She’s revved up for a rambling road trip

Wicked beer and the head lice.

So what, you ask, is that? Don’t ask. I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Just going along for the ride, minding my own business, nodding my head in time with the music, I hear this guy singing “wicked beer and the head lice.”

Well, of course, those weren’t the lyrics, but that’s what my ears heard. Wicked beer seemed OK, but head lice are another matter.

My friend Dawn and I took a recent road trip north. Lots of stops, lots of fun, lots of music. She didn’t even complain when I sang, and we all know my singing isn’t the best. But there I am, listening to country music through her Android smart phone, and Luke Bryan starts singing his latest, “Beer in the Headlights.” The line actually ends “looking so fine with your beer in the headlights.”

Much better than head lice.

We had such plans for our road trip. Well, I had such plans. This was going to be longer than the day we searched for haunted places in Messengerland. This was going to be six days, at least, to drive through the turning colors of the northland. Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. With maybe a quick jaunt into Canada.

My husband and I made such trips often, and I looked forward to seeing it all again.

Dawn, however, travels differently than we did. She drives until she’s tired of driving, then stops, no matter the hour. We miss few historical markers or museums. We often forget what makes us laugh so heartily, but neither can forget how uncontrollably vindictive her Garmin is. Why, that wicked woman had us going in circles. In one town of about 600 people, we drove about 10 miles of roads just to get in and out again.

Ms. Garmin refused to consider the urge to change direction to see a lighthouse along the shore of Lake Superior or to find a place to eat that couldn’t be found in so many other towns. She/it/the disembodied voice tried so hard to keep us in line.

If it is, as I suspect, a real person on the other end of Garmin cyberspace, the lady goes home once we’re parked for the night and complains bitterly about the nincompoops she tried to help.

Stillwater, Minn., is what, a five-hour drive from Dodge. We made it in two days. It took another two days to get Lutsen, Minn., about 60 miles shy of Canada. At Lutsen we stayed in a time share rental when brisk winds sent Lake Superior crashing against the shore a mere 25 feet from our back door.

What a wonderful night that was. And it had nothing to do with the chocolate chip cookies we baked or the buttered popcorn jelly bellies that kept jumping into my hand. It’s the kind of place you’d like to hole up in for months, listening to the crashing waves and doing little more than wondering what to do.

But you don’t have to do anything. Now, that’s a vacation.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at