Indiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin

The End of our Michigan Journey

Up at 6:15 and on the road at 8:17 to an unknown destination. We had about 900 miles to travel to Fletcher so decided to just go today until we got tired. We had an uneventful ride although I can attest that many, many roads in our route are under construction and that was surely the case today. The bypass around Chicago was bumper to bumper on a Sunday afternoon. I can’t image what it would be like during a week day.

IndianaWe ended up in Clarksville, Indiana at a Walmart parking lot. Went into the Walmart and ate dinner at the Subway and then bought a few groceries. It is so hot here – thank goodness for air condition. After dinner and the little grocery shopping we trekked back to the motor home. I was so hot and tired I wasn’t sure I’d make it! We had no TV and no Internet so we read and turned in early.

July 25

The clock alarmed at 6:11 this morning and we were up and on the road 7:36. We stopped for gas once and then got into Fletcher around 3:00. Jerry quickly set up because he knew I wanted to get my iPad repaired if possible. While traveling today I had googled Apple repair in Asheville and after reading several reviews I decided on iSmashed. They had it repaired in under two hours and it works great!

Back at the Western Agricultural Center in Fletcher where we will be staying the rest of the week for the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show we had left overs and then hit the bikes again. After our ride I visited with friends and when I got in Jerry was sound asleep.

We spent the rest of the week watching good horses, riding bikes, and entertaining two of our precious grands who decided to join us for a few days.

July 31

We had a very uneventful trip back to Kinston on Sunday and boy, was I glad to be home. Be it ever so humble there is no place like home. Basically the end of a terrific trip around Michigan through the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula, about 3000 miles on the RV plus the miles we put on the car. One interesting side note – when we finally got the motor home unloaded and back in the warehouse Jerry happen to notice that one tire on the dolly had a spot with no rubber on it. Thank you Jesus for safely getting us back home and for rolling that tire exactly where Jerry could see the problem. He had checked the thread that morning and all seemed to be fine. We now have two new tires on the dolly and a new spare!
home
Until our next trip…

Wisconsin

Wisconsin – Cheese and Farmer’s Market

Another early morning as we were up and out and on our way to the Union Star Cheese Factory to see how cheese is made. It is actually located further away than I thought plus we had an incorrect address so we barely made it to the 8:30 tour. It’s in a very rural area and one would think that there would be little traffic there but when we went in the little shop was packed and the people behind the counter looked like worker bees. I first though folks were there for the tour but quickly realized that they were making purchases. We were later told that the store is on the Circle of Lakes making it easily accessible to people on day trips.

IMG_2394The son of the owner gave us our brief tour. It’s a small place, all encased in one room. It was difficult to hear everything the young man was saying as the noise level was fairly high. Right behind the counter was a large tub like fixture full of curds which they were bagging as quickly as possible. We tasted some and they were pretty good but didn’t seem to have a lot of taste. They only last about three days and I knew we’d never eat that many in three days. He took us in the cooler so we could see the aging cheese. I must admit that I had a moment of fright when he closed the door. It was 40 degrees in there – what if the door wouldn’t open so we could get out. Yep, the old claustrophobia raised its head again. We ended up buying a beef log plus three different kinds of cheeses.

Since we were traveling to Stevens Point next we realized that we would have to have a cooler unless we made the 40+ mile trip back to the campground. Once we got into Stevens Point we stopped at a Target and got a collapsible cooler. Our next stop was to find some New Galeras Raspberry Tart beer for Trent. It’s supposed to be very good but can only be bought in Wisconsin. When he heard we were going to be in the state for a day he asked me to try to find some as he wanted to give it to his employees for Christmas. It took us two stops but if we had known where to look it wouldn’t have. Our first stop was a grocery store and we found out later that it had a liqueur store connected to it. We didn’t go into that so we missed it. We finally got the 12 bottles Trent wanted and then with no definite place to go we ended up downtown.

IMG_2395There were several tents set up so we parked and walked down to the Farmer’s Market. There were lots and lots of pretty fresh vegetables there and I bought some small cucumbers. They’ll be good in our salad.

IMG_1262On our way back to the car we decided to have lunch at The Wooden Chair. We have eaten out several times on the trip and sadly I must say this was by far the least desirable meal we’ve had. I didn’t even finish mine – my salad was good though!

We had planned to go to the Green Circle Trail to ride bikes but with the temperature in the high 80’s we decided to wait until we got back to the campground and it cooled off a bit.

As we got back to the campground it began to rain so we went inside and read and then took naps. After dinner the rain stopped so at 7:30 Jerry decided he would ride his bike so of course I had to go also. I rode 6 ½ miles! After the ride Jerry put the bikes on the bike rack on the motor home and then we put the car on the dolly. Leaving tomorrow will be quicker and easier. The question is where are we going!

Wisconsin

Getting a Haircut When Traveling – Oh My!

Today was a travel day leaving Michigan and going into Wisconsin so we got us early – Jerry had been up since 5:15 and I woke up at 6:15 when he turned off the generator. The electricity had come back on sometime during the night. I had checked at 1:30 and it was still off then so don’t know when it came on.

We pulled out minutes before 8:00 but what we failed to remember was that we were going into Central Time meaning that we were gaining an hour. Instead of arriving at 12:00 we actually got to our campground, Hancock/Stevens KOA at 11:00. Although check in time is 2:00 they didn’t mention that we were early so we were in our site and set up before noon.

Yep, it's a cap week!
Yep, it’s a cap week!
When we checked in I asked about a beauty salon in the area and the lady looked a little blank. She said there was one in Hancock in an old gas station but she had never gotten her hair done there. I wanted to check it out so Jerry and I rode into Hancock. Once a fairly thriving town when the main highway went through it was bypassed and now there is hardly anything there. When we stopped at the beauty salon the lady said she could cut my hair in 10 minutes so I stayed while Jerry went to find a hardware store. He did not find one, in fact he came in the shop while the lady was cutting my hair and sad he didn’t find anything. The beautician concurred saying there was no longer anything in the town. BUT – there is a beauty shop and I got a grand “trim” haircut and it costs $5.00. Can you believe that? Apparently though I didn’t clearly explain that I just wanted my bangs and front trimmed. Wow, I think I have a mullet!

When we got back to the campground we decided to go swimming since it was so very hot. Only one other lady was in the pool and she left shortly after we got there so we had the pool to ourselves. The water a bit cool since they’ve had some rain so it took me a few minutes to finally immerse myself. When I did though it felt so good.

After our swim we came back, showered and I found some shade outside to sit in and read. When I came in Jerry was sleeping away so I got on the bed and read until I too fell asleep. This has been the longest day. Jerry mentioned that he actually got up at 4:15 and I got up at 5:15. No wonder it was so long!

After our naps we had dinner and then went for our 6 mile ride. The campground paths are heavily graveled with pea gravel and very difficult and scary to ride on. Fortunately the front of the campground had a nice straight lane going out to the highway plus a loop at the back of the park and all is paved so that’s where we did our riding. In 89 degree humid weather it was a tough ride.

We came in, showered again – yes, that three each for us today – and then had a quiet evening. Not an eventful day.

Michigan

Thankful for a Generator!

Today started off with a bang, literally! The rain was pouring and there was heavy wind, thunder and lightning. Jerry remembered that he had forgotten to put in the awning last night so we were rocking. He immediately get the awning in and our day started! It appeared that we didn’t have electricity so we were using the house battery. He thought the breaker at the post had flipped but it was raining so hard he wasn’t going outside to find out. When the rain finally lightened up a bit he went outside only to discover that the not only the campground but a large part of the area was without electricity.

We rode into the town of Octonogan just to look around. There were a lot of limbs down but I don’t think there as much damage here as further north. We thought about leaving today but didn’t think we’d get a refund (we couldn’t) but instead decided to spend the morning giving the coach a much needed clean up!

IMG_4216That done, we decided to go to Bond Falls. I thought it was only about 30 miles away but it turns out it was a bit further than that. I was worried that it would be just a little waterfall but indeed I was surprised. It is a lovely area with lots of cascading falls. Certainly a picturesque place, it seemed to be very popular with photographers as I saw several with their tripods. We certainly took a lot of interesting pictures!IMG_4224

As we rode into Octonogan we saw the blinking stoplight. Perhaps the beauty salon was opened? Nope, a sign on the door saying she had gone to the beach and would be opened the next day if she had electricity so no hair cut today.

Yea – but wait – yes, the town has electricity but after we got back to the campground, turned off the generator and then couldn’t get anything to work we realized that only the town had electricity at that point. It didn’t take long for the coach to start warming up with an 81 degree day. Thankfully it’s not as hot as yesterday was.
After Jerry got the generator started again we set out for Porcupine Mountain State Park. On the way we went through a small town, Silver City, where the main thoroughfare was blocked due to a down tree. In fact we saw many downed trees from this morning’s storm. Hopefully there was no structural damage – we didn’t see any.

We went to the Visitor’s Center at the park and as we approached and saw the opened door we realized that they too were without electricity. We went in the darkened gift shop, bought a couple of magnets and then got directions to the Lake of Clouds which was only about seven miles further.

IMG_4225We parked and then walked 300 feet to the observation platform. Truly it’s a pretty lake surrounded by heavy forests but I’m glad we didn’t drive a long way to get there! It paled in comparison to Bond Falls. We would really have enjoyed some hiking there but just didn’t have enough time. On the way back we stopped so I could stick my toes in Lake Superior. Jerry got some “interesting” shots of that!

It was a little choppy and I got a little wet - and sandy but hey, I was in Lake Superior!
It was a little choppy and I got a little wet – and sandy but hey, I was in Lake Superior!

A quick stop at the local IGA and we were back at the campground hoping for electricity. Nope, still none. Several campers have left and those that are here don’t appear to be home. One thing that I have missed on this trip is the comradery of campers. For some reason people have not been out and about and we haven’t gotten to meet many people.

This morning I tried a new recipe, pork chops, potatoes and onions in the crock pot. It’s been cooking all day – wonder if we need to find somewhere to eat tonight!

After a nice dinner, a keeper recipe, Jerry made another batch of sausage balls and I got out my cross stitch and tried to get enough borders done so I can stitch tomorrow as we drive. While the sausage balls cooked Jerry and I got the car on the dolly and Jerry emptied the black tanks. Tomorrow morning he will just have to unplug the water and electric and we’ll be ready to go. Let’s hope we can get an early start as we have about 250 miles to go to reach Fremont, WI.
It’s a noisy campground tonight as everyone has their generators going. Hoping we can sleep!

Home Away From Home, Michigan

Adventure Mining Company

We knew we had to get moving this morning so it only took us about 45 minutes to get coffee and breakfast! We rode our bikes on the bike paths and both of us got a little over 6 miles. Marquette is a very friendly bike/walker town with several biking paths however when you run into two women casually walking their leashed dogs and taking the entire path it gets interesting. Unlike Silver Lake the cars stopped for the bikes to cross!

We quickly got in, got showered, dressed and ready to roll and it was still after 10:00. By that time I had dropped my iPad on the floor and the glass screen had shattered, think splintered glass.  Hopefully I can get it repaired before we get home, perhaps in Asheville. I feel kind of lost without it. That’s pitiful! Just as we were leaving I saw an e-mail from the library saying that my audio book was ready for download. Since I’m running low on my data on my phone I couldn’t download the book then.

Unfortunately the 120 mile trip to Octonogan was the least scenic of any leg of the journey, no beautiful coast to gaze at even though we are on the Circular tour of Lake Superior. There were few towns and few accessible gas stations. We had a ½ tank but didn’t want to get too low not knowing where we’d find a station. Actually we found a truck stop in Octonogan and filled up just before we went to campground arriving little after 1:00.

River Road Campground is small but so far everything is working. There are several big coaches here and I see a lot of fishing gear around. The Internet is not the fastest in the world but one of the fastest we’ve encountered since leaving home. To all campground owners: Please don’t advertise free Wi-Fi if no one can access it. I’d rather know that I am not going to have it than to think I am going to have but then can’t access it. I guess some would think it’s a sad commentary on our life that we are so connected to cell phones and Internet but with a 90 year old frail mother, six grands and one on the way we need to be able to connect!

IMG_2355As soon as we got settled and got lunch we headed toward Adventure Mining Company for an underground tour of a copper mine. There are four different levels of tour including one that included rappelling down the shafts. We chose the first one, just a basic tour but it was very interesting. Of course we all had to wear hard hats (my hair was pretty when I took it off). We also had to walk through the disinfectant for white nose syndrome for the bats. The guide told us we would probably see some bats since it was so hot today (90 degrees) but we didn’t. The guide was very thorough and gave a good synopsis of the history of the Adventure Mine.

After we left the mine we rode through the small town of Octonogan. I located the beauty salon where I will be getting a trim tomorrow. I desperately need it but am a little nervous. Oh well, I guess it’ll grow out. Sherrill came highly recommended.

Jerry cooked chicken on the grill and I fixed potato salad and baked beans. We normally eat in a lot on our travels but for some reason we have eaten out several times on this trip. Part of the reason for that is that we have not been taking a lunch with us. Think that may be changing now.

A quiet evening and I guess we needed that. Jerry just asked me where we were and what day it was!

Home Away From Home, Michigan

Pictured Rocks Cruise in Munising

What a day in Munising, Michigan. Although we stayed in Marquette our plan for today was to visit Munising and get in as much as possible. We left about 10:00 and when we got to Munising we went directly to the Visitor’s Center. The lady that helped us gave us a map and showed us some interesting places to visit but then asked if we were planning to take the Pictured Rocks cruise. When we answered yes she suggested that we get out tickets first and then plan our day around our cruise time.

We left the Visitor’s Center and went directly to Pictured Rocks Cruises and bought tickets for the 1:00 ride. I thought they were a bit pricey at $38 a piece but when I found out later that the cruise was 2 ½ hours that made the price more reasonable. We had about an hour before boarding so we decided to eat lunch. There was a restaurant within walking distance so we went over there. Jerry got a whitefish sandwich and I got a BLT. Both were OK but nothing to write home about.

We boarded along with enough people to make it a full boat and pulled out of the dock right on time. The captain was very good, gave good information and threw in a little humor along the way. We were able to sit up top so the view was perfect.

IMG_1217The Pictured Rocks National Park is located on Lake Superior. According to the National Park Service the name “pictured rocks” comes from the streaks of mineral stain that decorate the face of the cliffs. They are truly indescribable, like nothing I’ve ever seen before, so massive and so colorful. Since we were viewing from the water we got close ups of Miners Castle, the Arch and Chapel Cove. In fact, the captain took the boat right into Chapel Cove where we were really close to the formations. Very easily he backed it out and we continued our tour ending at a waterfall cascading into the lake. The ride back was equally as interesting to me since I was on the left side of the boat. Pictures I took on the way out had the loud speaker and the lines of the mast in them, never a clear shot. That’s all right – Jerry took enough for both of us.

IMG_1247Although it was nearly 4:00 we knew we had lots of daylight left so we headed to Munising Falls. We just walked to the falls but did not climb to the top. The falls are pretty but we have seen a lot of falls both in North Carolina and New York. Interestingly enough the path for the falls was littered with trees that had obviously been there a long time. Jerry asked one of the park rangers why they didn’t clean it out and although he didn’t know he thought it was a good question

IMG_2342Our next stop was Sand Point, a nice sandy beach area where there were a number of people taking advantage of the water. Jerry wanted to stick his toes in Lake Superior so he rolled up his jeans and took his shoes off. Had he had a bathing suit on I’m sure he would have gone swimming. From where I was standing it looked like the sand had ridge formations making it difficult to walk steadily. It would have been a good story but Jerry didn’t fall.

Miner's Castle
Miner’s Castle
Our next stop was Miners Castle. We had seen this from the water but wanted to see it up close. As we were standing on the outlook a tour boat passed by and we waved to them just as others had waved to us earlier when we passed. The view of Lake Superior is again spectacular – it just goes on and on!

It was getting late and we were tired so we headed back to Marquette which was about a 45 minute drive. If Jerry had not continued to ask me questions I’m quite sure I would have taken a nap. We stopped at an IGA on the way in to stock up on necessary items. I was surprised that they had limited goods. Two of the items we wanted were not available. (As we were driving out of Marquette the next day we saw the more heavily trafficked section of the town with more grocery stores, etc.)

Although we so wanted to ride our bikes this evening we wisely decided that we were just too tired. In anticipation of a late day off touring we had planned to bake two of the pasties that we had gotten in Traverse City at Cousin Jenny’s. I put them in the toaster oven and fixed a salad and we had a very nice dinner. Jerry doctored his with cayenne pepper and I just used the Dynamite Sauce that I had bought from them when I got the pasties.

Home Away From Home, Michigan

Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette, MI

View of Lake Superior from Sugarloaf Mountain
View of Lake Superior from Sugarloaf Mountain

Left Tiki RV Park just before 10:00 and the first leg of our journey further into the UP followed the scenically Straits of Mackinaw, then the beautiful Lake Michigan. When you could see through the trees the view was spectacular. Michigan is surely a pretty state with abundant trees, lush grasses and beautiful lakes, many more than just the five famous ones. The weather is perfect today, 60 degrees with a cool breeze. Not a good day to be leaving this lovely area but headed to Marquette and then touring Munising tomorrow.

I have heard a number of people talk about the bad roads in Michigan but so far we’ve haven’t seen any. The trip to Marquette was a smooth road and uneventful, the kind we like! As the first leg of the trip followed Lake Michigan coastline the last 30 miles or so followed the Lake Superior coastline. We stopped at an overlook when we got our first glance. The breeze was brisk and it was a bit cool but there were people in the water! Unbelievable for this southern girl.

We are staying at the city park which is all the way on the other side of town and we had to maneuver around some road construction. One thing I can say for sure is that Eastern United States is working on their highways as we have run into many construction sites! Sometimes that makes for interesting driving in a 40 foot motor home – and sometimes I just bow my head and pray!

The park is nice, heavily treed with paved sites and the sites are a nice size. Wi-Fi seems to work well for a change but we can’t get a Dish signal. That’s OK since we rarely watch TV when we’re traveling.

IMG_1198After we got set up we ate a quick lunch and decided to go find Sugarloaf Mountain, one of the most popular overlooks on the UP. There are two trails leading up to the Lake Superior overlook, one marked easy and one marked difficult. With our walking sticks in hand we headed out – on the easy trail however I think about half way up we ended up on the difficult trail. The trail consisted of both a walking path and some steep stairway segments. IMG_2282There are three platforms but the center one offers the most panoramic view of Lake Superior. It is stunningly beautiful and so very vast, the largest of the Great Lakes and the largest freshwater lake in the world. It was an easy hike and took us about 20 minutes to walk up and then 20 to get down.

We came back to the campground and started with dinner so we could get a bike ride in tonight. Marquette is certainly a bike/walker friendly town and after riding around the campground for a while we found the bike trail and that was fun and we didn’t have to dodge nearly so many people! At one point we had to cross a busy four lane street that had a clearly marked stopping point for cars so that bikes could cross over and —- the cars stopped for us!

Home Away From Home, Michigan

Another Day on Mackinac Island

We woke up to a sunny day with blue sky and not a cloud in sight so we decided that perhaps the weathermen didn’t know what they were talking about (they did). In that vein we decided to go back over to Mackinac Island. We really didn’t get to see the Grand Hotel nor the fort when we were there earlier in the week plus we so enjoyed riding the loop around the island that we wanted to do it again.

A Ride on Arnold's Ferry
A Ride on Arnold’s Ferry
We decided to take Arnold’s Ferry today since it had been recommended and it was $18 cheaper. Jerry got the bikes on the back of the car and we drove to Arnold’s not very far down the street. Our ride over was nice, perhaps a little longer but it was fine. The water was calmer today so we sat up top and enjoyed the fresh air and breeze.

As soon as we got off the ferry and got our bikes Jerry got a map from the Visitor’s Center and we set out for the Grand Hotel. At one point we had a very steep incline and I just couldn’t make it up. I couldn’t get off the bike with the basket on the back and Jerry was long gone so I just straddled the bike and walked it up the hill. Sometimes it really is nice when you don’t know anyone around you! I got back on at the top and rode on up to the hotel. Jerry was waiting and we quickly put out bikes on the bike stands.

The flowers at the hotel are spectacular, colorful and plentiful. They charged $10 to walk through the hotel – guess that’s to keep the riff raff out and it worked – we didn’t go in!

We're really not very good at selfies!
We’re really not very good at selfies!
We then got on the bike trail from that end and rode the 8.2 mile loop again. It was so much more fun! I saw a lot of things that I didn’t get to see the previous time due to the rain and wind. When we got to the Mission Point Hotel I suggested we go out and sit in the large Adirondack chairs. As we were sitting there fiddling with the selfie stick we felt the first drops of rain so we headed on into the main part of town.

We had planned to visit the fort but decided to go on out for lunch first since it was raining was coming down pretty steadily. I had been told that the mussels at Yankee Rebel Tavern (boy, that’s a politically correct name for visitors) were delicious so we decided to eat there only to discover that mussels are only served in the evening. As we ate we watch the rain continue to pour so we decided to order dessert, something we rarely do except when we’re traveling. We got the crème brulee and it was pretty good – we scraped the dish!

The rain had let us a bit so we walked around a few stores. I bought a cap and then we realized it was 2:40 and the ferry only left at 3:00, 5:00, 7:00 and 9:00. We didn’t want to wait until 5:00 so we hustled out, got our bikes and were immediately at the loading dock. By this time it was really raining hard. When we got back to St. Ignace Jerry had to put the bikes back on the car rack in the deluge of rain. I think he did it in record time!

As soon as we got back I walked over to the office for a bit to see if I could get some Internet connectivity. After chatting with a couple tenting for two weeks (really) I went back to the coach, got a cup of coffee and promptly took a nap. Jerry kept asking me if I wanted to continue to sleep and I did. I got up and ate just a little bit and then went right to bed. I was tired!

Home Away From Home, Michigan

Mackinaw Point Lighthouse

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Winter has come back to Michigan. Well, not really but it did get cold last night and when Jerry got up this morning it was 57 in the coach (we didn’t turn on the heat last night). Thank goodness for the fireplace. I almost feel guilty thinking about our cool weather because it is sweltering at home.

After realizing that the bike rack would not work we went back to Petoskey to return it and then ended up stopping at Latitude 45. A very helpful young lady found the very one we needed and helped Jerry put it on.

That done we headed for Mackinaw City to do some touring. Our first stop was the Mackinaw Point Lighthouse. It is probably the nicest lighthouse we have visited with a lot of memorabilia. Several people were dressed in period costumes and gave various presentations.

View from the top of the lighthouse
View from the top of the lighthouse
We climbed up to the top, only 50 steps up a spiral staircase and then 8 up a ladder. The top was enclosed but the view was still spectacular.
The Fresssnel Lenss
The Fresssnel Lenss
On the ground floor of the lighthouse is an original Fressnel Lens that guided the ships through the Straits of Mackinac from the top of the lighthouse. Originally lit by a large kerosene lamp at its center this was replaced by an electric light in 1929.

Also located on the lighthouse grounds is a Maritime Museum and it too is very nice. We learned about the Mackinaw Straits and the danger they offered. We also read about the captains that were more interested in getting the cargo delivered on schedule than they were about the lives of their crewmen. There were several ship wrecks where lives were lost. One particular disaster was deemed the responsibility of the captain and he was unable to captain for a year, however he never sailed again.

Our next stop was the Michlimakinac Fort. Like the lighthouse it had many presentations by people dressed in period costumes also. Through archeological digs many of the relics of the fort have been recovered. In fact Michlimakinac is the site of the longest, on-going historical archeology program in the United States. One of the highlights was the firing of the cannon “into Lake Michigan”. Actually the firing range was so low that they seldom fired at anything in the lake.

One of the many exhibits
One of the many exhibits

After we left the fort we rode into Mackinaw City, sampled some fudge and bought a t-shirt for Jerry then headed back to St. Ignace. We had talked about the possibility of biking into St. Ignace for dinner but wisely decided that we were too tired and hungry to do that so we stopped at the Galley and had dinner. I had broiled whitefish and Jerry had fried whitefish, trout, walleye and perch. Neither of us had ever had whitefish or walleye before. We topped it off with rhubarb pie and ice cream! I had been told that rhubarb pie is a staple of Michigan so I wanted to try it. I’m glad I did. Now I can go back to my delicious cherry pie!

When we got back to the campground we got out the bikes and went for a ride. I could only do three miles (and was glad to do that) but Jerry did his regular six.

We are undecided about what to do tomorrow. We had planned to go to Saulte St. Marie to see the locks but I talked with a lady in the campground who had gone on Wednesday. She saw two ships go by and one of them was a tour boat. In fact she said that she was bored! Apparently due to coastal deterioration the drop between Lake Superior and Lake Huron is not as large as it used to be so fewer ships are going through. Since we had actually experienced the journey of a boat through a lock when we were in New York we may decide to skip that. We may even go back to Mackinaw Island – we’ll see!

Home Away From Home, Michigan

Kilwin Chocolate and Castle Rock

Today didn’t exactly turn out like we planned but then is that anything unusual? The bike rack is on the motor home (and can be used on the ForeRunner) but we don’t have a rack for the Avalon which is the car we tow when we’re traveling. Jerry wanted to get one so we can use the bikes when we’re away from the campgrounds. We looked online but ordering was not an option so today we started calling bike shops in the area. Since they don’t open until either 9:30 or 10:00 we couldn’t even get started until then. He finally found a sporting goods store in Petoskey that had what he needed so about 11:00 we took off for Petoskey. It’s about a 45 minute drive – at least!

We got to MC Sports and they had exactly what he wanted so we got it. Since it was lunch time we asked for a recommendation and they suggested Grand Traverse Pie Company. Jerry got the chicken pot pie that came with a salad and a slice of pie (cherry crumble). I got a salad and a pastie. While the pastie was good I didn’t think it was as good as the one I got in Traverse City at Cousin Jenny’s earlier in the week. Once Jerry finally found me some hot sauce though that helped.

Not our best shot!
Not our best shot!

As we were leaving Petoskey we  saw Kilwin Chocolate and decided to stop for a tour.  Boy, I got a sugar high just walking in the door!  What aroma!  Before the tour we all had to cover our hair with caps and the men with beards and mustaches had to cover that as well.  The guide was very well informed and the tour was great.  Afterward we got to sample some of their wares and wow – it was good!

We came back through Mackinaw City and rode around there trying to decide if we could ride bikes there tomorrow. We then went to the Michigan Welcome Center and got some pamphlets.

IMG_2201Our next stop was Castle Rock. The store itself is filled with touristy things, a lot of shirts and knickknacks that I wonder if ever get sold and of course they had a magnet! The cost of the climb is $1.00. As soon as you exit there are two big statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Blue Ox. They are fenced in so you can’t get very close but we still got a picture. I don’t know how many steps there are up to the rock but there are a lot and they are very inconsistent in height and width. This was possibly one of the most difficult climbs we’ve made but we did make it. Once at the end of the steps there’s a ramp leading to a small space at the top where there is a very picturesque view of Lake Huron. It really is beautiful and worth the climb although we did have to rest a couple of times during the trip up.

The view from Castle Rock
The view from Castle Rock

We came on back to the campground and while I came inside and started catching up on the blog Jerry went outside to install the bike rack only to discover that he needed another piece in order to put my bike up there. A call to MC Sports and we were off to Petoskey AGAIN! It is not a short ride! On the way Jerry discussed the possibility of us being back by 7:30 and then riding the bikes into St. Ignace. Really Jerry – we were going to be back to St. Ignace by 7:30 – it was 7:14 when we got to MC Sports!

We got the necessary piece and then started back to St. Ignace. As we traveled Highway 31 again we began to look for restaurants, stopped at two and finally decided to eat when we got back to the coach.

As we were getting out of the car our neighbors invited us over to enjoy their campfire so after we ate a bite we went over and spent a very pleasant evening with them. That’s probably one of my favorite things to do when camping. Good evenings with nice people. In fact it was nearly 11:00 when we got in.

Temperatures are supposed to get down in the 40’s tonight! Good Sleeping Weather!