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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It All Just Came Together

Last Wednesday and Thursday was our weekend, and we took our postponed trip to two state parks on the Michigan shoreline: Ludington State Park and Silver Lake State Park. We departed Waldenwoods around 11:30 for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Montague, a small town on the shores of White Lake that feeds into Lake Michigan. We had booked two nights at The Weathervane Inn, a small inn on the shore of White Lake. It was a little more than I wanted to pay, but it was hard to find someplace to stay nearby, in August, that allowed dogs in the room. This is a popular area for summer visitors, and we would find out why on Thursday!

After our drive, we wanted to stretch our legs, and running right outside the inn was the beginning of the Hart Montague Bicycle Trail. We jumped on that, and walked almost 2 miles down the trail before turning back and returning to the campground. It was a very nice walk, and the dogs appreciated it :-). It was time for dinner by then, and we decided to try a place called Pekadills, as they had outdoor seating where the dogs could join us. It was wonderful! It looks like an beautiful old house that's been converted to an eatery, with a few tables inside but most tables are set out back in the garden. The landscaper had done a wonderful job, and all the tables were set in little alcoves surrounded by plantings, so you really didn't have any close tables to you. The dogs had a great time, entertaining the children, and our sandwiches were very good. Of course, there was also ice cream for dessert :-). I've had more ice cream this summer than I've had in the last ten years...this needs to end soon :-)!

Thursday morning, after free breakfast at the inn, we didn't have a specific game plan in mind, so we decided to drive to the furthest point, Ludington State Park, and work our way back to Montague as the day went on. It was about an hour's drive, and the day was beautiful! Sunny, no humidity and in the 70's. Perfect weather. Give me that all year long please! As we drove down the long entrance to the park, folks back home will know what I mean when I say it was spectacular, just like driving down Napague stretch to Montauk, with sand dunes on either side of you (except no houses!) and sparkling water on one side. You would swear you were on the ocean shore, except there was no salty tang to the air.

This park is huge, with three separate campgrounds, hiking trails, a gorgeous lake, a river flowing from the dam at the bottom of the lake, beaches galore...just an awesome place to spend a summer's day. We parked down in the day use area, and took a walk along the river to the dam,

 and then decided we were going to go for a boat ride around Hamlin Lake. 
Can a day get more beautiful than this?

Shoreline scenery
Boardwalks like this connected the marshy areas for the hiking trails

A swan family made an appearance
We headed towards the dunes at the far end of the lake, that separate Lake Hamlin from Lake Michigan

and decided to make a pit stop! The water was great, and the dogs had a wonderful time swimming.

I decided to climb the dune
it's a lot tougher than it looks, the sand is super soft and as you try and climb you sink up to your calves with each step. Plus the sand is super hot!

A view from the point that I made it to :-)

After we made it back to the boat launch area, pulled out and packed up, it was definitely time for lunch. We were going to try the park beach cafe, but as we got back to the entrance of the park where the cafe was, the parking lots were full, with rangers on duty directing traffic. It was really crowded now, so we had made out ok by getting there early in the morning. After a quick lunch at everyone's favorite burger joint, Mickey D's, we headed down to Silver Lake State Park. Silver Lake is a definite tourist town, seemingly built around the park simply to service the tourists and dune buggy riders that flock to the area. We signed up for a sunset jeep dune tour with Parrot's Landing, and then went off to do a bit of exploring and have some dinner. 
Little Sable Lighthouse. We could walk on the pedestrian path with the dogs, but not on the beach. The beach was very crowded with sun worshippers.


We found a pull-over spot with a trail, so we decided to stop and take a walk. The trail started here, and went gently into the woods. We though we were going for a nice little stroll through the woodlands, and then the trail ended here:

Straight up! Well, I guess we're up to the challenge. And were rewarded with the view at the top:

and then back down...carefully!
That was enough dune climbing for one day. I can't imagine being those people back at Sleeping Bear Dunes trying to get up that 400 foot dune...I would have paid the rescue fee!

After dinner at BubbaQ's (really!) (not bad, and had outdoor seating...we really wanted to go to the Frikken' Chicken place, but it was only open on weekends!), we loaded up in the jeeps and strapped in. 

Chelsea refused to get in the back, so Casey and I rode together in the back seats.

He's not too sure about this!
Headed into the ORV area of the dunes, a very busy place!

After driving UP, and I mean straight UP Mount Baldy, we paused for the view

More driving up and down dunes, bouncing along the whoopty-do's as they called them, we reached our sunset point

Ready to jump out and enjoy the sunset

Here it is! Gorgeous!

The fading colors
Back across the dunes..

the end of a busy day. Need I say that all slept soundly that night? :-).

It was a wonderful weekend, and even without specific plans for the day it all fell into place. Its really nice when it works out that way, isn't it?

Friday it was back to work, and here at the beginning of the week, its time to move forward with some planning to do. We are ending our stay here at Waldenwoods right after Labor Day; in fact, Labor Day Monday will be my last day in the parkstore. Al works through Wednesday, and as of this time, we are planning on leaving September 8 and make our way back to New York. There's a lot of things to do before the closing, so we're giving ourselves some time to do that and visit with family and friends before heading to Kentucky for our stint at Amazon. We have really enjoyed ourselves here at Waldenwoods, and rate the workamping experience very highly. It's a fun place to work, the people are great, and the facilities are very nice. We definitely recommend it for anyone looking to workamp in the area :-).

The really big news at this time is...we have our workamping jobs set for next summer....yes, the Phillips's are going to Colorado next summer! We have signed contracts to work at Chalk Creek Campground in Nathrop Colorado from May 1 into September. We are very excited and looking forward to our adventures in a new state.

In the meantime, its getting reading for the last summer weekend rush here, and then all is quiet. We'll be having a store-wide sale starting next week, and the campground should be pretty full for the holiday weekend. We are also keeping a close eye on the weather situation along the east coast, as we have a lot of family and friends that could be affected by Hurricane Irene. Keep our fingers crossed that it makes a turn and goes out to sea!


  1. what a great day off!!!..love the jeep shots!! and the sunset!!

  2. Beautiful trip. You have put Michigan on our "to do" list. Fingers Crossed that the Hurricane stays off shore.

  3. That was just a beautiful trip you had and all on a week-end. You guys sure do pack in a lot. Beautiful pictures.

    thanks for giving me so many great places to go in Michigan. Amazing how fast your time seems to have gone by, you'll be finished in a week. Looking forward to your next adventures.