Day 2 . Michigan’s Mackinaw City & U.P.

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Road trip across America… daily reflections by Ema and Elle.

By Ema ~ We awoke to a foggy morning our second day and began with crossing the Mighty Mac, the Mackinaw Bridge, which spans 26,372 feet and soars over 500 feet above the waters from the top of the towers, as you drive 199 feet above the lake. This day you could not see the other side of it. We made a smoothie with the hand crank blender, one of my travel treasures, and went to play on the beach awhile with our Shore Buddies Seagull, now named Victor. Elle names everything. Even her hair has a name, affectionately known as Brenda. We were waiting for the fog to pass, yet the bridge only faded away more, so we decided it was the moment to go.

Onward north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we followed the shoreline along the lake towards the border of Wisconsin. We had been keeping an eye out for Sasquatch for a dear friend and found one, so we stopped to capture proof and send the photos along. Elle also found a few others friends while there.

While in the Upper Peninsula we decided to try and find a spot to stop and prepare food. We found a charming spot called Fox Park in the Escanaba River State Forest that was even more than I had envisioned. A private site, shaded in trees, upon Lake Michigan with a grill to prepare our lunch. It even had a pathway that led to your own little portion of the beach. It is completely free for day use, unless you decide to camp. We made a simple yet satisfying feast of mahi-mahi on the grill and roasted yellow bell pepper. It was my first time cooking on a grill like this, but I was excited to try. All turned out perfectly. It was Elle’s, first time eating fish more than trying a bite and she was impressed and gobbled it up. Elle worked on her journal while I cleaned.

After lunch, she swam and I sat enjoying the sun, listening to the waves and her laughter. I did join her for a moment in the water before we packed up and continued onward.

As we were packing up to continue our sojourn, a butterfly came to visit and landed upon Elle’s butterfly towel.

I think we spoiled ourselves beginning our travels with the UP of Michigan, because upon arriving to the border of Wisconsin we quickly found it lacked the charm we had just experienced. Elle fell asleep and I left her to her dreams as I drove. She was not missing much. Lots of cookie cutter towns and no where to really stop and explore. We had once again planned to set up camp before dark, but somehow our trip gained a couple hours to our destination and once we got to that area, we could not locate the actual place. After finding another camp site, and getting lots of advice from the ranger, she sent us back to where we had come from, with directions this time. Unfortunately when we arrived the office was closed early. The ranger from the last place explained when we arrived we should find our site and self register if no one was there. We went and found a site and began to set up when the DNR ranger arrived and said we were making too much noise. I apologized and explained I was having difficulty getting the tent on the back of the van. Each time I got one side up the other fell and was making a clicking sound. I asked if he might be able to hold a side for me while I got the other up? He just looked at the tent laying now on the ground, glanced at me, and said a plain, “No.” I then asked him where I could put the self registration as most places have little boxes to deposit your payment, yet he very sternly told us that we needed to pack back up and go to the closed office and call the 888 number to reserve our spot. We packed up again, now half past 10, and made our way back to the main office. All the signs pointed to self registration through the digital machine at the front door, but it would not work, nor the number which I was told to call. So after a little cry, and deep breath, we went back to our spot, skipped dinner due to exhaustion and decided to hope it would be well until morning when we could find someone to assist us, as the only other being I saw was the raccoon who came to visit. Elle was deep asleep as soon as the bed was clear, and I joined her soon after.

By Elle ~ Today we woke up to the gleaming lighthouse and realized the mackinaw bridge was covered in fog and looked as if the bridge was half gone, which was good for photos but not so good for driving across it. So we went down to the beach in hope that the fog would go away. I did a tictoc of Victor and played around a little bit, as we would soon be in the car for hours. After some time we decided it would be best to go journey through the fog crossing into the up I was excited because I had never been there it looked a lot like northern Michigan because it was so green with lots of shops and camping everywhere we soon realized we were hungry and stopped in the parking lot of a cute shop grabbed some food and went in we got lake rice and 2 stickers and hit the road once more as we passed more shops and lots of green for hours. We needed a break and started searching for a place to stop of course now that we wanted something we couldn’t find anything just lovely after about 30 minutes of looking we found a place that had an area with a grill and a path that let to an area of the beach this was free unless you wanted to camp after parking sissy got out the coal and lit it up for the first time so she didn’t know what to do but she figured it out and started to grill mahi-mahi I wanted to swim but made sure to be patient and wait for food the mahi-mahi tasted like chicken and I ate it all after waiting for sissy to finish we went to the beach it was so cold brrrrr, but I went in and mainly stayed at the edge of the water were it was only knee deep with sissy. I played and swam for what seemed to be an eternity even if it was only a few minutes after the refreshing swim we packed up the stuff and moved on driving we were driving and I enjoyed all the sights to see but soon it was dark and we needed camping so we put the address in the gps the gps was saying it was there but there was just road. After hours of wandering I was getting tired that was when we got a call it was Thomas but he wasn’t much help so we went to another camp but they didn’t have any electric sites so with lots of info we were sent back with directions. When we finally found the place we found a site I went to work and sissy was putting the car tent on when putting up one side the other would fall so it was making a lot of noise and it was really late so it was well after quiet hour so a ranger came to yell at her when she asked for help he said no and when she asked about reservation he said we had to drive all the way back and so we had to undo all the work we did but once up front all the signs said to do self reservation, but it was closed and the number wasn’t working so after sissy having to take a minute to cry we went back set up and I fell asleep as I was exhausted.

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