Michigan Needs a Good Fight Song and Wisconsin Needs a Beer.

Dear Reader Jeanie was in charge of The Rock from Stromness (Orkney, Scotland) last month. GUESS WHERE Jeanie took our beloved rolling stone?

From its secret hiding place at The Orkney Fisherman’s Association last Summer, you Dear Readers have hosted The Rock through Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and, now, Ta-Da:

The Rock is in Michigan, The Great Lake State, the base from which the United States launched an invasion of Canada in 1813 which, sadly, we did not quite pull off. But that is why everyone agrees that Michigan is our most Canadian state, as reflected in its almost absurdly polite state motto: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you”.

The Rock, being Scottish, needed refreshments of a liquid nature so Jeanie took it, first, to a cider mill/Tiki Bar:

And then to a wine tasting:

And then, because drinking makes the Rock very thirsty, they went to the famous Miller Brewery in Milwaukee:

Quick: What’s the capitol of Michigan?

It’s Lansing, where Jeanie gave The Rock to a group of very Michigan protestors gathered around the capitol building. They get together every Wednesday afternoon for a little political activism and then they go to Marge’s house for cherry pie. Because they are CanadiaMichiganders. And none of their signs say, Fuck Trump.

Michigan’s unofficial state food is cherry pie. Michigan would make cherry pie its official state food, but Michiganders don’t want to hurt the feelings of the state’s official state flower, the apple blossom.

Apple Blossom be all like,  So, I’m good enough for the state flower but not good enough for the state food?? Apple pie, ever heard of it??? WTF?

No, CanadaMichiganders don’t want any hard feelings.

Since The Rock was in Lansing, it moseyed east, over to Michigan State University campus so take a wander through its 4-H Garden:

MSU is the nation’s pioneer land-grant university and has 50,000 students, known as Spartans. It is the biggest of The Big Ten universities, an athletic conference founded in 1895 which actually comprises 14 schools, mostly in the Mid-West. If you don’t like snowy winters or if you need an urban vibe for your college experience, do not go to a Big Ten university.

But if you like to be around people who know how to earn an A+ rating for their parties and academics, then you should put Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI at the top of your list.

Next, let’s go visit Lansing’s most famous native son:

Ransome Eli Olds was the son of a blacksmith and a dress-maker whose Curved Dash Oldsmobile (1901 – 1904) became the first mass-produced, low-priced American motor vehicle so take that, Henry Ford.

Fun Fact: Ransom Eli’s father was Pliny Fiske Olds; his his wife was Metta Ursula Woodward Olds. People had fabulous names back then. His gorgeous mansion, which had a turntable garage which allowed Mr. Olds to pull in at night and leave again the next morning without driving in reverse, was demolished in 1966 to make way for an interstate hi way. People had shit for brains in the 1960s.

R. E. Olds is dead, which is why The Rock is in a cemetery.

Oh, I forgot: while in Milwaukee, The Rock got to take a selfie with The Bronze Fonz:

Taking a selfie with the Bronz Fonz statue on the Milwaukee RiverWalk is practically a rite of passage for any visitor. As is a visit to the Harley Davidson HQ:

Motorcycling is very popular in Scotland and The Rock felt right at home in the gift shop:

And, lastly, The Rock had the good fortune to meet one of Michigan’s grandest dames, the lady Lizzie Cosette of the blog, The Marmalade Gypsy:

And that was Michigan.

Next stop for The Rock: Wisconsin.

Otherwise known as The State of Deja Vu:

Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of WISCONSIN. I can’t say that I had known that for sure before I got Dear Readers Susie and Tony’s photos, but I know now that I will always remember that MILWAUKEE is in WISCONSIN. Not Michigan. It’s never even been to Michigan.

Milwaukee is known for being the setting of the popular 1970s sit-com Happy Days. This explains why there’s a Bronze Fonz in MILWAUKEE, in WISCONSIN. Which is not Michigan.

And then, being that The Rock is a bit of a booze hound, it went back to the Miller Brewery, in MILWAUKEE, which is in WISCONSIN, a city that is famous for its many breweries.

Overlooking the Menomonee River, the Harley-Davidson Museum displays classic motorcycles, including one of Elvis Presley’s. The Rock also went back to the Harley Davidson museum, which I don’t have a picture of but I do have one of the stills — I mean brew kettles — at the Miller Brewery:

Yeah, The Rock is looking a little worse for wear, but that’s what happens when you drink your way through Michigan and WISCONSIN.

Fun Fact about MILWAUKEE: the city boasts a statue legendary Scots poet Robert Burns. As far as anyone knows, Burns never visited Milwaukee, mainly because Milwaukee didn’t exist in his lifetime.

But you know how it is when you’re in a foreign country and you come across a countryman and you’re all, “Hi an sin seann friend! Och, gabhamaid deoch! ” And then you’re stuck with your new best friend for the rest of the bus tour.

Fun Fact about the Saint Andrews Society of Milwaukee:

Every September they hold a Kilt Raffle.

Now, when I think of men in kilts, I think of this:

Actually, The Saint Andrews Society in Milwaukee is like this:

But let’s think a little bit longer about men in kilts, because that’s where The Rock has taken us (Thank you, Rock) :



Now, while The Rock did not don a kilt while it was in Milwaukee, it DID get to try on the famous WISCONSIN Cheese head:

WISCONSIN is known as The Cheese State because they make a lot of fondue there and because fans of its football team, the Green Bay Packers, wear bits of cheese on their heads. I think it’s because football is a dangerous game that causes concussion. Also, because of the long, hard Winters in WISCONSIN.  People go a little crazy from concussion and the cold and nothing says “crazy” more than an inordinate love of cheese.

The capitol of WISCONSIN, America’s Dairyland, is Madison, where apparently The Rock got an Uber and hit the singles’ scene:

Fun Fact: I have no idea where The Rock is (below), but then, I don’t track The Rock’s every move and if it hooked up in Madison and woke up the next day in a strange town hey, it’s not for me to judge:

Good Going, Rock.

But The Rock isn’t as young as it used to be (it’s actually from the Devonian Age, about 400 million years ago) and hop boy, the Rock needed a bucket of coffee and lots of low light when it woke up the next day.

They say nature is the best cure for a hot night out in Madison WI and there is plenty of nature in the woods around Lake Michigan:

TREES. On Orkney, The Rock never sees trees because it’s treeless environment, being too cold and windy for them to grow there. So you can imagine how spectacular this landscape was, how overcome The Rock was to see such abundance of those little things, in the billions, those things called Leaves. So, so many leaves.

Majestic Lake Michigan, from a rock’s point of view:

Fun Fact: Lake Michigan gets its name from the Ojibwe native peoples’ word michi-gami, meaning “great water”. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume, and is 2/3 the size of Scotland. Scotland’s largest lake (or loch) is Loch Lomand, which is about the size of a Great Lake sneeze if Lake Michigan had a nose and a cold. (Loch Lomand is 71 square miles and Lake Michigan is 22,393 sq miles.)

So. Where is The Rock now?

For that, you’ll have to meet me here next week. Spoiler: The Rock turns out to be a real stoner.

Thank you Dear Jeanie, and Dears Susie and Tony, for showing us and The Rock such a great time.

And, oh yeah, Fuck trump.






16 Comments, RSS

  1. It is a little bit sad how many times I checked your page this morning before it was updated because it’s Friday and on Friday’s I live for the next installment of The Life and Times of Vivian Swift and the Stromness Rock. But then it was all worthwhile, because, let’s face it, I’m not getting anything else done today and this was a truly legendary post. Not least because I live in Wisconsin and I’m a little humbled that the Rock clearly had a better time in Madison than I’ve had for quite some time. Perhaps a trip to Polite Michigan is in order, I enjoy polite, although if you had to watch Yoopers drive you’d know they sometimes shelve their politeness in lieu of running you off the road while they go about 100 miles an hour with chains on their wheels leftover from winter, spitting chunks of asphalt back at you. Do not get in a Yooper’s way on the highway.

    Thanks for the lovely Rock Travelogue and I must say, I don’t follow the impeachment hearings much (the thought of Mike Pence taking over is actually more appalling to me than Trump, at least Trump seems to know he’s an asshole, Pence is an asshole acting like a saint, which bugs me more) but I DID enjoy “putting the God into Goddamn Traitor.”

  2. Forgot the most important thing (besides saying of course I meant “Fridays”). Thank YOU for the inaugural 2019 Kilt Appreciation Society Online Meeting. Consider me a member of your fine group.

  3. Casey

    Wow, The Rock has great friends that take it to all the most interesting places, sometimes twice. Great travelogue too. I feel as though I’ve had a fine time in two states that I’ve ever thought of visiting but now, if I ever go to Wisconsin, I want to find that singles’ scene and live it up. Why should a stone from Scotland have all the fun?

    Wait. The US invaded Canada once upon a time?? Is that true? How come I ever heard of this before? I used to wish that Canada had become part of our great union but then Justin Trudeau happened and I was happy that it stayed in its lane.

    I’m with Sarah. I love kilts, but I REALLY love hot men in kilts. Oh, there’s something about a man in pleats that makes my heart beat faster.

  4. Vicki Abbott

    Do you think the Rock would like like to visit Portland, Oregon? I’d give it the blue ribbon tour of trees. We have lotsa, lotsa different trees here. We even have a few palm trees that must have gotten confused and headed north instead of south. Actually it’ sort of rare to see a palm tree in Portland, but I do know of at least two. Oh, and I’d like to join that Kilt Appreciation Society.

  5. Kirra

    I agree, this is a wonderful epic travel blog from the Stromness Rock! I enjoyed all the photos and learning about the states of Wisconsin and Michigan. I’ve visited Ann Arbor in Michigan once, so it was fun to learn more about that part of the US. I had no idea the lake was that big! Good to see the Rock enjoying a pint and some wine, along with the Scottish poet. Look forward to seeing where it ends up next week.

    As always thanks for showing the best weekly comments on US politics. (I think my favourite was the one about Trump having ‘meetings’ doing ‘work’ in the Oval Office while actually tweeting videos of what he ‘wasn’t’ watching instead. Though the one about the void being full was also good.)

  6. Susie

    Thanks for letting us spending time edith the rock! We had a ton of fun. Funny you should talk about the St. Andrew’s Society… my grandpa was born in Scotland and my uncles are all members. I won’t share any photos of the real men in kilts as it won’t live up but I could share a few stories about men in kilts!
    Enjoyed the post today as always!

    The “billionaire” who hides his tax returns
    The “genius” who hides his college grades
    The “businessman” who bankrupts casinos
    The “playboy” who pays for sex
    The “philanthropist” who defrauds a charity
    The “patriot” who dodged the draft
    The “innocent man” who won’t testify
    The “anti-immigration president” who married two immigrants and has an anchor baby

  7. So the rock made TWO trips to the Miller Brewery and the Bronze Fonz? That’s pretty funny. I didn’t even know that Fonz existed.

    Loving the kilts. Obviously.

    The rock looks quite at home among all the pebbles on the shore of Lake Michigan.

  8. I am irresistibly drawn to repeat a very old joke.

    Tourist Lady to Scotsman: “Is anything worn under the kilt?”
    Scotsman to Tourist Lady: “No ma’am, it’s as good as it ever was.”

    Your post has some very nice midwestern scenes — I think the rock now knows what’s going on in the Big 10. Happily as of this moment (3rd quarter) the Michigan Big 10 school that wasn’t named in your post is leading the one that was named and depicted. Jeanie did bring the rock to Ann Arbor, but the photos evidently didn’t make the cut here.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  9. Penny Herrington

    I have delayed commenting on this posting in order to finish reading all of your blogs since you began and also watching you on YouTube. I have become a fan of all you do and have learned many things I did not know before and have been wildly entertained. Although I smiled and chuckled, I did not break out into hysterical laughing again.
    I have been to Madison and partied on State St. It’s loud. Easy to overhear conversations there, even from across the room. Or outside.
    When I think of Miller Lite, I think of Rusty Wallace. What a whiner.
    I love your paper castles. Did you know about the Irish Castle in Louisiana? I have many helpful travel tips for Louisiana. I lived there for a while, plus I am on a Cajun talk show, La Tasse de Cafe…KVPI…Ville Platte, Evangeline Parish. We speak French and are popular all over the world. Wish you would call in and add to the fun. No politics. I have a fan club! English is fine, as well. We mix it up.
    You have commented on your love of red beans and rice, but not GUMBO? And not file. Just no. And Fred’s Lounge in Mamou is a place and Saturday morning experience that is not to be missed. Buffy is the owner. Tell him Miss Penny sent you.
    I want to win a watercolor. Maybe next contest.

  10. Penny Herrington

    Are you aware of Micaela Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba? When you paint the railings of New Orleans, you have her to thank. A truly fascinating woman with one hell of a story.
    Also, one more suggestion. YouTube Lost Bayou Ramblers with Louis Michot, Grammy winner, husband of Ashlee Michot, of Prairie des Femmes, author. Friends.
    I will be speaking of you on La Tasse de Cafe this week and it will be heard in Paris as well.

  11. Oh, it’s fun to see Milwaukee (but as you know from our correspondence, the rock didn’t go there with me; I just stuck to Michigan!). And yes, we were an Ann Arbor, too. It was fun taking our Strommy around!

    I look forward to the next bits! And now I have to catch up because I haven’t looked at this for three whole weeks!

  12. Marino

    Your site was recommended but I can’t imagine why. Like a 12-year-old you repeatedly emit vulgarities about the President of the United States (whomever it might be). Nothing amusing about it. The Scots group in my area would not welcome your foul-mouth at its events. No matter, I won’t be subscribing to your blog. Orkney’s rocks are listed as part of its National Monuments Scheme. Given your maturity level, you undoubtedly received permission to steal it.

    • Vivian

      You must not know any real Scots. They are gloriously foul-mouthed, and the only people who can make “cunt” into an adjective.

      Oh wait. Are you a Russian bot?

  13. Marino, I am surprised you took the time to write and complain about something you just read.
    Why just not read it again? No one wd miss you, or even know.
    Your attitude about what we call humor is sad.
    Go back to bed, Marino

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *