Michigan Road Trip

Cal's sunset photo

I spent the last week of June 2015 with two friends, Kris Kane and Nancy Ward, on a road trip from Atlanta to Michigan. This was my second week-long road trip since I retired in March 2012; the first one, in the summer of 2012, was a trip down the California coast with my San Francisco-based friend Harvey. I’m hoping that my being retired will allow me to make numerous additional road trips in various parts of the United States – especially since it’s gotten so expensive to travel overseas.

The final destination for our Michigan adventure was the tiny town of Algonac, where Kris grew up. Kris’s long-time Atlanta friends had over the years heard many stories about Algonac, but we apparently had to wait until we retired from our full-time jobs to make the pilgrimage to Kris’s pre-Atlanta haunts.

Before this summer’s trip to Michigan, Nancy, Kris, and I had taken several vacations together (with assorted other friends), including a trip to France in October 2014, a May 2012 trip to Ireland, England, and Wales, a week-long villa rental in Italy a few years before that, and a trip to London a few years before that.

Our road trip to Michigan – a place I’d never seen except for a quick weekend trip to Ann Arbor back in 1970 –  included overnight stops in Kentucky on the way up and back. We spent the first segment of our stay in Michigan exploring the side of the state most distant from Algonac: the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. There we spent two nights in the resort town of Grand Haven, our base for day trips to the nearby tourist towns of Saugatuck and Holland. All three of these towns were full of charming shops and restaurants and the weather was great throughout our entire week of traveling. It was impossible (at least for Nancy and I, both southerners) to imagine how everything we were seeing is annually blanketed in snow and/or ice!

Before heading to Algonac for the final part of our trip, we spent a day in East Lansing, where Kris had attended Michigan State University, whose vast campus we explored through the windshield and windows of our car.

It was wonderful to spend an entire week within sight of various bodies of water – multiple rivers, lakes, and canals as well as our stay at Lake Michigan). And we spent one of our final afternoons crossing into Canada and driving alongside more water before taking a car ferry back over to the U.S.

Along the way, we met several sets of of Kris’s relatives and friends, all of them super-friendly. We stayed two nights in Algonac at the home of two of those friends, Angela and Louis.

Besides enjoying the unfamiliar scenery and the pleasant people, we stopped and shopped at several large flea markets, packing Kris’ already loaded-to-the-gills car with various bargain-priced finds.

I took the sunset photo at the top of this blogpost from the front of the motel where we stayed on Lake Michigan; Kris and Nancy took these others: 

Cal shopping at a handicraft center in Berea, Kentucky

Cal shopping at a handicraft center in Berea, Kentucky

Some of Kris's relatives and friends, who we met on our first day in Michigan

Some of Kris’s relatives and friends, who we met on our first day in Michigan

Lake Michigan beach scene

Lake Michigan beach scene

Nancy and Cal relaxing at our motel at Lake Michigan

Cal and Kris relaxing at our motel across the street from Lake Michigan

A garden in the middle of Saugatuck, where we spent a lovely afternoon shopping and eating

A garden in the middle of Saugatuck, where we spent a lovely afternoon shopping and eating

Our last breakfast in Grand Haven, before heading back east to Lansing

Our last breakfast in Grand Haven, before heading back east to Lansing

Lunching at a restaurant across the street from the campus of Michigan State University

Lunching at a restaurant across the street from the campus of Michigan State University

The art museum at MSU -  which turned out to be a lot more interesting from the outside than  inside

The art museum at MSU – which turned out to be a lot more interesting from the outside than inside

Another restaurant meal, this one near Algonac with another set of Kris's friends

Another restaurant meal, this one near Algonac with another set of Kris’s friends

Our gracious hosts in Algonac, Angela and Lou

Our gracious hosts in Algonac, Angela and Lou

View along the Canadian coast drive

View along the Canadian coast drive

The car ferry we used to get back to the USA from our brief foray into Canada

The car ferry we used to get back to the USA from our brief foray into Canada

One of Nancy's Lake Michigan photos

One of Nancy’s Lake Michigan photos

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9 thoughts on “Michigan Road Trip

  1. Really enjoyed your blog and seeing the photos. I had not seen the one of the sunset that you took (great shot), or any of Nancy’s photos. Of course, it was a good write-up.  Kris

  2. I was going to comment too, on that last photo Nancy did of the water and boat. A beautiful photograph! It was fun to see all these. I know people from Holland, MI – or did. Alice and Jerry Veldhuis. She taught at Headland High, was a good friend of Frances Padgett. Their daughter, Anne, was in my art class when she was in eighth grade. Maybe you remember them, or at least a mention of them? Flanders

  3. Cal, This sounds great.  I didn’t know that the three of you spent a week in Michigan but it sounds as though it was enjoyable.  The last picture with the caption “One of Nancy’s Lake Michigan photos” is a terrific photo, easily the equal of several award winning photos.  The picture that you titled “Nancy and Kris relaxing at our motel across the street from Lake Michigan” appears to be a photo of Kris and a man rather than Nancy.  I hope I have that right and it’s not Nancy! Roger

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