Saturday, July 7, 2007

Mackinaw (Mackinac) Island

We left Jen and Adam’s early on Friday morning and headed up to Mackinaw, also known as Mackinac… they have two spellings for the island/city here and no one can agree on the appropriate spelling.

Mackinac Island is gorgeous: no cars allowed, bikes only and amazing old Victorian mansions overlooking the lake. The only blemish on the experience is the ridiculous amount of horse dung everywhere… living before the age of automobiles must have been quite smelly.

We have both been very surprised with how clear the water is in the great lakes, it is clearer than the Caribbean and looks good enough to drink.

The scenery here is amazing and looks to be a terrific vacation spot for future reference. The weather has been great… clear, cool, calm and little humidity.

Off to the locks in Saulte (Soo?) St. Marie, then to some gold waterfalls my sister told us about. Tomorrow evening we should be in the Green Bay area. Brett Favre invited us over so we are staying at his lake house; we go way back and are going to discuss his decision to return this season.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Last Day with Jen & Adam

Our last day here in Northern Mich. with Jen & Adam before we head out for... well, even more northern Michigan. We've gotten the full experience here, ridden the four-wheeler and the big Jeep, taken the boat for a ride in the East Bay (and half submerged their truck in the process of launching it), box seats at a minor league baseball game, fireworks, a July 4th picnic, and there is even the promise of some BB Gun shooting later this evening. It doesn't get better than that.

One last night hanging out with the family, and tomorrow we'll drive up to Mackinac Island.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Driving to Michigan to see Jen and Adam

Not reflective of the good people in Michigan, however this sign required a stop.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Out the door!

This is a long one. Guaranteed to get shorter after this.
Months, weeks of planning, and we're finally on the road! Although it was a bit of a rocky start...

With big plans of leaving early Saturday morning, we had the Yakima box on the top of the car all packed the night before, and headed out in the morning to start packing the rest of the car. I was gathering things in the house, Chris thought he would open the windows since it was already a hot and humid day. He came back in a few minutes later to report that we had just experienced our first setback... Our (new, bought specifically for this trip) car had decided it didn't want to start. We tried jumping it, but acted very strange and appeared to be something more electrical rather than a dead battery. The Ford road-side assistance showed up 4 hours later with the wrong type of tow truck, 1 hour later they came back with the right one. We barely made it to the dealer, got the issue resolved and had wasted the first day-- oh well.

We went back to the house, and debated leaving that night, but decided to wait it out and leave again the next morning. We got a pizza, rented a movie (Breach, which was good, and just a bit odd since the park Robert Hansen was caught in is pretty close to our house).
We woke up the next morning and, thankfully, the car started like a charm, so we packed her back up, and headed out. We made our way North, through Maryland, into PA and on the lovely, gorgeous, PA turnpike. Now sights like THIS are the reason we decided to drive across this country. Miles and miles of falling rock later, we made a quick stop near Pittsburgh to visit my cousin Gina, her husband Anthony and their son Nicky, and my aunt Tricia who also happened to be visiting. Gina and Anthony also just welcomed a beautiful new baby girl, Marin Scott, and although we didn't get to meet her (they were bringing her home the next morning), we did get to see some cute pictures. Chris and Nicky played on the floor for a while, until it was time to go. Tricia took a picture of us by the car (see the pics) and as extremely gracious guests, we forgot to take a picture with everyone else. Sorry!

Our plan for the night before was to head to Sandusky, Ohio, and spend Sunday at Cedar Point amusement park. In our minds, there was no reason we couldn't get back on schedule by driving all the way to Sandusky on Sunday, and doing a power tour of the park at night. We got to our campground right outside Sandusky around 6pm, put the tent up super fast, and got to the gates of the park around. After debating if it was worth the $50 for three hours of rollercoaster riding, we gave in and joined the crowd in the park. We hit all the big coasters while we were there, the ones where you stand, the ones where you sit, the ones where your feet are hanging and you're swirling all over the place and are about to puke up your lunch when you're done. The ultimate though, was a 17-second ride which started at a dead stop, catapulted you from 0-120 mph in 4 seconds, straight up into the air about 120 feet, over a hill, and then swirling, no joke, at a 90 degree incline back down that hill, and back to the start. It was awesome.

We made it through our first night of camping, in our great tent, and back on the road to Chris's sister Jen's house in the UP area of Michigan.