Secondary Roads

My life on the road, exploring, adventuring and experiencing. Part journal, part travel guide, part history lesson, part stream of consciousness. The world is my bucket and the list is endless!


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Amused In Music City (and RV Trek)

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September 2019 RV Trek

I’m in the process of jaunting across the country, north to south, not literally across.  Enroute I pulled off the road for a few days with good friends Danny and Karen in Nashville.  Now, as a country music tolerator (vice “fan) Music City is not quite the pilgrimage destination for me as it is for many others.  But it certainly does hold interest as one of America’s great cities.  And as a foodie………well, enough said.

Ridiculous heat notwithstanding I can’t possibly thank my friends for the amazing visit they treated me to.  A Nashville Predators preseason game along with some good ole Nashville BBQ, watching from their incredible season seats.  Only a few rows up and right at center ice.  Then three challenging but fantastically fun rounds at their beautiful golf club.

Thank you so much Dugans!

 

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I had to wear my Rangers jersey, even though the game was Preds vs Hurricanes

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First tee of the South Course as Vanderbilt Legends Club

Onwards to Florida!


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Fabulous Pinkie Finger

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The Michigan “mitten”

Look at map of Michigan.  The lower portion of Michigan. Oh, OK, here’s a map for you.  Looks like a hand, doesn’t it?  Well, really more like a mitten, but imagine the hand inside the mitten.  The “pinkie” and ring finger part of the state is just fabulously beautiful.  In particular, Leelanau county on the Leelanau peninsula, that part west of Grand Traverse Bay which would be the “pinkie” fingertip, but really that entire northwest and west coast of the state.  I’m going to need to return and spend an entire season just playing and exploring here.

It is all rolling farmland and lakeshore, with countless acres of apple and cherry orchards, super charming little towns and villages, a bunch more exceptional golf than I imagined, incredibly friendly (almost Canadian friendly) folks, a surprisingly vibrant and quality wine, cider and craft beer culture and some of the best biking of anywhere I’ve been.  I mean GREAT biking.

Having said all that….yesterday I visited Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, though not on my bike.

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Glen Lake, near Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore

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Yeah, so that’s a pretty horrible story, but at least I now know why it’s named as it is.  And there actually is a sleeping bear… fullsizeoutput_1ccf

The dunes all along the west coast of Michigan are nothing to scoff at, but especially here.  Immediately along the lakeshore at this point the dune tops out more than 600 ft above the lake.  It was a beautiful sunny day, but winds 15-30 mph which kept me off my bike.  That’s just no fun to ride in.

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Atop the dunes towering over Lake Michigan

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Today was a much calmer day so, of course, I took off on my bike around the northern part of Leelanau county.  You can see, it’s NOT flat. Screenshot 2019-09-15 17.10.13

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This was the second bison ranch I’ve seen here in Michigan.  Who’d a thunk?

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🎼Searches All Say They’d Have Made Whitefish Bay…..🎼

The Chippewa were apparently smart enough not to venture out upon Gitche Gumee in November.

I made a quick stop at Iroquois Pt Light.  Notice the large freighter passing by in the background.  They’ve already made it to Whitefish Bay.

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Iroquois Point Lighthouse

20 miles by road west, then 20 miles by road north lies my real destination, Whitefish Point and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.  If you were to peruse a map, Whitefish point marks the entrance to Whitefish Bay at the southeastern end of Lake Superior.  Of course, one thing you learn from this museum is that making it to Whitefish Bay in no way means you’ve reached safety….qU2aGHREQdOyhjn0ckaeWw

Unless you are actually from the relative vicinity, I’m betting you’re only aware of one Lake Superior shipwreck.  That, of course, being, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  It Td+VgYlqSmax21+%VJ7tLgis a tragedy still evoking great fascination, I believe for two reasons.  1) It was so recent.  Shipwrecks are something we naturally associate with the golden age of sail, or early age of powered sea travel.  I mean other than the SS Minnow, what other post WWII shipwreck do you know of?  This happened on 10 November, 1975.  2) While there are several plausible theories, and despite one of the most comprehensive investigations in history, there is still no definitive answer to what caused the ship to go down.

 

 

 

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Whitefish Point Light Station.  Part of the museum.

The museum includes several buildings, including the light, which you can climb.  The main museum building is very well done and highlights several of the more notable wrecks on the Lakes, including the Edmund Fitzgerald which is obviously its centerpiece. In 1995 the ships bell was recovered from the wreck, a process detailed in a 15 minute

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The Coast Guard Dormitory building has renovated luxury rooms which can be reserved for overnight stays.

video.  After recovery it was used in a memorial service and rang 29 times, once for each of the lost crewmen, by members of the crews families and once more, a 30th time, for all those lost on the Lakes.  Then it was restored and sent here to the museum.  A replica replacement bell, engraved with each crewman’s name, was then replaced upon the pilot house of the wreck, serving as a permanent memorial.

 

 

 

 

 

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17 miles behind me lies the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

 


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Michi-Gem

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Frankfort Harbor

I found a gem in Michigan.  Several actually.  For reasons I will make clear shortly, I came for a few days, to Frankfort, Michigan along the northwest coast.  I did not expect it to be the absolutely lovely,  charming little town that it is.  Something you might expect to find in New England really, with beautiful homes, and a “small town” thriving Main Street chock full of shops and restaurants.

Screenshot 2019-08-30 13.24.55Now as you can see, the weather was not particularly conducive to the real reason I came here.  I’ve re-ignited my passion for golf and only a few miles down the shore sits Arcadia Bluffs, another of my long bucket list of courses.  This is the one day when showers weren’t intermittent but the wind was up a bit.  Now I’ve spent A LOT of $$$$ on golf this month and like most “famous” resorts, Arcadia Bluffs is not inexpensive.  Given the weather, and the price, and the fact I will come back to this area of Michigan to explore more at some point, I called upon considerable willpower to forego playing……..this time.  I did, of course, ride my bike.

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Lake front park in Frankfort

Despite being along the lakeshore, this area is NOT flat, as you can see by the vertical profile above.  The dunes grow mighty here and some of them are quite steep with grades around 10% or 11%.  But they do offer some fabulous views.

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bc8AAgpWS7apXKSIwF4+qAThe bluffs in the distance are the same upon which the golf course sits.  Between lies the town of Arcadia, which is nearly as quaint as Frankfort.  I’d never heard of Harriet Quimby, America’s first licensed female aviator.  Sadly she died in a horrible accident at the age of 37 in 1912. aO06+QjeRsu0crO7r8EkCw

 

 

The day cleared up nicely as the afternoon progressed, which almost made me regret not having hit the links.  Particularly when I rode through the resort near the southern end of my route.  Believe me, I debated whether I should do that or not.  It looked fantastic.  That just hardened my…. resolve to return.

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And what’s a ride without another turtle rescue????

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If it looks like and ocean……and it sounds like and ocean…..but it doesn’t smell like and ocean………then it must be a Great Lake.

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Interior to the lake it is beautiful, rolling farmland.  Acres and acres of cornfields and apple orchards.

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This coming weekend I spend on the opposite side, along Lake Huron…..  See ya then.

 


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Newest National Park

The entire reason I made this stop in Indiana was to visit Indiana Dunes, our newest National Park.  Only designated a National Park on February 15, 2019, it has been a National Lakeshore since 1966, and quite frankly I’m not sure why the “upgrade.”

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Full disclosure, I’m actually staying, and hiked today, in Indiana Dunes State Park which is essentially surrounded by the National Park property.  It’s got a very nice campground, though the sites only have electricity hook-ups.  No water or sewer.  Not a problem for short stays and I haven’t been in them, but the bathhouses look quite nice as well.  Plus, the majority of hiking trails seem to be in the State Park area…..so this is where I am.

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Overlooking Lake Michigan from the dunes

It’s a much steeper climb up those first three dunes than it appears.  And the sand is super fine, so hard to walk/climb in.  The only other place I’ve seen sand this fine is Pensacola.

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Industrial towns of Portage and Gary, Indiana in the distance

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There’s also lovely hardwood forest sections….

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On a nicer day you can see the skyline of Chicago across the lake.

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