I was out the door at 7, and barreling towards Warren to pick up our 15 passenger rental van. For those in the metro Detroit area you already know that 696 is like driving in a pin ball machine if you hit it anywhere close to rush hour. I was in the thick of it. Several hours later I was back in Pinckney with the white beast, and significantly less space for gear and folks then we thought. If they advertise luggage room for 5, that means roughly enough room behind the back seat for a folding table. So for the first Jaunt Graham and Keith followed in Grahams car up the U.P.
8 Hours of driving through steady rain to Marquette. This drive includes a bounce over the historic and beautiful Mackinaw Bridge. It’s a Michigan musician tradition to do 2 things when crossing the bridge: 1. Pay the toll of the next person behind you, 2. Listen to this song as you cross, which is perfectly timed for your journey. Unfortunately we didn’t have a disc, and the rental van came with specific warnings about self burned mix being used, with a hefty fine if a disc were to get lodged in the cd player permanently. So only the sound of iron grating against the tires and conversation took us across.
Once in the UP the landscape takes hold, and the roads cut down to 55. There are still no leaves on the trees in Michigan. The piney forests surround the highways up there, and a few days of rain has turned them dark. With no foliage your eyes can penetrate them for at least a few hundred feet, with the only splashes of color being the winter bleached leaves of young saplings who managed to grasp onto their leaves through the winter somehow. Those few leaves are bright white to dusty cream in color. They sort of quiver in the woods as you drive past. They seemed ghostly as they whipped by.
Up Front and Company was a blast, we were treated extremely well by the staff, and folks who came out, and Chris Moore… who wins the award for best sound man so far on the Salt Tour. We had some amazing versions of No Silver, and Cold Press Rail with the addition of Susan Fawcett on fiddle. Most fun versions of those songs yet on this tour.