Friday, June 27, 2014

About That Hopkins, Michigan (June 22 - 28 )

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Hopkins, Michigan! Hopkins is located a few miles south of Grand Rapids. It is here that we are taking a break from our travels for a ten day period. Hidden Ridge is an RV resort that is one of the best we have seen in the country. Huge concrete pads with lots of room between RV spots gives us the spaciousness that we have come to appreciate in our travels. The amenities at the resort are great for adults as well as children. The picture shows our Class B overlooking one of the three lakes on the property. People from nearby Grand Rapids leave their motorhomes, Fifth Wheels or trailers on seasonal lease spots making it very easy to enjoy the area on the weekends. Though busy on the weekends, it is very quiet during the week.

 Notice the concrete pavement.
This is a huge plus in rainy weather!

On Sunday we toured Holland and Saugatuck, Michigan. Both towns sit on the shores of Lake Michigan. Great shops, friendly people and delicious food make the towns so much fun to visit.

 Bear is welcome at the barbecue restaurant.

 Lots of green in Michigan

Both towns boast a boardwalk along the docks of their inner harbors. Boating in Lake Michigan is huge.

On Wednesday we drove to Grand Rapids to see the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. This beautifully done museum sits on the Grand River and is a wonderful testament to this President.

 President Gerald R. Ford
At the entrance to the museum

 A bronze of the former president as he was when he became an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts.

 Flowers outside the museum

The final resting place of Gerald and Betty Ford.
It is located a short walk from the museum.

The front of the museum

The Grand River flows in front of the museum. There are several bridges for pedestrians to walk across. 
Grand River

 Grand River
It was a rainy day.

On Friday we drove to Fennville, Michigan. This tiny town is the headquarters of the Crane Orchards and Pie Company. These pies are famous throughout Michigan. The farm was started in 1916 and grows cherries, peaches and apples. It is called a "farm to table" business, meaning that they use local produce as well as their own.

An orchard

 October is apple season and Cranes is known for their cider.

We shall leave Hopkins, on Tuesday,  for The Great Lakes Naval Training Station (located near Chicago) as we continue to circle Lake Michigan, heading to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Thank you for your interest in our travels. It is hard to believe that we only have two months of full time RVing left.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

About That Traverse City, Michigan (June 15 - 21)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Traverse City, Michigan. We are staying at the Holiday Park and Campground until Friday morning, when we head to the Grand Rapids area.

Traverse City sits on the Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. Apparently it is known as the cherry capital of the world. You can see lots of cherry orchards in the surrounding countryside as well as all sorts of cherry products in the stores.

 Lots of sailboats on Grand Traverse Bay

 On Monday we decided to drive 25 miles to the town of Empire that sits on Lake Michigan. It was here that we got to visit the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Visitor Center in Empire was invaluable in their suggestions for our day. Our first stop was Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. This drive took us through hardwood forested area to the white sand dunes along the shore of Lake Michigan.

 A beautiful covered bridge on the drive.

 Looking out over the water along the drive.

 Sand dunes and Lake Michigan

What a great time we had at Sleeping Bear. Our Bear had lots of fun hiking on the sand dunes. We had lunch in the little town of Glen Arbor on the way back to Traverse City.

Though Monday was our best day as far as weather goes, we braved the rain on Wednesday to walk along the T.A.R.T. trail by the Traverse City harbor. The pictures below show the gray day. We learned that the Great Lakes hold 20% of the world's fresh water supply.

 Roger and Bear along the T.A.R.T. bicycle trail.

 This sculpture is called "Letting Go"
Perfect for a biking trail

Sailboats in the harbor.

Thank you for checking in with us this week. Our next stop will be in an area near Grand Rapids called Hopkins. We are hoping to play lots of Pickleball next week.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

About That Michigan (Mackinaw City and Petoskey (June 8 - 14)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Petoskey State Park on the eastern side of Lake Michigan. We enjoyed our week spent with my brother and sister- in-law. Lea is from this area in Michigan and has been a wonderful tour guide. We got to know some areas in Michigan better because of her history with the countryside.

Our week began with a drive from Sudbury, Canada, to Sault Ste. Marie, where we crossed back into the United States. The drive continued across the Mackinac Bridge to Mackinaw City where we met Warren and Lea.

 The Saulte Set. Marie Immigration Center

 Lots of people trying to get into the U.S.

 The Mackinac Bridge
Lake Huron is on the left and Lake Michigan is on the right of this picture.

AT Mackinaw City we stayed at a campground that was on the shore of Lake Huron. It was here that we met Warren and Lea. We were able to get in a bike ride and take a tour of Mackinac Island.

 The ferry took us across to Mackinac Island on Lake Huron.
My brother Warren with Lea with Lea's brother, John, who joined us for the day.

 A view of the suspension bridge (Mackinac Bridge) taken from the ferry.

 The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

 We took our bikes on the ferry and rode around the entire island.

 We visited the fort that was established during the Revolutionary War. This fort occupies the highest point on the island.

 Lunch overlooking the harbor.
What great weather we had!

 Warren, Lea, John, Suzanne and Roger in front of the Grande Hotel

On Saturday we drove 35 miles south to our next stop: Petoskey State Park. This beautiful park has sandy beaches and sits right on Lake Michigan. We had fun exploring the towns nearby, cycling and hiking.

 State parks offer lots of challenges leveling our RV.

Our spot at Petoskey
Just a quick walk to the sandy beaches (below).

Roger, Suzanne, Lea and Warren

We said goodbye to Warren and Lea on Wednesday. They had to head back to Park City. We will leave Petoskey for Traverse City on Saturday. Thank you for checking in with us.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

About That Quebec and Ottawa (June 1 - 7)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Sudbury, Canada. This week found us dividing our time between Quebec and Ottawa, before arriving in Sudbury, Ontario.
We left Acadia National Park on Friday morning and drove north to Armstrong, where we crossed into Quebec Province. We stayed at a great campground outside of Quebec City.

 Our drive toward Canada was beautiful.

 Canadian customs

Bienvienue au Quebec

On Saturday morning, a city tour bus picked us up at our campground outside of Quebec City. Our guide, Francois, gave us a tour of old town Quebec and some of the newer areas of the city. We learned that Quebec City was founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. It is the only city in North America surrounded by walls, that are three miles in total. We truly felt that we were in a European city. It was fun to try our skills at speaking French.

 One of several entry gates into old Quebec.

 Part of the wall around the city.

 small, narrow streets

 Looking up to the Hotel Frontenac

 Roger poses across the St. Lawrence River from old Quebec.

Old Quebec

A beautiful tulip bed at the Joan of Arc park.

 Our final stop on the city tour was at the Plains of Abraham. It was here that a battle was fought between the British and French in the early eighteenth century.

A final shot of the St. Lawrence River from old Quebec.

On Sunday we took the Fiat to Parc de la Chute-Montmorency. The Montmorency Falls are 98 feet higher than Niagara Falls. We took a cable car up the mountain, then took the boardwalk along the cliff to the suspended bridge. There we were able to walk across the falls and view how they feed into the St. Lawrence River below. 

Roger boarding the cable car.

A view of Roger with the falls in the background taken from inside the cable car.

On the boardwalk to the suspension bridge.

 A shot of the top of the falls from the suspension bridge.

 A view of Quebec City behind Roger, from the other side of the suspension bridge.

 Quebec City

On Tuesday we said goodbye to Quebec City and headed to Ottawa, via Montreal. Our route took us on the Trans Canada Highway to Ottawa. We spent three nights in the municipal campground before heading to Sudbury, Onatario, on Friday. With very wet weather, we were unable to do many of the things that we had planned. Fortunately we were able to get a bike ride in on Thursday.

We plan to drive back into the States at Sault Ste. Marie on Friday.  We will continue on to Mackinaw City, Michigan, where we will join my brother and sister-in-law (Warren and Lea). Lea is from Michigan and will be our tour guide for the next week. Thank you for checking in with us.