Sunday, July 31, 2011
West Michigan along Lake Michigan is loaded with beautiful small communities, offering large white sandy beaches, historic main street, marinas, restaurants and beer breweries-Holland is not an exception.
We did not visit any of the Holland attractions offered by this beautiful place as we have been few times in Europe including Holland and experienced the real thing, but we did take advantage of what the main street can offer and took a drive to the Red Lighthouse at the end of the South Shore Drive.
Along this drive we saw the HUGEST houses/mansions facing the lake; I had to stop a few times to be able to see the whole house and the garden at one glance-it was almost a crime to have one of these….
At the end of the drive one is permitted by a guard to walk to the Red lighthouse as the path is a long a private close community.
To get down to earth we went in a brewery to cool off with a finest local made beer and a good burger.
To wrap up the day we attended a free concert on the lawn facing the lake-not bad for one day.
On 30 July we meet with an internet friend and his wife from the Crossroads Forum with whom I was “talking” for a couple of years and we spend the morning together, walking the downtown and dinning.
We invited them to have some Israeli coffee (very strong mixed with herbs) and it seems that liked it very much.
It is hot ,so we will pop in the pool and get things ready for the move tomorrow.
Our next stop on the way south in west Michigan was Muskegon, an old town that used to be the lumber center of Michigan, they say that Muskegon lumber built Chicago after the big fire.
We camped on Muskegon lake just minutes away from the historic downtown, our trailer was positioned so we could see the river from the left window (the dining area) and it was nice seeing the fishing boats sail around.
After visiting the information center we took the local Tourist trolley (60 cents for seniors) all around the historic center and the submarine museum where the most decorated US Submarine from WW2 is docked.
Then we strolled the downtown area visiting the historic buildings and the fantastic old Library that was donated to the city by the Lumber Baron.
We were lucky as the rain picked up after we finished our daily activities and were back in our trailer.
On the 28 we drove 20 Miles south to Grand Haven, a beautiful community and the home for the Coast Guards in west Michigan.
The place is beautiful, groomed with few marinas filled with private and charter boats, great main drag with places to eat, shop and stay.
There is a city C.G on the beach (very crouded, we did not like it) and a path to a lighthouse.
To top it all off every night along the boardwalk at 10PM there is a “light, water, music” show for 20 minutes, it can be seen and heard all along the walk or by sitting in a boat in the river-Outstanding show and worthwhile staying around till after the show.
I hope the picture will do justice to reality.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Our next stop going south along the Michigan Lake was the nice town of Manistee.
We have camped in the Little River Casino C.G, usually I do not write a review on the C.G we use but this one is an exception…
Full hook ups, Wifi connection, levelled spacious sites, access to the fitting center with a pool and a qaguzzi,8 miles from the downtown and all this for 20$ or 18 if you have AAA-unbelievable.
We have strolled along the board walk and the nice historic downtown and attended a free concert in Onekama City Park just few minutes north from the Casino.
On the next day we took a drive to Ludington, one of the most groomed cities in this area ,white sand wide beaches, beautiful marinas, Lighthouse, nice green shaded city parks and a nice main street loaded with Murals with many parking free places-what else one needs????
Sunday, July 24, 2011
The drive from Petoskey to Traverse City took us around an hour and a half, this time we chose a full hook-up Holiday Park C.G just 10 miles from downtown Traverse City, it is specious, site are leveled, has WiFi and cable TV.
On the same day we took off to the downtown area where every Friday they have live music, entertainment and lots of food, it is not our usual “thing” but from time to time it is nice to change atmosphere.
2-3 years ago we hooked up through the RV Forum with a fireman in Traverse City ,and finally meet with him and had spend the evening together-it was fun and always helps when a “local” can show you around.
We packed a picnic box and left for the day to Sleeping Bear Dunes-the beautiful town of Leland with a beautiful old fishing village-Suttons Bay with fantastic marinas on the lake and back.
On the way we stopped for “U pick” cherries that are just fantastic now.
The scenery along the way is just outstanding, I am jealous to see the Lakes that some of them have islands on them with lakes on the islands…..unbelievable. Just “give” my country ONE lake, it will DOUBLE the number of lakes we have and you will not feel a thing..(Wishful thinking).
There is another land “finger” that goes all the way into the lake just north of Traverse City, this morning we took off towards this Island all the way till the Mission Point Lighthouse, on the way North we drove the West Road and coming back we took the East road.
The Island is narrow and in many places the lake can be seen on both sides, the houses or should I say Mansions on great lots and fantastic views are all over, marinas, vistas and yachts are all over the place ,do the locals actually SEE the beauty around them …… -it was a great drive with many stops on lookouts and beaches-it is highly recommended.
Friday, July 22, 2011
On 20 July we have completed our travels throughout Upper Michigan, it took us 2 weeks and could easily take a month without feeling that we are wasting our time, but it is time to move on.
We crossed the Mackinac 5 Mile bridge and although 2 lines were closed for maintenance the traffic was running smooth.
After an hour and a half we arrived to the beautiful town of Petoskey and camped in the city park on Lake Michigan, full hook-ups in some site and some only Electric and water, no WiFi,nice beach.
The park location is perfect to tour the area and the city, but it is close to a hospital and the air-condition is making quite a noise especially on the South side of the park, but otherwise than that it is fine.
It was around the 90’s and humid so walking around there was feeling that you are in a soup even the bugs and flies complained , many RVers stayed in the trailer with the air-condition on all night, as we cannot control the weather there is no point in wasting energy on the issue, let’s hope that tomorrow it will be cooler.
A trip to the supper Wal-Mart center downtown for some products and then to watch the outstanding sunset (they never stop fascinating me), Pasta with asparagus & Wine prepared by Chef Shula completed our day.
After sleeping through the night with the air-condition on the morning weather was cooler and the gentle wind gave the impression that it is going to be a cooler day.
We packed a picnic lunch and headed towards Cross Village on the Scenic HWY 119 called also “The tunnel of trees” along the coast.
It was a beautiful drive, the name of the HWY actually explains what we experienced, trees covered the road and gave the impression of a tunnel, do not take this road with a trailer.
The villages and houses along this Hwy are magnificent, the marinas, yachts, small shops and evening street music made it a great destination.
To top it off at around 9PM was one of the beautiful sunsets we experienced, only the pictures can do it justice (one picture is more than a thousand words).
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
On the way from the “ Porkies “ to St.Ignace we have stopped in Manistique planning to stay for 2 days and explore the area .
After unhooking the trailer in Kewadin Casino (we have almost become a regulars..)we took off to the down town and found a “dead” town except a movie theatre and it showed the last film of Harry Potter, we looked at the watch and at each other “it starts in 15 minutes, so let’s grab an ice-cream and go for it” my wife said, easy said than done –no ice-cream in the area only pizza…and so we found ourselves in comfortable chairs with no ice-cream watching the last saga of Harry Potter.
The film made more than 165 million $ in a short period and our 8$ sure contributed to it …
The next morning it was raining cats & dogs so we decided to continue to St.Ignace.
The ride went smooth and the skies went blue, it was hard to believe that it actually the same day…so we unhooked and took off to the beautiful downtown area.
On the way we stopped at the Castle Rock, an observation point 700’ high from where the whole bay and the Mackinac Island could be seen.
Going up the staircase to the top you could definitely say that America has to get in shape…the view from the top was rewarding.
Downtown area is just beautiful, clean, lots of free parking lots, boardwalk all along the bay, many small nice shops and bars.
At one point we took the load from our feet and with drinks in our hands facing the bay watched the ferries and sailing boats go by-and you know what we felt the life is good.
As we were getting into the truck to take off to the ferry a casino employee asked us and the other Rvers to move from the C.G as they are upgrading the place to accommodate 20 RV’s with 50AMP and Water.
We moved to Castel Rock C.G just down the road and took the shuttle to the ferry.
The ferry route to the Island was first to the Mackinac Bridge, it is 5 Mile long and is one of larges bridges in North America.
The Island was as expected full of tourists that moved by foot, bicycles, horses and buggies ,the main street ,shops and restaurants were crowded, but in spite of that we enjoyed our day trip to the Mackinac Island., it is unique, but on visit was enough.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
The drive from Cooper Harbor to towards Porcupine S.P went without any special events except the fact that the closest diesel gas station was 30 miles down the road and we barely made it….
We camped in the Ontonagon city park on the beach of lake Superior with electrical and water hook-ups.
The weather was not very promising, grey clouds and mist covered the Porcupine Mountains and the Lake but we packed our gear and headed to the S.P with no hesitation what so ever and it sure payed off.
The State park is one of the largest in North America and has one RV C.G and many remote primitive camping places for tents.
There 2 main routes in the park allowing visitors to park at the many Trail Heads across the “Porcies”.
We spent the whole day hiking falls, the famous Lake of the Clouds and climbed the observation tower allowing 360 vistas.
We did NOT see any Porcupines…..but it still was a fantastic day.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Day 1 out of 3
Leaving a free C.G with electricity that has a clean bathroom next door is not easy as it looks, but we left the Kewadin Casino in Munising heading West towards the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in UP Michigan also known as Copper Country.
Most of the trips I post are usually ones we do with only the truck but sometimes the ride from one C.G to another can be interesting too.
The route along the Superior Lake shore was very scenic and with the stops we made it took us to complete 300 KM 6 hours while pulling the 5W.
The C.G in Fort Wilkins is divided to 2 C.G, East and West, both have only electrical hook ups and clean spotless bathrooms, the West has the dumping station and the East WiFi connection-So we are in the East C.G…and all this on the LAKE…
We took it easy today, walked the park, visited the Fort and read a book.
Day 2 out of 3
If you look at the tip of the West Point in Upper Peninsula you can see that it is like a finger pointing into the Superior Lake, we left our 5W at Fort Williams next to Copper Harbor and drove the Copper Country Trail one of the America’s Byway’s and what a beauty it is.
The trail is sometimes next to the shoreline of Lake Superior and sometimes is 700” above the Lake, and the vistas are stunning.
We stopped to hike 2 waterfalls and get some Jam at the famous Jampot in Eagle Harbor where monks make their own bread, honey and jam, we also visited the beautiful Calumet old theater.
That is it for the day…
Day 3 the last day in this place.
Today is what we call “A DAY OFF”, meaning “off” hiking and traveling and doing some laundry, cleaning, reading, and surfing the net.
Tomorrow moving South West towards the Porcupine Mountains area.
Monday, July 11, 2011
We have left Tahquamenon S.P on 9 July early in the morning towards Munising, on the way we have stopped at the Oswalds Bear Ranch near Newberry where the family raised bears since 1984.
The bears are rooming in a huge area and there is no resemblance to a zoo at all, these bears are sent to the ranch from all over the country and sometimes are released back to nature.
They allow you to pet the baby bears and it is a lot of fun.
We arrived to Munising around noon and parked in the Kewadin Casino RV parking lot, it has electrical hook-ups and it is free of charge, this will be our starting point for the next 3 days.
At about 3PM we drove to the marina and hooked up to the free WiFi to check up our mail and post some entries on our website, we also were able to talk with our kids and grandkids through Skype.
At 5PM we joined a cruise to Pictured Rocks, it something not to be missed, the formations, colors of the rocks are outstanding.
To conclude this fantastic day we sat to eat at a local “all you can eat” Fish dinner that was delicious and then attended a concert by 2 young players that sang and played old tunes.
At 11PM we took the load from our feet….till tomorrow.
10 July 2011-Second day out of 3
Looking at the map of this area you could see more water than dry land and many waterfalls as well, so we had to choose which ones to hike too.
We started at Wagner Falls a 20’ Cascade that flows at the Wagner Creek and creates a beautiful waterfall.
Then we hiked to Munising Falls a drop of 50’ into a sandstone canyon and creates a spectacular scene, you can actually hike behind the falls and get some cool spray in the hot days on yourself.
Sand Point Beach was our next destination, white sand, clean waters and colourful sand underwater, add to this a fantastic day and the view of the Superior Lake and you are in one of the most beautiful spots along the shore.
We tried to have a peaceful picnic but the flies made it very uncomfortable, I think that if someone will come with stuff that will keep them away he will become an instant Millioner…
The last waterfall of the day was Miners Falls, a short hike of 1.5M round trip through a forest brought us to one of the tallest most beautiful waterfall, and there is a ramp having 77 steps to reach it, but we went below to the bottom and had another fantastic angle of it.
That’s it for today….till tomorrow.
11 July 3rd day and the last in this area
We woke up at 0800 AM hearing the rain on the trailers roof and it was strong, the skies were black but it was warm and humid, here goes our hike out of the window I thought but remembered the saying “If you do not like the weather here just wait 15 minutes” well it took an hour the skies were smiling on us.
Our first hike was to Chapel Falls 2.8Miles roundtrip, the trail was “crowded” and we meet 6 people hiking along,(much more than yesterday), it was a nice hike through green lashing forest and suddenly we could hear the roar of the falls and it sure was a magnificent sight ,I have a soft spot for nature especially falls that never stop exiting me-I hope it will always do.
We returned to the trail head, had some light snack and headed to Mosquito Falls 2.2Miles Round Trip,I sprayed more stuff to keep the mosquitoes away but the name was misguiding and happily there were less mosquitoes landing on us than before.
This Waterfall has 3 waterfalls along the Mosquito River and each one more beautiful than the other, take my word for it or just take a look at the pictures.
I think that the Creator was in a good mood when he created this area: Many waterfalls, Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks, Green Lashing forests and some Islands in the lake-We took advantage of this all and we loved what we saw.
My English is too poor to put in words what we saw, smelled and experienced ,so here are some selected pictures.
I also apologize for not posting on your blogs-the connections here in some places are very poor.
Moving Copper Harbor at the West Tip of the Peninsula in the morning…
Saturday, July 9, 2011
5July Till 9July 2011
We have said goodbyes to our friends Nicki and Grant in White Fish Falls on 5 July and headed towards Sault Sue Marie to cross the border to Michigan.
We have done many Crossings with the rig from Canada to the USA and back and each time it is a different experience, sometimes it goes smoothly and sometimes the immigration agents pays a visit to the trailer and take some food out of it, it can be fruits, meat or nothing at all, my wife says that it all depends on the “shopping list” they get from their spouse…..any how this time we did not take any chances and crossed with almost no food, and you know what happened? Yes you are right THEY DID NOT ENTER THE TRAILER AT ALL.
The 300 KM ride to the boarder went without any special problems and we hit the bridge in S.S.M at noon, but guess what, one lane was closed as they were doing some paint job on it, so we got stuck on the bridge for 2 whole hours (never had so much time on a bridge in a vehicle in my life).
As a foreigners entering USA we were waived to park the rig and go into the immigration office, there we sat for 40 minutes till were called to the agent that handle our passports and after learning from us WHY, WHERE, HOW, WHEN we got a staying permit for 6 months not before our finger prints were taken and photo shots of both of us were completed it reminded me a TV show about a procedure when criminals enter a jail..(I wanted some copies of the photos but was gently denied- “they are only for our eyes” said the Immigration officer…)
Happy and feeling free as birds we continued to the other side of the river into Sault Sue Marie Michigan USA and parked at the Kewadin Casino(Run by the first Nation tribe) RV park with electrical hook ups for 10US$ only.
After an hour we unhooked and headed with the truck to the Wal-Mart supper center and loaded the trailer with groceries (I almost needed to get a second mortgage especially after filling gas…don’t forget that the trailer was empty and we had to purchase everything), on the way back we stopped in a AT&T office to get an USA mobile number, grab a sandwich foot long -AND all this in one day work…
As my wife was organizing the products in the trailer and I did not want to get in her way so I managed to use the WiFi hot spot in the casino to check my mail and update my family and friends that we are still alive and kicking.
Well by now we let ourselves fall into our comfortable queen size bed awaking only at 0800AM the next morning.
After breakfast we headed towards Tahquamenon S.P just 110KM West from S.S.M (piece of cake) and found a fantastic spot on the grass that was almost levelled.
The S.P has 179 sites with only electrical hook-ups 30/50Amps and a central dumping station with water fill up, the sites are large in most of the sites but some do not fit big rigs, the washrooms were clean and each site had a table and a fire ring.
Michigan S.Parks charge an entrance fee of 8$ each day on top of the camping fees (21-23$) what makes them more expensive than regular private C.G ,as we were going to visit some more S.P we purchased an annual permit for 29$ and put the whole thing behind as.
After getting settled down we did a short hike (2 mile round trip) to the lower waterfalls that are really beautiful.
On the next day , 7 July we hiked to the upper falls, 4 miles each direction all along the river bank, nice and easy, we were surprised to see that we are almost alone on the trail, many people just park their cars in the parking lot and go to the observation deck to view the falls.
In the evening we were invited by a couple that parked in a site next to us to join them around the fire-it sure ads to our general good feeling and atmosphere when we RV.
There are some more attractions to be seen before we move West but all in due time.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
We left Lively ON and our friends Susan and Harry after a great 2 days with them feeling that it is not the last time we will be seeing them.
Our next stop in White Fish falls ON just 120KM North from Lively and there we will visit Nicki and Grant a couple we meet in S.S.M 3 years ago while watching a tag race on the lake, we stayed in touch through the years and finally are meeting them again.
They live in a place that I describe “close to haven” ,on the Georgian Bay in the forest with a boat just at the end of their property…..wooow.
We managed easily to get the rig parked in their yard and enjoy the natural beauty around,including hiking to the highest point in the area to see the Georgian Bay.