|We are more than ready for city life; good-by mosquitoes! I feel like I'm singing the old Green Acres theme song! The UP(Upper Peninsula of Michigan) allowed us glimpses of their fascinating past and generously shared its great natural beauty. Having gone north to the locks on the previous day, we went about enjoying crossing the Straits of Mackinac via the longest suspension bridge on this continent, fourth largest in the world. Prior to the bridge, prior to any roads, the waterways were the pathways. The overland trails used by thousands of Native Americans and the French traders have become roadways. Still the waterway paths remain primary sources of travel for many. I'm embarrassed to say I knew very little of this history. Fourth grade geography completely swept away. On the "other side" is Mackinac City, home of the 1770's fort and fur trading outpost. It reminded us of Colonial Williamsburg. The smell of black powder from the Redcoat muskets and the smell of bread baking made for an interesting mix in our noses. Interestingly, it continues to be an active archaeological dig. It was easy to spend the day touring the history areas and don't forget all the touristy gift shops - upscale ones, too! At the kite shop we bought a flexible flag pole for the camper. The next day we ventured to the northeastern most point of the UP. We wandered into another world. First the Les Cheneaux(Channel Islands), 36 altogether spanning 12 miles of Lake Huron. They provide secret fishing spots and quiet family getaways; yeah, you should see some of the homes, only accessible by boat. On up the road are the towns of Cedarville(my favorite), Hessell, and De Tour. Words nor photography can describe their French village quaintness. One of the best surprises was the wooden boat building industry. Our Team Extreme best buddy is a boat builder by profession. We took a few extra pictures just for him. Now that I've had you traveling in multiple directions, let's pretend we are cross country skiing. Winter must be a beautiful wonderland on these northern border states. Can you imagine the Great Lakes freezing? The Coast Guard "ice cutter" is called out weekly, snowmobiles are often the most sensible means of transportation, and snow tubing looks appealing. The dunes are used for cross country skiing. The height of the dune is indicative of the degree of difficulty. With poles in each hand we went dune hiking. Two poles increases co-ordination, pace, and a sense you spent a few calories even it they were used on the beginner level ski dune! I was determined to complete this hike regardless of the number of mosquitoes sticking to the copious amounts of bug spray on my face! The land is marshy and swampy, thickly forested - a great bug factory. Petoskey will be our new home for a few days. It's time to shop, view the world from a more civilized angle.