After leaving Cleveland, we continued west and landed in Canton, Michigan, the next afternoon. It was time for a whole bunch of family time with Hannah, John, and Marley.
They live close to both Detroit and Ann Arbor which makes it perfect for enjoying the sights and food as well as relaxing in their home. We went to Plymouth for an Art Fair and dinner and Ferndale for their Pig and Whiskey Festival.
We also made it to Northville for a hair and nails appointment (Hannah and I–not Mike) and golf (Mike and John–not me). We also tooled around Ann Arbor and ended up eating ice cream–hard to believe but true! This place sells ice cream flights–ingenious and delicious.
But mostly we just enjoyed spending time with them! Michigan really is a great state, we just wish it were closer to California.
As our week came to an end, we detoured from our westward destination to head north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was time to renew our status as “Yoopers” and explore a bit more of this beautiful area. This time, after crossing the big, scary bridge with no railing, (Mackinaw Bridge) we turned left and traveled 70 miles to the northwest top of Lake Michigan to Manistique.
Our campsite was backed up to the lake and it was a spectacular view. We could even see the lighthouse from our site.
The temperature was around 75 degrees and it was perfect “sitting outside” kind of place.
Okay, time to continue west. Leaving Michigan we continued west until we reached Duluth, Minnesota stopping for the night. Next stop was Medina, North Dakota. We stayed here last year and it’s a great stopover place. The town has a park with RV hookups for $15 a night! And, although not many stores or restaurants, they do have Reister Meats and Catering. They have about 25 different kinds of sausage and they sell the best caramel rolls. I know it is a weird combination but I love this place. I walked in the door and there was about six people sitting around a big table shooting the breeze. They even invited me to join them–I love this place!
Now the vastness of the west begins to sink in as we made our way to Medora, North Dakota the next day. Medora is a western-themed town with the entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park right on the main street. Entering this park is like no other national park experience we have had.
It is big and beautiful and empty-there just are not too many visitors.
We started at the visitor center and joined a ranger talk explaining the park and its relationship with Theodore Roosevelt. He came to this place in his mid-20’s and fell in love with it. He was inspired by the vastness of it and beauty of the plains meeting the badlands.
He ended up buying land and establishing a ranch in the area. As the story goes, he was at his home in New York when he lost both his wife and mother on the same day. He then made his way back to his ranch and he credits the land with helping him to heal. Just sitting on a rocking chair on his porch being shaded by Cottonwood trees and watching the wildlife and changing colors of the rocks. He later would become our president and would help establish the first national monument among his many accomplishments.
The park has a terrific scenic road which lets you take in all its sights and look for wildlife along the way. We headed up the road and saw a couple different herds of wild horses, many prairie dog towns, and, of course, the buffalo.
The picture at the top was taken at sunset at Wind Canyon Overlook and it was spectacular. The next day we traveled to the North Unit of the park and were greeted with more awesomeness. And we have the pictures to prove it! Stay tuned, we are next headed to Glacier National Park, Banff, and Lake Louise.