In the summer of 2012, I traveled to Michigan to visit my son for a long weekend. When I asked what to pack he said “Your car is big, be prepared for anything. We could be camping, going to a party, kayaking, or cleaning my apartment”. The 9-1/2 hr drive there turned into 11 hours after being held up in construction on the Ohio Turnpike. While sitting in the middle of a corn field I decided there were two things I don’t like, pavement and trucks!
With no reservations, we decided to explore Michigan. Early Friday morning we drove from Fowlerville to Traverse City, MI. Took a walk on a beautiful path along the Boardman river, then stopped at the Omelet Shop to eat breakfast. We left Traverse City and traveled toward Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We arrived around noon, took a drive through the park and hiked 1.5 miles through the sand dunes. It was a beautiful day, not too hot. All of the scenic overlooks were breathtaking and well worth the trip. For some reason people like to write with sticks and stones in the sand on the dunes, which made memorable photos. We proceeded to the lakeshore after leaving Sleeping Bear for some beach time.
We departed around 4pm driving toward Silver Lake to find a place to stay. The GPS pointed us back inland and we spent the next 2 hours driving through the Manistee National Forest. Not much to see, lots of trees. Never trust a GPS, always use a map as backup. We had no internet access to try and find a hotel, and I was getting hungry. We called my sister who promptly found us a run-down motel with a vacancy. We checked in, looked at the room and went for dinner. Over dinner both of us decided we couldn’t possibly stay in that motel room. My son described the smell as a 90 year old man in a 100 year old basement. It was more than a little musty, I got my money back. By now it was 7pm and we were frantically calling campsites to see if we could find a spot to park and sleep.
We found a campsite for half the price of the motel at Sandy Shores Campground on Silver Lake. We arrived just in time to see the sunset over the lake and proceeded to check in.
We both agreed that Silver Lake, MI has to be one of the most fun places on earth! While my son pitched his tent, I arranged the back of my Toyota Highlander so I could sleep. I found out it sleeps one comfortably. The campground was fantastic! We loved it except for the pull chain shower which was a little Fred Flinstoneish. We had enough time to build and sit by our fire before going to sleep. The next morning we rented a jeep and drove around the 450-acre off-road vehicle area at Silver Lake State Park, MI. Definitely another highlight of our trip. After lunch we headed back to Fowlerville.
As promised, Saturday night my son took me to a party, complete with what appeared to be the US National Guard, as well as an extravagant fireworks display. Sunday morning I woke up, made breakfast, and cleaned his apartment. I wasn’t planning to clean, I was bored. I didn’t know how to turn his TV on? By the time my son woke up from his beauty rest it was 10am. We surfed the internet checking the weather, and planned my route back home. Ate lunch at the Feed Bag in Fowlerville, another highlight of my trip. If you’re ever in that area, you must stop and eat there!
Winding up the weekend was a 2 hour kayaking trip down the Muskegon River. Of course we had to drive 2 hours toward Grand Rapids to get there. It was a beautiful peaceful evening. We followed Osprey and an Eagle, among other things, down the river. Somehow without a single reservation, in the height of tourist season, we managed to complete our list of activities in 3 short days. It was a wonderful weekend, which covered about 750 miles of pure Michigan.
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Walk softly, let nature be your guide…
Fine Art Photographer