Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Our Lake Michigan Circle Tour

Lake Michigan is a big lake. It covers 22,300 square miles and is the 5th-largest lake in the world. (If you count the Caspian Sea as the world's largest lake. Geologist say it's actually a tiny ocean.)

Two years ago Benny and I crossed the lake by ferry; this year the whole family drove around it, from Chicago to Milwaukee and then to Post Lake, Wisc. From there we entered Michigan through the back door: Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Point, Copemish and South Haven. Then we dashed south to Indianapolis and back, and Benny and I spent another week in Michigan before driving back to Chicago.

 Here's a map of the trip.

Thank you so much to the relatives who provided free room and board: Mike and Diane, Marlene and Ron, Mom and Paul, and especially Cindy and Scott, who hosted us for two weeks. Benny loves the Midwest ("It's so open here!")

I covered our trip extensively on Facebook (perhaps over-extensively) with phone pictures. Here are some shots from my camera, which I just downloaded to my laptop last night.

Our first tourist attraction was Tahquamenon Falls, mentioned in Longfellow's poem Hiawatha. I never could read that poem all the way through, but I do remember the part about the wind god falling in love with a dandelion* and who can forget the lovely Minnehaha?

We drove south over the Mackinac Bridge (pronounced Mack-in-aw) into Mackinac City, where we gorged on fudge, ice cream and popcorn. As we drove over the bridge, I couldn't help thinking of the poor Yugo driver who was blown off the bridge years ago in high winds. Weird. I drive over the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge all the time and never worry about that.

In South Haven we saw my college roommate Jackie, her husband Doug, and Caitlin, Josh, Kyle and Alyssa. Jackie hasn't changed a bit since college, which frankly, is hard to forgive.

Mom and Paul took us to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis, which had eight priceless Chinese terracotta warriors on display.

Oh no! A dinosaur is chasing Benny!

Back in South Haven, we attended Harbor Fest and watched the dragon boat races.

Then it was back to the beach with college roommates Kris and Jackie and their families at Oval Beach in Saugatuck.

After nearly a month away, it was strange to be in San Francisco again, but the city gave us a warm welcome with one more beach day.

Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach.

We plan to return to the Midwest next summer to celebrate three high school graduations. We can't wait!


* The word "dandelion," I happened to learn today, comes from late Middle English: from French dent-de-lion, translation of medieval Latin dens leonis‘lion's tooth’ (because of the jagged shape of the leaves). This factoid comes courtesy of my newspaper coworker who puts little quotes on the bottom of his emails.

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