Welcome and thanks for stopping by.
My reference links will open in a new tab.

If you have any corrections, suggestions, comments please use the Comments at the end of the post.
I do respond to all comments. - Thanks!

July 30, 2019

Michigan - Road Trip 2019

Michigan our 39th state to visit.  We drove across the Upper Peninsula (The UP) with the intent of arriving in Munising with time to catch the afternoon cruise to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  Thus we cut fairly straight across the UP and did not follow the Lake Superior shoreline.

This cruise is a splurge for sure, we paid $45 ea for the extended cruise to Spray Falls.  Was it worth it?  For sure! – once, anyway, it was a splurge. There is a road that can be traveled a few miles into the National Lakeshore and lots of hiking trails.  Although we could have done this for FREE, we’d have been above the rocks in viewing platforms like this one, and missed most of the reason for being here.

he rocks are stained with the minerals that leach from the sandstone.  Brilliant orange, white and yellow contrast with the ebony black in various proportions.`

The cliffs are potholed with caves from the erosion of Lake Superior’s storms.  I caught these kids in a perfect 1-2-3-jump as they finished exploring a cave and swimming back to their pontoon boat.

Boat rentals, especially pontoon boats are a popular way to see the rocks at a leisurely pace.

Another popular tour is the kayak tour.  The kayaks and tour guests are loaded onto a cruise boat similar to ours.  They are then dropped off with a guide to enjoy an up close experience and picked up later at the far end of the rocks.  next time!

A kayak is required to explore this arch properly.

There is a tree standing proud atop these pillars.  Although there are no nutrients available from the pillars, life has a way.

Note how the tree’s roots are reaching over to the mainland where it finds the sustenance it needs.

Our turn around point is at Spray Falls

The only year-round waterfall along the lakeshore.  Although the kids seem to like the more accessible Miners Creek.

A very unusual landscape with the color of the sandstone cliffs separating the dense forest from the water.

We have one last bridge to cross on our way to our destination in Dayton OH.  But it’s a biggie! and it’s very windy!  At 5 miles the Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the US!

Whew - it was Fran’s turn to drive!  The toll keeper collected our $10 and told her to stay in the right lane, at no more than 20 mph with flashers on.  Advice we both heartily agreed to! On west side of the bridge is Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is on the east.  We found a nice park on Lake Huron to go wading, collecting our last Great Lake.

Our adventure  map now looks like this:

A great day we had but again rains caught up with us.

All across the UP we saw signs for Pasties, World Famous Pasties, Grama’s Secret Pasties, etc.  I was in the Navy and what I think of as a pasty is not really edible.  So we finally stopped and learned it’s a PAST-eee, not a PASTE-eee.   We bought a ‘traditional’ pasty with potatoes, rutabagas, onions, peppers, beef and pork to share.

It’s really similar to an empanada but with an lighter pastry crust.  And perfect under our wet skies.
WOW! No Bad Days in Michigan!  What a great experience we had.  Wish we had picked up more of a variety of pasties.  A fun local meal for a rainy day.

We’re now settled for a couple weeks in Dayton OH.  We were last here a couple years ago, where I ended each post with a Dayton Fun Fact.

Here’s an Ohio Fun Fact: Ohio’s State Beverage?  -  Tomato Juice

Stay tuned for more Fun Facts!

July 28, 2019

Minnesota – Road Trip 2019

Minnesota, truly the land of 10,000 lakes.  We saw many of them from the road!, they’re everywhere. 

We chose to drive the Paul Bunyan trail, not knowing a major 3-day concert was taking place.  It was great to see the sun, but not so the crowds the concert attracted.  We'll consider doing the trail again on another trip.  We stopped at Leech Lake outside of Walker for our lunch break.


It’s a large park that looks to be popular with the locals.  The ‘lighthouse’ contains a game table.  A good place to play a few hands of Euchre.

Once past the concert crowds we began looking for a spot for the night.  We’ve seen signs for ’Resort’ and ‘Recreation’, but not camping.  At Sandy Lake we decided to check out both the resort and recreation area. 

The resort was an RV park (W/E no dump station), the gal in the office chastised us for not having a reservation: “We like to know who is coming…” 

We left to check out the Lake Sandy Recreation Area.  AWESOME!  Our favorite campsite of the trip.

Our site on the lake had its own boat dock with 30 amp electric (water and dump nearby).

One of the short trails led to a wildlife viewing area

And, at last, a spotted frog!  A trail guide in Banff said to watch for them, we’ve been watching for quite a while now!

The campground also has free showers and FREE laundry!

FREE laundry? Ubetchya we took advantage of that!

And the cost for an electric site on the lake; with a private boat dock, FREE fresh water; FREE dump station; FREE showers; FREE laundry?  $13 a night!!!  MN honors the NPS Geezer pass for 50% camping!  Will we be back? ubetchya!

With the tanks dumped, water full, laundry done and still some regret we moved on in the morning.

From the VC in Duluth we have our first view of the ‘World Famous’ Aerial Lift Bridge.  The VC provided a map so we could drive over the bridge to access the shore of Lake Superior.

We were also told that downtown construction would all but prevent us from visiting the Duluth Trading Company.


Lake Superior is a new-to-us Great Lake.  In order to add it to our map, we need to touch the water, not just look at it.  We both went wading in the brackish waters at Duluth end of Lake Superior.

Duluth is not the prime spot to go wading in Lake Superior, but we do have an outside shower!

Leaving Duluth we crossed the bridge to Wisconsin.

Where we found a much less desirable overnight at the Bad River Casino.

Certainly No Bad Days and a couple really awesome ones.

Just one more bridge to cross on the way to Ohio!

July 26, 2019

North Dakota - Road Trip 2019

Welcome to North Dakota! a new state for us!  North Dakota marks the 38th state that we have visited in our RV travels in Rufus.

The Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South Unit) had several open spaces. Thus we also claimed our 34th (of the 46) land accessible National Parks in the contiguous states.

We were not there long before this big fella wandered through our campsite.

He was headed toward the open grassland across from us.  I gave him a decent head start before checking out the area.

No sign of him!  I did not go very far, he was too big to hide.  If he laid down for a nap, I figured he deserved one – undisturbed. We settled in for a quiet evening with the plan of checking out some of the trails in the morning.  Fran added North Dakota to our map of states Rufus has taken us to.

We have to do something unique to the state or spend the night in the state to claim it on our map.  We’ve now spent at least one night in all the states west of the Mississippi.

There was a light rain in the morning, sufficient so that we abandoned any hiking plans and headed for the VC.   We took a brief look around and a tour of Teddy’s cabin and hoped for better luck at the Painted Canyon.

But, luck was not with us, just the now heavy rain as we passed by Painted Canyon.

Suzanne in her Take to the Highway blog mentioned the North Unit should not be missed.  Her experience can be found HERE.   Alas we missed it :(  

We continued east to Bismarck and our first Walmart night camping of the trip.

We parked on the side as directed by Wally Security.  At first the spot didn’t look too good, but it was quiet.  And Fran had a nice spot to practice a few of her fairway shots.

I’m sure there is more to Fargo than the woodchipper, but that’s the only reason we stopped.  We had not seen the movie Fargo in awhile, but it was available to view on Amazon video.  Still fun? … ubetchya.

The real/deal wood chipper from the movie.  North Dakota claims to be the last state most folks visit when trying to collect all 50 states.  There is a ‘Best for Last Club’ poster to take your selfie with.

Goodbye North Dakota, we need to continue east. Despite a poorly timed rain day we enjoyed our visit. Certainly an inconvenience but No Bad Days.