Saturday, August 28, 2010

Best Dog Beach in the Midwest

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I’m sure if swimming dogs everywhere were polled for their favorite dog-friendly beaches, Lake Michigan’s Kohler-Andrae State Park would rank as one of the best.

For our final night on the road, I decided to reserve a spot at Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan so that Millie would have the best to enjoy last.

Air and water temps were perfect.  The lake was cool and refreshing without being too cold.  A great, large sandy beach for both dogs and their owners to enjoy, and that we did (although, you’ll be seeing no pics of me in my bathing suit!  Just Millie!)

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Our camsite at Kohler-Andrae was not too shabby either.  Nice big site shaded by tall pines:

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After dinner, we walked the boardwalk through the marsh and enjoyed the sunset.

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After her walk and swim, Millie was thoroughly exhausted, but loved every minute of it!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Manitowoc

Two Rivers’ larger twin city is Manitowoc, WI.  It too is a town with a rich industrial and maritime history.  The Wisconsin Maritime Museum has a nice modern large building downtown, and the city serves as the western port of the Badger Car Ferry service that sails across Lake Michigan between Manitowoc and Ludington, MI daily.

One day at lunchtime, I drove down to watch the Badger come into port.  Quite a neat event!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Two Rivers

After getting my desired moonrise shots in Kewaunee, I was ready to move on down the road 20 miles to the “larger” twin cities of Two Rivers and Manitowoc, WI, grand total population of about 50,000.

Two Rivers had a Passport America campground that was also only $15/night, so it seemed like an easy decision. 

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Stop-N-Dock Marina and RV Park was certainly nothing fancy—about 18 RV spaces on a gravel parking lot at a marina that had seen it’s better days a few decades ago.  The marina, in fact, looked barely functional—algae and a few old boat trailers blocked the boat ramp, and a few old dry-docked boats looked as if they had not moved since the Nixon administration.

But all that said, the owners were a friendly elderly couple, and fellow RV’ers were all low-key and quiet.  The park was also right in town and an easy bike ride to the grocery store, farmer’s market, and other shops downtown.  So, it served my purposes just fine as a temporary workplace.

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Millie had ample swimming spots to choose from—we first tried the beach along Lake Michigan, but for some reason, the beaches here and at Point Beach State Forest have a terrible problem with biting sand flies in August.  So, on our second night, we headed for the West Twin river instead.

As “no frills” as Stop-N-Dock was, it did have some pretty spectacular sunsets over the river!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kewaunee

Door County is a beautiful place to visit, but AT&T cell phone coverage is spotty and campgrounds with hookups are pricey, so, a nice place to vacation, but not to work.

I chose instead to move down the Lake Michigan coast about 40 miles to the town of Kewaunee. I stayed at a quiet, low-key, RV Park that accepted my Passport America discount card.

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Passport America is a great program if you ever camp during the week or during the off season. For an annual program fee of $44,  participating campgrounds will give you a 50% discount off your nightly camping fees.  So, for my week along Lake Michigan, I never paid more than $15/night!

The town of Kewaunee has a few old historic buildings, some pretty old houses, a nice marina, a neat old tug boat you can tour, and terrific lighthouse at the end of a long pier.

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I planned my visit to coincide with the full moon and knew it would rise to the east just as the sun was setting to the west.  Wow, what fun!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cave Point

The weather forecast was looking good for a sunrise photo shoot, so I set my alarm early and pulled my big camera out for the first time on the whole trip (thus far, I had just been using my terrific little Canon S90 point-and-shoot).

I knew exactly where I wanted to watch the sunrise down on the southeast side of the peninsula.  Since there were no campgrounds nearby, I got permission to park overnight at the Sturgeon Bay Wal-Mart.

It was a pretty quiet parking lot at 4:45am when we left!

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I was actually the second car into the Cave Point County Park at 5:30am.  Another family had arrived to watch the Sunday morning sunrise as well, but they sat up on top of the rock ledge.  I, on the other hand, carefully hiked my way down the rocks in the pre-dawn light, camera, lens, filters, and tripod in hand.

Finally the sun emerged on the horizon and wow, was it worth the effort!  I’m not a morning person at all, but days like these really motivate me to set that early alarm clock more often!

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I went back to the RV to make breakfast and process my morning shots and rest a little bit. By mid-morning, Millie was ready for a walk, so we hiked along the cliff overlooking the rocks.  We arrived just as kayakers were exploring some of the sea caves!

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The rocky shore I had photographed at sunrise also happens to be one of Millie’s favorite swimming spots because it instantly drops to deep water right off the ledge.  She had a great time!

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Driving South to Wisconsin

After a scenic but windy week in the U.P., I decided to head south for a weekend in Wisonsin’s Door County peninsula.

After a brief, but beautiful stop at Wagner Falls just south of Munising, Millie and I were on our way.

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We got to Door County by late afternoon, and headed to a spot I’d not been before—Cana Island lighthouse, just north of Baileys Harbor.

Thank goodness I didn’t have a bigger RV (or towing a car!), because at the end of the narrow lane you drive down to get to Cana Island, is a simple dead end—no wide turnaround, no parking lot, no nothing!  I really do love my 24’ View with backup camera at times like these!  After finally getting parked, Millie got her walk and swim, while I got a few photos of the lighthouse:

IMG_2242 IMG_2258  Next stop, was a bee line across the peninsula over to Ephraim to grab dinner at Wilson’s and watch the sunset.

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