Road Blog: Saturday March 26, 2022 - Marquette, MI
March 26, 2022
Saturday was definitely a chill day for us after a long, stressful Friday. I was up early, as always, around 8am, drinking coffee and working on the blog. The boys slept in `till well after noon but eventually rose from the dead. Jacob and I showered (I mean, not together, but…) and headed out in the van to hit the town. It’s Jake’s first time in Marquette so I wanted to show him some sights. It was freezing cold with a bitter wind and snow squalls, which sucked, but also felt oddly appropriate. We started right back at Ore Dock Brewing Company where we checked out Jon and Geoff’s pop-up record store. It’s difficult to browse when it’s approaching showtime so I was glad to get in there as a civilian early on. I picked up a Dokken record (which didn’t surprise Geoff at all) and we headed out. Next stop was a local coffee joint for lattes, then a drive along the lake where giant, angry waves crashed violently into frozen ice mountains and exploded along the shore.
From there we went to the Northern Michigan University library, where I’ve wanted to stop for years on my quest to put a date on a The Romantics concert I saw at NMU in 1986 (or was it `87?). Steve has been a big help in filling in some gaps in my attended concerts database, but this one has eluded us both. I was so proud of myself for finally dragging my ass in there, especially on a frozen, hungover Saturday, and Jake loves anything to do with books so he didn’t mind, but they couldn’t help us, directing us instead to NMU Archives, who are only open during the week. Blast it! That’ll be my next stop.
We headed up Third Street to another favorite haunt – Blackrocks Brewery – where we got a couple pints and chatted it up with the bartender. I was bummed to miss David Manson and there was no Andy Gregg sighting (till later at the ODBC), but I do love Blackrocks and my own personal mug and it’s a must stop, even if only for one. They’ve expanded since I was last there and the new room has a cool little stage and a gift shop and a lot more space to hang out. We coordinated with Gabriel and sent our food order over to Border Grill, stopping for a quick visit with pal Mike who’s now working at Snowbound Books, a Marquette institution that has been around forever.
Back at the AirBB we gulped down our UP-Mexi food and chilled out for a couple hours before it was time to head out to the show. Load-in at the Ore Dock Brewing Company was a breeze because we’d kept our amps and drums there from the show on Friday. We got there a bit early so I could make a couple adjustments to my rig but there was a baby shower happening in the band room and it just didn’t seem appropriate to dial in my phaser while that was going on, so I chatted with Jon Teichman for a while about the old SlugBug days, Dave Miller from Red Eye Growler, the current state of rock and roll and a few other topics too. He’s a great guy and I feel like we could go on forever if we could come up with a couple spare hours. Eventually I was able to dial in my rig and we started right on time. The crowd was a bit thin at first, and thinned out again towards last call, but just like Friday we had a good, attentive, and appreciative room for most of the set. We sold a bunch of merch, saw a bunch of new faces – again a few I haven’t seen in decades – and had a great time. We wanted to try a couple of our slower numbers but it was quickly apparent that the audience was more into the fast stuff, so that was a bit more fun.
After last-call and load out, around an early 11:30pm, we headed over to a roadhouse called Breakers Roadhouse for the after-party. We had a good crew there, a few rounds, and called it a night somewhere just short of 2am. Back at the AirBB we heated up some righteous pasties that Jake and I picked up from Jean Kays Pasties Shoppe earlier in the afternoon for just this occasion, and crashed out.
I rolled over around 7:45am, not sure exactly where I was, and collected my wits. I called TrooperGirl22 and got caught up on her Saturday adventures and she got caught up on mine and I said “See ya around 6 tonight.” I made some coffee and did the nasty pastie dishes while Gabe regained consciousness and we prodded Jake to get moving.
We headed out of Marquette at 10am and onto M28 towards Munising in basically whiteout conditions that just got worse as we skirted the southern shore of Lake Superior. It was treacherous, but not unexpected for the UP, so I slowed down a bit and white-knuckled onward. As we approached Au Train, about 25 minutes out of Marquette, a snowplow pulled out in front of us and stopped. We were the second of about 6 cars and found it an odd thing to do. The driver stepped out onto the running board of his truck and waved to the left, which all of the cars in our little convoy interpreted as: pass on the right, like he broke down or something.
So we passed on the right and continued heading east towards Munising. About 10 miles later we came to Christmas, Michigan (yes, Michigan has a little town called Christmas and both Santa and Mrs. Claus have shops there) and there was an emergency vehicle and a pickup truck blocking the road. A Jake Gyllenhaal looking dude in a fireman’s coat and ski glasses went from car to car explaining that the road was closed because of the snow squalls, and we’d have to go back to Au Train, head south through the Hiawatha National Forest, and come back out on 28 on the other side of Munising. Turns out that plow driver was signaling for us to go left on that road, not go around his plow awkwardly parked in the middle of a highway in a whiteout blizzard on the left side. Also turns out we were a couple measly minutes too late to getting through. One by one we turned around and back to Au Train, through Forest Lake, and back up to the highway. It set us back about 45 minutes, but seems par for the course after Friday’s bridge debacle, so we just pressed on. It was beautiful country and the distance from the lake meant better conditions, but we were disappointed to lose the time.
The rest of the ride was uneventful except for the persistent crappy weather; high wind gusts and constant snow squalls, until we got south of the bridge when it was blue skies and still crazy wind. We still managed to make it home in 7 ½ hours, which is respectable from Marquette in the best conditions without a detour, so no complaints (other than a $90 fill up in Indian River). We unloaded the gear as we’re taking a short break before our April shows, and the boys went home.
This run wasn’t without it’s calamities and debacles, but it was fun and really great to get back to Traverse City and Marquette. I’m overwhelmed with all the people I saw and connected and reconnected with, and we were treated fantastically by everyone at both venues. HUGE thanks especially to all my friends who came out and everyone who bought a record or a drink or just listened. See ya in April down south! Xx
PS – These blogs going back to the start in 2013 are now permanently archived at https://www.blog.jeremyportermusic.com/ and linked to the past shows database on our website www.thetucos.com if you’re ever looking for a rabbit hole to go down. It’s up to date through February and will be regularly updated.