S: The Great Lakes Trip 2012
FC: The Great Lakes Trip
1: Great Lakes Adventure | “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” ~ Helen Keller
2: May 25, 2012 Friday Ahhh, the beginning of Road Trip # 4 – The Great Lakes Tour! We left at 5 in the morning to start our great adventure in our “new to us” camper; we upgraded to a hybrid from our pop-up. The day was consumed with driving. It is funny how no one questions the length of a day in the car as long as we have a good book to keep us company. Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Game trilogy, was our constant companion today. Savannah was excited to check eating Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky off of her bucket list. After 12 hours of driving, we arrived at our campground. As far as campgrounds go, this was the worst we have ever encountered; it had NO SHOWERS! We were amazed by the number of people who drove around on golf carts. It was crazy! They would make laps around this small campground. We finished the evening with a game of UNO and another chapter from the book. | Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky checked off the Bucket List!
3: Best Catch of the Day! | May 26, 2012 Saturday The morning began with biscuits in a pot thanks to Scott’s teaching. Then, we got up and ready for a day of exploring Lake Erie. Our first stop was the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge for some bird watching. Next, we proceeded to the end of peninsula to see the ferry. We opted not to take the ferry ride. Instead, we found Catawba State Park where we enjoyed our lunch along Lake Erie’s lakeshore followed by rock skipping. Because it was still too cool for swimming, we continued on for more exploring. Marblehead Lighthouse provided an after lunch stop. It is the oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes. Due to the kids wanting to take a swim, we traveled on to Maumee Bay State Park for lounging on the beach. It was very restful. Sawyer enjoyed shell collecting and playing in the water while the rest of us caught a few Zzzzz’s. Needing showers desperately, we decided to go shower house crashing. Our first attempt was a fail due to having to be a registered guest to enter the campground so we pressed on in search of another. After a several mile search, we struck upon another. We collected our things and walked into the shower house like we belonged. Unfortunately the showers cost 25 cents for 3 minutes so we had to find a place to get change. All smelling good, we headed back to our campground. The evening was rounded out with supper, Uno, and Sequence. | Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
4: Marblehead Lighthouse, Ohio
5: “Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” ~Helen Keller | Relaxing on Lake Huron
6: May 27, 2012 Sunday As we packed up, we were all ready to leave Wooded Acres Campground. We definitely prefer campgrounds where there is a stay limit and showers. Our day’s drive was plagued with transmission issues and rain so it took much longer to reach Traverse City than we had anticipated. However, after getting to Traverse City State Park and setting up our camper, we headed for an afternoon at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. In the park our first stop was the Dune Climb. | WOW! We took off our shoes and began the assent. It was so deceiving. We would think that we had reached the top, but no we had just reached another plateau. Because you could not see the top from the bottom, it was difficult to judge the distance. Sawyer really wanted to hike all the way to the lake, but there was no way – it was way too far. A visit to Lake Michigan for a dip of our feet came next. It was extremely cold. The kids decided that putting in their feet was enough for them. On our way back to camp, we stopped for pizza. Then, after supper we made our way across the bridge to the bay where we watched the sunset. The evening was topped off with finishing the last 30 pages in Catching Fire and rethinking our trip’s route due to car issues.
7: “Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” ~Helen Keller | Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
8: Sunset at Traverse City, Michigan
9: May 28, 2012 After sleeping in, we packed up camp and headed to the Traverse City History Museum. We had seen a banner in town advertising a Lego Festival. It did not disappoint. Sawyer loved it! Several rooms were full of giant Lego creations. Also, Legos were available to design your own cars to race. Each of us used our creative juices but failed to produce a car that could make it to the victory line. Leaving the museum, we pushed further north towards Mackinaw City. We chose St. Ignace State Park for campig which was a wonderful choice. Our campsite’s view was the Mackinac Bridge and Lake Huron – gorgeous! As evening approached we ventured into town to scope our must-sees for the next day. Arnold Transit Company was located to take us on our journey to Mackinaw Island the next day. We also walked the boardwalk. While storms pelted our camper, Brad and I taught the kids to play Rook; we think they are hooked! | Lego Exhibit at Traverse City, Michigan | Check out the duck foot!
10: Getting Back To Nature | Lunch on the Lake
11: Always a New Adventure | St. Ignace, Michigan Mackinac Bridge
12: “May 29, 2012 We rolled out of the camper this morning to colder weather. It was mid 80s yesterday and only in the 60s today. The ferry ride to the island was relaxing and full of anticipation. Stepping onto the dock at Mackinac Island, we felt like we had been thrown into the past. No cars – just horse drawn carriages and bicycles! It was lovely. We purchased a carriage ride around the island which provided us with the highlights of the area. After the ride, we toured Fort Mackinac but our stomachs were very rumbly so we cut the exploration short to curtail the hunger. While Savannah and Sawyer opted for typical entres, Brad and I chose local flavor. Brad ordered white fish, and I order a pastie, a meat and rutabaga stuffed pie. Lunch was followed by a walking tour to the area around The Grand Hotel. Our ferry ride back to the mainland had some issues due to the starboard motor not working, but we were escorted onto another ferry within 30 minutes. The beds called us for a late evening nap, then it was supper and more Rook. | A Day on Mackinaw Island
14: May 30, 2012 Exploration of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was today’s agenda. We began with a tour of a deer farm that was the home of 6 brand new fawns; they were adorable. Then, we headed towards Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to check off another Great Lake – Superior. Today’s weather was frigid. The temperature hovered in the low 40s for most of the day – much too cold for sticking our feet in the water. The hike at Sable Falls was fantastic. The boardwalk trail led us by the waterfalls and down to lakeside. Wow! The waves were crazy. We all wished that the temperature had cooperated so we could have taken a dip. Next, we took the short walk to Log Slide Overlook where the sand dunes were used as a natural slide for sending logs in the water for transporting. Finally, we hiked to Miner’s Castle to view the park’s namesake – Pictured Rocks. The striations of colors were beautiful. The cold weather and mid-week day obviously kept others away from the park today; we had it pretty much to ourselves. The end of the day provided a turn in our vacation back southward towards home. We camped along Green Bay at J. W. Well State Park.
16: “May 31, 2012 We left our camp heading south towards Wisconsin. The friendly lady at the Wisconsin Welcome Center suggested places that we might want to visit as we trekked through the state. Our first stop was at a local cheese house. We were slightly disappointed because they were not currently making cheese, however the summer sausage was delicious. Lambeau Field was a possible stop in Green Bay but we decided to bi-pass it to head towards Milwaukee to make it for a tour at a brewery. The tour was extremely interesting; it meandered us through various parts of the plant from creating the brew to packaging. We were all amazed that they could make 1,500 bottles and 2,000 cans a minute. The warehouse was about the size of 5 NFL football fields, but the contents turns completely over in 24 hours. Bong State Recreation Area provided a spot to rest our camper for the evening. | Wisconsin
17: June 1, 2012 Our first stop was the Cheese Castle where we sampled cheeses and baked goodies. Then, we proceeded eastward towards the Jelly Belly Factory Tour. While the train that transported around the warehouse was cute and we did get free samples of Jelly Bellies, this tour didn’t compare to the brewery tour. We did not actually get to the see the “making” process except on video screens. At the gift shop, we did stock up on the cheap Jelly Bellies and tasted a few new ones at the sampling counter. The rest of the day was spent working our way around Chicago. Heavy traffic is just too difficult when pulling a camper. After making our way into Indiana, , we were amazed at the windmills... thousands and thousands! After a supper at Cracker Barrel, we found a campground south west of Indianapolis..
18: Getting Back To Nature | Squire Boone Caverns
19: June 2, 2012 We arose, showered, and headed southward. Our lunch stop was near the Indiana/ Kentucky border at Squire Boone Caverns and Village. It was a beautiful area nestled into the hills. As we ate, we fed the geese and fish parts of our lunches. Then, we proceeded on a guided tour of the caverns. The underground natural cave formations were spectacular. After driving a few more hours into Kentucky, we took a break at Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace. Anxious to get home, we changed our plans from staying at Dale Hollow Lake to driving on home. We arrived in Pikeville early Sunday morning. While the trip was great, there is no place like home! | Lincoln's Birth