Saturday, August 31, 2019

Driving through Michigan

We spent several lovely days leisurely driving through Michigan, starting in the UP and then driving south through the... DOWN?  LP?  Well, the rest of the state.  As usual, we didn't have time to see nearly enough and we're looking forward to coming back again sometime.  I'm not sure why I'm still surprised by this, but there are so many cool things out there that we've never heard of. 

First up, a short but super-interesting trail to Canyon Falls just south of L'Anse.  It starts with a display about a Forest Art Walk:

Then a trail marker - for the North Country Trail.  What?!

I just saw the eastern terminus of this trail in New York in April and now here it is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Crazy.  Here's the map of the overall trail, at least how it will look when it's eventually completed:

Blue blaze leading down a fun path:

Not quite sure how this happened:

The largest trail marker I've ever seen:

Man-made water feature... I think?

Canyon Falls and a close-up look at the flat slate layers that dominate the local geology:

Neat little canyon:

Steps in the rock:

And now for something completely different, here's the North Iron Church.  Everything is awesome?

Rest stop on the shore of Lake Michigan, and John is probably holding a piece of trash he collected to put in its proper place (thank you John!):

The start of the Mackinac Bridge that will take us to the lower part of the state, crossing either Lake Michigan or Lake Huron, not quite sure where the boundary between them lies:

It's a long - and tall - bridge:

Goat!  This is either Mac or Tosh, the goats that live at Friske's Orchard.  We were back to Harvest Host hopping, yay!

Goat habitat:

Plenty of room to stay overnight at the orchard:

The coolest place we discovered in Michigan - the sand dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore!

Shoes off and ready to try to hike to Lake Michigan!

The start of the hike was a bit steep...  there's nothing like deep sand to make for slow progress.  But it was wonderful sand, nice and cool, and very soft.  Quite lovely.

See you in a while, Tug and Howie!

Tracks of... a lizard?

The trail, going up and down and up and down to eventually get to the lake, we hoped:

We made it!  But this fish did not.  RIP (per the stones that I didn't quite capture in the photo):

Dipping toes into the lake - much warmer than Lake Superior:

Wave lines on the sand:

John loves running on the sand.  We should probably go to the beach more.

Sand dune trail to the lake - 5 stars:

Attempting a selfie while barreling down the dunes, sort of successfully:

Next Harvest Host location = another golf course, and it was another good one.  $1 per hole Friday, works for us!

John started off a bit rough...

Everything after hole #1 went better.  He even single bogied hole #4!  ("single bogie" probably isn't a real thing, but I'm sure "triple bogie" must be, because that was John's normal score).

The ball probably dropped out of the tree here, thank you tree:

A raptor of some sort watching over the course:

And one last putt to close out the front 9.  That was fun, again!

We got up early and drove to a park near Grand Rapids the next morning for an 8K Road and Trail race.  Our first race in Michigan and it was a good one.  We ran on a couple really nice trails through the woods, with a couple miles on the road in between.  Hence the name of the race.  A lovely morning and a good day for a few fast miles.

John finishing just a couple minutes after me - yay John!

Happy with the experience, and probably a more appropriate distance for his current training level than the 10 miler the week prior:

I'm enjoying the older age group this year so far (and how did we end up at 2 races with actual podiums this summer?):

But what we enjoyed most was the post-race breakfast!  Pancakes with real maple syrup, berries, granola, yogurt, orange juice, coffee, wow.  We could get really spoiled.

John's turn on the podium:

And a really pretty race number:

That was great fun!

Since we were in the area, it was a good day to visit the Gerald Ford presidential museum:

Hello Mr. Ford, let's see what we can learn about today:

Looks like a briefcase my Dad might have used (#nostalgia):

Star Trek in unexpected places!  Star Trek fans wrote letters to President Ford to ask that the prototype of the new space shuttle be named Enterprise, and Ford made it so.  Very cool.

Replica of the Oval Office, with the Enterprise model on the far table:

I enjoyed reading about First Lady Betty Ford.  She tried to get the Equal Rights Amendment to pass, talked about legalizing abortion, and discussed her divorce and breast cancer.

Thank you for your candor and work, Mrs. Ford:

After seeing what they presented about President Ford (and there were a ton of details that I didn't begin to document here), my sense is that I probably wouldn't agree with everything he did and stood for, but he was a good man who always tried to do the right thing in a no-nonsense way.  He took the job seriously, focused on helping people, and basically just got to work in a time of chaos.

A piece of the Berlin Wall, always interesting to see where one of these will pop up:

The presidential gravesite:


Quick stop in Kalamazoo - because I love the name of the town, plus there's a new TJ's there - much rejoicing  :)

Not technically Michigan, but here's 24 hours worth of the very northern bit of Indiana...

First was our overnight at the RV/MH Museum near Elkhart, because really, how could we not?  We've been RV'ing off and on for over 10 years now, seems fitting to see a bit of history of this wonderful lifestyle.  Plus it's a Harvest Host location, sweet!

Beary adorable:

Their library has a bunch of various magazines, including early editions from Escapees.  Neat to read stories from way back when:

The museum floor, with a whole bunch of older model trailers and RV's.  The best part is that you can walk through many of them and imagine life inside various tiny spaces:

Stove, fridge, dinette, pantry... similar ideas to current models:

And now for something a bit different - a covered wagon:

So cute (and the trailer is fun too):

Love it!

One of the very earliest models, with slide-out drawers (including a stove on the other side) and telescoping back end so it all folds up into a regular car.  I can imagine one of these parked at Yosemite.  Genius.

Howie and Tug ready for the night:

And finally, one more stop in Indiana, at JC Refrigeration to pick up parts for a fridge project.  It's the first major step in our effort to remove all propane from Howie.  More details soon!

But first, on to Illinois...