7/30/2014 Interlochen State Park, Michigan
Back on the mitten part of Michigan after two full days of driving around Lake Michigan. After that McDonald’s I continued up. Through the forest, across the forest, up into more forest. It’s very nice and wooded up in northern Wisconsin, and it would probably be nice to camp in, but I went through many sudden rain storms, so it would not be fit at all to camp in. I continued east into Michigan as the sun set and camped in a Walmart parking lot. I’m trying to think if there is anything more I can say about the drive. The roads were pretty good, not rough like Maine. I stopped by a restaurant called “The Stand” which was a drive up sort of place, but they were cash only and I had no cash so I continued on.
Had an okay night sleep. It was cold, which was refreshing. Nice to not be sweltering in a car, because it’s really not safe at all to sleep with the door/window open. In the hotter areas, I just dealt with the climate, but I was very comfortable with my blanket and pillows. Had some very vivid dreams that involved travel and friends. Haven’t had any dreams in a while.
I departed the parking lot at around 7:30 and got to the camp ground at 5ish, though I crossed a time zone, so an hour was lost. Highway 2 across the Upper Peninsula (the UP populated by yoopers) was lovely. The woods gave way on the right to Lake Michigan, with beaches and dunes and tourist towns. And side of the highway shops offering pasties. After passing a few, I finally gave in and pulled in to procure the local dish. I ordered it with gravy, which was a good choice. A pasty (plural: pasties) is a pastry filled with meat and potatoes. Sort of like a potpie sealed up. The serving size was perfectly filling, and I bought a Great Lakes sticker for my cooler. I could absolutely go for another one right now. But I’m in a rustic camp site and it is late at night and I don’t think any restaurant would be open right now. Well.. maybe, but then I’d have to change out of my pajamas.
Filled with warm food, I set out once again. I paid the $4 bridge toll at St Ignace to cross south onto the main peninsula part of Michigan. A little bit on i95/i75/iwhichever and then at Grayling right on 72. Followed 72 for a longish while (lots of 23 miles to the next town signs with many more towns to go) to get to Bear Dunes National Seashore, or whichever it is called. I’ll look at the pamphlet in the morning. The campsites in the park were full, and I felt like camping instead of national parking, so I went on to the nearby but not totally near Interlochen State Park. Got me a rustic site with a view of Green Lake, and I put up my tent. Didn’t set a new set up record, but I came in pretty low. I spent a little bit of time on the narrow strip of beach reading and looking out at the water.
Tomorrow I’ll go see these dunes, probably read some more, then head south to Grand Rapids, where I’ll be for a few days, and then I’ll be booking it west properly this time.
8/1/2014 Grand Rapids, Michigan
I am writing quietly from Megan & Eric’s house. The other six people crashing here are sleeping. I was sober by the end of the night, so I’ve had an easy wake up. I don’t know when people will start waking up. I may head off to the venue and set up my tent there and help out if it seems like it’ll be a while. I don’t know what the morning plan is, I know there is a rehearsal dinner but as I’m not actually part of the wedding, I don’t know what I’ll be up to. Go with the flow.
Back to Interlochen State Park: had a lovely sleep in. No rain, just cozy warm goodness! I packed up and went to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. I did the scenic loop and climbed up the dune. How odd to see such big dunes on a lake shore. Beaches, sure, but huge dunes? And I swung by the maritime museum and looked at the old boats and the old house where the lighthouse people stayed while watching to make sure boats didn’t crash.
Then at 2:30ish it was time to depart for Grand Rapids. It was a nice just under 3 hour drive. I arrived at the venue, and gave Cally/Kayleigh a life to Megan & Eric’s as that is where the Bachelor/Bachelorette party was starting from. We were the first to arrive, and Ryan, Lauren, Stefan, Andy, and a whole bunch of other people arrived. There were cocktails and beer and egg salad and eventually sausages and burgers and homemade hummus. I ate and ate and drank a semi respectable amount. I joined the bachelorette party for a little bit of bar hopping, though I didn’t drink as I felt like having my wits about me, and I might be driving later so yeah. We met up at Pyramid Scheme, which is like a mini Ground Kontrol (barcade b/arcade). I chatted mostly with Eric’s sisters, over Megan’s cousins. We walked over to Stella’s and grabbed a table. I wish the TVs had subtitles on, so that I could follow the very weird old school The Incredible Hulk show. Why was he massaging that guy? What was that stuff in the container? I just don’t know. Then we went to Rumours, a club, and I tried to dance on the dance floor but I’m too self-conscious about my rhythm. Still, I tried!
We called a cab (we cabbed in) and the first one to arrive was stolen by another team of people! Boo!
Back at Megan & Eric’s I pitched my tent on their lawn, and after having another serving of food, I retired to my tent. So I suppose I could have drunk more, but I’m glad I’m feeling fine in the morning now as I plan to lend a hand in wedding prep today.
So yeah! It’s August now! The final month of this journey begins. I’ve got a good amount of National Parks to visit coming up, I can’t wait!