Home Away From Home, North Carolina

An Uneventful Trip to Clemmons!

Saturday, June 10 we headed out for Clemmons and Tanglewood Park. Since we knew that Jane and Emma would be involved in dance recital rehearsal we took our time leaving. Fortunately, this trip was very uneventful unlike our previous trip on Easter week-end! We arrived and got set up fairly quickly. The campground is filled with lots of campers on this pretty week-end but we didn’t have time to visit as we headed out to David and Jane’s as soon as we were set up. It’s so nice to be able to stay at a nice park and be close to their home as well. When Tanglewood was closed for the winter we stayed at Greystone RV Park in Pinnacle, also a nice campground but it’s a good 30 minute or more drive to their house with heavy traffic all of the way so Tanglewood is our campground of choice.

In addition to the campground Tanglewood has many other facilities that the campers can use free of charge. There is a nice dog park plus a vegetable/flower market on some Saturday mornings. There are a couple of pools, a lake for pedal boats (that’s not as easy as it looks), horse stables, playgrounds, lots of hiking trails and good places for bike rides as well. One of the highlights of the year is the Festival of Lights beginning the end of November and going through December. The entire park is transformed into a winter wonderland of giant, twinkling snowflakes and whimsical scenes! An event that began in 1992 has now become an annual tradition for many with an average of 250,000 visitors each year. There are now over a million individual lights and with the recent update all of them are LED. The campground is only open during the first few days of the Festival so always check before arriving.

Emma after her recital
We had a nice week-end visiting with the children and the grands plus seeing Emma perform in her dance recital. After dinner on Sunday evening we returned to Tanglewood fairly early knowing Monday would be a long day.

Texas

Fort Davis, Texas

We awoke to a forecast of rain and high winds so we knew if we were going to do anything outside we had to get moving quickly. Our first stop was Fort Davis. It wasn’t raining yet so we decided to go on in. There is a museum plus a video but we wisely decided that we needed to view the restored buildings at the fort first because the rain was surely coming.

The Fort has been wonderfully restored with several buildings full of memorabilia. From the National Park website “A key post in the defense system of western Texas, Fort Davis played a major role in the history of the Southwest. From 1854 until 1891, troops stationed at the post protected emigrants, freighters, mail coaches, and travelers on the San Antonio-El Paso Road hoping to reach the gold fields of California. Today, Fort Davis is considered one of the best remaining examples of a frontier military post in the American Southwest.”

Commisary
Commisary
We gamely trooped around from building to building in the drizzling cold rain. The first building we went to was the commissary. We got to read entries from a diary belonging to a young lady and it was filled with daily activities and shed quite a light on the times.

The building that housed the information regarding the health and welfare of the residents was grim reminder of how difficult life was during that time. Contrary to popular belief most deaths were caused by disease or illness rather than wounds from battle. One family lost seven children within two weeks from diphtheria. It was not unusual for children to die at a young age or for women to die in childbirth. The average age of a man was only 48.

In the museum
In the museum
Families sometimes filled the voids in their families by adopting other children. A former Hospital Steward adopted two Indian children who were found by the Rangers after a battle with the Apache. The buildings emphasized how very difficult life was during that time, not at all like it’s sometimes romanticized in Hollywood. We ended the tour with a video and a tour of the museum itself.

After touring the fort we headed for the town of Marfa. I wanted to see the town and we were hoping there might be a grocery store there. By the time we got there it was raining steadily so wandering around the town was out. We were able to get gas at $2.29 which was the cheapest we’ve seen it recently. Of course after we got it and rode another block we found it even cheaper!

Someone had recommended that we eat pizza at the Pizza Foundation so we made an effort to find it. They had also given us the phone number and said we would probably want to call ahead – we didn’t. We couldn’t find it so we instead looked for a grocery store and found one and were able to get most of the things on our list. Afterward we made another effort to find the pizza restaurant and we found it – in a renovated garage. Gee, what is it with us and renovated buildings? We went in and finally realized that we had to order at the counter. Jerry went up to order and then headed out calling me. It was going to take an hour to fix our pizza and there was hardly anyone there. Apparently a lot of people had already called in. We heard later that if you went in to order there might be 30-40 call-ins ahead of you! Must be some good pizza and I’m sorry that we didn’t get to try it.

We decided to return to the coach to eat lunch and have a lazy afternoon. The weather was awful, rainy, cold plus a wind advisory so a good afternoon to catch a nap.

Later in the afternoon we realized that it was not only raining but also sleeting and snowing, not much but enough to see it falling. The wind was terrible and the coach was rocking so badly that we pulled in two of the slides. Looks like it’s going to be a rocky night!

North Carolina

Getting Ready To Roll Again!

I wish I would/could keep a chronology of my trip planning as I think it would be interesting at least to me to see the progression and changes to our routes and plans. I “knew” we were going to Texas in January and Arizona in March but had made absolutely no plans and it was December! Oh my –when do I get busy on this? With the holidays we stay pretty busy and this year was even more so. Jerry decided that he wanted to build the boys corn hole boards for Christmas and that could only be done at our river house so we made A LOT of trips down there. Our week-ends were filled with a trip to Charlotte for a Panthers game and a trip to Clemmons for our newest granddaughter’s christening so our weeks were busy going back and forth to Pamlico Beach. We had the absolutely prettiest Christmas tree this year that we’ve ever had but we had little time to enjoy it. We were the last to decorate in our neighborhood and the first to take everything down. I guess we look like a couple of Scrooges. To top it off we decided we wanted some flickering candle lights in our windows so we bought some at the Pottery. Oh yeah – they flickered but they were orange and looked like Halloween. Jerry liked them so … I quickly turned them off each night and when we took the decorations down I threw them away!

Back to planning. I picked the major places that we wanted to visit – San Antonio, Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns (I know it’s in New Mexico) and Amarillo and then went to work on a route. With Jerry in the workshop working on the corn hole boards I had plenty of time to sit at the computer and research. Our route was going to take us close to Abbeville, La so I knew a couple of days at Betty’s RV Park would be in the plans. We were there last year for a week and met some delightful people, some that we will be seeing this time. I added Galveston to the route. As I kept adding up the time spent in each location I finally realized that I had to cut some things out and Galveston was the first to go. From what I’ve read it looks like it’s a real beach town and although I’m sure there are a lot of interesting thing to do there Jerry and I live part-time on a river and we’re only a little over an hour from the Atlantic Ocean so the beachy towns don’t have a lot to draw us.

San Antonio was next on the route. I went a few years ago when attending a conference and I knew that despite our reluctance to visit large cities that Jerry would enjoy San Antonio. I continued to research. Our original plan was to go to Chandler, Arizona in March for the FMCA International Rally. In talking with an RVing friend he suggested that we tour what we had planned in Texas, leave the coach somewhere, fly home to NC for a few weeks, fly back, pick up the coach and go on to Arizona. It would be much less wear and tear on the coach and our bodies. That made sense so I started looking into that plan searching for places to leave the coach and investigating plane fares. It really was beginning to make a lot of sense until I started considering where we would be traveling after the FMCA rally. We both really want to visit Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and some other places in Utah. I quickly realized that we didn’t have enough time to attend the rally, visit places on our Bucket List and be home in time for a March 25 birthday so back to Plan A. Instead we would extend our trip in Texas just a couple of days perhaps taking in Austin and then take our Utah trip after the March 25 birthday. Oh yes, I totally forgot about the April 17 birthday but that’s another story!

I had completed our route and now was time to start looking for campgrounds. We knew that it would take us two hard driving days to get to Abbeville and we would be “camping” at a Walmart for one night. I began to look at RVPark Reviews, Passport and Good Sam’s for park reviews. As I have said earlier we have just started our “boondocking” but I found some Texas state parks that looked interesting so I decided to bite the bullet and made reservations at two parks. I’ll let you know how that works out. I was also lucky to find a Passport park near San Antonio that honors Passport every night. Some only do it for one night or on week nights so each one is different.

I finally got our route established, our sites reserved, our deposits mailed in (yes, some only take checks or cash) and now to get the coach ready.

When are we leaving? Well, that is TBD. IF we can we hope to leave in the afternoon of January 2. We’re keeping three of the grands for the weekend and we both have appointments in the morning of January 2. Guess it depends on how tired we are after a weekend with precious children. If we can’t make it on Monday, we’ll leave bright and early Tuesday morning and drive as far as we can. I put an extra “rest” day in Abbeville before heading to Texas just in case…

Stay tuned!

(BTW – we left Monday afternoon!)

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!