Chatham, MI
Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

It's late. Everyone is sleeping but I'm up.

The wind is howling as it rushes down the block-long stretch of downtown Chatham, Michigan, some of it rushing over the small house of Rachel's grandfather. I can look out the living room window to the lit pub's sign making a beautiful snowy glow. It isn't really all that cold, probably still in the 20s, but the wind makes up the difference.

Rachel and I are here for the Trenary Outhouse Races. It's about as it sounds. You build it, stock it (seat and toilet paper), and then race it. I think a person has to be inside. It is bound to be crazy. It's the dead of winter. People do crazy things.

Last year Rachel and I came up for the dogsled races (a week earlier) and had brought Dolly. It seems like a long time ago. Yoshi is enjoying the trip. She is awesome in the car, content to sleep or look out the window. We'll take her with tomorrow, hopefully her paws will stay warm.

Although racing an outhouse may seem entirely different from racing a dogsled, the overall format will be about the same I think: lots of people crowded around a space down a main street, things flying by at intervals. A time preceding that where the participants are feeding their dogs or installing their roll of toilet paper. Some differences include it being daytime for the outhouse races and night for the dogsled race, a far larger amount of beer at the outhouse race, and also the dogsled race starts in town and then goes on into the forest for a couple days, where the outhouse race will hopefully start and end in town.

I wasn't thrilled with last year's dogsled photos. We'll see if I can come up with anything better for these.

[ tags: cold dmc-lx3 glow michigan night outhouse races snow tranary UP wind ]

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