Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012

We only received 2/10 inch of rain last night.  We took showers this morning with the tokens.  Then we drove to Pointe Betsie.  We heard this was a good place to find Petoskey stones.  We spent a couple of hours looking on the beach and surf for them.  Jim thinks we found some.  We found a few fossils also.  There is a lighthouse on the point that we didn’t know about until we got there.  It isn’t on any of our maps.

We drove to the town of Frankfort and took a picture of the lighthouse and Jim went into some stores looking for tubes to float down the Platte River tomorrow. They were all $25-$40 so we checked with the canoe rental business near our campground -- they charge $11 per tube and they will take you to the river and then pick you up when you reach Lake Michigan.  

Then we drove to Honor and went into the Family Dollar for a couple of items.  We stopped at the drive-in movie theater to see what was showing, when the show would start and the cost.  Nowhere could we find any information.  We went back to the Casita and played Phase 10 for a while..  Then we waded across the Platte River to watch the sunset in Lake Michigan.  Low clouds on the horizon prevented it from being seen sinking into the lake.


Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

We slept a little later this morning because we got up so early yesterday.  Jim made pancakes with the last of the blueberries I picked at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  We went on a scenic drive in the park that takes you through a covered bridge, the Glen Lake overlook, the dune overlook and a stop where you can see Lake Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dune.  There was a very steep dune here that went down to the lake.  People had fun going down but paid for it on the climb back up.  Most were bent over using their hands to help climb and were stopping a lot to rest.

The Indians had a legend about a mama bear and two cubs that were driven from Wisconsin into Lake Michigan by a wildfire.  Mama bear made it to the Michigan shore but the cubs were overcome and drowned.  She sat on the shore and waited for them, turning into a large sand dune.  The two islands offshore in Lake Michigan are the bear cubs.
Sleeping Bear Dune used to be 234 feet high, but by 1961 it had eroded to 132 feet and in 1980 it was down to 103 feet.  The information we read didn’t tell us what the height is now but they predict it will eventually disappear.  We hiked the 1.5 mile round trip Empire Bluff Trail.  After reaching the end, there was a beautiful view.  Jim wanted to go swimming in Lake Michigan so we drove to Peterson Road Beach.  He went swimming, but I just waded.  I really hate all the sand.  We went back to camp and read awhile and then at 5 pm we took a nap.  I fixed dinner and we watched some TV.  Jim updated the blog and it started to rain, thunder and lightning.  No sunset pictures tonight.

July 29, 2012

We got up at 5:00 am, took showers, hooked up the Casita, and dumped.  We drove to the Platte River Campground at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  This park fills up every day very quickly.  Some people sleep overnight in line to get one of the camping spots that open up.  The office opens at 8:00 am and we arrived there at 7:45.  There were 31 available sites because of people leaving.  They passed out numbers to the people in line and we were number 24.  We knew we would have a space but didn’t know if it would be electric.  Turns out we got the last electric spot, a handicapped site directly across from the restrooms and showers.  The other campers were still in the site and they had until noon to leave.

We dropped the Casita at a parking area and then drove to where the Platt River runs into Lake Michigan and took a few pictures.  At 10:00 am we drove back by our campsite and the people were still there and they hadn’t even started to pack up.  We drove to the nearby town of Honor and got a few groceries.  We drove by the campsite again at 11:00 and they still hadn’t started packing.  We unloaded groceries and waited until 11:45 to hook up and try to get the site.  A park ranger came by and said he would go check on them.  It was 12:05 and they were sill there, but they had packed and were just leaving.  The Ranger was talking to them and we saw him point to his watch.  He must have been telling them they were late leaving.  We finally got in our site and unhooked.  They had left us two shower tokens and some firewood along with a note saying they hoped we enjoyed our camping.

We drove to the visitor’s center at Empire and watched a movie about the park.  Then we drove to Sleeping Bear Dunes Climb.  Jim and I climbed up some dunes and walked until we could see Lake Michigan.  My knees sure did hurt while climbing. I found out if I walked in Jim’s footsteps it was much easier -- the sand didn’t slide under my feet because he already made an indention.  Going down was fun.  We did this barefooted.

Then we drove to Glen Haven Historic Village.  The old store is a museum and we talked to the guy who worked there.  He asked what kind of RV we had and it turned out he had just traded his big rig for a Casita Freedom Deluxe.  We told him about Larry and his Little House Customs website because he had a hard time locating wheel bearings.  We also told him about Arizona Eileen’s CD book on Casitas.   He said Casita wasn’t much help with locating wheel bearings.  We went to the Coast Guard Station Museum and then back to the Casita.  We sat outside and read the Sunday paper and had a beer.  I fixed dinner and we ate out at the picnic table.  Then we drove back to the mouth of the Platte River to see the sunset.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28, 2012

There are two peninsulas near Traverse City.  One is takes you to Old Mission and a lighthouse -- we drove this one first.  We stopped on the way at Chateau Chantal Winery and had a sample of four of their wines.  They were OK.  We stopped at the Old Mission Store and a replica of the Old Mission from 1839.  We saw the Old Mission House (1842) and the Old Mission Inn (1869).  Then we drove to Mission Point Lighthouse.  We looked for Petoskey stones here but didn’t find any.  Petoskey stones are fossilized coral and are the state mineral of Michigan.  At the lighthouse is the Hessler Log House from 1854.  We found one geocache here.

On the way back to Traverse City we stopped at the Jolly Pumpkin Brewpub and had a beer and shared a pizza.  This is cherry season and I had a cherry porter.  We drove back through Traverse City and we stopped at Clinch Park and to take pictures of the beach and bay.  There were lots of boats.  We drove to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse on the Leelanua Peninsula and took some pictures, then drove back to the Casita.  The weather was beautiful today, sunny and around 80 degrees.  The world news this morning said the best weather in the U.S. today would be at the Great Lakes.


Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012

It rained most of the day today.  We left the casino campground and drove south over the Mackinaw Bridge.  Lake Michigan is on one side of the bridge and Lake Huron is on the other side.  The casino didn’t have a dump site so we drove to Petoskey State Park and used the dump there.  We bought a year pass to the Michigan state parks and it enables you to use the dump at any park even if you did not camp there.  We drove through Traverse City to the south a few miles and got a campsite at the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds and Campground.  There are 150 camping sites here with electricity and water and a shower house and dump station.  There are only 11 sites including us occupied.

After unhooking we drove to a nearby RV parts store and bought a couple of replacement parts for the Casita.  We  drove downtown to Mackinaw Brewing and had a beer.  Then we walked over to the visitor’s center and found two geocaches.  One of them was sneakily hidden in the top cap of a fence post.  As we were having a beer at Mackinaw Brewing Front Street was being closed to vehicle traffic.  They had music, booths, food and dancing – they do this every Friday.  After looking at everything we walked a couple of blocks down to North Peak Brewing and had a beer.  Then back through the Friday night street festival.  Jim bought a nice yellow rain jacket at one of the stores and then we went back to the Casita and I cooked dinner and we watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26, 2012

We had breakfast and then took the ferry to Mackinac Island.  On the 10:00 am ferry you ride under the Mackinaw Bridge so we decided to take that one. The Mackinaw Bridge is 5 miles long and is the third longest suspension bridge in the world.  It connects Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. On the ride over we sat with a couple (Bob & Suzy) from Ortonville, Michigan.   They invited us to come park the Casita at their house and she told us she would fix us a good homemade meal.

Once on the island you could rent a bicycle, take a horse drawn carriage, or walk. We decided to walk for some exercise. Motorized vehicles have been banned on the island since the 1890’s.  Horses are used for everything from tourist carriages to delivery wagons to pulling the street sweeper. The roads were full of horse manure.  The smell wasn’t that great and you really had to watch where you stepped.

We walked past the Trinity Episcopal Church and Fort Mackinac.  We walked to the Governor’s House and to Arch Rock (which is 146 feet above the water).  We also saw the site of Fort Holmes which involved 151 steps up and then back down.  This is the island’s highest point. We stopped off at Skull Cave and then walked through the cemetery.  We walked past the Grand Hotel.  If you didn’t have a room there, the hotel charged $10.00 per person to go inside or to see the hotel grounds.  We went inside the Little Stone Church -- the Tiffany stained glass windows were very pretty.

We walked back to Main Street via Market Street and had hamburgers around 2:00 pm at the Yankee Rebel Tavern.  At Horn’s Gaslight Bar we had a Mackinac Island Fudge Stout brewed by Arbor Brewing.  The stout is made with fudge as an ingredient. The island is known for fudge and there are about 15 shops now that make and sell it.  You can watch them making it. The locals call the tourists “fudgies”. Not to be left out we bought ½ a pound of walnut fudge.

We saw some beautiful homes on the island.  Jim bought a hoodie sweatshirt.  We went back to the Casita and then Jim went into the casino to play the nickel slots.  He lost the rest of the $10.00 they gave us.  It was cloudy all day and cool, but it didn’t rain.