September 9, 2018 Got up in the wee hours to outside my tent and I was mesmerized by the sky. I’d never seen so many stars, so clearly. Then the cold hit me; it was also 41 f*ing degrees! Back in the tent I got, under the damp down blanket. My wool socks, sweater and leggings helped me snuggle-in enough for more sleep. Up for good before 7 am to a gorgeous morning.

Agreed with self (love when that happens) that more change for warmth was required. Wanted to try foam pad on top of cot mat, instead of under, switch nighttime clothing and pillowcase to non-cotton and purchase a good quality 3-season sleeping bag. Strung clothesline and rope to help dry tent and tarp; truck was perfect for the rainfly. Took a while for the sun to filter through the trees enough to do some good in the process.

TIPS LEARNED: Pack each container for specific purpose, like one for all cooking shit, one for clothing, etc. Short, wide containers stack better and seem easier to work with than tall, narrow ones. Yeti is awesome to keep beverage hot, but nothing beats a hot ceramic mug when temp drops. When packing up camp, pick up, gather or take down an item as soon as it’s spotted to avoid leaving it behind. Left my favorite rope at this place, after looking at it several times. Shit!

Picked up broken glass, cigarette butts and other trash not from me, then dropped it in the bin on my way out. The natural scape was beautiful; noise and trash SUCKED.

Gorgeous day and a beautiful drive. There were lots of signs at tree lined driveways with creative property names; some with just a last name and others were funny as hell. It was hard to tell private drives from rentals. In Gulliver, went south off US 2 about nine miles (County Rd 432 to 431) to Seul Choix Point Lighthouse.

Parked in the gravel lot and walked to the entrance of the lighthouse where a sign directed visitors to the gift shop for an entry pass. I had a great time looking at everything in there; souvenirs, books, homemade items, art and more. Bought a pass for just a few dollars.

Back to the lighthouse and up the steps to the amazing porch (love covered porches).

A woman and her husband were a great team. They provided a brief, yet thorough, historical summary, answered all my questions and encouraged me to explore. As the only visitor for a while, I took my time and looked at everything.

Views from the tower were incredible, as were the stairs and tower itself.

Enjoyed a long visit with the guides, originally from IN, living in MI for 20 years; they winter annually in home-state. We talked of places traveled in the US and abroad. I was so grateful for their kindness and conversation.

Bit blurry, but I loved this couple!

img_4222Stopped at Bob’s Grocery where I got a big bag of shell-peanuts and a mini coke. General and cool stuff for sale there, like food, old news clippings from Kennedy era and other, video cassettes, collectibles, house and auto supplies.

In Naubinway, stopped at the Rest Area, easy off and on from highway. A woman was sitting on the bench at the building entry, with small bags of grapes and nuts. We exchanged smiles and a ‘hello’ on my way inside; sat with her when I came out. She told me it’d taken several months and lots of patience for the chipmunks to trust her. I liked her immediately!

Walked across the road, down the boardwalk, where there were built-in benches, to the beach. Great stop!

I wanted to try a pastie (pronounced PASS-tee, not PAY-stee) and it was destined to be my next stop. This store, with cabins for rent, was directly off the highway. It was small, super cute and packed with assorted memorabilia (loved the Ghostbuster car) and goodies.

img_20180909_153128The pastie seemed to have a lot more dough than filling, so I went with the small size, beef, pork and taters. Had a choice of pre-cooked or frozen, so I got frozen (it would thaw slowly over couple days and help items in ice-chest stay cold). Owner suggested the oven or microwave to cook, but told him I’d be skillet cookin’. He laughed and said he hadn’t heard of that.

DCB7C63F-AB0E-4C66-B956-C38EDD6B8828Got gas ($2.49) at BP Truck Stop in St. Ignace, less than 1/4 mile from the Mackinac Bridge. I smiled about the $.20/gal gas discount I got by using same credit card for BP transactions; adore discounts. I was making a mess with peanut shells in the truck, but they were so good!

img_5644Arrived at the Mackinac Bridge (“Big Mac” and “Mighty Mac”) toll booth and paid the $4 vehicle fee. The attendant was a cheerful, middle-aged man with a strong northern accent. The speed limit was 45 and I drove about 40 to soak in the distant views, the bridge and the Strait of Mackinac. Gorgeous! I’ll definitely do the drive again, at least once as a passenger, and go to Mack Island.

Just across the bridge into Mackinaw City, I pulled in to the Michilimackinac State Park. It’s a day use beautiful park, with an incredible bridge view, beach area, picnic tables and lots of geese and gulls.

Checked out the Colonial Michilimackinac Visitor Center, which had nice souvenirs, clothing, art, household items, and other pricey stuff to buy; I bought a cup of coffee. The clerk resolved my curiosity about the difference in the bridge name (Mackinac) and city name (Mackinaw) by explaining the French named the bridge (with ‘c’) and English named the city, and that they’re stilling fighting about it. FYI both spellings are pronounced like “aw” at the end. Ha!

This memorial plaque was at the VC entry.img_4228

Absolutely gorgeous day and the wind was kicking strong. Walked the park area, along the beach, to the lighthouse, which was closed.

Arrived at Wilderness State Park, about 30 minutes south. It was the first time I registered by phone at a park building. Dropped $31 ($22 site fee + $9 passport fee) for primitive site T, with access to vault potty and parking. Made a few trips to the truck and set up camp.

I was overjoyed to see and meet so many tenters. To my right were Jason and his 13-year-old daughter, Ella. To my left was a young couple with their 3-year-old daughter. Close to the parking area were two women in their 70’s who live on Mack Island and travel somewhere different annually. One of them has Parkinson’s and they do 5-10k walks to ‘keep the bones movin’. They had so many cool camping gadgets and an awesome awning in front of their tent. Wish I’d taken a photo!

Cooked my tasty vegetable, salami, jalapeño and mozzarella mix; enjoyed every bite while soaking in the million dollar view of sunset over Sturgeon Bay. I felt so calm, it took a while before the cold broke through my zen and it was time to get bundled.img_20180909_194736

From the bottom up, I layered my cot; mat, foam, wool blanket, and down blanket. Pulled on gloves, wool beanie, dry-fit shirt, scarf and Britt’s flower sweater, with knit leggings and wool socks. Visited with Jason and Ella, camping for a week to celebrate Ella’s birthday. Shared a beer around their roaring fire. It was fun to hear Ella talk about school and her favorite things to do when camping; I missed my grandkids. Jason told me about a few places to check out in lower Michigan, including the Gold Mine (thrift store) in Petoskey, and suggested routes. Loved the time with them! Exhausted from a wonderful day, I said goodnight to all.




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