Sunday, February 08, 2015

Beaverton: Carp Island

 A neat place in my hometown that's just a stone's throw from my grandma's old house and the house where my brother and his family now live is Carp Island.  I'm pretty sure that's just our name for it, and I have heard that this used to have other names like Drug Island or Pot Island due to the things people supposedly do or did there, but whatever.  We went there during daylight hours and only saw a couple of other people fishing.  It's a little stony island below the Beaverton Dam, you cross some wobbly stones to get on the small island.  

 The Beaverton Dam
 Carp Island in the middle in the sunny little Tobacco River valley

 True to the island's name, my brother reeled in a creepy beast from the depths of the Tobacco River.
 I'd never seen a living carp up close before this!
It was a great looking fish, but I don't know anyone in Michigan who eats carp.  It's known as a dirty bottom feeder.  I did look it up online, and found out that they apparently don't taste good in the summer, anyway.  Maybe that's why I've never heard of anyone in Michigan eating them:  They only have a very limited time when they are tasty.  Either way, I'm pretty sure this beast was happy to get back in the water after being checked out and passed around by the kids!


 Hold onto your hats, everybody...let's get ready for the demolition derby! 

Before attending this event at the Gladwin County Fair last summer, I thought that a demolition derby was just about crashing cars and rednecks going crazy.  Well, there's kind of more to it than just that.  There are rules, and it was a pretty fascinating bunch of nonsense that I got to witness at this positively enthralling event. 

Safety was a priority.  Firemen and emergency personnel were at hand.  When crashing cars you can't be too careful.  I was impressed, any time a car was stuck, smoking or someone even thought they might smell gas, all the cars were stopped and had to wait until it was clear that there was absolutely no danger.

 There were a number of different events, all accompanied by the announcer's wonderful commentary.  The track was set up so that the cars had a muddy round path around which they had to successfully complete a certain number of laps.  They always drove a warm-up lap, then the judge waved a flag for the cars to start the race, upon which signal the cars would speed up and all hell would break loose.  While driving around the track, some cars got stuck, some overheated, some crashed into others and even became hung up on the other cars.  Really anything could happen.  It was a weird event, it sounds so unappealing, but when you're in the grandstand and any kind of craziness might happen, it was really exciting!

 As much as I'm not really a fan of rednecks, the "Redneck Outrage" with its rebel flag flying from the roof was definitely one of my favorite cars.  It summed up the crowd and the whole event pretty well.
 One of the weirdest events was "lady drivers" featuring an appearance by this year's Miss Beaverton, the "queen" of my hometown for the year.  Not only did I find it absolutely fabulous that Miss Beaverton was driving in the demolition derby in her own pimped out, trashed car, but I also found it hilarious and kind of ridiculously sexist that the lady drivers all had to drive stupid minivans.

 Nevertheless, it was a pretty rockin' race, with Miss Beaverton getting her front bumper stuck under another van!  Sorry to say she lost the race and they had to pull her out with a tow truck!
 Finally, the last event of the night was "total demolition."  This was what I'd been waiting for.  The previous events had been pretty great, but this was just unadulterated crashing.  8 old cars lined up facing out of a rectangular, blocked-off part of the track especially set up for this event.  There were 4 on the left and 4 on the right, and on the start signal they all threw the cars into reverse and slammed into the middle of the field and backed into each other.  The winner of this event was the last man standing, or, more exactly, the last car running. 
 They just crashed and crashed.
 The Cadillac was destroyed.
I don't even remember who won, was it the Mercury?  No idea.  But Hot Cheese was pretty hilarious!  'Til next year, demolition derby!  I will be back!