Thursday, September 19, 2013

Road Trip Michigan Part Uno Bam!

Not quite full moon Up North
Before the looking back down the road, we can be here now with tonight's celestial event of the full moon. While some of us are hither and yonning and swanning about, the moon doesn't care and shines on us all the same. Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, Sanguine Moon, Wine Moon, the Elk Call Moon, Singing Moon or Fruit Moon, call her by what name you choose - if we're able, we can gaze skyward tonight and let her wrap her spell around us. No charge. Thank you, Universe.

At the invitation of Jeff, a fellow Grin-a-brense, a term coined by none other than Jeff himself, Karen and I headed north and west to a corner of Lake Michigan, roundly speaking, so I could see how great the Great Lakes truly are. Jeff, like Karen, grew up in Michigan and they know its beauty as well as its not so pretty side. The not so pretty is for another day, it's all about beauty now.

Leaving Detroit in our rear view mirror, heading for that part of the state called Up North

If you start at Detroit down there at the base of the thumb of the Hand they call Michigan and angle in a fairly straightish line north and west, or the little finger tip, ending where Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is shown, that's pretty much the 5 hour trip. 98% beautiful country guaranteed.
We pulled off at this Michigan rest area to give all of us, Macky included, a break. From interstate to the woods in one minute flat, with warm rest rooms included, one of the prettier rest areas I've seen in a lot of road miles.

This is the bridge over Zilwaukee. Locally, it's called the Pier That Made Zilwaukee Famous. For not such good reasons.

Once away from the city, farms take over. With barns. Lots of barns. Cherries, apples and peaches are big around here; I had no idea. I missed cherry season but I can attest that Michigan peaches and Zester apples are good enough to rival anything I've tasted in other states famous for the same. There are so many things I just never thought about, and truthfully, Michigan outside of Detroit was one of them. I was in for some fine surprises.

As a Florida, girl, I wouldn't have recognized this Lake Sanford, but here it was.

The farther north we got, the trees were starting to color their way into fall. In just the two and a half days we were gone, I'd guess there were twice as many getting brighter on the way home.

This is how I knew we were going the right direction. Even though we did get a bit turned around at one point. But if roads disappear, it's not my fault. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Birch trees. They don't live long but while they do, they are standouts in the scenery.

A nice way to trim trees for wires to pass through.

Don't cry for me, weeping willow.

I've never seen a farm truck move this fast. This guy had to be doing at least 65. Nice!

It became obvious pretty quickly that there is a LOT of water in Michigan, even I knew that, but the reality still had a lot to teach me. While many boats were put away and some places were closed or closing soon as winter approaches, there were still a few hardy souls out there, capturing the last warmth of the waning season.

A long and slightly winding road. The roads here are in amazing condition; I don't think I saw a pothole anywhere along the way.
About this point, I got my usual 'we've gone to far, uh oh, I lost my passport' moment. While Jeff gave us perfectly good directions, mirroring the ones from the internet, we were in the woods, no cars and it seemed like maybe it was taking too long or... Karen drove serenely on, not attempting to quell my misgivings and I finally sank into her sureness that all was well. It was. Signs for Sleeping Bear Dunes appeared, and then the dunes themselves.

We learned the story about this farm later on, but this first glimpse was full of wonder - this gorgeous barn, a not working farm, what was this about?
And then the 'ohhhhh, ohhhh, wow!' moment arrived

Only a few more minutes!
Jeff wins Most Congenial Host Ever
We turned the corner because there was no where else to turn unless we wanted to go swimming in Lake Michigan and there was Jeff, waiting for us outside (I really took this at the end of the trip, though this is exactly what we saw - at the time my 'holy crap, this is where we're staying?' factor was in way too high a gear to think of getting even one more photo). It was time to get out and live it.

A walk across the road and free!
Have a tolerantly trouble free Thursday. Do something topographically textured.

p.s. Music for your Harvest Moon enjoyment.


  1. That non-working farm barn photo is beautiful! Also, the lake pics. I've never seen any of the Great Lakes. Been to every state except Alaska, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. Putting the Lake states on my list.

    1. I think you will feel even more like that as I work on these posts. It's pretty amazing. Really.

  2. Does Jeff own a hardware store by chance? Also, if you are in "travel mode", Grand Rapids now has ArtPrize going on - one of the largest art contests in the world! Over 1500 artists from 40 countries have their art displayed inside and outdoors at hundreds of different venues. If you Google ArtPrize, you can get all the info. From reading your blog, it appears this type of thing would be right up your alley!

    1. If he does, it's a deeply held secret! Wrong Jeff I think. I don't think a trip up that way again is in my future, but ArtPrize sounds like a great time! I think my next foray will be checking out some cityscape. Or cityescape! Thanks, though.

  3. another great trip report with excellent pictures....! so i gather jeff lives in the A frame year round? even throughout the winter, yet has all the amenities including the internet....... i wouldn't want to live there, but i really want to make that drive all the way up there ..!!!!!!! it really was hard to imagine for me also that the body of water is actually a fresh water lake and goes over the horizon..! ......kinda reminds me of when i first jumped into lake tahoe back in 1974..; what a rush......! for just a split second, as i went down below the surface and drank in fresh water..!!!!!!!! having grown up in the caribbean the whole idea of being able to drink the water overloaded me ..!!!!!!!! yes,those "dunes" really are enormous..!!!! and i clicked on your link for ART'S TAVERN..... i read the history and read the breakfast and dinner menu's.........i was ready to order..!!!!! i realy enjoy clicking on the links you provide .thanks..!! very good of those men who left the land to the public.. also that the roads are so well maintained..!

    1. Thanks, John, I'm glad you're enjoying the posts, it's been a lot of surprises for me and fun to share.

      No, Jeff doesn't live there year round, it's his family's place, and though he is from Michigan, he lives on Culebra. We happened to be in the same state at the same time and he kindly invited me to see a part of Michigan he thought I'd not see otherwise (and he was right)! But I think the sirens of the Lakes were calling his name loudly.

      Karen and I went back to Art's Tavern for breakfast the next day and it was just as good!