Midland, MI to St. Ignace, MI
Jun 18, 2010
|Friday - Day 1
Daily Notes:12 noon – on the road FINALLY! Our plan was to leave early this morning & get to Ironwood, MI, near the Wisconsin state line. However, we had to wait for a UPS delivery of one of Ron’s new electronic tire pressure thing-a-bobs. We expected it yesterday, but . . . grrrr. Ron did a lot of pacing, but I still had lots of last minute details to finish up & the extra hours were put to good use & I got most of my list completed. We are leaving about a week ahead of what was planned a couple of months ago, so I have been very busy.
But, the sun is shining (it’s supposed to be in the low 90s around here w/ high humidity ahead of a big storm front)– we want to get to the UP (Upper Peninsula) before the wind picks up. Good neighbors Carolann & Dennis flagged us down (he saluted us!) so we stopped & chatted for a minute – wish we could take them w/ us! They keep good watch over our home & take care of mail/papers, etc. Don’t know what we would do w/out them. Said our good-byes & pulled down the road, remembered the mail had just been delivered – it was easiest to just pull around the block – needless to say there were some pretty surprised expressions next door! We said we had such a great send-off, we thought we’d give it another go-round!!! So now it’s about 12:15 PM & we are on the road again . . .
About 30 miles N we arrived at our 1st destination in Clare, MI. The Cops & Donut Shop is a must when we are anywhere in the neighborhood. Started by several local policemen when the only donut shop in town was closing, it has become quite the tourist attraction. Excellent sweets & a really one-of-a-kind museum/gift shop attached. A must try is the unusual “Squealer” (everything has a cops theme). I left a little room in the fridge for a couple of days fix – Ron has a really big sweet tooth.
I still get a lump in my throat when we go by Grayling; I spent 10 wonderful yrs here when my family was young. Have lots of good memories! Thru Gaylord – thinking of my brother, Tad & wife, Gayle – hope you have a great time in Florida! Past Indian River & into Mackinaw City. It’s pretty overcast, but doesn’t look rainy yet.
Crossed the Mackinac Bridge – (www.mackinacbridge.org) 2 lanes closed for painting/repairs & an accident created a bit of a tie-up, but not bad. Crossing the bridge is always a thrill & usually marks the real beginning of our trips. 3:45 PM – Across the bridge into St. Ignace, MI (bridge fee = $9). We saw lots of old cars & motorcycles before & after the Bridge. We decided not to get pasties (a special UP treat) this time as we have lots of food prepared that should be eaten within a few days & no space left in the freezer. Don’t think we’ll be stopping for smoked fish either – another tradition . . . Bummer. It’s partly cloudy; the temps are just about perfect. According to last nite’s weather report we should be driving right into a big storm front – MN was hit hard last nite, inc. several tornados. Thru small towns of Gros Cap, Epoufette, Naubinway, Gould City, Blaney Park & Gulliver – mostly along beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline – one of our favorite drives.
6:15 PM – pulled into Indian Lake State Park – just W of Manistique. It appears the storms are all S of us – it is absolutely beautiful: sunny w/ a little breeze & perfect temps. We had a quick dinner; I did a little straightening of the stuff I packed last minute. No WIFI, but I am sitting at the picnic table, next to the lake computing away – life is good! We couldn’t have asked for a better day of travel. This park is very clean & neat w/ lots of grass & lots of lake-side sites. We camped here many years ago when son, Paul was ~8, had my nephew Skylar w/ us – we had a pop-up camper & the end they were sleeping in was right over the lake. A big storm came tearing across the lake & for several minutes we thought we might go end over end – one of our more exciting camping experiences.
I was up until after 4 AM this morning doing last minute things – then a lady called at 8:15 AM trying to get me to sign up for a dog obedience class – we don’t even own a dog!!! I don’t think I will have any trouble falling to sleep tonight! I am sure we will be getting an early start in the morning. Ron may not sleep at all tho – he just sat down to read the info I’ve been printing for him for the last couple of months re: Canadian gas prices – he came right up off the couch! Not a very happy camper at the moment!!! I think what will hurt us the most is the exchange rate is almost equal now – last time we were in Canada it was still very favorable.
Critter Count: 0
Note to Grandkids:
We are near Kitch-Iti-Kipi Springs; do you know what Kitch-Iti-Kipi means?
Daily Stats: Miles Driven: 277 Hours on the road: ~6 hrs
In Midland, MI: $2.79/gal
Mackinaw City, MI (exit 337): $2.79/gal = $59.44
Just the facts:
• Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island & Mackinac Bridge: The French pronounced it "aw" but spelled it "ac". The British heard it pronounced "aw" so they spelled it that way. Whichever way it is spelled, it is always pronounced "aw" – much history here & lots to do, hate just driving thru.
• when it was built over 50 yrs ago, the Mackinaw Bridge was the longest single suspension bridge in the country – over 5 miles long. It is now #3. It is built to withstand the high winds that roar thru the Straits, extreme temperatures & weight of traffic – can sway as much as 35 ft in extreme winds without drivers noticing, it will slowly return to normal when conditions settle down! The metal grating in the 2 center lanes freaks some people out, but it is built to let the wind move thru the bridge without blocking it. The highest point is almost 200 ft. above the water. The huge cables contain over 42,000 miles of wire. We walked across on Labor Day for about 10 yrs – only day walkers are allowed. That is a real experience that we haven’t done for awhile – would like to do it again sometime.
Places of Interest:
• MACKINAW CITY/MACKINAC ISLAND: great state parks, history, fort, light houses, Pasties & fudge!
• GRAYLING, MI - just N of Grayling is Hartwick Pines State Park – not on a lake, but lots of interesting logging history, great camping area
• Amazing Kitch-Iti-Kipi (Palms Book State Park) ~a mile away is a must see for anyone traveling thru here. For more info on these state parks, go to: www.michigan.gov/dnr.
*US-10 to Clare - to US-127 N to just S of Grayling, MI where it merges w/I-75 – the traffic was heavy there (it is always a bit of mess as everyone jockeys for a lane). Overall the road has been great, traffic light & the sun is still w/us – I-75 N to Mackinaw City & across the Mackinac Bridge to St. Ignace, MI
*Just N of St. Ignace, we turned W onto US-2. Overall the traffic was quite light, a surprise for going N on a Friday afternoon! Roads were good, no rain!