Beautiful quiet morning in the campground surrounded by the forest at Old Stone Fort Arch State Park near Manchester TN. The only downside is the rain has made the area messy to track dirt in and out of the camper. Even Rosie is tiptoeing to keep her feet clean. She is such a good girl to travel with. She asks for little and is content to take a walk occasionally and chew on her bone.
The GPS meandered us around and over and through but we had a nice drive over to Old Federal COE just outside Gainesville GA. We are on site 58 and the lake this time of year is beautiful. Our only regret is choosing a site that gets the afternoon sun. Across the road would have been a better choice.
We were just wanting to relax from the drive and John is coming over to grill some burgers with us.
Finally we get a chance to get away for a few days to catch a break. Fancy has been with a friend near Atlanta and we are going to swing by to pick her up and then meander for a few days. Rosie is on board and the other pooches are home along with Jessica’s dog, Brave. And of course the chickens!
We didn’t hurry and leaving mid morning and heading down our 31E trek that we often take when we meet John to do a dog trade. It is a nice scenic drive toward Manchester TN through Murfreesboro and Lebanon, away from the crazy I65 fiasco.
We ate at Cracker Barrel and drove over to Old Stone Fort State Park for the night. Just as we got into th campsite, it started to rain so our timing was good. A nice evening just to read and relax a bit since Paul is dealing with his mom’s hospitalization.
Nice bike trails along the lakeshore Petosky MI
Charlevoix MI lovely petunias along roadside for at least 4-5 miles
Hart Montaque Bicycle Trail State Park Montaque MI
Rain overnight and cool temps, the flavor of the day. For the first time on the trip, we changed the thermostat over to heat and pulled out the sweatshirt.
Campground quiet as a mouse this morning still as we pulled out about 930 am. My guess is the holiday party people will be filling up campsites everywhere starting tonight.
Hwy 31 south and then 28 east to Muncie. Diesel back to $3.89.
Corn and windmill country. We passed by a huge Cargill facility and did a little research to find it is the largest privately owned company in the US and according to revenues would be ranked # 9 in the Fortune 500. Cargill in this part of the country is operational for grain distribution.
We also passed Red Gold Tomato processing plant on Hwy 28 not far from Muncie. It was a big facility so there must be major truck traffic carrying tomatoes coming off I69.
Very unusual weather and sky for July 3. Temp at 70.
Rain overnight and temps in low 50’s. Chilly.
Hwy 31 south skirting the coast of Lake Michigan and through cherry orchards. Every town has its lake with the big one always just over the way.
The drive was uneventful and we stopped for the night in northern Indiana at Beaver Creek Campground, just out of South Bend. The place was a mom and pop establishment and very quiet. The dogs enjoyed some exercise and we enjoyed relaxing.
Pastie pronounced pass’ tee for lunch at a little mom and pop restaurant on Hwy 2 on the coast of Lake Michigan. Good food, interesting conversation.
Lake Michigan is so different than Lake Superior. The wind off the lake is menacing and the sand dunes a contrast to the rock bluffs of the northern side of the UP. The waves and white caps could easily be off the coast of Florida.
Wind gusting and the speed across the Mackinac Bridge was posted at 20 mph. Lake Michigan to the right, Lake Huron to the left as we drive south out of the UP. Even with the wind one lane was closed down for the painting crew working on the bridge. Now that is a job that should pay well!
Cherry orchards were all along Hwy 31 just inland east of the lake. Of course we had to stop for a tart at a roadside town.
Camped at Traverse City State Park MI. Road our bikes on the super bike trail and are dinner at Red Mesa just walking distance from the campground up the trail.
Rain overnight brought temperatures down a bit to mid 60s but not as low as the forecast said last night.
We headed around the loop back toward civilization on Hwy 26 along the coast of Lake Superior from Copper Harbor. Wind is strong, skies are clear of clouds and temperatures in the mid 70’s.
Glad we are here in summer since the average snowfall for a year is 273″. Big wow!!! No wonder very few folks live here and the ones that do surely drive their motorhomes to Florida in the winter!!
On the way off the peninsula , we passed through Houghton, MI. Houghton is a college town circling around a lake in the basin and surrounded by mountains. The buildings built with the red (copper) colored native rock were very different than anything we have seen. The town has the feel of Berea on a larger scale. It turned out when we looked more closely on the map that the lake was actually a bay of Superior.
Waited until we got the Indian Reaervation for diesel at $3.71.
We stopped at the visitor center for Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore and learned a bit about the iron industry they brought people to the area. The ore in the rocks was melted away leaving the rock residual. The primary rocks on this area of the shore are sandstone. The minerals in the rock create the colors as the water has eroded it away into steep bluffs.
We camped at a campground on the river at Northland Outfitters near Germfask, MI and the Seney National Preserve. The campground was empty except for us. The owner said that tourist business is very slow because of the excessive amount of snow this past winter and the last snowfall was May 15. The campground rents canoes and Kayaks for river excursions and bikes and often caters to groups of urban children coming to “back country camps” in the UP.
Conversation led to talk about the UP and the “Yoopers” that live there. We had wondered what a pastie was and found out it is a “meal in a pocket” that is common in the UP coming from the time when the loggers carried their lunch in their pocket. We may have to try one for lunch before we cross the bridge.
On reading about the UP census info, we now understand the demographics. Most are older and the medium income is below the poverty level. The campground owner said the only sources of income are logging, government and tourism and the first and last are lagging.
We may not hit as many main attractions, but there are things on the back roads that are even more interesting. We find the local people full of information that you would never read on Wikipedia. Life is fun in the slow lane. But, did I mention mosquitoes????
We drove North on Hwy 141 and then continued on Lake Superior Circle Tour Rd. toward the northern most tip of the Upper Penninsula.
This area seems to have a very sparse population and housing is mostly old and run down. There continues to be logging along the roadsides and also replanting with small trees. Although we are not within the Ottawa National Forest boundaries, the scenery is totally wooded.
Skies are blue, clouds are puffy white and the air crisp like Fall in Kentucky. In this northernmost part of the Penninsula we are on the same longitude as Central Maine and Nova Scotia.
Dinner in Copper Town MI at Harbour Haus looking out on Lake Superior.
We camped at Ft Wilkins State Park.
While we had dinner, a storm rolled across the lake.
Cool weather and a walk of about 2.5 miles on the bike trail to the next little town, Caspian, Michigan. Caspian boasted a museum related to the mining of iron ore and had an old mining rig on the hillside, but nothing else .
It was Saturday midday and it was like everyone had raptured and we were left behind, very surreal. Out of a movie surreal. We walked the block and found a gas station open so bought a soft drink and headed back to the campground.