We left Ann Arbor with a round of hugs and no plan. We wanted to make our way to see Great Lake Michigan and eventually see Sleeping Bear Dunes. So, point the rig northwest and drive.
Doug is a member of the Blues Guitar Unleashed (BGU) forum, an on-line guitar community dedicated to learning blues guitar. Periodically, BGU members host (and we attend) live events in different places around the country, which is where we met our friends Tom and Laurel. For the past few days, they’ve been our hosts and fun finders extraordinaire and Tom our lead guitar for an incredible blues binge.
As with any BGU meet-up, warm greetings were quickly followed by instruments coming out and an impromptu jam session, this one in Tom’s music room on Friday evening. Tom and Doug traded off on rhythm and lead guitar and bass, while I got to accompany them on the RV drum kit ’til way past our bedtimes. There’s no better way to start a blues binge!
Hailing from Warren, VT – the Fourth of July Capital of the Universe – we’re thinking of friends back home today. Hoping everybody has a great 4th!
Recall from our last post that selecting a place in MI to spend the 4th of July weekend was a bit like throwing a dart. It (mostly) worked! We’re celebrating in Harrison, Michigan, on Budd Lake, right in the middle of the state (or the knuckle at the base of the middle finger, if you’re from here).
‘Nobody ever visits the Thumb!’ said the manager at the Lighthouse County Park Campground. That’s why we’re here.
When we first started talking about this trip, many people suggested their favorite places in Michigan to visit. We put them all on a map and noticed suggestions for everywhere except the Thumb. (Look at a map and it’ll be obvious. Or ask anyone from MI and they’ll start pointing at the back of their left hand.) Our wish list included most of the suggestions, visits with a few friends and a couple of concerts. To make it all work, we had an open week, and it included the 4th of July.
We opted to head for the Thumb, see what there was to see, and take some time to figure out what to do for the 4th.
No tour of the Great Lakes would be complete without seeing Niagara Falls, especially for someone (say, Doug) who’s never been there before. Neither words nor photos can convey the beauty and power of a waterfall that drops 750,000 gallons of water per second. We’ll try anyway…
Well, it’s not really true… There’re actually 1,864 islands (this year) within a 50-mile stretch of the St. Lawrence River between Ontario and New York State. The border zigs and zags among the islands, intentionally keeping each island wholly within either the US or Canada. Although there is a greater number of islands in Canada, several in the US are larger, rendering the total acreage of all the islands about even. The count changes periodically since there are rules to qualify as an island. Each land mass must have at least one square foot of land above water level year-round and support at least two living trees. Some of the smaller islands come and go.
Doug and I lived in the Albany area when we were first married, 30 years ago. We were quite active with the cycling community back then. As we drove out of Albany, we had a rush of memories as we recognized familiar roads we’d biked so many times, so many years ago. We both suddenly remembered that the greater Albany area was simply awesome for bicycling.
There is a beauty in Acadia National Park that is special and naturally lifts the spirit. Mountains rise dramatically from the sea and host a number of ponds and lakes, rivers, trails, rock formations, and a wide variety of gorgeous, natural landscape arrangements all over the island. We were fortunate to spend four delightful days in the Park in advance of the full tourist season.
We’ve been warned by others with far more experience than we have to be cautious about over-committing our schedule while on an RV adventure. We’re heeding that advice and have committed to only three big scheduled events in the first three weeks of the adventure. The first of these was Memorial Day Weekend, so this post covers our week of meandering and visiting up to that point.
And speaking of that point, life would just not be the same without Stump Sprouts and this annual gathering of friends whom I’ve known from my Boston days, and going back 32 years for Doug. Still aglow from yet another fabulous Memorial Day bike and hike weekend, we realized several of these folks had been at my original adventure sendoff for the cross country bike trip in 1983. Love you guys!
Thanks and major hugs to Stan and Cyndee for hosting a phenomenal Bon Voyage party for the Destinators! We were sent off in true Mad River Valley style, surrounded by friends who really know how to live.
Still glowing the morning after, we talked about how our friends have impacted our lives and have been unknowingly preparing us for our trip over the past 15 years… Life balance. Work is important, yet there’s more to life than work… Every day needs a dose of play (and a double dose on powder days) to keep us mentally and physically healthy. Thanks to Stan, Cyndee, Dave, Sandra, Barb, Tom, Elizabeth, Peter, Sandy, Tim, Katrina for those life lessons and for helping us launch this adventure!