Photo: The waterway that separates Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, as well as Canada and the United States.
At the Excited States customs we were made to fork over one red pepper and a tomato. The rules seem to change every time we cross a border. Did you know that the town on the American side of the border, across the channel from Sault Ste. Marie, is also called Sault Ste. Marie?
Lake Huron is almost as breathtaking as Lake Superior but not as cold or deep. We saw a couple of idyllic little picnic spots along the highway where we could have stopped for a swim but, foolishly impatient as I am, I had assumed there would be more along the way. Of course the highway left the immediate waterfront and we never got that swim in. We continued down the west side of the lake, staying first at Cheyboygen State Park where the water is very warm and shallow, frolicking in the knee-deep water before dinner, and then had a fire, which followed a remarkable sunset.
In the morning it was sunny and warm. We went for a bike ride on a trail to the old light house ruins. After pulling up camp we continued south along the lakeshore, hardly able to believe all the luminous light blues of the water. We also found that the house prices there were alarmingly low – a three-bedroom fixer-upper was just $34,000. Obviously, given the proximity of Detroit, many of the fabulous waterfront homes would have been vacation retreats, which, in many cases, because of the recession, had to go. It seemed every third house was for sale.
We stopped for lunch at the State Forest near the little town of Alpena, which is at the head of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. After lunch we continued south to Harrisville State Parkwhere the water was colder and choppy. We toured the town on our bikes, stopping for an ice cream and then going for a swim in the chilly water before we had a nap. Okay, we had sex. My friend Bill Lyle is always asking about the seamier side of our travels, including, “Is trailer sex better?” I can report Bill, that it’s particularly good after a cool, bracing swim.
After dinner a thunder storm snuck in, quickly drowning the campsite and downing a lot of branches in the park. One neighbour had a small tree come down right next to his trailer, the top resting on one of his camp chairs. We carry a buck saw so I helped him clean it up before we had a campfire.
In the morning it was overcast. We went for a bike ride around the park and then drove south to Tawas City where we stopped in at the MacDonald’s so I could use the wifi to do my blog. Janice went to the nearby Walmart for supplies where she got some help with her Spanish from the Greeter there.
Driving south to Bay City, our GPS steered us wrong. Twice! Finally some locals indicated the right way through the town. Bay City is graced with hundreds of huge old Victorian wood frame houses, homes to shipping magnates from an earlier era. The campsite was adequate but had no pool or beach. We were hot so we took a walk down to the jetty hoping we could find a spot to dive into the lake.
We ran into some local fishers who informed us that the lake is so polluted from the industry in Bay City that there’s now no way they would swim in it, which made us wonder about the fish they were taking. Back at camp we hosed ourselves down with the trailer’s outdoor shower before dinner before being driven inside by approaching thunder storms.
The morning was cloudy but humid as we left the lake, driving south on the back roads, which would take us back to the shoreline quick more quickly. We stopped for lunch at Port Sanilac, utilizing a public marina picnic table, and then followed the scenic waterfront route to Port Huron’s Township RV Park. We did some laundry and used the wifi before driving into town for a look around. We ordered Mojitos on an outside deck overlooking both the Black and St. Clair Rivers.
Across the St. Clair River is Sarnia, Ontario. Huge Dow Chemical oil refineries and other chemical mega projects line the shore as far as the eye can see. Janice asked our waitress, “What’s that?” The waitress replied, “Canada.” Janice said, “Oh, sorry about that!” It’s been dubbed Chemical Alley and it stretches for miles – very ugly.
We took very few pictures in Michigan because the battery in my camera had died and I couldn’t find the proper one along the way…