We did get to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Jim did some careful research and pinpointed a nice trail to a dunes overlook which was very dog friendly. This checked all of our needs.
The Empire Bluff Trail is a 1 ½ mile loop up and down hills and through the woods. It proved very popular with people and their dogs. We got there later in the afternoon which was a good thing as many people were leaving the crowded parking area.
The weather was again perfect and we hiked briskly along the trail to the dunes overlook. It was a very pretty sight.
An alarming number of people on the trail were sporting flip flops. While this was not a hugely demanding or long trail, I can’t quite imagine negotiating it in flip flops. The trail map at the trail head warned of mosquitoes and poison ivy. While we did not encounter many of the former, Jim brought a bit of the latter home with him. Happily, it does not seem to itch.
We were sad to leave Brighton and our family, but excited to begin our northward journey through Michigan. Next stop would be Interlochen State Park. This was the closest we could get to the Crystal Lake and Leelanau Peninsula.
Interlochen is actually Michigan’s first and oldest state park. It is located adjacent to the Interlochen Arts Camp. Because it is an older campground, the sites are fairly small and close. Large trees shade the campground providing an extra challenge when backing into a campsite. The park was our launching pad for discovery and, as such, it worked just fine.
Our first day, we headed west to see Crystal Lake. Some of my oldest and fondest memories are of family vacations at the Blue Anchor in Crystal Lake. We stayed in cabins and swam in the lake. We had sailing lessons and, for a big treat headed in to Frankfort for olive burgers and root beer floats at the local A&W.
In fifty years or more, much has changed at Crystal Lake, but it remains a beautiful lake. The Blue Anchor must be long gone replaced by vacation homes, but the A&W is still there and they don’t seem to have changed a thing! Sitting outside at a picnic table, we had a delicious lunch of Lake Michigan-caught white fish at the Port City Smokehouse.
Afterwards we intended to take a walk in a dog-friendly part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore but ended up on a long drive around the area including a stop at Point Betsie Light House. We would have to leave Sleeping Bear for another day, but took a walk on a rail to trail in Sutton’s Bay.
Leelanau Cheese Shop was recommended to us by Renee and we followed that with a stop at the Sutton’s Bay Ciderie for a tasting.
It was a long, but thoroughly enjoyable day with more adventures sure to come.
Brighton Recreation Area was an unanticipated treasure. Originally chosen as the closest decent campground to Ann Arbor, Northville and Livonia—all key concentrations of Michigan Frosts, it ended up being a super place to camp.
We spent three days catching up with Jim’s brother, Phil, his wife, Renee, Jim’s sister, Linda, and her spouse, Lisa. We also were fortunate enough to catch Chris and Sarah, Jim’s nephew and his partner. And, of course, the main event was seeing the matriarch of the extended Frost family, Jim’s mother, Betty.
Many delightful hours were spent chatting. Phil and Renee were tremendous hosts offering us tasty treats and libations. Dakota was happy relaxing on their deck listening to the conversation. Betty seemed as tickled to see Jim as he was to see her.
On our last full day, Linda and Lisa joined us at Brighton to continue enjoying the perfect summer weather and each other’s company.
We sat and enjoyed our fire long into the summer’s evening.
After three days of driving, we’ve almost hit Ohio. Goodness there is a lot of Pennsylvania. We have regained our travel legs and everyone is enjoying the journey.
Our first night we stayed at Promised Land State Park. We had a lovely site in the Pickerel Point Campground. It was a perfect afternoon/evening and we were so happy to be back in the trailer. About 5:30 the skies darkened and a big thunderstorm hit. This is when we pity the tent campers. The blue skies returned and we enjoyed the rest of the evening.
We made it to Woodland, PA for the second night and stayed at a nice commercial campground. Biggest catastrophe to date were the bumps that made our over-filled freezer open and dump everything on the floor. Nothing a little duct tape can’t address.
The third night we stayed at the nicest commercial campground we have ever seen. Rocky Springs Campground had a lot of seasonals, but everything was immaculate. The rolling western PA hills were gorgeous. The campground was enormous with kids running everywhere having a magnificent time. They had a heated inground pool, playground and the sites were widely spaced. We don’t prefer commercial campgrounds, but this one broke the rules. We had a delightful evening by the fire.
After months of stated intent followed by months of planning, the time is finally here…tomorrow we head out for a long meander through our country to see sights oft heard of and, as yet, unseen by us.
It didn’t always look like this would happen. Delayed from an anticipated late Spring departure, we were at the starting line when our most beloved room mate, Dakota of course, had to have emergency gall bladder surgery. We can only be thankful this did not happen once we were on the road. We delayed our departure by a week to allow for convalescence and reconfigured the beginning of our trip. And now all systems are go.
Hitched and ready to go.
Dakota bore the cone with dignity.
We hope you will join us on our adventure. Our plan is to head west and, when the weather turns, south. Assuming all goes well and we are having fun, we will return home before Christmas.
Jenny, Jim and Dakota