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Day 24 (9.25.07) - Across Michigan to Ohio (Photos added)

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Starting Mileage: 113705
Ending Mileage: 113983
Weather: 80 F, Muggy, Light Rain on Occasion
Camped at Erie Island Resort & Marina (Coast to Coast) near Port Clinton, OH
(ps - we've been keeping a camping journal on the trip on paper also, thought I'd start adding this info to blog entries as well, will try to update the earlier ones also).

As much as we enjoyed visiting my aunt and uncle in Michigan, we have a long trip ahead and still need to get through New England before Winter hits, so decided to hit the road again this morning. I climbed up on the RV roof to retie the chairs & tables I'd moved up there (my shower was a bit crowded). My Uncle Bob is a pastor in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, so said a prayer for our safety before we left.

It was sprinkling slightly when we headed out, and off and on during the day, but not too badly. I decide to try the two lane highway (Hwy 60) rather then the freeway (I-94), hoping it would be more scenic. It was, we loved the drive - but I did get lost a little bit before I found Hwy 60. (I do have the GPS software for the laptop, but being somewhat lazy - or adventurous, take your pick, I stopped at a local market in Pokagon and got directions. We went fairly near to Sumnerville, where Madeline had wanted to take us to see the church where "Old Rugged Cross"was written. I sorely wanted to do this, but given how late we were running (& tend to run), we had to pass it by.

During our visit, we had also made arrangements to visit my cousin Paul and his wife Sharon in Pittsburg, PA Thursday (he has to work Friday), so are trying not to fall off schedule too much (then there's always that New England winter we're trying to avoid!).

We had a lovely drive along Hwy 6 and saw some of the Michigan countryside and small towns. We stopped at a small store that had been closed down because it looked like it had access to a river we had just crossed. It did have access, it had been a bait shop and had a fishing platform out back as well as nice steps down to the St. Joseph River. Mom actually walked all the way to the bottom and collected some sand! Later, as I was driving through one very small town, I thought I saw a Historical Marker. I went ahead and pulled over and it turns out the town, Vandalia, had been a stop on the "Underground Railroad" prior to the civil war.

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We met up with the freeway (I-94) again in Jackson and drove on that through Ann Arbor to Dearborn, just outside of Detroit. The freeway surface was in bad shape (as well as I-75 we drove on later in the day) - probably the worst roads we've been on to date. It also looked like freeways everywhere, concrete barriers on the sides and middle, large semi's passing us regularly, freeway signs and billboards. I've decided that if I had to do the whole trip by freeway, I'd just as soon stay home. What's the point if everyplace looks the same? I prefer to drive through the countryside and see farms, fruit stands and rivers (or prairies, desserts and mountains) then concrete ribbons.

Anyway, after some trouble navigating Dearborn, we eventually ended up at the Ford Museum and Greenfield. It was very expensive and it was already 2:30 PM (everything closing at 5:00 PM), so we elected to just see Greenfield. I was pretty frustrated at this point (what with the bumpy highway, bad directions to the Ford Museum, and confusing directions to the facility once we got there) so was complaining that I didn't care if I never set foot in a Ford again, but Greenfield was actually pretty nice. I guess the morale is that in some cases, you really need to do your homework first or pay the consequences. On this trip, we've done quite well so far by 'winging it'. On this occasion, that didn't work very well. We did not budget enough time or money for this site, so I do have mixed feelings about it - not sure if I want to go back.

Greenfield Village consists of 93 (?) acres that Henry Ford used to start building a living museum of various things. He included the set of buildings from "Menlo Park" that Thomas Edison and his team created many of his inventions in. I hadn't realized how much this was an organized, team effort. It wasn't just Mr. Edison sitting in his lab inventing, he formed a business whose business was to invent! In addition to "Menlo Park", Mr. Ford acquired the Wright Brother House and Bicycle shop and other historic homes & buildings (or replicated them). Several buildings had people in period dress to answer questions or offer information. They also had actual Ford Model T's (13), horse drawn wagons, and trains you could ride around Greenfield Village in.

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Mom got a little tired walking around of course, so decided she wanted to sit by the carousel so she could listen to the music. I went through a couple other buildings, and when I got back she had decided she wanted to ride the carousel afterall (she had said "No" earlier). Boy did she ride, she was laughing, singing along and waving to folks as they walked by. I tried videotaping all this, we'll see how it turned out.

Greenfield Village closed at 5:00 PM, so we headed back out on the road, south on I-75 this time. The road was terrible, but there wasn't much I could do about it (I hope the RV didn't suffer any permanent damage. Car's probably don't even notice those bumps much, but every one I hit felt like the RV had hit a curb!). Mom had found a Coast to Coast campground along Lake Erie, so we got off the freeway in Toledo and headed north on Hwy 2. We did pull over once at a National Wildlife Refuge (a Wetlands). We did see some Killdeer, ducks, canada geese, and a heron, but it was too dark to try to take pictures.

Eventually we made it to the campgrounds, where I am typing this from - it is very quiet here so I expect we'll get a good nights sleep (although Thunderstorms are passing through the area). We may spend a little time sightseeing along Lake Erie tomorrow morning, then we'll head on towards Pittsburgh. Aunt Madeline suggested we could drive to Pittsburgh from her house in about 5 hours - we're doing it in 2 days, but I kind of wish I'd taken 4 or 5 (I probably should have budgeted a couple of days at Dearborn). This has been the consistent theme of this trip, this is a big, beautiful country (once you get off the interstates) and there is always more to see then there is time to see it!

Posted by jl98584 18:25 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Comments

You did well to get that far! You did indeed go right along the Lake Erie area that I had told you about but thought you wouldn't have time for. I've gone birding there a number of times--Maumee, Crane Creek, Ottawa NWR, etc. And Paul and I met there one year and birded together for a few days.

I never did say 5 hours to Pittsburgh--it usually takes us 6 1/2 or 7. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience in Dearborn. I hope tomorrow you will have a good time and will arrive safely in Pittsburgh. We certainly enjoyed having you here.

by msj

I think Ottawa NWR is where we drove through quickly and saw the Great Blue Heron and other birds. I'm sorry if I misquoted you - regardless of the specifics, you would undoubtedly be able to make the trip in considerably less time than I can in the RV - also I brake for everything! (I stopped today to take pictures of the grapes along Lake Erie in NY - not that you folks have never seen grapes on vines before of course...)

by jl98584

Oh yes, please don't worry if I occasionally post a negative comment (about roads or whatever). I am enjoying the trip immensely. As a travel blog by someone who does love to travel, it will be positive most of the time. I just thought I should add some reality from time to time, not just gloss over that we occasionally encounter bad roads, stay up too late, or whatever. Maybe it adds a little balance? If everything we try to do works out perfectly, maybe we aren't taking enough risks?

by jl98584

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