I neglected to post this one, waiting for images. If it’s out of order, I’m sorry, but I figure nobody really cares that much. If you do, stop reading the blog and swear at me…now. Didn’t that make you feel better?
Travel time. I get on the road fairly early and easily from Rochester and cross over into Ontario at Niagara Falls. The only questions the border personnel (border guards? immigration officers?) ask me, beyond where I’m going and where I’ve come from is if I have just retired, from what, and what did I teach. Re-entering the US, his American equivalent asks the same questions. Do they coordinate? If I change my answer between Niagara Falls and Port Huron do I end up in prison? Luckily, I stick to my story and they let me through without a problem. It’s funny how relieved that makes me feel. Even though there is no reason that it should not have gone this smoothly, I steeled myself for at least one car search, given the pile of crap I have in the back.
Lakesport State Park is just north of the entry from Canada–so close in fact that my cell phone will only pick up Canadian towers and I am informed that using it will cost me $2.45 a minute. Since I survived most of my life without one, I forego using it for this evening. The park is pretty, if basic, with its greatest asset being a sandy beach on Lake Huron. The high point for me is the people. I love New England, but the truth is we are a bit cold to strangers in our part of the country. Not so here! I find that I’m adopted as an old friend by the folks in the next site, who are leaving, and the next morning by the folks two sites down. Tim and Melody have a son who has just moved out of Bellingham, my western destination. No, he doesn’t know Max, but that’s no reason we shouldn’t have breakfast together. Two hours later, Polaroids taken, I finally get to taking down my tent and heading out. Tim and Melody are from MI, and she grew up on the UP, so I get some good advice about roads and towns on my way.
The trip to Travers City is mostly on 2-lane blacktop, as I hope most of this trip will be. As I head north on Rt 25 to Lexington, the lakeshore gets progressively less crowded, and though Lexington itself is obviously a tourist destination of some sort, it is most likely a local one. It is pretty, unpretentious and small town-y. The country west of there opens into flat farmland and very small, crossroad villages marked more by speed limit signs than by buildings. Sandusky is the “market town” and the home of all of the fast food joints I have been happy to miss for most of the morning.
The rural character of the countryside changes somewhat as I head northeast of Bay City on Rt 115 toward Cadillac, where I see my first Bear Crossing sign at the beginning of a swampy, woodsy stretch. Do bears jump in front of your car like deer? I decide to keep an eye out for both as well as the moose not yet signified by state signs but mentioned frequently by the country station that is the only thing my radio will pick up… “Moose Country 94.5!”
Travers City is too big for me… Have I really become that disconnected from cities two days out of Rochester? It’s very pretty down by the bay, once you get past the ring after ring of car dealerships, family-oriented chain restaurants and tourist traps, but I find it difficult to enjoy this kind of town alone. It might be nice to stroll the streets of downtown (separated into districts) and take in a movie at the beautiful old State Theater with Lena, but by myself I find the idea of a warm motel room and internet access more compelling. Yes, I wimped out and stayed in a Knight’s Inn just out of the center if town. The rain had come, my tent had a small malfunction that needed fixing and it was 48 degrees already, with a promise of high 30’s by morning. Boring, but at least in expensive and clean, the motel sets me up in the morning with a pretty substantial “continental breakfast” and I’m on to the UP.