Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sleeping Bear Dunes to Pentwater

Wednesday, Sept 14;
Continued heading south on US 31. This part of MI is the fruit belt. Apples, cherries, plums, pears, berries, grapes, peaches, on & on. We stopped at a roadside stand to get some peaches.

Apple trees

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, we both said “we’ve been here before”. Between failing memories and our years of travels all over America, we find ourselves more and more forgetting where we’ve been and when. We’ve traveled in every state in the Lower 48 at least twice, Alaska once and five of the Canadian Provinces; after a while it does tend to get blended together.
While we were at the stand, there was a group of people were touring in some vintage cars. They had stopped for a break and to add water to the Stanley Steamer that was part of the group.

We stayed the night at the Traverse City(TC) State Park. Not because it’s particularly nice, because it’s not, but because it was just time to stop for the day. When we have no destination in mind, after a couple of hours of poking around, we’re ready to get off the road. We were in TC for the annual Cherry Festival two years ago; or we think it was two years. At any rate, it’s held on the 4th of July weekend and is a very worthwhile event.
Another cold, gray and rainy day.

We took M-22 to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Some group recently voted Sleeping Bear Dunes as the most beautiful spot in America. Of course, anytime you use the word beautiful, you’re talking about a very subjective opinion. We’ve been here before and do agree, it’s a beautiful and interesting location. Most beautiful in America???

Tonight we’re at the Platt River National Park campground. Strangely, when we pulled in about noon time, we got the very last campsite!! We only got that because it was a last minute cancellation. There are over a hundred campsites in here. I never would have guessed.
Still cold with an occasional shower. We’re talked about touring MI in September/October but have changed our minds. We’re just not cold weather people.

We continued south on M-22 which follows the Lake Michigan coast. Stopped in Frankford just to look around. They have a real nice river walk area so Gopher and I got a walk in. Further south is Arcadia. Once again, we recognized the town immediately from a previous trip. They have a very nice lakeside park with plenty of room for a few RV’s.
On M-22 a mile north of our destination for the day, the Orchard Beach State Park, is a great Manistee Township park right on the lake. There is a handicap ramp leading right down to the waters edge. It was too cold for Carol to want to take a close look , but Gopher had a great swim.
We stayed the night at the Orchard Beach SP. Nothing real special but nice enough. $24/night.

Today and tomorrow, we’re staying at the Charles Mears SP in Pentwater. $27/night. We pulled in early afternoon and had a choice of several nice sites. The campground is located on Lake Michigan where the Pentwater Lake Channel terminates. The campground is basically beach sand. No privacy between sites at all. It does however, have paved streets and a paved path along the lake and running out onto the jetty. Plus a dog beach so Gopher is enjoying the area as well. There is a snack stand here that sells very good ice cream cones.
Today there was a Fall Festival here for the children. Pumpkin painting, arts and crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, etc. A very nice touch for the kids.

The three of us took a walk into downtown Pentwater today. A typical summer resort sort of town. Shops selling clothes, tourist junk, some nice restaurants, two ice cream parlors and such. It’s only mid-September and already some of the shops are closed. Come October the National Forest campgrounds begin to close until next May. A local commented that they have about another month of summer left.

The campground area from the jetty

Is the surface not uneven when it's dry??

Tomorrow we continue our slow trek south.