Kalamazoo, MI

The trip into Michigan went seamlessly (can you imagine if it would have had seams? Worst). There was one little “adventure” though. I drove to the wrong house. It had the same house number and everything. But I got a strange feeling about it.

Look how wrong it looks.

Seriously, look at that house. Don’t you get a strange feeling looking at it?

“Pretty much… no,” says Mr. Yirfulovit.

Mr. Yirfulovit! What are you doing here?

“No idea. Pretty sure you just invented me right now.”

That’s ridiculous!


Okay, well, getting back to the story of the wrong house. My strange feeling was no doubt due to the fact that I had stayed with my hosts (Bob and Lori Brown, parents of my college friend Adam Brown, who you may remember from such posts as: Twin Cities, MN) before, and I had no memories of this place.

Knocking on the door resulted in a complete stranger answering the door and looking at me quizzically.

“Hi, I think this is the Wrong House. I’m looking for the Brown residence.”
“The Brown residence…”
“Yes. Or, is this Duane Lane?”
“No, it’s over there.” (pointing)
“Oh. Thanks.”

Wasn’t that an exciting adventure? I thought so.

After actually arriving at the actual Brown residence, we were off to record Mr. Leonard Duke. Over the years I’d heard a good bit about Mr. Duke from various people from Kalamazoo.

Leonard Duke: Living Legend

When I met him, he was a friendly, unassuming man with dirty pants. But more on the pants later.

His music collection indicates a love of jazz. The massive amount of musical instruments and equipment in his house indicate a lifelong love of music. At one point an inspirational science teacher, Mr. Duke somehow also acquired mad skillz on a wide variety of instruments.

Me: I hear you play tuba.
Mr. Duke: Sure. I have a sousaphone around here somewhere.

A few minutes later, we were recording sousaphone. Then banjo. Then trumpet. Then flute.

Instruments a-plenty.

I kept expecting one of them to be his “weak instrument” but I guess we never got to that one (it’s probably the Nay).

Leonard Duke, Polymath

Pretty amazing. Mr Duke put down excellent parts on a handful of songs, and then asked me if I was good at welding. I said no, which was true. He mentioned something about his own personal project, and when I expressed a desire to see his project, he took me back to his garage.

Leonard Duke, proud owner of a driveable Model A.

That, my friends, is an old car. The Lovemobile is a young whippersnapper compared to that car. It is also, no doubt, the reason his pants were dirty. It turns out Mr. Duke keeps it in working order, and was in the middle of fabricating some structural aids for the rear, since a recent rust removal at a body shop had meant significant portions of the body were removed.

It'll be driveable again in five days!

Then it was back to our hosts’ place for the night.

Speaking of our hosts, they have a boat. They live near a lake, and graciously offered us a ride on their boat before we left. So we trundled down toward the lake,

Throoough the treeees...

hopped in the boat,

Eating up the knots.

and proceeded to carve gigantic ruts in the smooth surface of the lake.

Quite a wake.  Also, I'm quite awake, thank you.

It was fast and fun.

lake, trees, sky with clouds (by Zach Bardon)

“I don’t believe these hosts really existed,” says Mr. Yirfulovit. “You just found those images on Google, to trick us.”

That’s ridiculous. They are real. I would like to show you a real picture of Mr. and Mrs. Brown, their daughter, and their niece, in their boat, on the lake. I took this picture myself.

Out with the family.  Not mine, of course, but still.

Then, we were off to lunch with a professional volleyball player named Betsy Bailey, who had contacted me through Couchsurfing. She plays for a team in France and comes back home to the States on the off season. Pretty sweet.

Three amazing athletes, just hanging out together.  You know, being athletic and stuff.

We had a good time chatting, and then JH and I were off to the next stop.

NEXT: The Next Stop.