Rural Life in the UP of Michigan Some stories about life on 160 rural acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

March 2, 2016

We’re Helpless

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 8:57 pm

This morning I was scheduled to bring our car in to the dealer in Hancock to get the passenger air bag replaced. It was minus 8 degrees when I left the house. Since the garage was relatively warm compared to the outside temperature, I didn’t think too much about the weather.

I got the car to the dealer just as they were opening up, so was first in line to get the work done. Since it was supposed to only take an hour, I decided to walk to a restaurant about 5 blocks away and have breakfast while I was waiting.

I do believe in having good gear. My jacket is a Canada Goose parka. The story goes that this parka is issued to the folks that work in the Antarctic. I had my hiking boots on, a chook hat, and insulated mittens. As I headed out into the minus 8 day, I noticed that the further I walked, the colder I got. Normally I warm up once my body’s furnace gets going, but this morning was different. Perhaps it was the exposed facial skin, but as I proceeded down the sidewalk, I began to feel a little uneasy.

At that time of the morning, Hancock Michigan is not hospitable to the general public. Nearly everything was closed. My face was cold. I was starting to think mushily. What if the restaurant is closed? What then? Will the post office be open? Will they let me stand in the lobby and warm up? What becomes of the people that have no place to go in weather like this?

The restaurant was open, I had a lovely breakfast on top of several cups of steaming hot coffee. By the time I’d paid the bill and stepped back outside, the world had changed. Either it had warmed up significantly, or the food in my belly gave me the additional fuel my furnace needed, or a combination of the two. In any case, the walk back to the car dealer was trivial. What a difference an hour can make.

As I drove home I thought about we humans and how soft we’ve become. All the forest creatures know what to do to survive in the elements, while we, with all our fancy gear, would be uncomfortable indeed if we were separated from our snug homes and cars. I do still think good gear is important.


  1. Imagine my surprise when I was reading the manual for the new snowmobile at work, and it said not to run it in temperatures less than -4°F!
    Properly geared, I can go 10+ miles by snomo when it’s -15°F… why can’t the sled do it?!?

    Comment by Mel — March 2, 2016 @ 10:05 pm

  2. It is probably for liability reasons. If someone dies of hypothermia on a sled, the manufacturer can claim the person rode in weather too cold for the machine. I admire your ability to stand the cold.

    Comment by Ted — March 2, 2016 @ 10:08 pm

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