Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Everywhere Signs

Here’s what I love about Northern Michigan: Signs.

This appeared a few years ago on the route to one of my normal race destinations. I know what you are thinking. How do they get the bears to cross the highway within those same five miles? Dunno but it sure is a neat trick. I like to stand just in front of the sign wearing nothing but a slathering of honey and my shame (and my Garmin, for obvious reasons). There’s nothing that the sign-following bears can do about it right. Right? Stupid bears.

For the record, I’ve never seen any bears along this stretch of road but I have seen a few mobile homes with stick built makeshift roofs over top. Classy. And so far, the record for number of rusty pick-up trucks parked in the gravel drive of a mobile home with a makeshift roof is…9. C’mon Northern Michigan, you can do better than that! This is the land where “You Can Have My Gun When You Pry It From My Cold Dead Fingers” bumper stickers are as prevalent as Southerners and their “South Will Rise Again” stickers. And speaking of the South…

It’s been a hectic few weeks. Last you knew, I was heading to Florida – in August – for more R & R. This was resoundingly accomplished. Didn’t you get Mrs. Nitmos’ Facebook update titled Patron, Bitches! sometime on August 22nd? Well maybe you should be friendlier to Mrs. Nitmos so you can be Friended to receive updates such as Patron, Bitches! as well as photo evidence of me playing pool volleyball while floating horseback style astride two partial weight-bearing water noodles after several shots and a few Heinekens. Tequila, pool, water noodles, midnight volleyball = advantage Nitmos! You won't find that picture here.

I wish I could share more of my vacation with you but our cameras are now “evidence” and our accompanying friends are now termed “material witnesses”. On advice from council, that’s all I’ll say about Florida other than…how in the hell do you southern folk run in that heat?? I managed three runs in the easy, vacation-friendly 3-4 mile range and worked up enough sweat to match a 15 miler here in mild Michigan. Holy suffocation, David Carradine! I didn’t think “heat” should have a consistency and flavor. My sweat beads dried up while ejecting half way down my torso…due to dehydration. Maybe I don’t feel so bad now when I have to dress up like a Sherpa just to get a few January miles in.

Over Labor Day, Mrs. Nitmos (bike) and I (legs) took in 14 wonderful miles along a scenic rails-to-trails path in Northern Michigan. There’s something pleasant and reinvigorating about a run through the quiet countryside. At least, there is until you come upon this scene:

I don’t want to know who sits in that chair watching the runners…and his bird friends. Feel free to hum the standard Deliverance ass-rape banjo accompaniment to yourself. If that seems like a good place for a fartlek…it was.

And since our Northern Michiganders are so sign conscious, they had the foresight to warn us that some tractors might be working in the area as well here:

And here:
Also here:
Like the bears, I also didn’t see any actual tractors either. And that’s what scares me. If someone is taking the trouble to post these signs, that means the threat is in the area somewhere. So…where are the bears? Where are the tractors? And, praise jeebus, where in the hell is the guy that sits in that yard armchair?

Soo-ee! Oink-oink.

Happy trails.
Any mention of "signs" brings out my favorite: Who’s the jerk that likes to make fun of slow kids by posting signs rather than taking them to the track for some much needed speed work (apparently)? Oh, that was me.


The Sean said...

It's worth pointing out that "true" southerners surely don't recognize Floridians as part of "the south"... regardless of the flag they fly. They have a distinction all their own.


Jamoosh said...

I want to know how they get the bears to cross the road in a perfectly straight line. Nature, I'll never understand it.

BrianFlash said...

I saw tractor crossing signs while in Switzerland a few years ago. But they featured a cartoonish tractor and happy farmer.

Great post as always.

David said...

You have a whole council to give you advice? Wow. it must have been some party.

According to the dew point table in "Running Times" I shouldn't have run any time between May and last week since the dew point almost NEVER dropped below 65F. So, yeah, enjoy your blizzards.

Al's CL Reviews said...

Liking the signs.

The heat/humidity just sucks. That's about all that you can say about running outside in the South from April to November (with 2 or 3 nice runs thrown in).

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

Hey, that's MY mobile home and chair. What's wrong with it!

Danielle in Iowa in Seattle said...

Maybe the bears and the tractors had an epic battle that left no bear or tractor standing?

Jill said...

I've spent a lot of time along M22, never saw any arm chairs like that! Lucky you!

Elizabeth said...

chuckled at this post. I know all about Deliverance-ish back woods. Being a northern Florida native, I was raised to call the Civil War the "War Between the States" and to never forgive Sherman for burning Atlanta. So I appreciated Sean's comment above, because imagine my surprise, while attending college in NC, when every single person I met told me I wasn't a real Southerner because I was from Florida. My offense was so great that I said screw the south, and I moved to PA where I can enjoy running 9 months out of the year instead of 3 months.

Deb said...

I saw a bear sign EXACTLY like that one when we went to Gaylord, MI. It made me run faster, because bear attacks? Not much fun.

Lisa said...

apparently the bears are smarter in those parts than out here - they must be able to read!