Catching Up

Staying  with my daughter in Cincinnati and while I was there, I participated in a medical clinical trial. Nothing too drastic; just put my arm on a machine measuring the fat cells in my skin. Something to do with aging skin. (Which is why I qualified for the trial LOL).

Medpace is the company that does the trials. Very interesting. I sat right next to the computer and could watch all the graphing being done. The tester was personable and we chatted throughout the 2 hour session. She couldn’t tell me much about the test, but she did explain a few things about the computer program.

And yeah, I get paid.

Also been working on the next trivia book. This one is on games. Spoiler: Q is for Quidditch.

Sauder Village

Another day…another museum.

Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio is a living museum. It’s a look at the American lifestyle in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Each building was brought to this spot and furnished with authentic pieces.

The village was the creation of Erie Sauder who started the  Sauder Furniture Company which is headquartered in Archbold. His own history is chronicled throughout the area. Other local families are represented with their homesteads and houses.

There are people at each building who are interpreters of the building’s purpose.

A barrel maker

A train depot

A one-room schoolhouse

There are many other crafts and businesses represented, several homes of local families, a farm, and a Native American area.

The cool thing is that in most of the buildings an artisan or volunteer actually works. So for example, in the blacksmith shop a man is making iron tools, in the basket shop women are weaving baskets, in a farmhouse a woman is cooking dinner, and so on. You can buy many items in each place.

The site also has a restaurant, a bakery, a candy shop, an ice cream parlor, a campground, and special events areas. Oh, and a children’s area where they can “be a farmer.”

I plan to take my grandkids there this summer. I highly recommend it if you enjoy history. It’s fun, educational, and I was impressed with the quality of information each interpreter gave. They are well trained and I liked the fact that they do not “become” someone in the past. Instead they explain and answer questions about their topic.

And I inquired about working there as a volunteer interpreter, maybe next summer.

More Michigan Goodness

The morning in Alpena was amazing. I went to a museum called the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. It is associated with the NOAA Marine Sanctuary. This sanctuary isn’t for animals…it’s for shipwrecks.

The museum details the long history of ships sinking in Lake Huron. Remember the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?” Well, apparently the storm on the Great Lakes are legendary.

Alpena is located on Thunder Bay, so named because of the storms. There are at least 200 shipwrecks in the bay alone. Some have been salvaged and some are designated landmarks and cannot legally be plundered.

The museum is full of education stations


a giant sphere that serves as a screen for a film on the environment

and a full size replica of the stern of a ship with a sound and light show that lets you feel what a storm is like on deck. It even has wind machines.


Then after I devoured all the knowledge of the museum, I went to the wildlife sanctuary I mentioned yesterday. It is a wetlands area formed by the Thunder Bay River which includes an island that you get to through a covered bridge.

The sanctuary is right in the middle of the city. This house is right across the river from the island.

Talk about scenic views!

All in all Alpena turned out to be a great place to stop.

Down the Eastern Coast of Michigan

Travel today was all along Lake Huron. It’s very wild in places. I kept stopping at little rest stops and scenic overlooks. All of them wonderful.



Camping in Alpena, MI. The campground is at the county fairgrounds. You would think it would be isolated, but no…


The fairgrounds are part of the city park system. There’s a river beside the campground and a bike trail runs along it. There were people to talk to all afternoon.

Also, on the other side of the river is a wildlife sanctuary. Lots of birds to watch.

The campground was not very full so it is a peaceful night.

Mackinac Island

 Warning: A boatload of graphics in this post…pun intended.

Mackinac Island is a resort in the Straits of Mackinac, which is between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It’s right beside (so to speak) the Mackinac Bridge.

The ferry I took went under the bridge before heading out to the island. This guy was going under it at the same time.

The village looks like a nice, quiet place,


but during the summer tourists invade by the thousands. I think I saw at least 3 different school groups.

The island has a ton of history. Father Marquette started a Mission for Native Americans. Then the fort was built during the revolutionary war, so there were soldiers living there along with many fur traders. The fur trade became so lucrative that John Jacob Astor built a business on the island. There was a battle during the French and Indiana War, and during the Civil War the fort served as a prison.  Then after the soldiers left for good in the 1890’s, it became a favorite resort. Many summer homes were built, some of which are bed and breakfasts now.

Today it has at least 20 hotels, 30 restaurants and bars, many, many t-shirt and souvenir shops, and several other attractions.

The fort itself is up on the ridge above the town. It is one giant museum. Here are impressions.


Every place on the island is beautiful. Even the miniature golf course!

There is a road around the island but no cars are allowed on the island. It’s a nine mile walk to go around it and the most popular mode of transportation is bicycles or horse drawn carriages.


I mentioned that the fort is above the town. The island is a huge hill rising out of the water with cliffs all around it. After eating lunch at the Tea Room over looking the harbor,

I walked across the island through the woods from the fort

to get to this, Arch Rock.

Then to get to the road you need to go down….

I didn’t walk all the way around, just enough to get a taste of the scenery.


One thing the island is famous for is fudge. However, since I’m on a budget I didn’t think spending $12.00 per pound for candy was a good idea. So I had a cone with ice cream with fudge in it on my way back to the ferry.

If you want a unique place to go on vacation, I suggest Mackinac Island. It is spectacular.



By the Bay

” A foggy day….in London Petosky town…”

Driving across northern Michigan, I came across some old familiar names. Stoney Lake, rings a bell but I don’t know why. (There’s a Lutheran Camp there, did I go to it?) Interlochen, home of a famous music and arts camp. Boyne Mountain. I think I went skiing there once.  The city of Petosky. Home of the famous Petosky stone.

It was a dreary, foggy morning, but I wanted to get some more pictures of the Lake. Petosky is on Little Traverse Bay but still….

I ended up in Bayfront Park, a city park that includes a marina.

It also has a 23-mile bike trail running through it, going around the bay from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs. The Little Traverse Wheelway.


The park is amazingly beautiful. The waterfall above is just one of the elements. Here’s another.

There’s a bridge over a creek.

This stairway goes up to the highway above the park. Yes I climbed it!

The pond along the bikeway.


Some of the structures were lovingly built by the residents of Petosky (Petoskians? Petoskyites?)


And of course there’s the birds. We always referred to them as seagulls, but maybe they are lakegulls? Anyone out there know for sure?


I’ve been trying to conserve money, but Walmarts are few and far between in this neck of the woods. Ah! There’s one in Cheboygan.  (Cheboygan was always one my favorite words to say, hehe)


Great Lakes Memories

Today I made it over to Lake Michigan. I used to go there when I was young. We would swim at Warren Dunes and climb the sand hills. Occasionally ride a dune buggy.

Visited Little Sable Point at Silver Lake State Park. Went out to the light house.

It was great to feel the sand under my feet again.

Then I drove through the town of Silver Lake. There was an event going on called the “Jeep Invasion.” I bet I saw a thousand jeeps and four wheel drive vehicles. No kidding! I felt inadequate. LOL.

My roaming then  took me through the Manistee National Forest and on into Cadillac where I stayed at a Walmart. I bless Sam Walton for being an RV’er and giving his blessing to anyone who wants to park overnight in a Walmart parking lot. Most of the stores let you , but some don’t, so asking first is a good idea.

Heading North

I have come to Michigan for several reasons. To regain a bit of my youth – I lived in Three Rivers through High School and went to College in Kalamazoo. To experience the joy of the woods. To see something new.

My first destination was Huron National Forest. I love the National Forests because they are such a mixture of woods and small towns. And there are many little areas designated to scenic views and/or education.

One I found is the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary. It has a guided trail with many stops that describe the vegetation. You get a self-guided tour map at the head of the trail.


There is also a cultural trail that lets you wander through a homestead from the early 1900’s. The buildings are gone except for a few foundations. It was inhabited by a famer whose daughter fell in love with and married an artist, Albert Schmidt, in Europe. The wedding caused the family to miss their voyage back home – on the Titanic! – and the father was so grateful that he built a studio on his property for his son-on-law.

I’m at Brower Park Campground on the Muskegon River. It smells so good! There are pine trees all around my campsite. Some birch and oak, too. I do love a good forest.

Growing up in Michigan meant that if you didn’t live on a lake or river, you knew someone who did. Swimming was second nature to us. And fishing. ( I was not fond of fishing, but you just don’t broadcast that sentiment.) The wildlife is abundant. I saw these one morning.

I am camping here for a couple of days and then I’ll head further north. Maybe hit the dunes one afternoon.