Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mackinaw City, MI - 45

I stopped in Mackinaw City for a week in the middle of June.  I have always liked going over to Mackinac Island and planned on going over at least once (I ended up going twice).  Also there were other places I hoped to visit while there.

My favorite thing I did while there was to visit the island.  The only way to get to the island is to take a ferry and since cars are not allowed I took my bike.  Both times I rode my bike around the island 4 times for a 32 mile bike ride (plus the 1.5 miles to and from the campground to the ferry for a total of  35 miles!).  I thought about going inland, but decided to stick to the perimeter road.  I have been to the interior before and should have gone again, but I didn’t want to have to bike the hills!!! 

A busy day on M-185 – Michigans only public road where cars are not allowed --

Another shot from M-185--

The downtown part of Mackinac Island can get a bit busy with pedestrians, buggies and cyclist.  Below is a shot taken before 10:00 before it got too crowded.

On my first trip over to the island, I waited an hour to go on a Mighty Mac trip.  This is where the ferry goes under Mackinac Bridge.  To get to the island, they don’t need to go under the bridge but once or twice a day they take this special trip.  In the picture below you can see 2 cars crossing the bridge.

The only time they allow pedestrians on the bridge is during the labor day bridge walk.  I have done that 3 times in the past 25 years and it was always interesting looking through the grates at the lake below.  Well this was different.   Looking up at the bridge, through the grates at the cars and sky. 

In the picture above, you can just make out two people just to the left of the platform that is attached to the wires in the upper right.  They are painters.  On the ferry ride, we learned that it takes their crew 7 years to paint the whole bridge.  By the time they finish, they start all over again! 

I missed the lilac festival by a week, but they were blooming.

A close up of another lilac--


There was some type of bug near the water in Mackinaw City that was driving me and others crazy.  They didn’t bite, but they were annoying.  When I got on the ferry, of course I headed up top and they were all over the seats and sides of the boat.

Mackinac point light house with the bridge in the background—

Mackinac Bridge -

I had planned on going to Petoskey and biking on the Little Traverse Wheelway, but I had biked so much on the island that I just walked a few miles while there. 

After leaving Mackinaw City, I headed to Grand Maris, MI.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Manistee, MI - 41

I stayed at Little River Casino RV Park in Manistee, MI June 8 - 14.  I originally picked this spot because it was centrally located to several places that I wanted to visit on the west side of Michigan.  I ended up not doing everything I thought I would because I found 2 trails that I enjoyed and did them both a couple of times.  While it is a nice park, I doubt that I would stay there again as it is normally too expensive.  But they made a mistake when I made my reservation and quoted me a very low price.  I didn’t think too much about it because I was staying a week and some casinos are lower in price.  The park did stand by the rate that I was originally quoted.  I paid $15.00 per night for a spot that typically cost $36.00 a night during the week and $40.00 + on the weekend.  

As you may have noticed I have been biking more than I used to.  I have really enjoyed visiting the different trails and the rails to trails paths are typically not too hilly so I really like that! While in Manistee, I biked the Betsie Valley trail from Frankfort, MI.  The first 6 miles of that trail is paved and then it is dirt.   People are not the only ones who like this trail!!

a close up --

The trail crossed a small marshy lake--

Just past the paved section is Crystal Lake.  On one of the trips I went about 50 feet on the unpaved section and stopped and enjoyed the view below before turning around and heading back.  On my second trip, I rode an additional 2 miles (4 miles round trip) on the dirt path which was very close to the shore of beautiful Crystal Lake.

After putting my bike back in the car (I now carry my bike inside my CRV), I took the scenic route back to the RV park.  In doing so I saw several swans and then noticed the one below sitting on it’s nest.  Of course on the day I decided to stop and take a picture the swan was facing away from the camera!

The view from my lunch spot one day after riding for a while --

I also visited Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore a couple of times.  They now have a bike trail and had just opened an additional part of the trail. 

They were doing some work on the trail, so yes those are carts on the trail.  But they typically don’t allow motorized vehicles. 

I did take the scenic drive while there and stopped  for a few short walks.   I did not walk down this dune!!

A few times when I got back home early enough, I went into town and walked the Manistee Riverwalk.   Below is the Manistee lighthouse on a foggy day, which is close the the end of the riverwalk.

The river walk was a nice 3.0 mile round trip walk. 

From Manistee, I headed up to Mackinaw City.  Can you believe this, I am actually caught up with my blog!!!!!!!  I leave Mackinaw City tomorrow for the Upper Peninsula. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Shipshewana, In

Once again, I stopped at Shipshewana, Indiana.  I was there June 1 – 7.  

While there, I walked a bit but mostly biked.  About a mile from my Campground is the Pumpkinvine Trail, another rails to trails path.  The first few days, I drove a mile to bike about 20 miles.  Then I got smart and rode the mile to the trail.  The road is a busy one, but there is a wide shoulder where the Amish and Mennonite walk and bike along with the horse and buggies. 

The trail went past many farms and a couple of RV manufacturers. 

A bad thing about this trail --

There is a Dairy Queen in Middlebury just beside the trail.  I thought that would be great on a warm day, a place to get some ice cream.  But I did not stop, of course I typically ride early in the morning so I did not have any ice cream cravings!

On Tuesday, I went to the flea market in Shipshewana.  It is huge!  Since I am not a shopper, my pedometer showed that I walked 30 minutes without stopping. 


From here, I headed into Michigan with my first stop being in Manistee, MI to be a base for touring the west side of Michigan.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Maumee Bay State Park

A few years ago, I visited Maumee Bay State park and enjoyed it so I decided to go back.   I was there May 28 – 31.   While there I walked and biked in the park and I went to the Ottawa National Wildlife refuge and the Maggie Marsh Wildlife area.  One of the reasons I like the park is the huge campsites that are paved.  The picture below is the “yard” of the site beside mine and my RV. 

I didn’t spend much time in Ottawa National Wildlife refuge, but enjoyed a morning in Maggie Marsh Wildlife area.  When I first got to the wildlife area I noticed a Bald Eagle nest and an eagle was feeding her little one --

I spent a good bit of time on the boardwalk --

I spotted this bird that may be a Yellow Warbler (I’m not very good at smaller birds)--

I don’t know what type of bird is in the picture below, but he seemed as curious about me as I was about him.

A disadvantage of the area is that it is very close to the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station.

From here, I headed to Shipshewana, In. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Shreve, OH

I stayed at Whispering Hills RV park in Shreve, OH May 14 – 27.  When I first got there, there were only a few seasonal people there.  Within a few hours of getting there, we had a tornado warning and I ended up spending 15 minutes or so in a room with several workers.  It hailed quite a bit and we had a lot of wind, but no tornado!

I was surprised when I looked out my window and saw a strange animal in the field next door.  It was a llama--

It’s a bit hard to see in the picture, but the llama has 2 colored eyes.  One is brown and the other blue with a lot of white.  I talked to the owner for a while and he told me that they started getting llamas to protect their goats, kind of like a watch dog.  They no longer have goats, but still have 2 llamas.

The largest population of Amish in this country are in this area and I visited a few of their businesses.  At a nearby town, I took a picture of part of the Walmart parking lot--

This Walmart was right next to the Holmes County Trail, which is a rails to trails path.  This was the first rails to trail that has a dual purpose, they allow the Amish buggies on the path.  One side is for the buggies and one side for bikes and walkers/runners.  If you bike this be warned the sides switch occasionally, so watch the signs!!

I walked 4 miles one day and rode my bike many times on this trail.  I rode 10 – 24 miles depending on how much time I had and the weather. 

There were doing a lot of work at the campground and one day I looked up and saw a cabin being moved by 2 forklifts--

At the campground in a shrub outside the restrooms, I saw a nest with eggs in it.  After finally spotting the bird, I believe it was a sparrow.

A few days later, we had babies. Below they are less than 24 hours old--


Less than 2 days --

About 5 days (they change quickly)--

Unfortunately the day before I left I found the nest at an angle and it was empty.   Something had gotten to it and I am guessing eaten the babies.  I wish it would have happened a day later because I would have never known they did not make it!

I visited the Columbus zoo, which I had heard is one of the top zoos in the country.  It is nice, but I like the National zoo and San Diego zoo better.  I did find the Lorikeet aviary interesting.

They let people feed the parrots and while I was there this man was enjoying feeding them--

Another aviary had birds from I think Africa--

The white faced one is a Blue-Bellied Roller, the other one is a Racquet-tailed Roller.  There were animals other than birds, but I didn’t take many pictures.

From here, I headed to Maumee Bay State Park on Lake Erie. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio–part 2 Old Man’s Cave - 34

As I mentioned yesterday I visited Old Man’s Cave several times.  One of the trips, I hiked from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls.  I really enjoyed this hike.  It had a few moderate sections, but for the most part was easy. 

From my first view of Old Man’s Cave trail, I knew this was an area that I would like.  Below is a picture taken as I headed down into the gorge.

Below was taken looking back up the same area--

Old Man’s Cave is actually a rock overhang that a man lived in many years ago.  The picture below was taken from one side of the creek looking at the overhang.  

The bridges in the area were interesting.  Some were just concrete with metal rails, while others were …

Nice rock bridges--

And then there was this one --

On top is a wooden bridge that is part of the rim trail.  Below is a concrete bridge that was almost a work of art.  Each concrete platform was on a stand alone “leg”.  Each of these was independent and did not attach to the other, there was maybe a half inch between each section.  I found it unique, maybe there was a reason for this design I don’t know. 

Just scenery --

There are several waterfalls in this area, below is Lower Falls.

Upper Falls --

There are a couple of tunnels in this area.  Below is leading down to one of the tunnels --

And a shot from inside the tunnel-

As I mentioned I hiked from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls.  The trail is one that I strongly recommend.  A good bit of the trail was fairly level and beside the creek.  After 3 miles I got to Cedar Falls, took a break and enjoyed the waterfall, then headed back. 

But there were some places where you hiked away from the water and down thru the rocks and under overhangs.

The large boulder above had at least 6 trees growing on it.  The tangled roots made it a bit different. 

I had seen several really cool pictures of the area with fog and one morning I thought I would see if I could take some neat fog photos.  Mine don’t look near as good as those I have seen.


From Hocking Hills, I headed to Shreve, Ohio.  I’ll post that blog in a couple of days.