Showing posts from August, 2007

Camp Soldner on Beaufort Lake

August 30, 2007 -- Camp Soldner on Beaufort Lake near Three Lakes, MI Allow me a paragraph or two to get everyone caught up with our travels. My last post was on ... and got us to Colwell Lake, a National Forest Campground in the Hiawatha National Forest near Shingleton, MI. The reason for being at Colwell was the annual Soldner (Dar's nee) Campout, which involves a lot of family members and their kids and friends... this year, a group of about 25 people. This is where I took the water skiing pictures and where Dar proved she still has her original teeth. Having this much family in one place for over a week, 24/7, can cause stress. But for the most-part the group was well-behaved and there were no fist-fights at all this year. On Thursday, August 16th, we moved from Colwell Lake to Camp Soldner, Dennis and Laura Soldner's (Dar's brother and sister-in-law) camp on the shores of Beaufort Lake, about a 110 mile drive. Down south, in Wisconsin, we call this a cottage. Here, it

Colwell Lake

Thursday, August 9th, 2007 -- Colwell Lake near Steuben, MI This is going to be a very short update. Internet access is very limited and unreliable. I've become so involved with our website and blogs that my need for the internet is almost an addiction. Maybe the time away from it will be good. My last post had us prepared to cross the Mackinac Bridge -- August 2nd, I believe. A lot's happened since that day a week ago, but I'll just cover the highlights in this post. The move across the bridge and up to Munising was uneventful. We checked into the Wandering Wheels Campground near Munising, and while the sites are big and wooded, the dusty road and grounds made for an unpleasant time. Happy to have stayed only three nights, this past Monday, the 6th, we moved 20 miles to Colwell Lake, a National Forest Campground in the Hiawatha National Forest. This place is nearly the ideal campground -- large secluded wooded sites, very private, very clean -- you almost feel like you

USCGC Mackinaw

Thursday, August 2, 2007 -- Mackinaw City, MI We never made it over to Mackinac Island today. The threat of rain and storms was enough to keep us on this side of the straits, and out of the island based tourist traps. I was also put off by the Grand Hotel now restricting passers-by from wandering through this stately old place unless a fee is paid for the privilege. So, let's see, by the time we buy ferry passage, pay another fee for the bikes we wanted to take over in order to get around the island, paid the fee to see the old hotel... we'd be well over $100 before we ordered an over-priced lunch or bought a priceless bric-a-brac in one of the many gift shops that are bound be all over the island. And our sabbatical objective is to see more of the real America and real Americans, not the touristy thing it's so easy to fall into. After the rains ended, we headed into town to find something to do. We found two things of interest: first, we had our first pasties. I'll wri

A few questions

Thursday, August 2, 2007 -- Mackinaw City, MI Some answers to questions I had about the area... (the first in a series over the next few days or weeks): Question 1) Is it pronounced "Mackinac" or "Mackinaw"? I grew up with it always being pronounced with the "ac" at the end, never the "aw". But over the years I've run into people, mostly Michiganders, who insist that the correct pronunciation is with the "aw". With our arrival in the area, I thought I'd clear this up for good -- at least for me. There'll always be hard-headed Chicago Bears fans that'll insist on saying it wrong, as they do so many other words, but I wanted to at least understand the issue and make my own decision. First, I talked with Dave, our waiter in a small pub/restaurant here in town. He grew up in the area and his Mom makes the best pasties (don't ask now, that'll be another post) around, so I felt he should be considered an authority on t

Mackinaw City

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 -- Mackinaw City, MI A short post is about all I'm up to tonight. It was a tougher than expected drive today with the heat, a lot of traffic, stupid drivers, and rough roads. After setting up here at Mill Creek Campground near Mackinaw City, we headed into town for a few groceries and a place to cool off with a beer. Finding a friendly little place near the ferry docks, we stayed for dinner too, and enjoyed kibitzing with Dave our waitperson. Since we're only here two nights, we're thinking of taking one of those ferries over to Mackinac Island tomorrow, with our bikes, to explore a place neither of us have seen. Now, as long as the weather cooperates... The toad seemed to do ok today, but I'm keeping a close eye on it since 4-wheel-down towing can cause problems. Keeping fingers crossed on this one. We really enjoyed staying at Sleepy Bear the extra two nights. It was close to the camping I remember as a kid, with big trees all around, cool b