My daily work at the lighthouse just began to fall into a routine when one of my coworkers told me to brace myself because “July is a different beast.” She was right. With the first week of July came Fourth of July weekend and the first truly warm week of the summer. The lighthouse finally started to get busy and we had several days over the Fourth of July weekend where we gave over two hundred tours. In addition to the lighthouse being busier, the beach near the lighthouse was also busier meaning that we had to patrol the parking lot more often. Because the lighthouse is in a state park, each vehicle needs to have a state park pass to be in the parking lot. Recently, Michigan started allowing vehicle owners to pay for a year pass when they renew the tabs on their license. If they chose this option, a small “p” is printed on their tabs. If not, visitors to the park must purchase a pass at the contact station at the entrance to the park. The day use area at the park is near the lighthouse, so several times a day, we have to check the parking lot to ensure that everyone has paid the fee. Last week, I patrolled the parking lot for the first time.
Despite the warm Fourth of July weekend, there were thunderstorms in the area last Monday and Tuesday. While it was not the first time it rained when I was at the lighthouse, it was the first time there was lightning while I was working. When there is lightning at the lighthouse, we have to evacuate everyone from the tower and tours are not allowed up until fifteen minutes after the last lightning strike (which reminded me a lot of baseball). Monday, I was at the lighthouse with the guest keepers when we saw lightning. While the one keeper evacuated the tower, the other keeper and I brought the flag in before the rain started falling. The keeper took the flag into the lighthouse, but I had to check the gift shop before helping her fold the flag. On my way back from the gift shop the sky opened up and it began pouring. I was drenched and it took me almost five hours until I was completely dry again – luckily the day was warm. We had few visitors on Monday and Tuesday because of the weather. I have be absolutely amazed at how much influence the weather has on attendance at the lighthouse.