LOWER MICHIGAN FROM GRAND HAVEN TO MACKINAW CITY
The Grand Haven Campground is right on the water. We were there the week before Labor Day which proved to be very busy!!
8/30/2012 When we arrived at the Grand Haven, SP., there was only one spot open for one night. Of course being retired, we never gave a thought to the Labor Day weekend and that all of the campgrounds might be full. The MI State Park system has an annual entrance fee of $29 giving you a sticker to display on the windshield. This CG has only electric and is right on the beach. It has small back-in blacktop spaces with very little room to park a car. It was basically a parking lot, but we were glad to get it, since nothing else was available. We walked to the Grand Haven Light at the end of a long jetty. Waves were high on Lake Michigan and although the red flag was flying there were surfers jumping in off the light house jetty for a ride to the beach. There was a long walkway into the town and we went as far as the Coast Guard Station. Our campground site was so cramped that we had to ask the campers across from us to move their car and those next to us to move a bike to allow us to get out of our space. We were happy that we would not be in that long line to dump our tanks on Labor Day Monday!!
The Luddington Power Plant affectionately referred to as "the Project".
You will most certainly need a magnifying glass to see the lighthouse at the end of the pier and the car ferry leaving for Wisconsin, but they are there!
8/31/2012 We arrived at Ludington SP. The town is beautiful, full of restored Victorian homes. The park is very large and has a more wooded setting. It is very pretty with beach access. There is a long drive along the beach from the town to the SP. They had one site, #134 for one night. Again, a lot of campers. I discovered the rust marks down the side of the LD from the hose connection at the Elkhart Campground. We had noticed that the water smelled bad, but the water tester only showed 241ppm, supposedly a safe range. We can’t get the rust off the RV. We drove back into town to the post office, then to the True Value Hardware and Rite Aid. We shopped at a couple of clothing stores downtown then went to the Farmers’ Market where we met Bob and Sue Shuman of Sunny Gully Farm, who sold hot pepper and herb mixtures for everything, including “hot” popcorn. Bob made several suggestions on what to do in town including eating dinner at the Blue Moon Restaurant. Food was great. Interestingly, we ate dinner at the Blue Moon Restaurant on the night of the August Blue Moon, the second full moon of the month. Then went to the “Project”, a one by two mile man-made lake about 400 feet higher than Lake Michigan created to produce electric energy. Water is pumped into the Lake at night and then allowed to flow through turbines during the day to produce electricity. They told us it was one big "battery". On our way there, we stopped by a river to ask directions and people were fishing for Coho salmon. We said fishing because no one seemed to be catching. Back in Ludington, we saw the huge car ferry departing for Wisconsin and the last of a wonderful sunset. Ludington is by far one of our favorite place so far.
09/01/2012 Saturday. We went to the beach with the signs Jeanne created for our Sept 1st celebration. Ed's sign read: “Sept 1, 2012, It’s my 71st birthday;” Jeanne’s sign read: “It’s my first day of Social Security.” We found some stranger on the beach to take our picture and put it on Facebook. We thought we were so cute! We were sad to leave Ludington. We drove to Interlochen State Park, where we had reserved site 305 for two nights. Ed was frantically trying to follow the Penn State score on his phone only to be disappointed at a 24-14 loss to University of Ohio. Although the park was packed for Labor Day weekend, site 305 was very large and fairly even. We arrived at 3:15 pm and were happy to get our site with electricity. Upon arrival, we filled up with water and dumped our tanks. We had bought gas at Manistee and balked at the price of $3.969. Today we drove a total of 93miles. Ed grilled a filet mignon accompanied by baked potato and steamed vegetables for dinner. He also celebrated with two "this is my birthday" scotches while waiting for the start of the Alabama-Michigan game being held in Arlington Stadium, TX. We were able to get local TV on the batwings which was great, but Jeanne fell asleep before the game began and Ed stayed up to watch only part of it. The final was a dominating win, Alabama over Michigan 41-14. Roll Tide.
Sleeping Bear Dunes is much more than just what you see in this picture. It is very interesting. There is a thick growth of forest that is thriving in only sand. You must go there to really appreciate the complexity of the landscape.
Cooking breakfast at the campsite.
09/02/2012 This morning we cleaned up the RV a bit and took off to find the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. All of our Lazy Daze friends said it was a must see and this was confirmed by the family camping next to us. We took the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive of 7.4 miles that took us to a covered bridge and some views of sand dunes and Lake Michigan. At the Dune Overlook people were walking down toward the water. As the guide book said, the return climb is extremely strenuous. The guy camping next to us told us it took him 7 minutes to go down to the beach from the top of the dune and 1-1/2 hours to climb back up. So we just watched as those crazy people did it. We later saw that there were other areas where we could have gone to see more of the dunes. Around 1:00 am, we stopped at the Empire Village Inn for Stromboli sandwiches and returned to our campground. Ed worked on his genealogy and Jeanne worked on the blog.
This is our lunch spot on Birch Lake. The picnic table was right on the water. A woman put in her kayak while we were eating.
Before we left Interlochen, we had to do a little maintenance. Here's Ed making sure our tire pressure passes inspection!
09/03/2012 We departed Interlochen SP at 1:30 pm. We passed through Traverse City. It was beautiful, but very touristy with hotels and eateries located right on Lake Michigan. Traverse City SP had nice size sites across from Lake. We did not stay there. All the cities up the coast of Michigan are absolutely beautiful. Many with Victorian homes right on the water. Petrosky is one that comes to mind. We had lunch at a beautiful setting at a roadside park on Birch Lake. We wished we had more time here. We arrived at Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground at 4:30 pm. It is a huge campground with over 600 sites. We had site 636 facing Lake Huron. What a great setting.
This is the Mackinac Bridge, separating Lake Michigan from Lake Huron. It is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere.
Mackinac Island is so quaint. No cars, only bikes and horse drawn carriages.
You can also get a horse drawn taxi from the Grant Hotel to the docks. Especially nice if you are carrying luggage.
This is the side view of the Grand Hotel, where Somewhere in Time was filmed.
It is located only a short walk from town.
Ed is biking in front of the local Catholic Church. It was very pretty. Beautiful stained glass windows.
Here we are arriving back to turn our bikes in. There was actually a student from the University of Alabama renting the bikes. He noticed Jeanne's A on her socks and ran to get his phone to show us pictures. He was too cute!
Here is the ferry that took us from the doc in Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island.
This is a view of the Grand Hotel from Lake Huron. It is massive!! Everything we had hoped it would be!
09/04/2012 Tuesday. We bought Mackinac Island Ferry tickets at the campground office for $22 each on the Star Line. The island ferry took us under the Mackinaw bridge for a close-up look. It was awesome. The bridge divides Lake Huron from Lake Michigan and is the longest suspension bridge in the northern hemisphere. Mackinac Island retains it's old Victorian charm. The city is only a few short blocks long. We visited shops looking at the usual T-shirts and sweat shirts. We love those post-holiday sales. Fort Mackinac sat above the town. It played a major role in the War of 1812. We walked up to the Grand Hotel where “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeves was filmed. The gardens and the hotel were absolutely beautiful. There was a sign that said: Gentlemen are required to wear ties and jackets and pants for women were prohibited after 6 pm. You don't see that very often anymore. There was a $10 entrance fee to sit on the porch of the hotel, but we opted not to. Only horse drawn carriages and wagons serve as transportation on the island. This includes everything from people to building supplies. Of course the streets and roads had piles of horse dung everywhere that were swept and shoveled by men with push carts. What a job! We ate lunch at the Yankee Rebel Tavern. Boxed half of lunch for dinner. We rented bikes and did the 8 miles around the island. The weather was beautiful. We thoroughly enjoyed biking, although our legs and buttocks got pretty sore the last mile back into town. When we returned, we did a little more wandering in and out of shops and finally caught the 4:30 ferry back to Mackinaw City. We met some other couples at the campground and went to bed by 9:30 pm. We had a great day.
Tomorrow we will leave lower Michigan. When we cross the bridge, we will be in the UP (upper peninsula)!