Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lunch on Lake Erie

Today we woke up in Ann Arbor and played on the grass outside of our room for a while. We met a few people who are big fans of dogs and especially pit bulls. River made a lot of friends that morning, as he was being particularly playful and sociable. I think he liked the idea of having a big lawn right outside the room door.

We headed to the local farmers market, which I found out was on Wednesday mornings. It was a nice one, and I got a few things before I found out that dogs weren't allowed. :(  So we had to cut our shopping spree short.

So we got in the car and headed east. What I typically do is look on the map and find a city that has a park near the shore of the lake I'm interested in, and then I set my GPS to navigate us toward that city. Once I'm near the lake, I zoom in and look at which streets go closest to the shore and especially those streets with a park.
A bridge on the highway leading into Cleveland

Driving into Ohio, I was struck by how industrial it is. There are signs on many of the highway exits saying "No H.M." which I assume means No Hazardous Materials.






I thought, "Wow, it's such a common occurrence that they not only need a sign to prevent it, but they can get away with using a colloquial lingo on the street sign."

The first attempt at getting to Lake Erie was a fail. I landed on a long stretch of private property. The shore views were great, but once again, as was the case with Lake Huron, I could only catch fleeting glimpses of the lake in between houses as we drove by.  That wasn't good enough.

So I stopped a man I saw walking his dog. I figured he was a local so I asked him about the nearest beach access and he pointed me to a bird refuge called Crane Creek. He said we couldn't swim in the water, but that we could go on the beach. That was all I wanted. Well, I did want to get my feet wet, but that's not 'swimming' now, is it?

So we headed to Crane Creek.  The video is some of the drive we took from the highway to the lake. Driving through the bird refuge was pretty. And River seemed really interested in what was out there. If you'll notice in the first part of the video, as is typical for him, he's casually looking out the window or looking through the windshield. But when we get inside the bird refuge, he stuck his nose out the window and was visibly anticipating getting out of the car and exploring further.

I also took a shot of my GPS, which shows that we're following a road that seems to end just feet from the shore of the lake. I thought it was interesting that we were so close to the lake, but if we didn't know it was there, we could never tell.

So we stopped and had lunch on the shore. We both got our feet wet, but didn't spend any time really frolicking in the water as we sometimes do.
Lunch on the shore of Lake Erie

After lunch we had just enough time to get to the motel room, check in, and get ready for Nia class.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but the practice of teaching Nia classes like I do, all over the country is surreal. I walk into a strange place, set up River's crate and teach class to a room full of people I've never met before. And then I break down the cage and leave town. The feeling is hard to describe, but it very often feels like it's not real because it is so strange and mostly effortless. Much gratitude goes to my producers who might take umbrage to the term "effortless" but from my perspective, I really just walk into an unfamiliar place and do my thing and leave.

Having said that, I must say that tonight's class was even more so than most. Angela Huang was my producer and she is certainly a woman of few words and zero Facebook presence. Even her internet presence was mysterious because I was able to open her website once, but whenever I went back, I got a notice saying that there was a security problem and I was being blocked for my protection. (Thanks Apple).

So today, not having heard a word from Angela since months ago when we set up this gig, I just show up at the address I was given. It seemed to be a home. But I did see the Nia logo out front, so I figured I was in the right place. No one was around yet, as I was half an hour early.

But the doubts started creeping in. I double checked my time and date and address; all correct. I had no phone number, so River and I just practiced our obedience skills in the driveway.

Eventually the students started showing up and informed me that the studio was in the back.

It was a great class. There were many Nia teachers in the class and the students were mostly all very familiar with the practice. This makes teaching it such a breeze. Before I knew it, the class was over and the 20 or so new friends I had just made began to disperse. They invited me to come back, and there was even a comment about when I planned to relocate to Ohio.

After class, a few of us hung around in the lobby of the studio and chatted. Angela brought out some homemade chocolate which was incredible; made with raw cocoa and coconut oil. They were telling me about how I shouldn't miss seeing the Metro Parks. I hadn't seen any, but they seemed really proud of them, so I will see if I can squeeze in a visit to one while I'm here. 

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