Six degrees of Kevin Bacon? He’s got nothing on us.
We’re at Copper Harbor on the northwestern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula when we meet a couple with Arizona license plates and discover – while chatting as our respective gray and black waters drain into the state park’s sewer – that they know our good friend, Astrid, in San Carlos, Mexico.
Say what? Unbelievable.
Talk about a small world!
We had arrived at Copper Harbor late on a Thursday afternoon, after spending nine hours ambling our way up 173 miles of Lake Superior shoreline from Marquette to the tip of the “terrier’s tail” that is the Upper Peninsula. The state park was full when we arrived and the shoreline dotted with “no overnight parking” signs, so we went inland a couple of miles and boon-docked for the night off to the side of the road in the deep and dense forest.
The next morning, after a luxurious Italian espresso and the third-to-last homemade Belgian waffle for breakfast (read about our “gaufres liegeoises” here), we checked in again with the Fort Wilkins State Park and Historic Site and – yay! – they had a vacancy. We stopped at the “sanitation station” to dump our wastewater and fill our water tank before checking into our electricity-only spot #62.
There’s a big rig already at the station as we pull in opposite it. The fit, white-haired man with the quick smile laughed warmly at Georges’ greeting: A necessary duty, yes?
Yes indeed. They don’t tell you about this when you buy the rigs….
Both men smiled. They chatted. How long are you? Where do you live? Where are you headed next?
His answers: 40-feet. We live in this for half the year and in San Carlos, Mexico the other half. We’re headed next to the Dakotas. You?
Which San Carlos in Mexico, G inquired.
The one near Guaymas, near the top of the Gulf of California, south of Arizona. We spend the winters there.
That’s a great area, G said. I used to enjoy the Club Med there.
Absolutely, he said. Do you know Astrid?
Astrid? You’ve got to be kidding, G said. I’ve known her for almost 30 years! We met at the San Carlos Club Med in the late 1980s.
(I was on the other side of the Casita, positioning the risers under the tires to assure a complete drain, listening to the conversation. This development brought me out from behind: What a small world, I exclaimed!)
Yes it is…. Anne, come out and meet some friends of Astrid!
An attractive woman with long light-brown hair exited the big rig and came around to join in the exclamations. We greeted one another warmly. Art and Anne; Georges and Keven. We asked a woman walking nearby to snap our picture on the spot so we could email it to Astrid.
The Club Med in San Carlos closed years ago, shortly after G and I visited amid our torrid courtship. Astrid, a native of Switzerland, was in charge of the books and the horses for the property. She shared her apartment with us during our stay in San Carlos in May 1999.
When the Belgian-conceived Club Med closed the northern Mexico property, Astrid decided to stay put rather than return to Europe or another Club Med property. She moved the horses to a ranch of her own nearby. We’ve exchanged Christmas cards every year since and promised to visit again sometime, upon retirement….
It turns out that Art and Anne know Astrid well. In fact, they will head from Michigan to the Dakotas and then south to Fort Worth (!) to pick up another horse to take to San Carlos – to board with Astrid.
Be sure to look us up if you ever make it to San Carlos. We’d love to get together. And we have plenty of space. You’d be welcome in our casita behind our house….
Thank you. We expect to be in Arizona in November and had planned to visit Astrid in San Carlos sometime this winter. We’ll be sure to look you up! (In our own Casita.)
The amazing thing is, this whole conversation took maybe 10 minutes. Then they were off to the Dakotas and we to campsite #62….
Who needs six degrees and Kevin Bacon when we can make first-degree international connections at a state park in Michigan all by ourselves?