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Day 25 - Lansing, Michigan

What a beautiful state Michigan is. Ziggy and I got off the plane in Detroit and because it was so nice, decided to thumb and paw a ride to Lansing. As we stood on the highway waiting for some nice people to give us a lift, I told Ziggy, "Michigan was the 26th state in the USA and it became a state on January 26, 1837. Michigan is from an Algonquian Chippewa Indian word "meicigama" that means "big sea wate" (referring to the Great Lakes). And the State Nickname is the Wolverine State."

We weren't out there a few minutes when a 18 wheeler pulled over and gave us a ride. His name was Buddy "Bugs" Jones. He was a gruffy, no-nonsense, type of fellow.

It was a long way to Lansing so we had plenty of time to chat. And in Ziggy's case, sleep. I asked Buddy how long he had been a truck driver. He said that I could call him Bugs and he'd been a over the road trucker for some 25 years hauling everything from cars to cheese. Son't ask. Just relaying the information given to me.

As we drove down the highways and byways, the countryside was beautiful. The corn fields, dairies, lakes and rivers and I even saw some white-tailed deer along the way.

I told Bugs what me and Ziggy were doing and he became very happy. He said, "People, and cats, don't travel by hitchhiking too much anymore. Too dangerous. When I was a kid, I hitchhiked everywhere. I hitchhiked all over the United States. That's what got me interested in driving a truck for a living."

I asked Bugs what it meant to him to be an American and he said, "If you keep your eyes open, your ears open, and your mouth shut, you see and hear all kinds of things that make up this country. Although my job takes me all over the United States, I feel very blessed that I get to see this country at it's best, and sometimes, at it's worse. But all in all, to me, it's the greatest country in the world. Go where ya want, do what you want, work hard, pick up a check, and spend it on what you want. I'm proud to be an American!"

About 20 miles outside of Lansing, Ziggy woke up, looked around and meowed, "We there yet?"

I said, "Almost sleepy head."

So she reached in her bag and put on her Michigan hat.

All of a sudden, she started scratching herself. I mean, she was really into it. I leaned over and asked her what that heck was wrong and if she could wait until he let us out to do that. But she contiued scratching herself. All ... the ... way ... into ... Lansing!

As he pulled into Lansing, I thanked him for the ride. He dropped us off right at the Capital building.

"Me and my buddy Ziggy really appreciated the lift and the conversation Bugs. By the way, why do they call you Bugs?" I asked.

He replied, "They call me Bugs because I have bugs. I only shower once every two weeks. Another thing I like about being an American."

"EWE! Well, that answers some questions. I think 99.9% of Americans take showers everyday." I thought to myself. But I didn't want to say anything. He was much bigger than me. Then I started scratching myself and when we got out of the truck, we said our goodbyes and found a hotel to freshen up, if ya know what I mean.

After Ziggy and I got cleaned up, we took off to get a Michigan Apple-Cabbage Salad. We got an invite from subscribers Janne and Dot. I think they were more happy to see Ziggy than me, but thats OK. She didn't like the salad so they gave her some tuna. Aaaw.

Here's a great Summer Salad for you folks. Compliments of Michigan! Here's the recipe.

Apple-Cabbage Salad
Serves 8

1/2 cup vanilla low fat yogurt
2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons celery seeds
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
3 cups shredded green cabbage
*1 cup julienne-cut, peeled jicama (1 1/2 x 1/4-inch pieces)
4 cups diced red Michigan Apples

*Jicama is a crispy root vegetable; similar in taste and texture to a cross between an apple and a potato.

Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, salt, celery seeds, honey and mustard. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add yogurt mixture, tossing until combined. Serve immediately.

Suggested Michigan Apple varieties to use: Empire, Gala, Ida Red, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh, Red Delicious or Rome.

Variation: To omit jicama, add extra 1 cup shredded cabbage.

Apple Cabbage Salad is for me and you,
And it's just what the doctor ordered today.
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away,
And mixed with cabbage keeps the neighbors away too!

_______________________________

OK! It's off to Little Rock, Arkansas in a little bit. They gave us a ride to the airport and we said our farewells to Janne and Dot, thanked them for lunch, and boarded the plane. Of course, Ziggy got the window seat. But just as I was going to sit down, a woman of extreme body wealth sat down squooshing Ziggy against the window. I saw a seat open in the back so reached over, grabbed her by the nape of the neck and pulled her out from what seemed to be a not so comfortable flight down to Little Rock. When we got to the back of the plane, Ziggy told me I could have the window seat. I said thanks alot. She meowed, "No. Thank you!" How sweet.

See ya tomorrow in Little Rock, Arkansas!

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