Otherwise known as: Chris’ and Tom’s big adventure. We were fortunate to have wonderful friends from around the U.S. and Europe join us for our show at the Lexington Village Theatre. For those who are not native to Michigan, if you hop in your personal spaceship and travel about 250 miles above Earth, Michigan appears to be a giant mitten–the kind that you wear to keep 4 of your 5 fingers warm in winter. Which is appropriate considering Michigan’s winters. The thumb area of a mitten, well, looks like The Thumb of Michigan. And Lexington, Michigan is located in The Thumb.
Our mission was to really explore the area and visit with as many people as we could leading up to our show on 2014 August 16. And, we had a lot to learn about promoting our first out-of-town show.
This is the story of our multi-day adventure in geographical order.
We started in Port Huron, Michigan, where Interstate I-94 meets I-69 and crosses over to Canada on the Blue Water Bridge (ignore your GPS and stay in the right lane on I-94 to arrive in Port Huron).
There’s a lot to do in Port Huron and what better way to begin then at…the library. For those who have followed our Null Paradox Cranks, libraries and book stores play a prominent role in all of our adventures. We loved the St. Clair County Library with their excellent service and their large selection of books.
But the main reason why we were there was to use their computers to check out Selena Barty’s design that became our billboard in downtown Port Huron. Prior to working with Mark Reilly, Selena, and Barb at Lamar, we didn’t know a thing about billboard promotions. But they had us educated and up and running in a few hours. We couldn’t have asked for friendlier help.
Port Huron is also where we did our radio interviews on WPHM and WBTI. Check out our radio interview with Paul Miller HERE. We’ve had live radio studio experience with Jeff Lehrke on TapDetroit show “Jeff’s Album Review.” Thank’s to the ongoing training by Jeff, Paul Miller’s and Sean Michael’s enthusiasm, the seamless coordination by Diana Lukaszewski, and Rachel Matz’ story-telling, we had a lot of fun at the radio station.
Port Huron is also where we found out that we were featured on the cover of the Time’s Herald newspaper courtesy of Crystal Garcia. Melissa Hubbard helped to make it all happen and even connected us with photographer Jeff Reihl. Jeff’s awesome photographs will be posted HERE in a few days.
In downtown we found ourselves in an old-school pub having a wonderful meal and beginning to understand the feel of the town. Fortunately the person serving us great food also was very knowledgable about the local music scene and he directed us to the Roche Bar, Port Huron’s oldest Irish pub which first opened in 1900. Check out our photos on Instagram. This unique pub had a huge variety of music both indoors and outdoors in their beer garden. We highly recommend it.
We love water and high-speed powerboats and we picked the perfect time to be in Port Huron for the 2014 Port Huron/ Sarnia International Offshore Powerboat Race! And we were treated to a free concert by the legendary Molly Hatchet during which Chris fearlessly handed out flyers for our August 16 show as part of our Street Team.
While walking to the Molly Hatchet show, we passed the The Exquisite Corpse Coffee House where 7th Street was playing. If you haven’t seen 7th Street perform, check them out as soon as you can. Five singers who play 3 violins AND 2 upright basses!
At the very northern part of the city is Birchwood Mall. But, this isn’t just any mall. We knew it was special when we walked in to find…a full size, fully functioning Carousel in the entrance to the mall!
And it gets better.
On our mission to post our posters, we checked in with the building manager. He was very helpful but also let us know that posters could only be posted by mall tenants. So we went door-to-door.
It turned out that Holburt’s Hot On The Road was more than happy to post one of our posters in their window. If you need motorcycle apparel, check them out.
Similarly, our new friends at Sarenity Apparel, Body Art & Piercing, f.y.e., Planet Fitness, Glow Gollfin’ and, of course, the U.S. Post Office also were happy to help us.
A note about Glow Gollfin: If you’ve never played put-put golf…under black lights…in a mall, it’s something you Must try.
For the record, we tried a few other places, but we believe they thought that we were with the TSA or some other government agency.
As we traveled north-bound on Route 25 along Lake Huron,we were armed with flyers, posters, and lawn signs.
Ahhhh, our lawn signs. Another method to promote!
Between Port Huron, Lakeport, and up to the boarder of Lexington, we found many businesses who happily allowed us to post our lawn signs. Often, they’d also allow us to hang our posters in their windows too.
Many thanks to the friendly people at The Lakeport Market (thank you Betty, Diane, and Sandy!), Mobil, Lakeview Donut Shop, Worth Township Police (naturally), Bunny’s Frozen Custard, and R&M Auto Repairs.
Many fine people helped us within the cities of Lexington and 15 minutes north in Port Sanilac. That’s a roadtrip story all by itself. And as it turns out, we’ve already written about it HERE.
Lexington Bed & Breakfast with a Post Box Connection
We do want to add a very Gertrude & Grace story about the wonderful Shady Rest Bed & Breakfast. Denise & Tarik Abass are the owners and it turns out that Tarik works for the United States Postal Service and is also a guitar player! If you’ve seen Ana Cruz’ cover art for our book and CD, you’ll understand the connection with the postal service. Want to know more about this important connection and why one of the postal service employees is a hero? You’re invited to read our book!
During breakfast at Shady Rest, we met Jon Houghton and his wife who were in town for a wedding. And we also met a wonderful lady from Fort Wayne, Indiana which is where Null Paradox is performing next. Another very nice coincidence.
If you love the whole concept of a Bed & Breakfast: meeting people who by definition travel all over the planet, who have interesting lives, and who often have an amazing book reading list, it’s worth the trip to stay at the Shady Rest B&B. Special thanks to Jon for his book recommendation.
Before we continue our north-bound journey, we’d be remiss to not write about The Weekly Jester. Nikki Hadacz was a jem to work with. You may have something similar in your city, town, or village, but we have a special fondness for her “Entertain Your Brain” paper. Check it out throughout The Thumb.
Close to the tip of The Thumb was this quiet city. We arrived later in the evening when much of the main street was already closed. That turned out to be a good thing, since one of the first places where we stopped was Sandman’s Grocery. This was an old-school grocery story in the best sense of that description. Huge windows, a lot of light, and everything was fresh. It’s run by a hard-working and fun-loving couple who were hugely helpful.
For example, after we had spent time learning about the history of their grocery store, we were walking back to our car when out comes one of the owner’s saying “May I have another poster, we own Pat’s Bakery across the street.” Harbor Beach is fortunate to have Sandman’s. And if you’re in the mood for a delicious donut, try Pat’s Bakery.
Need some pizza? And who doesn’t. Check out Ernesto’s Pizzeria. Diane Manenti is the owner and she runs a very tight ship.
At this point we pointed our vehicle south and headed through Bad Axe past the Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park, Sandusky, Yale, Imlay City and back into metro Detroit. In each city we met interesting characters and we’re looking forward to a return visit to say hello to the people who we’ve met and to check out more of the cities in The Thumb.