Sunday, October 11, 2015

RV-Dreams Fall Educational Rally

Sunday (Oct 4) to Sunday (Oct 11):

On Sunday we took it easy after our trip to Mackinac Island. We watched football games and did some laundry.

Monday we decided to "climb the bear". The bear is the nickname given to the sand dunes located in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore which is located about 30 minutes away from our campground.

Our first stop was the Visitor Center located in Empire, Michigan. We used Connie's America the Beautiful Senior Pass to get into the park (waiving the $10 per vehicle fee). There was a 15 minute video that explained the history of this area. The name Sleeping Bear comes from a Native American story of a mother bear that was swimming across Lake Michigan with two cubs. The mother bear swam ahead and fell asleep while waiting on the shore for her two cubs. They did not make it and in her sorrow she turned into the dunes and the two cubs turned into the two islands (North Manitou and South Manitou) that are a few miles away from the dunes in Lake Michigan. The real story is that the dunes and islands are a result of glaciers from thousands of years ago, but the "bear" story is what everyone remembers.

Vistor Center
We picked up a couple of maps that would help us navigate our way around the Lakeshore. We also reviewed Howard & Linda Payne's trip from last week to get some tips about the park. We started a the south end of the park where the Platte River flows into Lake Michigan.

Platte River flowing into Lake Michigan
We walked along the shore of Lake Michigan and viewed the dunes you can see in the distance. From there we traveled a short distance north to the Empire Bluff Overlook. We hiked up the trail to the overlook.
Half-way along the trail.

Boardwalk along the upper part of the trail.

Connie enjoying the view of Lake Michigan.

"Steps" on the trail.
We then made our way to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. This a large deposit of sand that is between Lake Michigan & a smaller inland lake. We looked at the height of dunes, took our shoes off and headed off to "climb the bear".

Doing a couple of poses to warm up for the climb.

Up to the top.

We made it to the top.

Coming down. Looks like Connie is skiing.
After climbing the bear, we continued our trip north to the "Historic" town of Glen Haven, Michigan. This abandoned town was at one time home to a cannery, lumberyard and shipping port. Today is vacant but has been restored by the park service.

Boarding house in Glen Haven.

General Store in Glen Haven.

Old Gas Pump in front of General Store.
There was a small boat museum located in Glen Haven that we took a tour of. The museum housed a number of the boats used by the Coast Guard on Lake Michigan to rescue people from boats and ships in trouble or going under on the lake.

Rescue boats.

From there we proceeded to the Maritime Museum to see what was located there. There were a few more rescue boats and a "bunkhouse" where members of the Coast Guard were housed when they were on duty. There was a replica of a pilot house inside the museum that we had some fun with.

Mike at the wheel.

Connie takes the wheel.

Tracks used to pull boats into the repair shop.
Our last stop was to one more overlook, Pyramid Point. Connie decided to pass on the trail and take it easy while I took the trip up the trail. It was about a mile straight up a hill to the point and it had already been a long day for us. I made the walk to the top of the point, visited with a couple from Michigan about the RV full time life for a few minutes, took a couple of photos and then hiked back down to Connie and the Jeep.

Strait between Pyramid Point & Manitou Island.

View of Lake Michigan.
On Tuesday we started the RV-Dreams Fall Educational Rally here at the campground. Connie and I both helped with the check-in process for the attendees on Tuesday afternoon. Everyone at the Rally got together for a catered meal on Tuesday night and then started our educational classes on Wednesday

On classes continued until Saturday with a break on Friday afternoon. Connie and I joined another couple (Dave & Cindy) Friday afternoon on a visit to three of the local wineries (there are about a dozen located in this area of Michigan). We did tastings at each of the wineries but did not find anything that we liked enough to buy. Friday evening we joined a number of the Rally attendees at a camp fire and shared "stories". Saturday afternoon 14 of the attendees opened up their RV's for everyone to tour and ask questions about. Connie and I opened up The Duchess and everyone was impressed that she looked so good for being 7 years old. Saturday there was nice dinner for everyone and we had a "good-bye" breakfast on Sunday morning.

Aurora Winery.
Friday night campfire. Can you find us?
Playing RV Family Feud on Saturday night.

Sunday after breakfast we came back to the RV's to start the process of getting ready to leave tomorrow. We heard from Austin that a good friend of our, Frank Mays, had passed away yesterday. Frank had been diagnosed with cancer and was in a lot of pain the last few months. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Connie, Frank's wife, in this time of loss. It makes us appreciate the health we have that allows us to live this lifestyle.

Sunday morning sunrise at Lake Leelanau.