Thursday, August 1, 2013

Smitten with the mitten

Ohio State fans all  knows the ditty, “I don’t give a damn ‘bout the whole state of Michigan.” You sing it before OSU-Michigan football games and usually after a couple of beers.  But I may not be able to sing it again, because I really like Michigan.

First, it’s beautiful.  We’re at Tawas Point State Park in the northern part of Michigan’s mitten and on Michigan’s eastern shore.  It has miles of shallow water, sand bars, beautiful clouds, birds, and on and on.   Someone told us today this is the “ugly” side of Michigan.  If the east side is ugly we’ve got to come back to see the west side, as this trip will be all east side and UP.

Secondly, the people are so nice. 

It started when we drove through a small town near the park and a guy on the street waved at us. People do that in small towns, but just the way it looked sincere made Jim and I remark on it.  

Then I had what I’d call a “cordial disagreement” with the park office staff.  There’s a park entrance fee in addition to a camping fee.  Since we’ll be in Michigan a while, the least expensive way to cover the park fee was to buy an annual pass.  However, because we tow a car, we had to purchase two annual passes.  We’ve been to over fifty national, state, county, and city parks in 35 states and have never had to buy two passes. The park staff stuck to their guns but were so darn nice about it that I almost didn’t mind paying the extra money.  Almost. Besides, it's a donation to the park system.

I've talked with at least six people who, when they find out we're newbies to the state, say “Welcome to Michigan.”  But only after they put their hand in the shape of a mitten and point to the part where they live.

Michigan may make the top of our "most friendly states" list.  If so, it will beat out former record holder Nebraska.  People in Nebraska State Parks all wave at you when they drive by your camp site.   Teenagers, families with kids, older folks, they all wave  I think it’s a state law.
Our motor home and tow car are to the right of Jim's shoulder.  You can see that we are not exactly in a premo spot since we're near the dump station, the main road, and lots of other rigs.  This place is what I imagine an RV/car/dog/bicycle trade show would be like -- those four items all over the place and people walking around smiling and talking about them.  Not our cup of tea normally, but everyone is so darn nice.  
Cooper's first dip in Lake Huron.
What are these bugs? Masses of them were quietly hanging on to the outside restroom wall this morning.  Tonight they are all gone.
Marshland and wildlife viewing area on the Tawas Lake State Park nature trail.
We did a wonderful 2 1/2 hour paddle on Lake Huron today.  This is Jim headed for Canada. Per Wikipedia, Lake Huron is the second largest (23,000 square miles) of the five Great Lakes and the third largest fresh water lake on Earth. 
We kayaked out to this sand bar.
My kayak near the beach and before we put it back on the car.  This looks so east-coast beachy to me.

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