Week 19 – Traverse City to Waterloo

Day 127 – Traverse City

On Sunday, we decided to explore the Old Mission Peninsula, a 22-mile long strip of land with farms, vineyards and beaches. Our first stop was 2 Lads, where Tracey did her first wine tasting of the day. Then we continued on to make lunch in the Westy at the Mission Point Light House. We actually met a super nice family there from Wisconsin who had a 1980 Westy, one of the first ever built.

After lunch, we continued the scenic drive, stopping for more wine tasting – Brys Estate and Bonobos. Then we returned to the campground for dinner and enjoyed a quiet evening, as almost everyone had returned home after the weekend.

Day 128 – Traverse City to Sleeping Bear Dunes

Monday was the day of the big eclipse. We didn’t really take the eclipse into account when planning our route, so we were far north of the path of totality. We spent the morning working from the campground, then headed to Leland, a historic town along Lake Michigan on highway M-22. Most of the eclipse took place while we were here, and we had a chance to catch a glimpse as we walked around town.

After exploring Leland, we drove on to the Platte River Campground in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. After setting up camp, we did a short 3-mile round-trip hike to the shore of Lake Michigan, where we got a good view of the dunes we would visit on Tuesday.

Day 129 – Sleeping Bear Dunes

Another morning working from the campground. After lunch, we visited the main part of Sleeping Bear Dunes, starting off with the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. After enjoying several scenic views along the drive, we continued north to do the Pyramid Point hike, with more great views of Lake Michigan. After a quick stop in Glen Arbor to walk around a bit, we did one more hike on the way back to the campground, the Empire Bluff hike.

Day 130 – Sleeping Bear Dunes to Grand Rapids

Wednesday started off with work and lunch at the campground. After lunch, we hit the road and drove to Grand Rapids to check in to our first hotel in 14 days, completing our longest continuous stretch in the van. We finished work and enjoyed our first evening back in a hotel.

Day 131 – Grand Rapids

Long day of work from the hotel, but we made time to visit Heritage Hill, where we walked for about three miles zigzagging through the neighborhood admiring the historic homes.

Next, we headed to downtown Grand Rapids and walked a few more miles before having dinner at the Grand Rapids Brewery.

Day 132 – Grand Rapids to Waterloo State Recreation Area

Once again, Friday started with work before eating lunch at the Pita House and grabbing groceries for the weekend. After squeezing in a couple more hours work, we drove to Waterloo Recreation Area where we camped for the weekend.

Day 133 – Waterloo State Recreation Area

Saturday we were ready for a long hike, and while the trail wasn’t the most exciting we’ve ever done, we had a nice 8-mile walk through the woods without meeting a single other person on the trail (probably a first for such a long hike). We relaxed in the van all evening enjoying the cool air, with temperatures dropping into the fifties…not too bad for mid-August!


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