We didn’t quite make it back from Traverse City yet. On the way home we decided to stop and spend a week or so at the Valley Plaza RV Resort in Midland, Michigan. This will put us close enough to commute to work, yet attempt to detract me from my endless list of Honey-Do things that I should be doing at home right now. My wife insists that this will be good therapy for me and my stress level.
So far the park has been very relaxing except for the occasional Train whistle at 2 AM in the morning and the constant roar of engines from the nearby expressway ramp. Other than that, I have had plenty of time to wind down. I will have to admit however; that on more than one occasion this week I did sneak home to complete a few odd jobs around the house. I guess if we are close enough to drive to work, we are not quite far enough to get away from household chores.
Last night we finally managed to make time to soak in the hot tub for a bit. There we met a really nice couple who just like us love the RV lifestyle. We enjoyed chatting and swapping camping stories. They told us about plans they had for a trip to PEI (Prince Edward Island) in the near future. By the sounds of it, this would be a truly remarkable tour.
Today the weather is remarkable. The sun is shining, there is a slight fall breeze and the temperature is in the low 70s. It is a simply gorgeous day. We need to cherish these days for old-man winter is soon enough going to be knocking on the back door.
We are currently traveling through the famous Tunnel of Trees. This is a scenic drive along the shores of Lake Michigan on highway M-119. Heading north the trip begins in the Harbor Springs area. From here you ride along the coastline through trees which provide a wonderful fall canopy of colors over the road. The road is narrow and twists back a forth through the forest with enough tight hairpin curves to keep you alert. Every now and again you will catch a glimpse of water through the hardwoods just to remind you of how close you are to the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. The trip will take you all the way up to Cross Village. In all, the trip is a little over 20 miles.
Along the way we found several small shops to stop and explore. Here you will find antiques, souvenirs, crafts and snacks. There are also places to just pull over and soak in the entire splendor this road has to offer.
The Tunnel of Trees is a beautiful stretch of road to travel most any time of the year, but in the fall it is a truly spectacular sight to behold. I will hold this scenic drive right up there with any other route in the nation. This is one trip where you don’t want to forget your camera. (You can see by the lack of photos here, that is exactly what we did).
We are up in the Traverse City State Park once again this year. This time we chose to use this campground as a home base while we travelled north for a color tour. Saturday we picked up our friends Tom and Cathy who have a place here on Elk Lake and headed up US-31 towards Petoskey, Michigan. We had a wonderful trip and ended up at the Odawa Casino to enjoy the buffet they put out for us to over-indulge ourselves with.
Sunday it rained all day. You would think that would pose to be a big inconvenience. I actually truly enjoyed the day. It was the first time all year that I had the entire day to just do NOTHING. It was great.
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Campers are typically very friendly, polite and love to help out. These are the kind of people you love to have around you as you camp. In fact this is very characteristic of most campers anywhere we have been. This fact was exceptionally true on our current trip to the Algonac State Park.
The purpose of this trip was to observe the passing Lake Freighters on the St. Clair River. We had done this for the first time last year and we couldn’t wait to come back again. The weather yesterday was beautiful. Terri and I gathered along with my parents to watch the passing ships from between our sites. These sites are situated directly across the road from the river. This provided us with a perfect vantage point to observe the ships. We were outside the entire day and well into the night. The ships looked incredible at night as well. They would be all lit up. At 4 am we watched 5 ships pass within 20 minutes. These vessels actually blew the welcome “Toot” with their enormous horns as they passed by our park. We got very little sleep and it was great.
We knew the ship viewing would be great, but we didn’t realize how friendly all the people would be. We met more people here than we’ve ever met in one weekend. We chatted about RVing and shared some spectacular stories.
As I write this it is already Go-Home Day. The weekend has been much too short. We have seen 29 ships go by and have made countless new friends. This will be a hard place to leave today.
Pooh and Blue Bunny love to watch ships pass as well.
We are at the Ludington State Park for the Labor Day Weekend. They call this park “The Queen of the Michigan State Parks”. It really has a lot to offer. It has an enormous beach front located on Lake Michigan which goes all the way up to one of Michigan’s oldest lighthouses, Big Sable Point Lighthouse. It also has a smaller beach on Hamlin Lake. The water in the area attracts many fishermen. As you can see this park is extremely popular. We had to book our site 6 months ago when they first started taking reservations for this weekend. Even then there were only 3 sites available to choose from out of the 352 they offer.
Most of the sites are quite small. This makes for quite the challenge when backing in and out. We had a hard time finding room to park both our RV and Truck on our site. The sites are mostly shaded. All of them offer 20/30 amp service and a few offer 50 amp electrical service.
Because it was a holiday weekend not only was the park busy, but the beach was packed as well. Even with all the people here we found the park to be relatively quiet and relaxing.
I have been sitting outside in front of our RV thinking how great this weekend had turned out. The weather has been gorgeous. The rain we were supposed to get last night never even showed up. Yesterday we sat for hours on the beach soaking in the sunshine, listening to the waves of Lake Michigan and reflecting on how great the day was. I even got a chance to take a dip in Lake Michigan.
Back at our campsite we made some new friends. John arrived with a large trailer that proved to be a challenge for him to back into a small site. Jeff and Loretta ran out to assist John as he tried to squeeze into his slot. The guys across from us even came out to help. Chad and his wife were in need of some fresh water so I loaned them our water jug. After that we had a chance to chat a bit. These are the kind of people you love to have around you as you camp. In fact this is very characteristic of most campers anywhere we have been. Campers are typically very friendly, polite and love to help out.
We took a ride into town to check out the Harley Davison riders as they got off the car ferry. They had gone over to Milwaukee to celebrate its 100th Anniversary. My parents counted 109 bikes as they left the ship. They sure produce an incredible sound as they emerge from that enormous steel hull of the ferry.