Thursday, August 30, 2012

From the U.P. to the L.P.

Crossing the Straits of Mackinac

It’s amazing to think that the Mackinac Bridge, the 3rd largest suspension bridge in the world, has only been around for 55 years.  Prior to that, travelers going between the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan had to portage across the 5-mile straits of Mackinac via ferry.

On a warm, sunny summer day, crossing this bridge is a carefree diversion.  Certainly being 200 feet above the cold waters of Lakes Michigan and Huron gets one’s attention, but usually in a pleasant way.

Try this crossing again on a windy, stormy day (or worse, in the dead of winter with snow and ice), and you begin to truly appreciate the engineering and human fortitude that was finally able to get this bridge built! 

I knew this was going to be a rain day when I prepared to leave Munising.  The morning had a few breaks (when I was able to get Millie out for a walk and do most of my outside departure tasks getting the View and Tracker ready to roll). By the time I pulled into the dump station, though, it started to rain again.  “No worries, that will just eliminate the need to hose everything down afterwards!”

By the time I progressed out of the campground and into town to fill up with diesel, it was now pouring buckets of rain.  Sure is nice to travel in a motorhome in these situations!  After filling up, I easily changed out of my wet pants and shoes, hung them in the shower, and put on some dry clothes!

I stopped into Muldoon’s for one last Veggie Pasty for lunch (gosh, those things were good!), and finally hit the road to make my way south and east across the U.P. to the Mackinac bridge.  About mid-way was the pretty and peaceful Seney National Wildlife Refuge.  I had spotted a couple sandhill cranes earlier in the drive (and the day before up near Grand Marais)  and thought I might see more along the refuge’s nature drive.

After getting the Tracker un-hitched, I was on the nature drive less than 10 minutes before the rains started again.  So, other than a few swans, one heron, and a bunch of Canada geese, that’s about all I got to see on this visit.  It still is a delightful place (and free admission too!).


As we made our way down to the U.P.’s southern coast along Lake Michigan, the torrential rains continued!  I pulled into a rest area to check availability of campgrounds in St. Ignace (the small town on the U.P. side of the bridge), thinking that I should hold off on crossing until the next morning when it’d be clear.

But just as we rolled into St. Ignace, the rains subsided briefly.  Since I really just wanted to park overnight (and not have to unhook the toad again), I decided to make a run for it and cross the bridge now to continue on down to Petoskey.

It was raining as we pulled into the free overnight RV lot at the Odawa Casino, and I again was so thankful to have my View where I could just turn the engine off, put my little slide out, and be ready for the night without having to get out into the elements!

The next morning was dry and a bit colder, but also with very gusty winds.  I now was REALLY glad I had decided to cross the bridge the night before!  Millie and I found a nice rest stop on the shores of Lake Michigan just south of Petoskey where we stopped for lunch and a little walk along the shoreline.


The short drive from Petoskey to Traverse City was delightful, as always.  A mix of great water views of Lake Michigan and other inland lakes, as well as rolling farmland and orchards, with numerous roadside fruit stands along the way.  No better place for a vegan to be!


  1. Beautiful country....isn't that bridge something else! Enjoy MI!

  2. Great shot of the bridge! Such a pretty area


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