We headed out of our park in Detroit around noon, filling our propane tank on our departure. We decided to take the MoHo to the nearby rest stop, as the Pflu’s were arriving around 2:30PM from Seattle, and this was a very easy on/off spot for us to wait for their plane to land and us to head over and pick them up. This seemed to be a popular rest stop, not for the obvious reasons. There was the previously mentioned air show in Detroit this weekend. This rest stop was right in the flight path of the show so several other people had chairs out and were picnicking at the rest stop, watching the show. We just lucked onto it and it made the time go by much quicker. The text came in and Traci headed to the airport to pick up our guests, and returned to the MoHo with Marc and Shelly. Let the fun begin! We quickly hooked up the car, and headed toward Traverse City in the NW area of the lower peninsula of Michigan. The 6-hour trip went quickly, with Marc navigating and Shelly and Traci hanging out in the back chatting. We pulled into the Traverse Bay RV Resort and were immediately impressed with the park. I think our coach actually brought down the average price of the rigs in there; there were some impressive RV’s in this place! We bbq’d some brats and had some beverages and just caught up on life, a nice start to our 9-day visit.
We slept in the next morning and had a nice breakfast before heading out for the day. Our destination was the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, on the east side of Lake Michigan. We stopped at the visitor’s center and got a map of the area. It was a quick drive to the dunes area, along with hundreds of others that day. When we finally got parked, it was sort of odd, a massive wall of sand in Michigan? We watched all the people running down, and climbing around and decided to head up ourselves. Now sand is great on the beach, but hiking up it, not so simple. We all were shocked how difficult it was to move, especially up hill. We finally reached the crest of the hill we could see from the parking lot, only to realize it was just the first of several hills in this massive dune complex. We trudged around for an hour or so, and took several photos, before returning to the car, quite tired and ready for a beverage. Next stop was a little beach up the road and a dip in Lake Michigan. This was the third Great Lake for Traci and I, and it felt great to cool off after our hike in the Dunes. Hungry, we found a little place for linner (late lunch, early dinner), and then down to another beach just at the top end of the National Lakeshore area. We had this place to ourselves, just relaxing on the “ocean” of Lake Michigan, enjoying a beverage, and watching the waves, a pretty awesome day all around!
Our next day in the Traverse City area, we headed north up the Old Mission Peninsula, all the way to the top and the lighthouse at the northern tip. A quiet sanctuary, with a small beach area and very shallow bay out front of the lighthouse. There were several rock cairns in the bay, and it felt very secluded. We then made our way back down the peninsula, and started our wine tasting in the region. There were about a dozen or so winery’s here, and we stopped at 2-3, although not finding a lot of keepers. We have that Washington wine pallet and it is hard to locate something that we really like. We did find a little restaurant for our lunch, right on the western shoreline, and had a great time looking out at the marina and enjoying a heavy appetizer meal. Having finished our wine tasting, we headed back to the town of Traverse City, and the afternoon turned into a pub-crawl. There were three narrow bars right next to each other, and we made our way to each, chatting with the bartenders and the locals, getting advice for dinner and our upcoming travels. We all wanted pizza, and everyone told us to head to the Filling Station. We sat at the outdoor bar, ordered the pies and it took about 45 minutes, but finally we had our food and headed back to the confines of the MoHo to eat. Another great day there, tomorrow we head to the Upper Peninsula, leaving the land of the Trolls (under the Mackinaw Bridge) and turning into ourselves into Yoopers (Upper Peninsula or U.P.).
We woke to some rain and after getting absolutely soaked packing up the rig and hooking up the car, (worst rain we have ever had to pack up in over 15 months on the road) we started towards the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The trip was to be about 5 hours, 250 miles. As the drive went, it was a bit more challenging than I have had in a while, intermittent rain, with some strong winds, it kept my full attention for sure. The highlight of this drive was the crossing of the Mackinaw Bridge, connecting the two portions of Michigan, and separating Lake Michigan from Lake Huron. After paying the toll to cross the span, we pulled over to the visitor’s center right next to the tollbooth, and parked the MoHo. Knowing our next destination was on Lake Superior, this was the only chance Traci and I would have to step foot in Lake Huron. Windy and cold, we walked the 150 yards down through a maintenance center, to the edge of the lake and dipped our feet in the icy cold Lake Huron, 4 down and one more Great Lake to go! We returned to the MoHo, and made our way to our destination, Munising Tourist Park, on the edge of Lake Superior. We had a great site, backed up to the waters edge. Traci and I had worked tirelessly to get this specific site at this park, as we wanted the Pflu’s to be able to enjoy the lake views we knew it would provide. Exiting the MoHo, and bam, right in our face was the same wind I had battled on the drive. We guessed it was at least an 18-20MPH breeze, right off the lake. Add to it that it was about 60 degrees out, and you can imagine what a shock to all of us how cold it really was. We weren’t expecting this type of weather. We got set up and headed out to the town of Munising and had another linner at a little bar in town. Needing some groceries, we hit the local market, loaded up and returned to the MoHo. The wind had eased a bit, and we did our best to make a fire and stay warm outside for the evening, but the wind did not cooperate.
The next day we tried to reserve a pontoon boat for the afternoon to see the bay and cruise the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The colorful sandstone cliffs are best viewed from the water, so we tried to line up a ride to explore ourselves. There are a couple tour boats that have 250 people on them, not the way we wanted to see the sites, and unfortunately everyone else had not gotten the memo we were in town and all pontoon boats were rented. Plan B. We picked up Pasties, the local specialty of a meat and veggie filled pastry, and drove out to the National Lakeshore. The Pasties were just OK, nothing we needed to try again. The lakeshore was much better. We walked down to the overlook at Miners Castle, and had a nice view of the Pictured Rocks. It would have been better from the waterside, but this view was still pretty spectacular. We drove down the road, stopping at a waterfall area, and then along the northern shoreline of the park. We stopped at a viewpoint along the lake and headed down the beach area. There were tons of smooth little rocks along the shoreline all with great colors from the minerals of the area. Traci and I decided this was the spot for us to set foot into Lake Superior, and with our toes in the water, we had completed the fifth and final Great Lake challenge, something we both had never expected we could do in our lifetime. The water was a chilly 53 degrees at surface and 37 degrees 3 feet below surface! Lake Superior is the largest fresh water lake in the world and is just mammoth! We continued up the road, and our next stop was the Log Slide overlook. Shelly had found this place during some research. On our walk out to the shoreline area, someone said it was worth the journey, but stay up high, it was a long way down. Again, not knowing what we were in for here, we crested the little dune, and wow, what a view! We were probably about 175-200 feet above Lake Superior, and the huge sand dune lead straight down to the waters edge. There were a few brave souls that had run down to the water, only to have to spend the next 20-30 minutes climbing back up the steep dune. We opted to stay on top, took several pictures and enjoyed the view, knowing we did not want to put ourselves through a grueling hike up a dune again. We were now about 10-12 miles from Grand Marais, so we continued east, and found the “little gem” of the Upper Peninsula. A tiny town, with only a couple options for dinner and we landed at the Lake Superior Brewing Company. Tired and hungry, the beer and food was great, just what we needed. We made our way back to the MoHo, about a 75-minute drive, taking the less direct route, staying away from the 198 curves we encountered on our way up. Marc and I made a fire in the windy night while Traci and Shelly watched a movie, and we hit the hay a bit earlier than the previous nights.
We woke the next morning, hoping our pontoon boat reservation might hold, but again the wind won out. We decided to head to the beach, just northeast of Munising, and hopefully somewhat protected from the wind by a local island. We set up our chairs, opened up the cooler, and relaxed on the breezy, but beautiful beach. We watched the tour boats and kayakers battle the wind, and were thankful we did not head out on the water that day. The views were great, and it was a very quiet relaxing day as the beach wasn’t too crowded. We returned to the MoHo, and the wind was really settling down. Marc and I grilled out on the open fire, Shelly made her artichoke and Parmesan crusted bread appetizer, and we all enjoyed a great meal outside at the picnic table watching a wonderful sunset. A spectacular ending to our time in Munising, so wishing the weather had been better the first two days. This is an amazing part of the U.S. that few people probably get to, but one I would highly recommend.
Our next destination was Michigamme Shores Campground, about a 90-minute drive west to the town of Champion on Lake Michigamme. We arrived and the day was beautiful. Finally the weather had turned for us! Our site was across the huge sand beach area here, and we set up our chairs and looked out over the lake. Traci, Marc and I headed to the beach for some relaxation, while Shelly stayed back as she was feeling under the weather and napped for a few hours. The lake is a huge reservoir, and was so shallow I walked about 100 yards out into the lake, with the water only coming up to my waist. We tried to get a boat rental here, but everything was already reserved. So we just stayed at the park for the day and relaxed and had leftovers for dinner. It was one of those days we have come to enjoy, as it can be difficult to be “on the go” every day, sometimes we just need a day to chill.
With limited time here, and the weather starting to change again, we decided to drive up the Keweenaw Peninsula area. Along the way, we stopped outside L’Anse and took a little hike to the Canyon Waterfall. It was a small slot canyon, out of some very impressive rock formations, quite peaceful. We kept on going and found our way to the town of Houghton. Upon entering the town, we noticed a little a-frame stand on the side of the road pointing to the right for the “brew fest.” We turned down the road, and on the river below were tons of pop-up tents and people, we had stumbled upon a brewery festival! We parked, and immediately were hit up by a guy for tickets, a local sponsor who gave us a $10 discount, and we headed in. We were given wooden tokens for samples and a little souvenir glass, and it was neat to see this little festival in the middle of nowhere. After a couple hours of sampling the different beers and ciders, we needed some food. We left a little bit before the event ended, and beat the crowds to a local restaurant, and enjoyed a nice meal overlooking the river. We returned to the MoHo and continued our Jeopardy tournament (we watched one episode every night) and got ready to head to our next destination in the morning.
Travel day took us down out of Michigan and into Wisconsin, to the Village Inn on the Lake in Two Rivers, about 30 miles SE of Green Bay on Lake Michigan. Along the way, we decided to stop at Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. Hoping to get in for a 1:30PM tour, we just missed it so had to wait till the 3:00PM. This gave us some time to look at the brand new pro-shop and pick up a few t-shirts. We then wandered around the outside before heading back in to Curley’s for an appy and beverage before the tour started. Bob and Patti, our tour guides, gave us a very thorough 2-hour tour, lots of insight to the history of the Packers, and seeing the stadium from all angles: roof top views, luxury box’s, press box, visitor’s locker room, and of course on the field. We had a great time and were very glad we stopped along the way to take in this great venue. We continued the drive down to Two Rivers, and got the MoHo settled. It was getting late, so we headed into town to find some dinner, and forgot that small town America closes down on Sundays, especially at 8:00PM. Fortunately we found a little joint on the beach in a hotel that was still open and had a decent meal. Back to the MoHo to finish our night, the Pflu’s were leaving us tomorrow for home, sad. It had been a great 9 nights with Marc and Shelly, and we are so glad they made the effort to come out and join us on our journey and experience the MoHo lifestyle. It takes a special group of friends to share 340 square feet for 9 days and nights; it could not have been any better!!