Michigan: Traverse City to Grand Rapids

From Mackinac I cut over to the Traverse City area where I began what would be a week of local brewery visits and to experience all things cherry related. It was kind of overcast for most of my visit and it was supposed to rain off and on over the next few days, so it […]

Michigan: Mackinac Island

After crossing the bridge from the UP into Mackinac City, I spent the rest of the afternoon trying some super sweet and… interesting local wine in town, and chatting with folks at a local brewery in the drizzly evening. In a small boost to my self confidence I got hit on by a range of […]

Michigan: UP north to the bridge

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has been on my radar for a while after seeing gorgeous photos of the sandstone cliffs, tunnels and caves in amazing blue water. Unfortunately for me, it was far too windy over pretty much the entirety of my time on the UP to explore by water on a boat tour […]

Michigan: the western Upper Peninsula

Having started out my day with some pretty spectacular roadside attractions leaving Wisconsin, Michigan was not about to be outdone and provided a few roght off the bat. First up: the world’s largest corkscrew! It’s part of a sign for a liquor store/gas station situation, and had it been open I would have bought some […]

Illinois: Chicago

I’d been to Chicago before a few years back for a visit downtown for a few days and a couple of concerts, and it still remains the only part of Illinois I’ve been to. Again. This time it was because it was such a short jump across the state line and also to visit friends […]

Wisconsin: Apostle Islands to La Crosse

Crossing into Wisconsin from Duluth was exciting for a number of reasons: 1) only minutes into the state I came across a museum dedicated to accordions, 2) the grey dreary weather was clearing, and 3) it meant I was so close to all the cheese. Sadly the accordion museum seemed to be closed so I […]

Minnesota: Boundary Waters and the Superior coastline

The drizzly, windy weather followed me east into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, but after a grey and stormy evening the morning turned blue and mild.  After a hunt for a place to rent a canoe and explore (I mean, it’s in the name) I was sadly unsuccessful- all the local places I could […]

Minnesota: the Paul Bunyan trail to Voyageurs National Park

North of the twin cities quickly turns into the land of Paul Bunyan and his woodland entourage. Outside Brainerd I spotted Paul’s giant footprints in the scenic Kohl’s parking lot (my sandals for scale), Babe the blue ox in Elvis style, a corn cob man named Colonel Cobber (story here), a giant statue of Paul’s […]

Nebraska and Iowa: rivers and lakes with a side of ice cream

I’d driven across Nebraska twice and popped over for a coffee brunch once and to visit Kevin’s mom’s new house in progress, but hadn’t stayed overnight there and was so close I had to veer over the border from SD for a night to check it out. I was told that the Niobrara River was […]

North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt Park and more

After my detour around the big rainstorm, I arrived at the Shadehill Reservoir close to the state line where I camped for a few days to regroup and relax. The water wasn’t the best swimming (lots of algae) but I went in anyway, and between that and being a hot sweaty mess this was great […]