Here's what went down: Bronwyn Green, Jess Jarman, Kris Norris, Mia Watts, my mentee Emily and myself all holed up in a cabin on Michigan's beautiful Keweenaw (pronounced "cue-en-naw" by Yoopers) peninsula. There was no phone, no lights, no motorcar, not a single luxury. Like David Caruso, we were leaving NYPD. Okay, we had lights and cars, but we definitely didn't have cell or internet reception. It was the most peaceful, idyllic setting a writer could wish for, except for all the giggling and drinking, which really cut into our writing time.
Several days during the week, I went running along the beach:
Seriously, gorgeous views like this were just steps from our lodgings, and we saw... I counted five other people the entire time we were there. It was like being in a world all our own.
The wildlife was another story all together, though. We saw plenty of evidence of our forest friends. The catchphrase for the trip quickly became, "Or the bears will come," based on the ominous wording in the cabin rental instructions. If you do... I would say pretty much anything, the bears will come.
I think they might be vampire bears, too, because:
I'm pretty sure that's a box of wooden stakes there. We never needed it, but I was grateful that our hosts thoughtfully left them for us.
We did a lot of rock picking on the beach. Every wave washed up new treasures. My favorite being this mitten shaped rock that looks a hell of a lot like the Lower Peninsula.
And one day we got to watch a freaking enormous moth emerge from his freaking enormous cocoon on one of the deck chairs. When he came out, his wings were all limp like noodles, and then after a few hours they poofed out and he was a pretty good looking dude.
I've written about the beauty of the U.P. before, specifically about Lake Superior and her strange, primal beauty. But how does one celebrate the majesty and grandeur of the Big Lake, the "Big Water of Many Faces" as she is known?
With bacon cheesecake. Fucking duh.
Awesome Armintrout Bacon Cheesecake
You will need:
- Six strips of bacon, cooked but not too crispy, because they'll get hard in the refrigerator (that's what she said... if "she" were a particularly horny gallon of milk, I suppose).
- A tub of that pre-made cheesecake filling.
- A pre-made graham cracker crust
- Potential toppings, which we will discuss in a moment.
Basically, all you need to do is take four of the cooked bacon strips (don't use the pre-made bacon, that shit is terrible. It's like pork paper) and dice them up, then mix them into the tub of filling. Then you spread it out in the crust, take the other two strips to garnish the top (I am of the "yeah, an x. An x of bacon will do," school of cake decorating on this one) and put it in the fridge for a few hours.
You can top this with basically whatever you want. I did strawberries macerated in sugar and mashed up, but maple syrup or hot fudge would also be good. You really can't mess this one up. The bacon does all the work.
For the record, on this trip, I wrote thirteen thousand words and gained three pounds.