Friday, August 27, 2010

Lake Michigan Vacation

This year we took a family vacation to Lake Michigan. Dave and I can't remember the last time we took a trip with only ourselves and our children. Here is the van all loaded up and ready to go.

We left Saturday afternoon and drove to Ann Arbor where we spent the night with Jeff and Stacey. They cheerfully gave up their air conditioned home to let us sleep there, while they spent the night at a neighbor's home. Thanks guys! It was fun to see you! And thanks for the great meals and fun Scrabble Game.

Sunday we drove the rest of the way to the top of Michigan. We stayed at a "cabin" on Lake Leelanou. The cabin was nicer than our home! Newly remodeled, the place was immaculate. Here we are at breakfast Monday morning. We cooked our own breakfast every day, made a picnic lunch, then when out for dinner.

After a leisurely morning at the cabin we drove into Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to explore the sand dunes. Here we are starting up. The views of the lake from the top were amazing!

Abby couldn't walk up the dunes at all. We all took turns carrying her.


Even Emily had to take a turn!

Jumping back down the dunes

I married Dave because he can jump so high!

Picnic at Sleeping Bear Dunes

This is the actual "Sleeping Bear" Dune. Benjamin and Dave really loved climbing these dunes. Mostly for the run down, I believe. They were so steep, and ran right into the water. Very pretty!

It was pretty windy at the top. Emily figured out how to survive the sandstorm, though...close your eyes and keep your mouth shut! We dug out sunglasses and hats soon after this summit.

We swam at an inland lake called Bar Lake

Then walked over the dune to Lake Michigan to swim. The waves on Lake Michigan were pretty big. The kids preferred the inland lakes.

Abby didn't care where we were, as long as there was sand to eat.

On Tuesday we hiked another tall dune called Pyramid Point.

At the top of pyramid point

Getting ready to float down the Platte River

The Platte River meets Lake Michigan. This was a beautiful area as the two bodies of water flowed together. We had a fun float, although it took longer than we expected, and also took quite a bit more oar power! Dave got a good workout trying to keep us going down the river.

Watching the sunset over the lake from a park in Empire, MI

The kids waiting for the train in Traverse City.

Here comes the train! It is the only thing left from the zoo that used to be in Traverse City.

Swimming at Old Mission Lighthouse on Grand Traverse Bay.
Everyone worked on a sand castle. This one was made by David and Joshua.

On Thursday we left the Leelanau Peninsula and headed north for Mackinaw City. On the way we drove through several darling cities and saw some beautiful lake homes. We stopped in Petosky for lunch and took a tour of Kilwin's chocolate factory. They were making candied orange peel that day. We all tried a sample, and it wasn't too bad. Course, if you dip anything in chocolate, it comes out OK!

The bridge from Macinaw City to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This is where the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. We are standing in front of Huron. Michigan is to the far side of the bridge.

After Paul Bunyon carved the Great Lakes, he rested against Castle Rock to rest. We climbed to the top to see the view. It was amazing!

Here I am with my handsome husband (seriously, how did I manage to get this guy to marry me?) at the top of Castle Rock.

Note the weather in the above picture...beautiful and sunny, right? Well, the next day we were scheduled to take the ferry across to Mackinac Island and ride our bikes around the island. It is a non-motorized island, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. But, alas, the next day we woke up to low clouds and a steady rain. It was cool, as well. So, with no end to the rain in sight (it was supposed to hang out for 2 days), we packed up and left a day early.

On the way back home we stopped in Frankenmuth to see the Christmas shop and enjoy a Bavarian village. It was a cute town. We were only 2 hours south, but it was already blazing hot and humid again. In upper Michigan, there was no humidity, and the evenings were cool enough we needed jackets. It amazing what a difference there is in such a short distance.

Emily and I had a fabulous time picking out Christmas ornaments.

It was NOT Benjamin's favorite part of the trip. He and Dave managed to make it through an hour pitstop at the Christmas shop without loosing their sanity, however. I was impressed with their stamina.

We had such a fun trip! We would definitely go back!

1 comment:

John, Rach, Gabe, and Porter said...

Wow, what a fun trip! Those sand dunes look like a blast! I've always wanted to go to Macinac Island too, sorry you missed it.