day 46
frankenmuth, michigan

"Suzy's Pasties? Pasties always make me think of the nipple thing." -a.
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Snowman Snowglobes: 135
Pink Trees: 24
Wood Advent Calendars: 0
Life-sized Jesuses: 3
20 ft. Santas: On Order
Cost: $1,999

Claim to Fame: Home town of Bronner's, the World's Largest Christmas store. It was so big we had to slingshot around the other side of the sun to reach escape velocity.

Anthrax Vaccine of the Day
Stores we visited at Birch Run Factory Outlets:
1. Adidas
2. Totes
3. Socks Galore
4. Steve & Barry's University Store
5. Reebok
6. Nike
7. Eddie Bauer
8. Columbia
9. Camp Coleman
10. North Face
Purchased at Camp Coleman:
- 4 Mini-Propane Tanks
- Lantern Attachment
Total: $31.47
Purchased at Columbia:
- Sweater for Aimee
- Zippy Pants for Aimee
Total: $37.93

(Tridacna Gigas)

The GIANT CLAM, second largest member of the phylum Mulluska, is exceeded in size only by the giant squid, and is therefore the largest mollusk with another shell in all the world. Interestingly enough, the animal can actually weigh as much as the shell itself. Legend has it that the GIANT CLAM indeed have the capacity to snuff our a man's life with one sharp snap, the vegetarian clam would rather feast on a dinner of algae. This particular specimen weighs 505 lbs., and is from the Philippines.

This GIANT CLAM has nothing to do with Christmas. It's just cool.

An Open Letter to Americans about Christmas
Oct 11 - Christmas comes but once a year. This is what makes it so special to millions of people throughout the world. So, if part of its magic is that it only arrives once every 365 days, why are we inevitably finding a Christmas Store on nearly every backwoods highway across america?

If the only logical reason for these tinsel-laden, bell-jingling stores to stay open year round is to satisfy some insatiable need of the American public to buy "Baby's 3rd Christmas" baubles in the middle of July, then it's time to rethink your priorities as a nation.

Is it the fake pine or the fake snow that is so enticing? Is it that everyone is longing for a little piece of that Christmas Morning excitement that they experienced as a child? Do you feel that familiar excitement when you walk through the sliding doors and are smacked in the face with a 200-piece nativity scene? Do you get joy from fighting over the last huggable snow bunny advent calendar, knowing full well you've got three months left before it'll hang on your mantle?

Let's Play: Which is Which!
Which is Lake Erie and which is Lake Huron? Each photo was taken from one side of Mel while we travelled over the Mackinac Bridge. Think you know?
See if you're right on day 59.
Perhaps it's that you're reveling in the fact that, as adults, you are now allowed to experience any holiday whenever you want it. There's no wait! If you want Christmas NOW NOW NOW (stamp stamp stamp), you are darned well going to have it! Instant gratification. That's what America is all about.

But it doesn't work like that. Here's an example: suppose your favourite food is pizza. Mmm mmm boy do I love pizza, you say. So much so, that you're going to eat it every single day of the year, because damn it, you're an adult and you can do what you want. Guess what? Pretty soon, pizza is not your favourite food anymore.

We can't imagine how an employee of one of these year round Christmas stores must feel about Christmas. Are they excited because sales are up? Are they rolling their eyes because they know they'll have to be perkier than normal? We're pretty sure of one thing though--nobody's going to be humming "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" in the car on the way home. At least, not unless it's been engraved on the forefront of their skulls from hearing it over and over and over again, piped into the Ladies' Red & Green Sweater Vest aisle for the past 11 months.

We have a Christmas store in Thunder Bay. It's called Coo's. The difference between Coo's and every Christmas store in the United States is that there's a special sign they have in their window for about six months of the year. It reads: "Closed for the Season."

Christmas comes but once a year. Let's keep it that way.

Aimee Lingman

at birch run...


Intense Sale Shopping

Stop! Thief!

Kevin, you can't do that here!
more photos in the archive...

We've got mail...

Hey Kev and Aimee, Just thought to let you know that Coo's is out of business in Thunder Bay. Sorry.
- Scott, Thunder Bay ON

if i were going to michigan, which i am but tomorrow, i would do the northwest. areas like traverse city, where the colors will be beautiful right now and you would also be on lake michigan. petoskey is really nice as well, that whole area is amazing.
need specifics? email me back.
- Christina, New York NY

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Current Location
(get out your push pins)

Frankenmuth, MI

Next Stop: Green Bay, WI

see the full map...

Today's Weather:
On and off

Daily Stats
Gas: $28.00
MI Gas Price: $1.47/gal

Ads for Bronner's: 12
Ads for Birch Run: 13
Ads for Mystery Spot: 4

Sleeping Quarters
Hendricks Campground

We're the only people here. It's on the North Shore of Lake Michigan, a stone's throw from a sandy (yet frigid) beach. There was a little drop box as we came in for our honour's system entry fee. All in all, kind of peaceful.

Cost: $6.00

Canton, MI
K had:Cheerios
A had:Tim's Coffee (later)
Bob Evans
Birch Run
K's Order:Biscuit w/ egg, sausage, sausage gravy and cheese
A's Order:Bowl of sausage gravy and biscuits
Elias Big Boy
Mackinac City
K's Order:Classic Big Boy, Onion Rings, Coke
A's Order:Veal Parmigiana
Split:Oreo Mud Pie

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© 2001. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. On the Home Stretch, but we ain't going home.