Friday, September 7, 2007

(30) Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore, to Montague Michigan

Pictured Rock National Lake Shore, Michigan

Montague Michigan

On Labor Day we had a chance to take the boat tour along the Pictured Rock Lake Shore. The tour begins in Munising Mich.

I of course tried to get a senior discount and was flatly refused…. They don’t give discounts ($31.00) and I was labeled a trouble maker right away . Well why not start the day right eh. When we got onboard I assured everyone we would be able to get coffee at their snack bar. Shot down again! No coffee. Had to settle for a coke. Really. What kind of a tour boat is this?

Leaving Munising Bay and traveling along the shoreline of Lake Superior, the day began a bit overcast and eventually cleared up as we traveled along the pictured rocks. There’s a loan short road that leads to one of the first outcroppings so we saw onshore visitors along with the castle rock. A sandy beach followed and then it became one shear wall of sandstone colored with stripes, streaks and horizontal lines, caves, grotto’s and even waterfalls.

One of the really neat events was when the tour boat (a fairly big boat) drove right into one of the grotto’s, high sandstone walls on either side and in front of us. Barely a foot or two of clearance. Wow, what a rush.

On our trip back the Capt. Was able to get really close to some of the shear walls then eventually crossed the bay again to give us a great shot of a wooden lighthouse that once housed the lighthouse keeper his wife and 12 children… imagine.
check out the video at:

Oh, after the boat tour we went into town and had lunch at Dogpatch. Lil Abner cartoon characters are all over the walls of this wood and beamed ceiled restaurant. If your lucky you may get a great waitress with tons of fun attitude and the food is pretty darn good too. Ron had stepped outside and she went after him waving a menu and told him to get back inside and order… I had a chef salad that was really awesome.

Leaving Grand Marais was like coming back from the edge of the world. What a unique remote part of the world. I headed south on hwy 77 and along U.S. 2 which follows the top edge of Lake Michigan. It’s been rainy and overcast, but if you like the water like I do, seeing it even in the rain is cool. The foreboding dark clouds hung so low on the horizon, that only a lighter thin band of clouds on the horizon lit up the scene. Dark low clouds and churning Lake Michigan. Occasional stops at Michigan’s wayside parks, those pleasant little parks that are all over the state. Crossing the Mackinac Bridge was almost like the golden gate, only bigger. Rolling fog covering the top half of the bridge which is painted a wheat color and light green. It must have been painted recently because the bridge looked spanking new.

Entering the Lower Peninsula I traveled along hwy 31 following the coast line of Lake Michigan. If I hadn’t made reservations in Montague Mich. (across the river from Whitehall) where my sister Dorothy lives, I would have stayed in a really neat town called Petoskey. Except for having parking meters everywhere, which I detest, the town is charming. And apparently thriving as a seaside vacation retreat. About a dozen guys were fishing from a bridge leading to the campground. Must have had lots of fish running the creek leading into Lake Michigan. Many expensive gated communities line the lake shore, but there were also a number of public campgrounds in the area as well as vacation motels etc. On the outskirts of town one can explore the many fruit farms, having everything from cherries, blueberries, apples, peaches, grape vineyards, you name it, it’s up here.

But, well how shall I say this. I had a boo boo. One never likes to admit mistakes, but since my buddy Ron already knows about it and he has a big mouth I figured I better tell everyone. As I was setting up camp in Petoskey in the rain, I was trying to avoid a large puddle and wasn’t looking behind me as I was parking the truck. Bang, crunch, Ekk! I backed into the 5th wheel Pin and tore the back right light and truck bed panel up.

Called my brother-in-law and got the name of a repair shop and set up an appt. to have them fix my mistake. Turns out the insurance company will pay all of it except for my deductible. Yippee.

To make things even better, I’m staying at a campground (Trailway Campground) in Montague Mich. I’m literally 50 feet from an ice-cream stand and grocery store. There’s a 25 mile bike path right outside my door and I can walk into town which is right across the parking lot. The bay with it’s boat docks is on the other side of the street from the campground. What more could you ask for.

The campground is reasonable and if I could stay a month, it would cost only about $350 a month, full hookups w/cable T.V. A real deal and great location.

Ps, I'm having a great time visiting with my sister Dorothy and her husband Dave the Chef.

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