Day Forty-Six: Recovery day, Driving Through Michigan, Two Tired Kids

After our epic day yesterday, visiting the Lake View Cemetery, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, and the A Christmas Story house, we needed a decompression day. So, we drove a bit, put 250 miles or so under our wheels, but that’s about it. Not much sightseeing today, so it will be a short blog tonight.

We woke up just outside of Toledo, Ohio, which is about as far north as you can get and still stay in Ohio. Michigan is a little over 450 miles from top to bottom, so we knew we wouldn’t make it all the way to the UP today.

Soon after we crossed over into Michigan, we saw mile after mile of husked-out cornfields and farms by the dozens. Every time you hear Michigan mentioned in the news, it seems to be about Detroit, with houses selling for twelve dollars, or Flint, where it hasn’t been safe to drink the water. Those problems are very real, but there’s no sign of them in the central and western part of the state, which is where we drove today.

Just a few miles into Michigan, we saw this, which is pretty typical of the little towns we drove through today.

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We had to stop and take a picture, of course, because I love Pooh. I watch all the original Pooh shows, even when the grandkids aren’t around. And, I’m not doing it ironically. 🙂

Everywhere we went in farm country today, we saw pumpkins.

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This also kind of made Dawn homesick. I’m going to have to get her home sooner, rather than later.

Here’s a mileage update on our trip so far. As of this moment, we have driven 10,200 miles. If we drove straight home from here, we would put another 2,500 miles on. However, we will not be driving straight home. From here, we are driving to the top of the Upper Peninsula, where we are hoping to visit the Shipwreck Museum, which contains the recovered bell of The Edmund Fitzgerald, among other artifacts. From there, we are going to cut across Minnesota, a corner of North Dakota, down into South Dakota, then Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and home.

We had lunch today in Battle Creek, Michigan, home of the Kellogg’s Cereal Company, and the exhortation from my childhood – “Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope and two boxtops to Battle Creek, Michigan, and you will receive…” something. I’m not sure, because I don’t remember ever actually ever receiving anything.

We ate lunch at a cute little place (cute in a “little old ladies would love this place” kind of way) called Clara’s on the River. By the way, here is the river Clara’s is on:

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Back home, we would call that a creek and pronounce it “crick.” At least, I would have.

On the way out of town, we were heading for another in a series of back roads, when we saw something odd off to the right. It was an unexpected treasure. Here’s a sample of what we saw:

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Eventually, we found the reason for this fantasy forest. In 2002, Michigan was invaded by the Emerald Ash Borer, a bug that has killed 50,000,000 ash trees across North America. There were once forty four ash trees on this site that were more than a hundred years old. They were all killed by the Emerald Ash Borer. Trying to make the best of an awful situation, the town made sixteen of the trees into the Battle Creek Fantasy Forest. We had no idea it was there, and if I hadn’t glanced out the window at that exact moment, we would have missed it. It pays to stay on your toes!

We didn’t drive all that late. We aren’t the teenagers we once were (well, maybe Dawn is, but I am not) so we were crashed in our cozy little room by 5:30, digging into the Magical Mystery Bag. It wasn’t all that magical tonight – looks like peanut butter and jelly and Cup O’ Noodles. Good thing we had a good lunch!

Cheers, and safe travels!

Shawn

8 comments

  1. I loved the treasure you found. The carvings were great. Sorry you didn’t get to meet karen..my dawn..but I hear she wrote you and gave you some ideas. And a great place to spend the night in a cabin Would have loved to have everything a pic of you guys and her. Oh well. Rest up and keep plugging. Surprised you got that far after a day at the hof.
    Cheers back

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You’re such an engaging writer that I enjoy reading your blogs even when it’s not an epic sightseeing day. Thank you! When you mentioned the possibility of the bell from the Edmond Fitzgerald, I was immediately taken back to 1976 and Gordon Lightfoot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that you have a mystery bag of food. What a great idea to keep costs down and still be able to eat. I hope you enjoy Michigan. I lived there as a child and have visited as an adult. Take care and safe travels.

    Like

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