Thursday, October 13, 2016


Leaving Wisconsin to the north brought us to big woods.  We stopped in the Ottawa National Forest headquarters office and got map for public campgrounds.

We headed to Burned Dam Falls and found ourselves a spot for overnight dry camping and were the only campers there.  One car with a man and his son came and left after checking out the fishing hole on the lower river falls below the dam.  We hiked along the river and read about the mill that used to be here.  It was quiet and peaceful.  We got a little spooked at night being alone deep in the forest as we heard owls over head when we walked the dog and a wolf howled in the distance being answered by another further off in the depth of the night.  But morning brought a beautiful day and drive was awesome.  A touch of fall was in the air but the skies blue with puffy white clouds.  

Our next stop made it a short day so we could enjoy the luxury of a casino.  Casino camping is usually a nice change of pace and this one not only had a nice separate campground but allowed campers to use the pool inside the casino hotel.  Joy was excited. We spent a few dollars on the slots at the Kewadin Casino, Joy loosing, Kathy winning and had dinner in the restaurant.  The food was good and prices were not bad and then went home via the free shuttle, changed into our suits and went back for a swim.  We stayed until the influx of children and families began. We knew it was time to go home.  We got to watch some real TV as the campground even had cable.

The next morning it was a short jaunt to the northwest shore of Lake Michigan and the beautiful views of the Mackinac Bridge.  Growing up Joy heard stories of her parents moving mobile homes across the Appalachians and even towing one across the Mackinac Bridge which connects the upper peninsula of Michigan to the lower part.  Joy’s mother told tales of terror when relaying the trip across the swinging bridge with open grates during a storm.  We were excitedly a little apprehensive about the drive but weather forecasts were good and neither of us had been across the bridge.    

 We stopped at a few viewing points and walked Frances on the beach.  Her full sized cousin played in the water but no wet dog smell in the RV for us so Frances just got to enjoy the sand.  Then we headed across.  Of course during the end of the summer, road construction was going on so the bridge was down to one lane and yes, we could see the water through the grated surface of the bridge.  Kathy mentioned the steering was a little heavier than usual but we didn’t really feel the bridge move the way Joy’s mom had portrayed.

On the other side we stopped near the beach and put our feet in Lake Ontario and then headed back south along the east coast of Lake Michigan.  We had no idea Michigan had such beautiful tourist towns and farmland.  Since we had skipped all the cheese houses in Wisconsin it was time to find one in Michigan.  

Joy googled organic cheese and located Grassfields Cheese a dairy not far off our intended path.  A few interesting turns down gravel roads with the towed and we landed near a large red barn with black and white milk cows.  Inside the store we asked for a tour.  We saw young chicks growing into what would soon be free range, or mobile cages driven by chickens and milk cows in the barn.  We tasted some well-developed cheeses, bought a few and headed back on the road toward the beach.

 Yes, beach, Michigan’s Warren Dunes State Park along the southeast coast of Lake Michigan is awesome.  The campground was nearly full but we located a spot with a little distance between us and the large families with many loud children.  This was a bicycling park as we were nearly 3 miles from the water.  No worries we took the long bike ride to watch the sunset.  It was beautiful.  

Then we realized we would be riding our bikes back along the narrow roadway along with all the cars heading home in the dark.    More bike paths are needed in many of our state and national parks.  Getting home without incident was a good reminder that we should always be more prepared, we could have used flashlights and even a warmer jacket.  The next day we drove to the beach and enjoyed the sunshine and even the water was cold, Joy got in just to say that she had.

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