Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

River Road Scenic ByWay

Last Thursday was our second day of our "weekend excursion". The book I had used to find this drive is The Most Scenic Drives in America put out by Reader's Digest. I then supplement it by research online, and found River Road on byways.org, a detailed description of the stops and attractions along the drive. Thus armed with information galore, we headed off early Thursday morning.
Our first stop was the Eagle Run Trail System, at the eastern end of River Road. We selected the 2 1/2 mile loop trail that went back to the banks of the Au Sable River, followed it for a short distance. and then looped back to he parking area. The trail was fairly well groomed, and passed through open fields, then the hardwood forests to the river. Not too much animal life going on, but it was a nice walk to get things going.

Next was the Foote Dam Fishing Access area. Steelhead trout and salmon make their way up the river from Lake Huron to he spawning grounds, and then head back down. We walked down to the river side, and a ways down the bank. Al did see several trout breaking the surface catching flies, and vowed to always have his fishing rod in the truck :-). What was also interesting were the signs warning that when the siren blows, the river will rise rapidly and you must leave the area immediately. Luckily, we did not witness this :-).

A yellow warbler finally sat still and posed long enough for a photo.

This was the view from the Foote Pond overlook. It was such a beautiful day, the colors were brilliant, and the complete absence of any sounds of civilization made it a really nice place to stop for awhile. That's one of the nicer things about our weekend being Wednesday and Thursday...not as many people are out and about at places like this. This observation area is supposed to be a good spot for viewing bald eagles, but we did not see any here.

The Lumberman's Monument was next on our itinerary. The lumber trade is very important in the history of the state of Michigan. The monument is located in an area of the white pine forest that was heavily lumbered in the second half of the 19th century. The lumber was in high demand, and the forests were quickly decimated. In 1909, the Huron National Forest was established, and the Forest Service, together with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has changed the lands that no-one wanted back to healthy forest. The monument was built in 1931, and dedicated in 1932 to the hard work the lumbermen did.

By now it was lunchtime, and I had another new experience. We went to our first "party store". Generally speaking, they are stores that are somewhat similar to a deli; they sell some groceries, soda, alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, firewood, lottery tickets, and some, like this one, has sandwiches and ice cream. So far, every party store I've seen has looked liked it would fall down in the next wind storm, but the sandwiches were tasty, and it was clean inside. Just a little scary looking on the outside :-). We took our sandwiches to the Iargo Springs area on the river. This is a site revered by the native Americans who believed the waters here held magical powers. Here is where the scarlet tanager finally came by for a picture!
From there, we drove back to the Foote Pond boat access, and got the boat ready to go onto the river for a ride. We have the Sea Eagle Sport Runabout and we are getting pretty speedy with set-up, now. It takes us about 20 minutes to get it all assembled and inflated, and about the same time to deflate and put it away. It has been the perfect boat for us to explore the lake and rivers, with enough room for both of us and the dogs. They do seem to enjoy their float experiences!

Foote Pond is where the trumpeter swans have a nesting area, and we saw this pair right away when we started cruising the pond.

We couldn't get too close, as they were in a shallow, marshy area, and the engine's prop was getting tangled with thick weeds. But I could see them very well with the binoculars. We also found a pair of common loons:

As we got closer, one started headed towards us, making eerie screeching cries. Then we noticed that the other one was protecting babies:

The male was attempting to draw us away from his family. he would keep ducking under the water, and popping up a few feet further away. It was really quite interesting.

We puttered around Foote Pond for awhile, until the engine battery started getting low. After we returned to the boat launch and put everything away, we went back to Foote Pond overlook again, looking for those darn eagles. Still no luck, but since it was only 5PM, and plenty of daylight left, we drove to the west end entrance of River Road, and walked out to the observation deck there. And that is where we found the eagle! he's really far away, and you'll probably have to trust me on the picture, but I could see it quite clearly with the binoculars, and he was beautiful! Such a thrill to see our first one in the wild. In the picture, he's sitting on a sandbank in the river, chewing on some rodent or fish that had a bad day.
At that point, we called it a day. We headed back to the cabin at Oscoda, and settled in for the night. Another game of fetch on the beach after dinner, and the dogs were toes up the rest of the night. Friday morning we rose early and got on the road back to Waldenwoods. Al went on duty at 2PM, and I opened the store at 5PM. It was a quiet weekend in the campground, but quite warm and sunny, so there was a bit of activity around the lake, and we did plenty of ice cream scooping.

So far, this week has been terribly hot and humid, like so many other areas. We're not doing too much during the day, and now we are back on our days off. Chores, laundry and grocery shopping beckon, as well as cleaning the interior. Once it cools down, we'll wash the outside of the trailer also. The pollen is coming off the trees in clouds, and everything is dry and dusty now. No happy medium so far!

After our work week ends next week, we'll be heading up to visit Mackinaw Island, and Sault Ste. Marie to see the shipping locks between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. It should be another interesting excursion. So far, we are very much enjoying our stay in Michigan. Until next time, have a great day!


  1. the video is on private, so I couldn't see it. But, it looks beautiful on the water there. Mackinaw is beautiful too.

  2. After three tries the video finally played. Must have been a glitch somewhere. Looks like you're having fun but one question.....I see Albert and the dogs but never any Karen. Are you really there?

    Your favorite sister,

  3. This looks like just a great day! What I wouldn't give for some of that water to get on or in. Looks like you 4 really enjoyed it.
    Desert dust is bothering me more this year than it did the last time I was out here. So I'm envying you the green and the water. Although not the heat. :-)


  4. What a gorgeous drive! One to add to the bucket list for sure! Nina

  5. As a native Michigander, I was excited to read about this wonderful trip, Karen - it's someplace I've never been! Looking out the window, I can see your rig, and know you're having a wonderful time up in Mackinac!

    Glad we met up in the laundry room on Monday - will enjoy following your weekly explorations here!
    Rose Pyke