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: