Michigan – from Ann Arbor to Traverse City – What a Trip!

When we left Goshen we drove straight to Ann Arbor, MI.  We drove around town and went to see the University of Michigan’s football stadium.

Walking around downtown Ann Arbor we came across Graffiti Alley, which is the only place where street art is permitted.  It is an ever changing platform to established and emerging artists yearning to showcase their works of art.

We have very long time friends who live in West Bloomfield.  They own and run Sposita’s, a fabulous Italian Restaurant, so we stopped in for a long overdue visit and were joined by friend and co-worker, Gary Young and his friend, Shelly.  The meal was superb but the company was even better and it was fun to reminisce about stories of years past. 

Gary Young, Shelly, Lois Sposita, Joe Sposita and us.

While in the area, of course, we had to go to the Ford Museum and we could not forget Motown.  Ford Museum is huge and to fully appreciate it, you must allow at least one full day, that is not taking into account going to Greenfield Village.  Since we knew we did not have the full day, we opted to take a tour of only the museum so we could get a good sense of its collections.  The museum is not all about cars, as I had thought.  It is more about innovation and how it has allowed us to progress in history.  It is simply an amazing place!  Sadly, the assembly line had stopped operating only a few hours before we arrived, so next time we will have to better coordinate and to allow more time to revisit.

Lincoln’s chair:

What caught my eye, was that I was never exposed to this type of segregation and to actually see it displayed was thought provoking.

Below is the actual bus where Rosa Parks made her point.  Actually, she was seated on the right side in the middle between the front and the back, not the back of the bus as is commonly stated.

We had lunch at the snack bar of the Henry Ford, which is an old fashioned diner with jukeboxes at the tables.

We made a quick visit to Motown.

Took a quick drive through Detroit

and happened by GM’s corporate office:

We had a fun time in Detroit and will definitely return for more!  Our next stop was Muskegon, MI.  We enjoyed the drive over and found a beautiful campground in North Muskegon.  While in Goshen John went to a store where a mandolin was being demonstrated.  The sales person explicitly mentioned that the safety knob was to always be used otherwise to expect a trip to the emergency room.)  After setting up, John said he would fix dinner and wanted to use the mandolin to slice some potatoes so I went outside to set the table.  I heard him scream and immediately knew he had not used the safety knob.  Sure enough he had cut off the tip of his thumb so off to the emergency room we drove and there went the rest of our trip of the area.  We will have to return to see the western part of Michigan.

We made reservations at Traverse City and met up with six other couples. Bonnie and Rich Waltman, Linda and Walter West, Ann and Ron Parish, Linda and Tommy Sexton, Mary and Doug Sloan and Linda and Joe Shibalt, with whom we had recently spent time at the Goshen rally.  Also, we were happily surprised that as soon as we arrived our friends, Mary Frye and Rick Gnich, from Torrey Oaks, who happen to live in Traverse City, connected with us.  Two of the couples, Bonnie and Rich Waltman and Linda and Walter West (bless their hearts) decided to accompany us on our UP adventure.

While in Traverse City we drove to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, an incredible sweep of towering dunes on the western shore of Leelanau.  My friend Bonnie and I amazingly were able to climb only one of the dunes.  It happened to be the coldest day of our stay and also the windiest so while the rest of the crowd remained in their vehicles, up the dune we went – weenees.  Notice the tremendous slopes of Sleeping Bear Dunes and it turned out to be a tremendous workout.  No wonder people told us it would take us a few hours to climb the dunes.

We drove up to the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula all the way up to Northport and visited the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Museum, stopped along the way at various spots, such as the villages of Glen Arbor and Leelanau and picked up some yummy fudge at Suttons Bay on our way back to Traverse City.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse


The following day we also drove to the northernmost point of the Old Mission Peninsula, referred to simply as the Peninsula by the locals, and on its tip is the Old Mission Lighthouse, which also happens to sit on the 45th parallel.  We stopped at the Old Mission General Store which originally was a fur trading post back in the 1840’s and now carries a bit of everything. 

The 114 foot Schooner Manitou cruises Grand Traverse Bay.

We had made plans to meet Mary and Rick at their beautiful home for a fabulous homemade breakfast made by Mary.  After we caught up, we left to visit yet another couple we befriended at Torrey Oaks, Edie and Steve Hindman, who are likewise traveling the country and happened to be in nearby Petoskey.  Wouldn’t you know, as luck has it, our truck broke down and again, we had to call Good Sam Roadside Assist and had to get towed to the nearest dealer, this time for a broken belt.  Unfortunately, because a part had to be ordered, we had no transportation for a few days and so we missed catching up with them.

The cherry trees were in bloom and the Annual National Cherry Festival in Traverse City was in full swing during our stay.  We visited Cherry Republic, a store where you could find from cherry wine to cherry pie and everything cherry in between (no joke).  On July 4th, also our 30th wedding anniversary, we went to a great airshow provided by the Thunderbirds on the shores of Traverse Bay and since John bought us a new Nikon camera, I began using it right away.  

This guy was actually standing on the plane.

After watching the airshow we returned to the campground and returned to the waterfront later that evening for a fireworks display.  All was going well until it was time for the finale and wouldn’t you know, the barge where the fireworks were being lit caught fire, so they had to end the show.  Fortunately, there were no injuries.

We had a wonderful time in Traverse City and will definitely return.

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