Finding our feet

Before we head off into the greater wilds of the UP, Loops and I have some decisions to make.

Visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has come about in a slightly haphazard fashion, with our very original plans (from back when we started out from Florida) taking us east from the Michigan mainland over into, and through, Canada to reach Maine before travelling south again. We have now decided to alter these ideas and head in a western arc; taking us through the UP before dropping down for a pass through Wisconsin, sling-shotting east past the base of Lake Michigan through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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The beginning of a whole new world

They say the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is its own little world, that people from the UP (Yoopers) are ‘unique’ – hard core outdoorsman and hunters – and that while they might not mind people visiting their patch of the globe, they sure are glad when they leave and they get their little world back to themselves. And I’ll tell you this…they’d be right.

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Yoopers sure do like their guns…and this one actually works!

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Indians and Stones

The world is washing away.

At least that’s how it seems sitting in the bus for four days in the car park of Leelanau Sands Casino just outside of Peshawbestown, with the continuous downpour of rain alternating between a gentle tapping on the roof to thunderous drumming you can’t escape.

But you know what? It’s just nice to sit for once. Not moving.

The car park isn’t bad at all, for out of the front window I can see a thin woodland strip and the waters of Grand Traverse Bay beyond, and it’s moderately quiet. I can sit and read until my heart is content, practice my new crochet skills or take in a movie – as Loops and I did one afternoon, watching To Kill a Mockingbird. I’d never seen it before and thoroughly enjoyed the production, and am now thinking about reading the book to compare. It is relaxed and peaceful in our car park life.

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Ranger Danger

So our adventure for the day didn’t simply end with me dripping wet in a lake with no stones to show for it, no, our escapade was actually just beginning.
We arrived back at the bus at 8pm, Loops secured the bikes while I tried my very best not to drip all over the carpet as I scurried for the shower. As I finish and am getting ready to think about cooking dinner – sausage and mash, scrummy – there comes a knock at the door. What then ensues riles me a little and I’ll tell you why…

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Magic Stones

As we pull into the driveway of Lucky Lake campground (just outside of Rothbury, Michigan), my stomach drops and I get that really uneasy feeling that tells me that I don’t want to look over at the face Loops will be making right now.
The gravel driveway looks to be about ¾ mile long and disappears into woodland. We now have two issues – Loops hates driving on loose gravel and trees next to roads are the enemy of the RV.

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Adventures in Michigan

I’m guessing because the Amish do so much physical labour – farming, manual cleaning, riding bicycles, churning butter, that sort of thing – they are more than able to cope with such starch laden fare as is put before us at the Essenhaus, without becoming immensely overweight.

Yes, I have discovered a new delight of the Amish – their food. Just west of Shipshewana, in the town of Middlebury, is Das Dutchman Essenhaus; a restaurant featuring Amish style family dining, which has had a packed car park each time we’ve passed by it, on our way in and out of Shipshe.
This time, given its perfect timing for dinner, we pull in and treat ourselves to the following family meal – fried chicken, broiled beef, cooked ham, noodles, stuffing, sweetcorn, mash potatoes and gravy, and for dessert, chocolate peanut butter and banana pie.

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Pie. Yum. (Took me two days to eat just this piece as it was so rich!)

 

If I was eating this kind of food every day, I weigh as much as an elephant, Amish workload or not.

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A new state and more new friends

Sniff.

Sniff.

Sniiiiiiff.

“Loops, what’s that smell?” I ask.
“What smell?” Sniff. “Hmm. It must be the bathroom, go check and just open the fan back there.”
I unsteadily walk down the moving bus and open the bathroom door.
And gag.

Yes, it seems we have discovered another joy of living on the road – the smell of a partially full black tank being churned around as you drive.

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