Day Five: Drive to the UP

The leisure time in the morning has been such a blessing this trip. I remember (we all do) the constant go go go we did last summer that we felt like we had zero time to catch our breath unless we had a multiple stay over. In our defense we were trying to see as much as possible during our six week trip too.

Another aspect of this trip that is standing out is the fact we have a car. This is huge! No more extra drives to the airport or local car rental as it’s always right behind us. I don’t even know if we would be able to find any rental cars in some of the areas we have been as they seem very remote.

We pulled out of the Traverse City KOA around 11:00am and started to make our trek to the UP (upper peninsula). The boys rode in the RV and the girls drove behind in Betsie’s car. The entire trip would be around four hours. The first half of the trip was on back roads in the middle of nowhere with very spotty cell service. And I don’t like not knowing where I am or how much time I have left before a turn. It lead for some anxious moments for sure. Will had the best cell reception due to his mega booster for work and he also was thinking if we ran out of gas or something luckily he could hook us back up and tow us to a gas station. I guess it’s always best to be prepared!

We finally made it to a normal road which lead to the interstate but more importantly a bunch of gas stations to fill up before we crossed the Mackinac Bridge. Here are some facts about the bridge: The bridge was designed by the great engineer David B. Steinman and opened on November 1, 1957. The structure took 48 months to complete with over 3, 500 workers and $99,800,000 dollars. Also know as the “Big Mac” or the “Mighty Mac”, the bridge stretches 8,614 feet making it the fourth longest suspension bridge in the world. With a total span of approximately 5 miles, the Mackinac Bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan uniting the communities of Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, Michigan. The main bridge cables are made from 42,000 miles of wire and the towers stand 554 feet above the water and 210 feet below to the bedrock. The engeneering of the Mackinac Bridge was designed to accommodate the high winds, temperature changes and constant changes of weight. In severe conditions the deck at center span could move up to 35 feet. Under more subtle conditions, the deck could move slowly in one direction based on the force and direction of the winds.

(As I type this a day later it’s 8:42am and a strong storm is coming through and it’s pouring. This is what the bridge’s live website says): High Wind Warning-Thursday, Jun 24 – 8:43 AM. Currently we are experiencing winds of sufficient force in the Straits area to issue a warning to all motorists preparing to cross the Mackinac Bridge.

Examples of vehicles which are especially vulnerable to high winds are pickup trucks with campers, motor homes, vehicles pulling trailers and enclosed semi-truck trailers. Motorists are instructed to reduce their speed to a maximum of 20 miles per hour, turn on their four way flashers, and utilize the outside lane. Motorists are asked to exercise appropriate caution.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority is monitoring wind speeds at various points along the structure. Additional steps will be implemented if conditions change. If you are planning to travel to the Straits area, please tune to AM radio 530 or 1610 for updates.

Okay, back to our trip. I don’t like bridges. And I don’t like long bridges. However, due to construction on the bridge (which was not too comforting by the way), traffic couldn’t move too fast and one lane was open on each side. It wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating but also I was in the car and not the RV. Thank the Lord, we crossed with no problems and were on our way to Manistique.

The drive along Lake Michigan was beautiful and our drive once across the bridge was another eighty-eight miles. I know I keeping writing this, but we can’t get over the beauty that is all around us in Michigan. We definitely all want to come back one day; however maybe later in the summer when it’s warmer here and so hot back home we could use a break from the heat!

We pulled into Manistique Lakeshore Campground around 4:15pm and we were not prepared for how close to the water we would be! Wow! This is relatively a new park owned by the city/town and its spotless! We have one campsite looking directly at the water the first night and the second night (today) we will move to be directly on the water. The views are incredible and the winds are strong. Did I mention we were not prepared for this weather with the clothes we brought!?!? Blankets have become our new jackets and I have yet to find something for myself. I guess there are other travelers in the same boat who forgot or didn’t pack warm outer layers. My family made jokes last summer that I overpacked, and look what I get for listening to them….never again!

Our site
Our view
Walk to “beach”
Lighthouse from the beach

Once we parked and hooked up, Will held office hours, Anna Cate and I went for a walk, Betsie and Eli explored and Pawley we put on his long leash outside so he could run around. Betsie checked out the bathhouse and laundry area as I wanted to do a load of towels.

Anna Cate and I sat outside in the fresh air with the sun beating on us until we decided to take a break and get warm. I also was prepping dinner so Eli could get the grill going. We had turkey burgers, famous RV fruit salad (from last summer), and shoestring fries. It was so yummy! We relaxed (warmed up) in the RV before braving the cooler air for s’mores by the fire pit. While we did it, we (AC and I) didn’t last too long. If it wasn’t for the wind it would have been fine, but since we are right on the water it’s extra strong.

Dinner

Betsie and Eli went to the “beach” for Betsie’s sunset pictures (9:39pm), but Anna Cate didn’t want to go so we got ready for bed instead. Earlier in the day she was adamant about going to see the water so I took her and as we approached the beach she felt the wind difference and flipped around and started walking back. It was so funny. I bet she will do this multiple times while we are here because she always has to check it out to see if conditions have changed. However, tonight when we are waterfront she will be able to see from inside the RV if we have the door open. It will be a win win.

The wind was a blow in’

I don’t know about anyone else’s night sleep but last night I think I had the best sleep yet! When I woke up this morning I couldn’t believe it was almost 7:30am. Will had already held office hours for almost three hours!

Well, it’s pouring here this morning making us have to go to plan B for the day so let me go figure out what today is going to look like on the UP! When life hands you lemons…..

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