Monday, August 24, 2015

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - Michigan 2015

The camping God's were with us on this trip North.  We had our sights set on D. H. Day Campground which is a non-reservation campground.  School doesn't return until after Labor Day in Michigan, which means the end of August and first week of September are the final weeks for family camping.  Tourist season is at its peak.  It had rained all week and a heavy storm was predicted for Wednesday evening.  We didn't leave until 1pm and our scheduled arrival wasn't going to be until 7:30pm.  An hour out we called and they said they were half full, and that was due to the rain all week and the projected storm.  As I said the camping God's were with us because we arrived and got a great site, and the storm passed over and hit inland.  There is more to this than what I mentioned above.  On Sunday, August 2nd at approximately 4pm the area was devastated by 100+mph straight line winds.  100 year old trees were snapped like tooth picks.  Michigan M22 and other roads leading into Glen Arbor, Michigan were closed by downed trees and power lines.  D. H. Day campground closed until August 9th or 10th.  This was a major blow to tourism.  A large resort closed.  Power was out until the following Friday, August 8th.  Our camp site had 4 trees that were cut down with stumps remaining.  It is safe to say that it will probably be 3 generations before the tree growth will resemble what it was prior to 4pm on 8/2/15.  Very sad.

Storm News Article

Storm Videos

While the campground didn't look too bad, in and around Glen Arbor was really hit the worst.  No one was killed which was a miracle in its self.  Stories abound.  One young mother huddled with her youg child in a tent and realized the tent was not the place to be and moved to her car.  Minutes later a tree crashed through the tent.  In Glen Arbor a women was working in her office above her garage and decided it was time to move back into the house.  She headed down the stairs when a tree split the garage in half and sending her head first into the stairs leaving her dazed.  Later they saw that the tree had crushed her desk.  A couple of broken bones was the worst of it.  To read more about the storm you can go to and find the Commemorative Storm Addition Volume XX, Issue VI.

Sunrise over Lake Michigan
Early morning walk with Sarah

During the past couple of years Good Morning America had a week were they had the anchors pick places that were their favorites.  On one such day Josh Elliott picked Point Reyes in California and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as his favorites.  See the video below.

Good Morning America Picks Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

On Thursday 8/20 we lowered the roof and drove into Glen Arbor.  We found a restaurant called Boondock's, a number of buildings including restaurant, ice cream shop, stores and a large open air bar with covered seating, and another area of  open seating, one of the best burgers I've had.

On Friday 8/21 we drove South on M22 and found another great place to eat called Market 22.  I had Carolina pulled pork topped with coleslaw.  Susan had their Reuben.  All in all a great lunch.  Friday was the best day, all sun and no clouds.

During the early morning I did the famous Dune Climb.
Little Glen Arbor Lake in the foreground has a depth of 12" while Big Glen Arbor Lake in the background (beyond the M22 causeway reaches a depth of 110"

A view from the Lake Michigan Overlook platform 450' above the water, note the trail where people walked down the steep slope to the water.  During our Friday visit Michigan Tourism was here to film another "Pure Michigan" TV commercial.  So for you from the Midwest if the newest commercial has the hang glider we were there.

Great day at the beach

Look Dad no paws on the bottom and then back to camp, sleeping with my babies, such a dog life

Another beautiful sunrise
The Piping Plover is an endangered bird.  There are pet free beaches and at times beaches are closed during the nesting season. Click on the link to find out more about this endangered bird - Piping Plover

Sleeping Bear Coast Guard Station (Maritime Museum)
Glen Haven Historic Village and the Cannery Boat Museum

Total devastation - This area was solid trees

The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive takes you through the Dunes along the Lakeshore as well as inland Dunes and Beech-Maple Forest.  There are a total of twelve stops.  You can choose to read or use the cell phone tour

The covered bridge is Stop 1 along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

The tree below is an example of wind action that is threatening the stability of this basswood tree found at Stop 6 along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

Just below the overlook on the scenic drive, Stop 11, is a rare type of geologic remnant.  The calm, beautiful North Bar Lake is in transition.  Once a bay of Lake Michigan, its name describes how it is slowly closing itself off as the sand bar along its west side continues to build up.   South Bar Lake in Empire no longer has an open channel into Lake Michigan

 As we drove South along M22 we passed Crystal and Platt Lakes and stopped to view and photograph the Point Betsie Lighthouse
Lake Michigan along M22 heading home

The sand dunes and Great Lakes were formed by glaciers during the ice age.  To find out more about Michigan Glaciers click on the link - Glacier Lakes of Michigan

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mounds State Recreation Area - Brookville Reservoir

August 15, 2015.  We decided to take a short weekend trip.  This would be Sarah's first camping trip and we wanted to make sure she could handle the camper and the weather.  The temperatures reached the mid to high 80's with humidity.  We were glad that we took the air conditioning.  Several times Sarah walked to the ramp and just wanted to be where it was cooler.

 Sarah right at home with her bed and toys
Dinner with a beautiful sunset through the trees

 Brookville Reservoir

As we gazed out over the water we observed a Bald Eagle circling above.  It banked and descended low over the water talons reaching for the water and its prey just below the surface. It climbed gracefully with its dinner held firmly until it got back to its nest or the branches of the dead tree.  (Look far right of the dead tree).  The binoculars were left in the camper and we didn't bring our big camera on this trip.

Queen Anne's Lace

Beautiful wild flowers

We learned another thing on this trip, Sarah could read.  She knew exactly where to stop to conduct her business.