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Old 10-08-2007, 01:56 PM   #29
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Day 11 (10/07/07) – Holland, MI

Holland is one of the many small port/anchorage towns that line the Lake Michigan coastline. Lake Macatawa is connected to Lake Michigan by a channel. If you’re a lighthouse fan, the Great Lakes coastline is the place to visit. Each of these towns has lighthouses and you can get some great photos. We spent the day visiting some of the Dutch heritage sites, browsing in the nice downtown area, and bicycling the very nice network of bike paths that parallel most of the streets in the area. In the older sections of town, you can get almost anywhere by bicycle—I like that.

We rode to a park on the beach called Tunnel Park. Lake Michigan is known for it’s high (some higher than 400 feet) sand dunes on the coast. Here they dug a tunnel through the dune so you didn’t have to climb over.

At then end of the day, we rode our bikes the mile to the beach to watch the sunset. Benches line the channel and it looked like everyone in town had the same idea. We sat next to a young fellow fishing for Bluegills and Perch. He was having pretty good luck as his bucket had almost a dozen good size fish in it. He said the Salmon are all confused by the warmer weather and haven’t yet started to run in from Lake Michigan. It was a good end to the day.
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:05 AM   #30
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Day 12 – Grand Haven & Muskegon, MI

Today we ventured out from Holland to the two cities 20 and 30 miles to the North. Grand Haven is another one of the small cities made for strolling and shopping with interesting architecture and an active port. The lighthouse here has a catwalk that was used by the lighthouse keeper to get to the light during stormy weather. There are some pictures in the stores of the lighthouse in stormy weather with the pier awash. Must have been a frightening walk to take, to light the light before it was automated.

Muskegon is the largest city on Michigan’s west coast. It was started by the lumber industry back in the 1800’s. The downtown isn’t as pretty as the smaller towns around, but there are some interesting historical sites. Unfortunately, we got here too late as everything was closing for the day. We went down to the beach and snapped a few photos before returning to our campsite in Holland.

Within walking distance of our campsite in Holland State Park is one of the better local restaurants, the Ottawa Beach Inn. We walked over there for a very good fresh Perch dinner. As we walked home, the wind started picking up and showers moved in. Looks like the weather change we have been waiting for is arriving.
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:15 AM   #31
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Day 13 (10/09/07) – Holland to Ludington, MI

The cooler weather moved in last night and that made the blanket on the bed feel especially good, so we got a later start than planned. We don’t have any real schedule for these next 10 days so who cares how late we start. I’m really beginning to enjoy this retirement thing.

We headed north not knowing how far we would get today, but it was a beautiful clear cool day and US-31 provides some nice vistas. In the spirit of Chevy Chase’s Vacation, we diverted off the route into the city of Monague, MI to see the “World’s Largest Weathervane.” Our next stop was the little town of Pentwater, MI. While Pat got another shopping fix, I took a walk around the town and down to the yacht harbor. Most of the boats are out of the water now, including this nice classic wooden yacht.

We got to Ludington close to 4:00 p.m. and decided to stop for the night. We drove out to the State Park, which was about eight miles north of town. It was getting very windy, the temperature was dropping, and some rainy weather was reported to be moving in. Given that, and the need to do some laundry, we returned to town and chose a full service RV park.

We’re in the Vacation Station RV Resort (www.vacationstationrvpark.com), a new park and a member of Good Sam. At $35.10 per night for full hook-ups including cable TV, wi-fi and all the necessary very clean facilities, it seemed like a pretty good deal for a couple of nights.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:34 PM   #32
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Day 14 – Ludington, MI

We discovered last night that we are probably in the only wi-fi dead spot in the whole park. The manager even brought her laptop over to verify our lack of connectivity. You can connect at the sites adjacent to us but when you walk onto our site, the signal goes away. First Jackson Center and now here, I seemed to be destined to leave the comfort of our Airstream to find Internet access.

We woke up today to 40-degree temperatures, 20 – 30 mph winds, and sideways rain. The weather forecast call for this to continue through tomorrow, and then get nice again. We’re kind of glad we stayed here now.

We drove back out to the State Park because the staff here said the salmon were running in the Sable River. We watched the fishermen for a while and you could see the large salmon in the river. The fishermen looked pretty miserable in the rain, standing in the cold water, but I guess they were having fun and the fresh fish I’m sure would be worth it.

On the way back to town we stopped along the Lake Michigan shore. The rain and wind was even keeping the sea gulls on the ground. One of the things to do here is to walk out on the jetty to the lighthouse. Today wouldn’t be a good day.

We stopped for lunch in town, and walked around dodging the showers as best as we could. Both of us wet and cold now, we decided to return to camp and hole up for the day. Pat’s in Daisy knitting, and I’m in the game room in the RV Park with a solid Internet connection for a change. Tomorrow, we’ll move on to the Traverse City, MI area. Let’s hope for better weather.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:09 PM   #33
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Thanks for a fine travelogue! We enjoyed the Traverse City area a couple of falls ago. We spent most of our free time driving the peninsula, stopping at vineyards, antique shops, orchard stands, and taking photos of all the scenic countryside. We hit some 30's when there in late September; Max went shopping for a heavy warm Carrhart jacket. Nearby is Sleeping Bear Sand Dune-a national park. Spend some time-spectacular! Enjoy for all of us following your blog! ~G
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:21 AM   #34
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Day 15 (10/11/07) – Ludington to Lake Leelanau, MI

After a dealing with a tank dumping issue that we won’t discuss, and hitching up in the rain, we pulled out of Ludington to continue our way north. I realized that in all the difficulty this morning, and the crappy weather over the last two days that I hadn’t taken any pictures of our Vacation Station campsite. The website is in my day 13 post, and I do recommend the park if you come this way.

Today, all day, we dealt with what is called lake effect rain. This is not a hard steady rain, but a misty, showery, intermittent light rain. The closer we got to Lake Michigan, the damper we got because of this meteorological activity.

The next town of any size we encountered was Manistee, MI. This is another town started by the lumber industry. The entire Victorian downtown area is on the register of historical places. We stopped for lunch and a few pictures. It looked like the weather was clearing, so we drove out to the lakefront hoping to get another lighthouse picture, but couldn’t get close due to the lake effect rain. It was like being sprayed in the face with an atomizer.

We returned to town and drove around some of the historic homes and then continued our trip north. We did all this with Daisy in tow—more evidence of why this size Airstream is working well for us. On one side street we had to go up what seemed like over a 10% grade. After shifting the transmission down to first gear, Hoke had no trouble bringing Daisy up the very steep hill.

We are beginning to see some good color in the trees. I hope we get some days of sunshine, because it looks like it will be spectacular. This is after all what we came to see. We are camped for a few days at Lake Leelanau RV park because it’s central to some of the things we want to do here: hiking in the Sleeping Bear Dunes, visiting the local wineries, scenic drives. It’s another full service park but the $32.00 off-season rate beats the State Park’s $27.00 rate for only 30a. We have a nice site overlooking the lake. I’ll get some pictures tomorrow, hopefully in sunshine.
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Old 10-13-2007, 09:36 AM   #35
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Can I just say thanks for all the details and the great pics? OK THANKS!!
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:24 AM   #36
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Day 16 – North of 45-degrees Latitude

Last night when we went to dinner we noticed a sign announcing we were crossing 45-degrees north latitude—we are half way between the equator and the North Pole. It rained all night last night, but this morning we were greeted by the sun rising over the lake. Our campsite provides a good view of Lake Leelanau.

Much like the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York, this area of Michigan has become a producer of good wines. The Leelanau peninsula is dotted with wineries ready to provide you samples of their surprisingly good wines, and there are free maps and guides of winery tours. Pacing ourselves, so that one of us would still be able to drive after experiencing the various wine offerings, we set out to see the sights, visit the small towns, and find the perfect wine.

At the town of Northport, we took the only road continuing north to see the Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Leelanau State Park at the very tip of this peninsula. This isn’t a working lighthouse anymore, it was replaced with an automated structure about 50 yards away, but it is a nicely preserved example of a lighthouse that also served as a residence for the light keeper and his family. The grounds are nicely kept, and Lake Michigan at this latitude is so clear it almost looks tropical, but the water is probably only 40 to 50-degrees now. The air temperature is in the low 40s.

A check of the maps and GPS shows that this is as far north as we are going to get on this trip. Our next planned camp location near Torch Lake will not take us any further north.

The color has been improving daily as has the weather. Today we had a few periods of lake effect rain, but that cleared by noon. The sky remained mostly cloudy though. It seemed like every time we found a good vista with lots of color, the clouds would block the sun. Our last stop for today was the town of Leland, MI. There is a historic fishing village here called Fishtown that is fun to walk and a good place to buy smoked Whitefish and Salmon.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:35 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxandgeorgia
Thanks for a fine travelogue! We enjoyed the Traverse City area a couple of falls ago. We spent most of our free time driving the peninsula, stopping at vineyards, antique shops, orchard stands, and taking photos of all the scenic countryside. We hit some 30's when there in late September; Max went shopping for a heavy warm Carrhart jacket. Nearby is Sleeping Bear Sand Dune-a national park. Spend some time-spectacular! Enjoy for all of us following your blog! ~G
Hi maxandgeorgia and thanks for reading my thread. I hope I'm not too wordy. We have had some 30 degree nights, but the daytime temps are in the 40s and 50s. We got worried earlier this week when it was hot, that we hadn't brought the right clothes, but now we're making use of what we brought. We're heading out to Sleeping Bear today or tomorrow. See you at the Can Opener 08.

Randy
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:36 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by RIstream'n
Can I just say thanks for all the details and the great pics? OK THANKS!!
You're welcome. Glad you are enjoying it.

Randy
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:14 PM   #39
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This has been a really fun thread with wonderful pictures to follow. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 10-14-2007, 12:16 PM   #40
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This has been a really fun thread with wonderful pictures to follow. Thanks for sharing it with us.
We have another couple weeks of fun to go. I'm glad you are enjoying it.

Randy
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Old 10-14-2007, 12:19 PM   #41
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Day 17 – A Little South of 45-degrees Latitude

Finally a beautiful day with no rain in sight. We headed out to the town of Suttons Bay. The library there has high-speed wifi for $1.00, where I was able to catch-up on my postings and bookkeeping, while Pat explored the town shops. The wifi at the campsite is only good for email.

After a walk around town for some photos, we attempted to continue our wine tasting tour. On Friday, we were able to drive right in to the parking lots and walk right up to the tasting tables. Today, a beautiful fall Saturday, we found ourselves waiting for a parking place, and standing eight deep just to get to the tasting tables. All of Traverse City is out here today. After putting up with this at two vineyards, we decided the only wine experience we were going to have today was photos of the vineyards, so we headed to Sleeping Bear Dunes. We have already found some winners anyway.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore visitor center is in Empire, MI. If you haven’t visited here before, be sure to stop there to get maps, guides, and lots of information from the friendly staff. Also buy your park passes there too, and there is no waiting at any of the entry gates to the various areas. The National Lakeshore is comprised of over 40 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and the North and South Manitou Islands. You can see South Manitou Island in the first and last dune photos. Backpackers will want to take the ferry out to the islands, as those are true wilderness areas. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the center of the lakeshore provides a good overview for those less adventurous.

It’s impressive how steep the sand piles up at the lakefront. Notice in one picture the path leading down the dune to the right, and the people on that path climbing up from the lake in the next picture. We hike through sand in Florida and it’s not fun. Climbing a pitch like that in soft sand has to be a real challenge. We didn’t have enough time attempt that, which was just fine with Pat. We returned to our campsite as the sun was setting and lit up the opposite shore, which made for one last photo-op for the day.
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Old 10-14-2007, 01:20 PM   #42
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Thanks for the updates Randy. Being north of the 45 parallel is the ultimate accomplishment for a southerner. Congrats!! Didn't hurt a bit, right?

Our color change was middlin' here due to a very dry summer -- like your pics there were flashes of color but there were more plain browns than normal. It's still a great time of year for camping up north! Except for state parks shutting off water & showers earlier than they have to. We camped in snow flurries and overnight 20 degree temps a year ago next weekend, so I'd better watch what I'm saying. I set the thermostat between 55 and 62 overnight or else I get too warm -- and I unlatch a window or two to keep from trapping exhaled moisture inside.

You do a great travelogue!
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