Showing posts from October, 2014

100 Miles on the Old Chicago Road

On Friday morning (October 10) we were up and ready to head out from our cabin. We needed to make it back to Illinois that evening because I had a program to present on Saturday morning. And we had a highway picked out to travel - the old Chicago Road! We headed south from Holly to hook up with the old Chicago Road at Saline, Michigan. This route, US-12, is also part of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour and US 12 Heritage Trail. Once upon a time, it was the Old Sauk Trail. In conversation the previous evening, we found that it also has been  known as Michigan Avenue from Chicago all the way into Detroit, and a portion of it near Chicago was also known as the Red Arrow Highway. An especially scenic area with many lakes and many quirky attractions is the Irish Hills. This beautiful area gets its name from the Irish who settled here after fleeing the Potato Famine in Ireland. There are numerous Irish place names and the area overlaps three counties along US-12.  http://www.irishhillsrecreati

A day at The Henry Ford

Okay, so it was just a few hours at The Henry Ford. The day before we had cruised the Lake Huron shore on a nice section of the Dixie Highway and then had settled in at a KOA at Holly, Michigan. I often stay at those cute little cabins at KOA campgrounds and have found them to be cozy, inexpensive, and clean. One reason they work out well for me is because of my chemical sensitivity. Remove carpet, drapes, upholstered furniture, and bed and bath linens from the picture and you eliminate fragranced laundry products, carpet shampoo, anti-stain treatments, and smelly bath products. I had given Steve the selling on KOA cabins while I was on my trip out west in August, and he was all ready to give one a try. Of course, anytime you recommend a tremendous restaurant or lodging and take your friends there, it's terrible that time. This was the shabbiest cabin I've stayed in, for twice the price of all the others. I'll leave it at that. We'd been up late the night before getti

300 miles on the Dixie Highway

In my last post, Steve and I enjoyed a couple days of sightseeing and visiting in Mackinaw City, Michigan. We left there on Wednesday, October 8, and  headed south on Highway 23, following the path of the Dixie Highway for close to 300 miles.  We took the old auto trail's path of the East Mainline from Mackinaw City through Cheboygan - Onaway - Rogers City - Lachine - Alpena - Spruce - Lincoln - Oscoda - Tawas City - Whittemore - Prescott - Sterling - Standish - Bay City - Saginaw - Flint. Part of this beautiful drive is also designated as Heritage Route US-23 along Michigan's Sunrise Coast, from the Mackinac Bridge down to Standish. It was a chilly, windy day but the Lake Huron views were stunning and the fall colors were photo-worthy. We passed miles of adorable shoreline cottages painted in pastel colors with alluring vintage signs out front. Years and years worth of tourists have stayed, dined, loved, strolled, and vowed to come back here. I'm already trying to figure

Mackinaw, Mackinac, and Mill Creek

When I was a little girl, I visited Mackinac Island and Mackinaw City with my mom and dad. I remember learning that it was all pronounced "Mack-i-naw," no matter how it was spelled. I think my mom was nervous about the boats we boarded to go over to and back from the island. One was a new and streamlined craft, but the other, in my memory, strongly resembled a cartoon tugboat. It was cold and rainy. Recently, I visited the area again. This trip was cold and rainy again, to be expected, I suppose, in October. On Sunday and Monday, October 5-6, Steve and I enjoyed a leisurely drive up the east coast of Lake Michigan, around the "top" of the lake, and into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Much of this route was U.S. Highway 2, which was lined with delightful lake views and the remains (and some still open) of many mom and pop establishments. On Monday afternoon, Steve and I drove across the magnificent Mackinac Bridge into the tourist town of Mackinaw City. Th

A few days in Wisconsin

Cousins, genealogy, memories, cemeteries, grandma's house. Fall colors, beautiful Wisconsin countryside, farmers markets, shoreline. Mom and pop places, "I brake for signs" action, and a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's warehouse. Good stuff. Steve and I decided to combine vacation, visits with relatives, some writing and R&R time, and a "Route 66 in Illinois" program all into one trip October 1 - 12 through Wisconsin, Michigan, a bit of Indiana, and back into Illinois. We left late on Wednesday, October 1, due to a "Route 66 in Illinois" program I presented that afternoon for Lifelong Learning at SIUE in Edwardsville. On Thursday afternoon, we actually reached Wisconsin. Our first stop was the country cemetery where my mom, my dad, and four generations of my mom's side of the family - Hansons and Engens - rest.  My mom grew up in one of the two earliest Norwegian settlements in Wisconsin. Many cousins still live in the area, and on Thurs