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!

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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

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!

Home Away From Home, Michigan

St. Ignace and Mackinac Island

Yesterday was a travel day. We intended to get up early, ride bikes and then be on the way but I knew Jerry had had a bad night and he had a long day of driving ahead so I didn’t wake him. In fact he didn’t wake up until 8:30. He had read the night before that one way to lose weight while cycling is to ride without breakfast so we tried that today. I really couldn’t tell any difference in my ability to conquer 6 miles. It’s mostly level ground so that makes it easier. The first four miles are not that hard but the fifth one – wow, and the sixth one I just keep counting down!

We left about 12:00 and though it’s just a little over 100 miles it took us 3 hours to arrive. The road is two lanes, curvy, bumpy in places and a slow drive. We did drive through Petoskey which is a beautiful town but I was on the phone with Ivy planning our Louisville trip so I really didn’t see much.

We slowly crossed over the Mackinac Bridge due to road construction and arrived at Tiki Campground in St Ignace, MI. We got the Passport rate and only paid $105 for 5 nights. Our site is kind of up on the edge of the campground – hope we don’t roll over during the night! We can see Lake Michigan though. Wi-fi as usual is iffy even with the booster. The booster can’t boost what isn’t there! I do wish campground hosts would not advertise free Wi-Fi if it is so poor. I’m watching our data on our phones carefully since I know there is no Wi-Fi in Asheville, our last destination.

Thursday we got up early, dressed and had our bikes at the office by 8:30 waiting for the shuttle to Sheplar’s for the ferry ride over. The weather was nice as it had cooled down a bit and the sky was clear although rain was predicted. We were the last pickups so the ride there took less than 5 minutes. We had planned to sit on top but they made it clear that we would get very wet, like “bathtub” wet so along with many others we went downstairs. Although the route was supposed to take us under the bridge the captain wasn’t sure that would be possible due to high waves, 2-4 feet. We did go under it though and it is amazing!

On to Mackinac Island and oh my goodness. People, horses and bikes everywhere. We carefully rode our bikes down main street and then around the block. We had packed the backpack and it was in my basket on the back of my bike. It so changed the bike weight that I couldn’t ride with it. We parked our bikes at a bike rack and then ambled around. We went to the Visitor’s Center and for a few minutes just looked lost as we gazed around at the fevered activity. We finally decided to take a horse and buggy ride around the island. It was $120 or $60 per couple. We ended up sharing with another couple. The problem was that it was cash and between the two of us we had about $70.

The ride was very nice as he took us around the island. We passed right by the Grand Hotel, several nice stables and many of the private homes on the island. Boy, are they nice! The owner’s names were very recognizable.

After the tour we took our bikes and started on the ride around the island. Riding a bike is like riding an obstacle course. If everyone had brought their bikes and knew how to ride it would be nice but that is surely not the case. Of course there were many rented bikes of all sizes, even tandem bikes. At one point I surely wished Jerry and I were pedaling together!

The Arch on Mackinac Island
The Arch on Mackinac Island
The bike ride to the Arch was a nice ride and in fact we had passed it before we realized it so we turned around and went back. We locked the bikes up on the bike rack and began the 207 steps up to the Arch. About half way up there is a rest stop and Jerry reached in his pocket to get his iPhone out to take a picture only to frantically realize that it was still on his bike. Back down the stairs he went. Luckily it was still on the bike but then he had to climb the stairs again. We finally reached the top and it was well worth it despite the crowd. The view of Lake Huron is incredible to say the least.

When we climbed back down it had begun to sprinkle so we sat on the benches for a few minutes hoping that it would pass. It didn’t so we valiantly continued on our 8.2 mile ride around the island. After about 4 miles and a BIG hill that I finally walked up the wind picked up and the rain began to blow. I finally caught up with Jerry and we stopped at the rest station where there was a phone and bathrooms – and a locked building. By this time I was cold and a little wet. I couldn’t wear my visor because it would blow off and I couldn’t take off my sunglasses which were covered with rain because then my contacts would blow out. When I got to that rest stop my question to Jerry of course was “are we having fun yet?” We carried on though and the trail got easier and the weather improved. In fact my eighth mile was my fastest mile!

Our next stop was the Pink Pony for lunch. Although there was a line for inside we elected to sit outside so we had no wait. We both got the burgers and chips and they were good.

Afterward we just walked around the shops some. To say that Mackinaw Island is fascinating is absolutely an understatement. There are throngs of people going in all different directions, some trying to cross the street amidst the cyclists, walkers and the horse and buggies. Apparently because it was a week day and poor weather there weren’t as many people there as usual. I can’t imagine more. Our van driver told us that about 6000 people a day go over!

Streets of Mackinac Island
Busy Streets of Mackinac Island
After walking around some we decided to ride our bikes to the other end and possibly find the Grand Hotel. A mile later we turned around realizing that we had totally missed the turns. By this time it had really begun to rain so we parked the bikes and walked around the stores some more. Of course I got a magnet saying that we had ridden the 8.2 miles plus I got a sweatshirt. We went into one of the many ice cream shops and had a cone of ice cream. We also went in and out of a couple of fudge shops and sampled their wares. By this time we were too full to think about buying any!

Since it was raining so hard we decided to return to the campground and as luck would have it we pulled up to the dock just minutes before the St. Ignace ferry was leaving so we were able to quickly get on and get settled. The ride back was direct, no looking at the bridge so it was fast.

When we got back to the coach we fixed a cup of coffee and just rested for a bit. The plan was to bake the pasties we had bought in Traverse City earlier but that didn’t happen. I went to sleep on the sofa and after a little rest Jerry got up and fixed some more sausage balls. I just couldn’t seem to wake up so I finally had two sausage balls and some tea for dinner and went to bed!
It was a great day but tiring.

Home Away From Home, Michigan

We Hit the Wall!

Today was definitely “Hit the Wall” day! We both have been going full blast since the first of July and today we just ran out of steam. Although we had plans to be up by 7:00, have our 6 mile ride and then get to the Visitor’s Center in Traverse City by 9:00 that plan failed. Neither of us could get to sleep last night and I think there were a couple of reasons. One, our bodies just haven’t acclimated to it being light so late. I know that sounds a bit silly but we’re usually in and quiet by 9:00 but this week we’re still sitting outside reading, visiting or I’m inside working on the computer. Also, Jerry finally got his State flag up and last night it was windy and the flag was proudly and loudly flying. Finally about 12:30 Jerry got up and went outside and took it down. He was so frustrated he just went out the door in his underwear. Fortunately he had on a t-shirt and no one was up!

We did get our six mile ride in but for me it was a real struggle. I just rode around the top part of the campground trying to avoid as many hills as I could.

We finally got to the Visitor’s Center about 11:00 but unfortunately the lady we talked to wasn’t a bit of help. When I asked for suggestions her reply was “instead of shopping?”. Well duh, yeah. If we had just wanted to shop we surely could have found the shops! After we mentioned a lighthouse she finally suggested Old Mission Peninsula. We also asked about somewhere to eat the local pastie. She pondered it a bit and finally suggested Cousin Jenny’s which was fairly close. We went back to the car, paid the parking meter and using Mapquest and Waze we set out seeking Cousin Jenny’s. Hello Mapquest! Hello Waze! Cousin Jenny’s was two blocks away, straight down the street. Why, oh why in the 90 degree sunny heat did they send us on a 30 minute circular tour of the city? We finally made it and all I could ask for was a glass of water after walking at least one mile.

Jerry eating his pastie
Jerry eating his pastie
We both got the meat pastie which included steak, potatoes, onion, rutabaga and seasoning. When they brought it to the table they suggested various condiments to go along with it: sour cream, Cousin Jenny’s Dynamite Sauce, some gravy and something else that Jerry said tasted similar to mustard. Expecting to taste something similar to the meat pies we had in Louisiana we were very pleasantly surprised. Although Jerry thought it was a little bland I thoroughly enjoyed mine. In fact we later went back and got four more, two for dinner on our travel day (tomorrow) and two to freeze plus I got some of the hot sauce as well.

We then walked two whole blocks to our car. I think it took four minutes! We rode to the Old Mission Peninsula and it was a pretty ride. There are 10 wineries along the way and various cherry stands as well.

Old Mission Lighthouse
Old Mission Lighthouse
The Old Mission Lighthouse is located at the tip of the Old Mission Peninsula. Built in 1870 this lighthouse is located at the end of nineteen-mile-long Old Mission Peninsula. It divides Grand Traverse Bay into a west arm and an east arm. We elected not to climb the lighthouse as we’ve already climbed three plus it is enclosed at the top.

Just a few hundred feet north of the point lies the invisible line, the 45th parallel of latitude which marks the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. We stuck our toes in the water and surprisingly it was much warmer than Lake Michigan. As with the other beaches there were people in the water and some tanning on the beach.

We also visited the Hessler Log Home which was built by early settlers. It is amazing to see the smooth walls and the dove-tailed joints that were hand cut from the pine trees. There are no nails or fasteners in the home.

Driving out of the peninsula we stopped to buy some cherries and ended up also getting some Moomers ice cream only sold in Michigan. Jerry got a mint ice cream covered in heavy chocolate and I got a cup of amaretto cherry. After eating a bit we exchanged and we both like the other’s better! It was really good and I hope we can get some more before we leave the state.

After a brief stop at Cousin Jenny’s we came on back to the campground where we both collapsed with fatigue. After a lazy afternoon nap punctuated by rain on the roof I cooked a good dinner of meatloaf, butter beans and creamed potatoes.

Home Away From Home, Michigan

Climbing the Dune

Our first stop today was the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. Because we have the America the Beautiful pass we were able to get in at no cost. The dune is tremendous – so high but I was determined to climb it. Jerry headed toward to the bathroom and I headed for the dune. IMG_2077It was a climb to say the least but I made it to the top – kind of. To get to the other side of the dune to see Lake Michigan was another mile and a half and I’ve already seen Lake Michigan. The view towards Glen Lake was enough for me. I clambered down, bought the magnet and then we headed for Glen Haven, a small village on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Originally a company town known for farming and canning it is one of the few towns that survived and that is probably due to the foresight of D. H. Day who was first logging the trees and then added a fruit cannery. Today the historic town which is now owned by the National Park Service includes a general store, a boat museum, a blacksmith shop and a maritime museum.

Jerry at the helm!
Jerry at the helm!
The Maritime Museum is the original Sleeping Bear Point U.S. Life-Saving Station which was moved to its present location because the encroaching sand dunes were beginning to bury it in sand. The house is an amazing recreation of life during the treacherous early days. After viewing all of the rooms we entered the Pilot House room. It was just like being at the helm on the ship – a little eerie!

We considered going to Leland and taking the ferry to the North Manitou Lighthouse but a day pass was $40 per person and it was already 3:00 so we decided to go on to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Northport.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse
Grand Traverse Lighthouse
Located at Leelanau State Park, the lighthouse has been restored to include a museum showcasing the life of a lighthouse keeper and his family. The wife must have been musical because there were two organs in the house. This was a very different lighthouse in that we didn’t have 130 steps to climb and the top was enclosed.

Also on the grounds is the Fog House which is a tribute to World War II. After the attack at Pearl Harbor Lake Michigan was the only body of water in the United States not touched by foreign soil and because it mirrored the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific it became a mecca for training for aircraft carriers. There is a great deal of history in that one little building.

Our trip back to Traverse City followed the coast line and the scenic Lake Michigan. Every inch that I have seen is indescribably beautiful – what a nice place to live – during the summer that is!

We stopped at the grocery store yet again and got hamburgers to grill for dinner. After dinner we sat outside for a while, visited with the new neighbors from Arkansas and then Jerry later visited with a guy originally from Durham. Small world.

It’s 10:00 now and finally dark – good night!

Home Away From Home, Michigan

Travel Day to Traverse City

Today was a travel day but we didn’t have to check out until 12:00 so after breakfast we got the bikes out and rode back into Silver Lake again and all of the way to Mac’s Dune Buggies. The first part was good but the 5th mile going back was so difficult that at one point I just had to stop. That was one steep hill!

We packed up and then pulled up to the entrance parking lot where we put the car on the dolly and then took off for Traverse City which is only a little over 100 miles away. Everything was going well until we were going through some little town and Jerry hit a curb and the pantry, refrigerator and freezer came open and things began to fall out. I hurried back and was trying to gather the falling objects when apparently he went around a curve and I ended up on the floor between the table and the wall. When it was all said and done I felt like I had been in a wreck. If that’s all that happens on this trip we’ll be some blessed people!

We got to the Holiday Park Campground a little after 2:00 and it was one of the easiest set-ups we’ve ever had. First, the campground was located on Hwy 31 which is the one we were on so we drove right to it, no hunting around for it. Set-up was easy and quick. Holiday Campground is a very large park and when you enter you see lots of shaded lots. Unfortunately that is not where they put the travelers. We are on the very last row and as our neighbor said “not a tree in sight”! There is a lake for swimming but it’s pretty far from us. Still we are safe and secure in our little home away from home.

After a quick lunch we decided to go to the grocery store to get some steaks to grill for tonight and that turned into a little explore and discovery. Garmin will take you places you never thought you’d go and for us, we usually end up on a dirt road! We finally found Traverse City and rode down Front Street located on Grand Traverse Bay. Lots of people were out on the beach, in the water and boats were on the move.

We finally found a grocery store, got the necessary things and headed back to the campground. It was a straight shot, only about a 15 minute ride. Go Garmin! Interestingly enough we rode by shopping centers, Best Buy, car dealerships and then amazingly a pasture with about 15-20 buffalo in it! Dang it, I couldn’t get my camera out.

Got back to the campground and Jerry grilled steaks. We sat outside for a while – the weather is so nice and then we rode two more miles on the bikes! With it staying light so late even if we get a late start and we often do, we can still get a lot done.