fluids and treatment and in a few days is back to his old, stubborn self.

The Goodwill store we were looking for was nowhere to be found, so we headed south on US131 to our destination of Holland. If need be we could keep going back to Indiana.

We stopped at a rest area near Rockford. I called mom to check on things. She was a lot calmer than my sister. She said it was nothing that hadn't happened before. He was now getting treated. I told her to keep me informed.

We took Buford for a stroll. It felt good to stretch our legs.

Buford loves to hunt moles. He has already killed two at our house so far this year. Last year he killed a dozen. He didn't get any today but he tried. I love his enthusiasm. He snorts like a hog and throws the dirt. I follow him and push the dirt back in the holes.

As we drove through Grand Rapids we saw this huge castle-like structure. I found out later it is a 522-unit apartment building...the Grand Castle Apartments.

On the outskirts of Holland we stopped at the Paw Paw Park. It is a combination dog park and frisbee golf park. Buford was excited to go for a walk.

This bridge...

...crosses a relaxing stream.

Donna found a frisbee in some taller grass. We tried our hand at it. We both sucked. Donna left the frisbee at the park in case the owner came looking for it.

In Holland we stayed at the Economy Inn, room 127. It was a nice place. Modern rooms with wood floors. They had a nightly fee for pets plus a damage deposit.

Donna has been wanting some mexican food. She would also like to sit outside and bring Buford. She called Taqueria Vallarta. They had outdoor seating and were pet friendly so we went there. For a long time we were the only ones outside.

There were a lot of railroad tracks in the area and an occasional train horn teased me...but no trains that we saw.

I got a steak & chicken chimichanga. It was awesome. The best mexican food I've had has been in Michigan. Donna got the polo meal she likes.

Back at the motel we took Buford for a walk. The entire area was fenced so we didn't leash him. A couple well-mannered kids asked to pet him. Buford has been a good ambassador.

Donna and Buford are snuggled in. They are probably dreaming of each other. Donna brings her own pillow and blanket with her on our trips.

Funny story. Donna had sent me a video of Buford playing with his squeaky toy from Petsmart. I was listening to it on the crapper. Buford heard it and thought I had his toy. He bumped the bathroom door open to look for it. Donna took a picture of him going to investigate. He's so silly.

187 miles.

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