Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Up North

 OK, it’s time for your Michigan Geography lesson.  Hold up your left hand so that you are looking at the back of it.   We live at the extreme bottom right  - under the base of your thumb where it connects to your wrist.  Your wrist is the Ohio/Michigan line!   The Mackinac Bridge is at the extreme tip of your second finger.   Cheboygan is at the right side of that fingernail.  Cross Village is on the left side of that same fingernail and Charlevoix is on the left side of your ring fingernail.  Houghton Lake is at the first knuckle just up from your hand on your 2nd finger.  Got it?    Now, on with our trip.

We NEVER spend my Birthday at home and the last few years we have spent my day and Bud’s day, together – UP NORTH.  We’ve stopped at several different places on the first day out and this time, Houghton Lake was the choice.  The West Houghton Lake Campground is a PA park and was nestled in the woods right across from the public access to Houghton Lake. It was a nicely kept little park, but with old facilities and way too much sulfur in the water!  The 2 rigs were parked facing each other and all else was good with the world!

In the morning we headed for our favorite, Waterways Campground on the Cheboygan River, just outside of Cheboygan at the corner of RT 27 and RT 33.  B&C got their choice spot at the top of the hill at the end of the row with plenty of room and a sprawling apple tree for shade!  We also got our favorite spot at the top of the hill – across from our dear friends! 

The weather for the week was as moody as a house full of teenagers.  One hour it looked like rain and the next was sunny.  Some days were cold and windy and some just had cool gentle breezes.   We made the best of ii!  One day we visited with Mel and Donna at their home on Paradise Lake.  The “boys” visited and D cooked Lake Erie Walleye for us!   One day they visited us and we had brats on the grill for them.  Another day we found a restored 1800’s lighthouse to climb, a stone beach to drive the big blue truck out on and Wilderness State Park to explore.  Back in Mackinaw City we had yummy fish sandwiches for lunch at Scalawags and then C and I went shopping!  We just could not turn down the good deal on the “Lakes of Michigan” sweatshirts we found!

One day we did manage to put the boat in the water and ran her all the way thru Mullett and Burt Lakes to Pickerel Lake on the far end of the Inland Water Route.  Indian River with her shops and under the bridge boat parking is always a treat. The variety of boats, moored in that swift moving, clear water and the assortment of colorful cottages intermingled with magnificent homes are a pleasure to revisit every summer.  The run back to camp was a tad bumpy and we girls were glad we had our rain jackets to put on to keep the cold spray from the waves at bay!  We were thankful it wasn’t rain!

Then there was Cross Village and Leggs Inn!  Talk about eclectic!  The trim across the top front of the building was white legs from old cook stoves – turned upside down.  Built and now run by 3 generations of an obviously hard working Polish family, this log and rock building sits atop a tree covered cliff, overlooking Lake Michigan!  Tree trunks were carved into furniture and knarly limbs and branches form railings. On the walls were artifacts and an assortment of stuffed animals. While folks wait for their names to be called, they are encouraged to stroll thru the wondrous gardens filled with flowers, fountains, seating areas and graceful tall trees.   There was a vegetable garden and carved bears perched on branches in the trees and the most intriguing whirligigs you could imagine!  We were seated in the semi-enclosed patio with only a large clear plastic panel between us and the gorgeous panorama that lay before us!    And the food !!!  Well seasoned and delicious!  Happy Birthday, Bud!