Just a few snapshots on the trail from Flagstaff, Arizona to Bowling Green, Kentucky.
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St. Louis, Missouri
Elkhart is the RV capital of the world. I was here to look at new captains chairs and a new couch, but the delivery and installation times didn’t work on this trip. Went to the RV Hall of Fame and a Thor factory tour.
St. Joseph, Michigan
A beach stop on beautiful Lake Michigan.
The Kentucky Derby Museum, Whiskey Distillery Tour and a day at the races at Churchill Downs and some crazy underground ziplines.
I spent a couple of days in Port Huron, Michigan, which is, well, a city. I didn’t find anything particularly notable here. Port Huron borders the Canadian city of Sarnia, Ontario. Since I’m going to be in Canada for a few weeks I thought I’d just pop over and buy a prepaid cell phone in case of emergency.
So I went across the Blue Water Bridge and bought a prepaid cell phone, including $50 air time (about 2 hours) for under $100 (CAD). On the way back I came across a Tim Horton’s. This isn’t hard to do – I’m pretty sure there’s one Tim Horton’s for every 20 Canadians. It’s such an iconic Canadian institution I had to stop.
Steven Page: It was tragic. I mean to this day, you ask any Canadian where they were when Robin Sparkles lost it, not only can they tell you which Tim Hortons they were in – but what donut they were eating. Me? Wawa, Ontario. Blueberry fritter. Geddy Lee: Halifax, Nova Scotia. Walnut Crunch Luc Robitaille: Victoriaville, Quebec. Sour cream plain. Alex Trebek: Sudbury, Ontario. Honey dip. k.d. lang: Red Deer, Alberta. Chocolate glaze. Jason Priestley: Squamish, British Columbia. Crammed a Timbit into a strawberry vanilla and invented the Priestley. Should have been the best day of my life.
— HIMYM 8×15, P.S. I Love You
So, I had a Priestley and a cup of coffee and headed back to camp.
Not a Thing
So it turns out “just popping across the border” is not actually a thing. On the way into Canada the customs officer questioned me intensely for a good five minutes before searching the bike and letting me pass. On the way back to the USA, the line of cars stretched 3/4 of the way across the bridge and it took an hour and a half just to get up to the US customs window. They did not search the bike for the Timbits and phone I said I was bringing back.
When I thought of Michigan, I tended to think of deteriorating industrial cities like Detroit and Flint. A place to pass through. When I stopped in South Haven, I decided to stay a while longer. It really is just like the Pure Michigan ad.
The main road in town is Phoenix Street which goes through downtown, past the marina, to the lighthouse and onto the beach. There’s a couple of miles of soft sand beaches on Lake Michigan.
Downtown South Haven
Downtown South Haven
Riverfront Marina, South Haven
Riverfront Marina, South Haven, Michigan
South Beach, South Haven
South Beach on Lake Michigan in South Haven
Take a Break
I mentioned the rough road through Illinois and how I was surprised anything worked after that. I spoke too soon. After getting settled in I found the satellite receiver’s SIM card was knocked out, the microwave was rattling, the shower door hinge had popped, the dog’s Treat ‘n Train is turning on and off randomly, two florescent bulbs were knocked loose (and then I dropped one of them opening the fixture cover), well you get the picture. After fixing the stuff that wasn’t working I spent a few hours with the electric screwdriver tightening up ever screw I could find.
A couple of days later I dropped my phone. Couldn’t fix that one.
I’m spending a few days in Port Huron then I’ll be taking the Blue Water Bridge into Canada and heading to Niagara Falls, Ontario.
There were a few options to travel from Wisconsin to Michigan. I could go north through the UP, across the Macinaw Bridge. I could take a ferry from Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Ludington, Michigan. I could go south through Chicago.
The campgrounds in the Upper Peninsula were booked for essentially all of July. The ferry (SS Badger) looked fun, but would cost $366 (one way) and Keira would be locked in her kennel for over 5 hours, alone (you have no access to the vehicle aboard). So, I went south.
It Takes a Toll
I-90 is a toll road. Now I like toll roads – the people using it pay for it, and they are usually well maintained. Well I-90 was under construction. I don’t mean a few cones for a few miles. I’m talking driving on bone rattling crumbling shoulder, 10′ lanes, 35-45 mph, for 61 miles, interrupted only by toll plazas which collected $59 for my trip.
If they are collecting a toll, they need to provide a road. It took 2 hours 40 minutes to go 61 miles and I’m surprised anything on board was not shaken to pieces. I know for whom the toll road blows, it blows for me.