Friday, August 14, 2015
Chapter 41 - Shell Lake to Mackinaw City, Michigan
We left Shell Lake and our friends Lee and Dotty Swan about 8 am with a plan to drive around 4-1/2 hours and spend one night only at the Summer Breeze Campground near Iron Mountain, Michigan. Iron Mountain which is near the Wisconsin Michigan stateline is approximately half the distance between Shell Lake and Mackinaw City. While Minnesota claims the credit for being the Land O'Lakes, northern Wisconsin has its plentiful share of lakes as well. Our drive across Wisconsin allowed us to view many log cabins and cottages on numerous small picturesque lakes that at times reminded us of both our cottage on Seneca Lake in New York's Finger Lakes Region as well as our own log cabin in Blue Ridge, Georgia. It was an easy drive on a two lane road but with frequent passing lanes. We passed through numerous small towns many only two blocks long containing a small bar, a restaurant, a grocery store, a gas station, a church, and then quickly the speed limit returned to 55 mph. Iron Mountain was a nothing special city of 7,700 residents. It was at one time a mining town due to nearby iron ore deposits, but that resource has been depleted and since the 1930s the town's population has been gradually diminishing. Once setup in our campground, we drove into Iron Mountain, did a little shopping, did not take any photos, and then retuned to our campground. We had no internet service at our campsite nor did we enjoy cable TV coverage. We both read a little and went to sleep early. On the positive side, our campsite was well shaded and private (no immediate neighbors) and the night time temperatures were in the mid-50s; we slept well.
We knew this morning that after a short drive we would be passing into the Eastern Time Zone and we would be officially "back east" at least in a manner of speaking. Since we had gone to bed a little earlier than usual we decided to leave by 7:00 am which of course would quickly change to one hour later when we crossed the time zone. Funny how our electronic devices like our telephones, iPads, and our Garmin all automatically adjust for time zone changes but not my brand new cheap Walmart wrist watch nor the clock in our modern car. Despite the loss of one hour of our day we had a very pleasant drive over to the Straits of Mackinac especially when our highway passed along the north shores of Lake Michigan. The photo above was taken just before our arrival at the Mackinac Bridge where I-75 crosses through the Straits of Mackinac at the connecting point of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
The Mackinac Bridge is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world and the longest in the western hemisphere. And we crossed it.
Wednesday, August 12th:
This morning I jumped in our car at around 5:30 am hoping to be able to upload today's addition of the Wall Street Journal over at the campground store. Despite our long cross county journey, I still love to read the Journal every morning over a cup or two of hot coffee. Old habits do not die. As I started up the car for the two minute drive over to the store, I had to stop the car right in front of our trailer for the sunrise was much to beautiful not to record "on film" (so to speak). This was the same view that I had seen a few minutes earlier just before climbing out of bed. The view of the sunrise in person was so much better than this photo has captured.
Tomorrow we are heading due south for the first time since our trip began back in late May. We have enjoyed traveling in the northern states not only because it is an entirely new experience for Kathy but also because both of us are enjoying the mostly cool weather. It is really great not to have to use our noisy air conditioner. Kathy actually selected our next campground located in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Neither of us have ever heard of Frankenmuth but we have heard of the highly rated franchised Jellystone Park campgrounds so having a nice home site for the next two nights is good enough for us.