Old Diary

Exploring a Friend’s Stomping Grounds

I’ve been wanting to snoop around NW Michigan and the Leelanau Penninsula ever since an RV’ing friend started telling us about a campground they loved.  This trip around Lake Michigan was the perfect opportunity, and while we were at it it’s also a good chance to add Sleeping Bear Dunes to our list of checked off “National Parks” in our Parks Passport.

I don’t know how many folks have and keep a National Parks Passport but it’s a fun thing to do.Park Passport You can get the passport directly from the Feds — at a national park or recreation facility.  You can also get them from Amazon and some booksellers.  Turn to the section of the book for the part of the country you are currently in, and whenever you visit another park make sure to use the pre-inked stamps that they have available for your use to “Stamp your passport.” It’s fun!

The day was mostly spent on US-31 and MI-22 — lovely, quaint, foresty, rural routes that are a real delight to drive.  You don’t need to drive 70 mph.  MI-22 in particular takes you through a bunch of towns, and there are some lovely scenic sights too boot.  You don’t see a lot of the lake — more trees and green — but the roads are good midweek we didn’t have traffic problems.

If you are into art, and it’s high season, you could spend 4 or 5 days looking at art galleries!  There are abundant hiking and biking trails too.  The paths are nicely cared for and we saw a LOT of bikers.

Along the way we stopped at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  There were a pot full of visitors — which I’m always glad to see — and the weather was absolutely ideal — low 80’s and sunny.  You could tell how eager the young ones were to tackle the Dune Climb by their squeals and laughter!

I have to admit that as a mostly-lifelong-Wisconsinite that Michiganders are a much more boat oriented group than we are. I’m sure part of that is the fact that there are close to twice as many of them, as of us (5.75 million compared to 9.96 million).

We drove past innumerable yacht clubs in the last two days.  There are a lot of boats in marinas, as well as those parked in front of the owners’ property.  The beaches were well used — not often the case in Wisconsin along Lake Michigan.  Wisconsinites seem to have more boats on our smaller lakes and not nearly as many on the shores of Lake Michigan. But then that’s a novices point of view.

We will spend a couple nights in Mackinac City, so we can spend a day on the Island.  More to come.