I-75 Top to Bottom
OK – Buckle UP!! This Post is a lot longer than I anticipated. There is an abbreviated version of just images in the Portfolio Galley on the Web Site.
So you should prepare and reward yourself as you move along. Today we will just stick to beverages.
- Chapter One – Coffee – I like Guatemalan
- Chapter Two – German Wheat Beer – Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier beer of choice.
- Chapter Three – Bourbon – Markers Mark 46, Crown Royal maybe substituted
- Chapter Four – Irish Whiskey – Bushmills Black Label
- Chapter Five -Limoncello – Distilleria Petrone, that’s the one in a Rectangular bottle
My wife and I had been planning a road trip for quite some time. Originally thinking, to take two months and spend at least a month of that time in Canada, visiting Labrador, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island etc. Unfortunately, the Covid restrictions made going to Canada impossible. We started with a packed car with too much camera equipment but all the necessities. Every shape and size suitcase packed and loaded in the car, and with high spirits, we headed north out of Florida at the end of July towards our first real stop, Washington DC.
We spent the first night in Savannah, after a full day of driving to get out of Florida. We left Savannah early the next morning, to spend more time in Charleston, it was about a three-hour drive to Charleston. We walked around Charleston, explored the beautiful old homes, and had a nice dinner. We also explored the deep history of slavery in Charleston, which dates back before the War of Independence.
After Charleston we headed up to Washington DC / Maryland where we stayed with close family, for six nights. We explored The Smithsonian, The National Aquarium, the botanical park and hiked up the Potomac River. We had our trustworthy tour guides! Now we were relaxed and started to take photos.
Here are several images of the Botanical Garden off Kemp Mill Road in Silver Springs
Above is the Subway station, which we took the first day. It should be known that if you can drive, you should. It is more interesting, and actually cheaper to drive if you have to pay for parking at the Subway Station. The next two days we drove.
We went to the Mall in Washington DC and the Smithsonian Museums for three days. One of the other days, we drove to Baltimore, went to the National Aquarium, which was fantastic and had a wonderful lunch
At the head of the Mall is our Nation’s Capital Building. On either side running the length of the Mall are the Smithsonian Museums .
At the Aquarium, we were lucky enough to see and touch Jellyfish.
Our last day in Washington we were taken to the Potomac River which was special, to actually see it – with all the history.
We left Maryland and drove straight through to Akron, Ohio, to use as a pitstop. We arrived in the late afternoon with the intention of leaving early the next morning, to have a short drive to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In Ann Arbor we stayed with a college friend and his partner, for three nights. We arrived in Ann Arbor right at the end of July, which was great as Ann Arbor was quiet, not a lot of students, you could park the car easily on the street which was nice. We had a wonderful time going on campus, to the Museum and Law School.
We then went to Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum where my friend has a sculpture that they donated to the garden.
So, after having really good pizza and some Boston Coolers we headed north, we drove straight through with one stop in Grayling, to Sault Ste. Marie, Upper Peninsula (UP), Michigan.
The Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan is different, sparsely populated, and very rural. The eastern half, which is where we were, has a couple of larger cities as opposed to the western half which has much smaller towns and ethnically has many more Finns and Norwegians than the eastern half. We stayed in Sault Ste. Marie.
- Lake Superior contains 10% of all planet Earth’s fresh surface water. There are 78 different species of fish
- It covers 82,000 sq km (31,700 sq mi) with an average depth of 147 meters or 483 feet. Underwater visibility in some spots reaches 30 meters. Lake Superior has its own tide. The maximum wave ever recorded was 9.45 meters or 31 feet high.
- The deepest point in the lake is 405 meters or 1,333 feet. There have been about 350 shipwrecks recorded in Lake Superior and Lake Superior is known to not give up her dead. Over 10,000 lives have been lost in her waters.
- Lake Superior is, by surface area, the largest lake in the world. it contains as much water as all the other Great Lakes combined, plus three extra Lake Eries! There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America with water one foot deep.
- The average temperature of Lake Superior is 36°F or 2°C… very refreshing on a hot summer day!
We went on scenic drives along the south coast of Lake Superior which was nice and very laid back.
Every day we set out in the morning and explored. In Sault Ste. Marie we saw the locks of course, we went to Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Point, Paradise, Grand Marais, and Munising. Should you find yourself in Sault Ste. Marie go to Fat Matt’s pizzeria, it’s only carry-out, but it was the best food we had in the UP.
Here you can see the different water levels between Lake Superior and and Lake Huron. Where the man is standing is the water level of Lake Huron. Behind him half way up are the lock doors, holding back the water of Lake Superior, there are another set of doors at the far end about 400 yards going in Lake Huron. On the inner Lock a ship is entering from Lake Superior, at the higher level.
With the doors totally open on Lake Superior sides, The doors at the other end on the Lake Huron side, are closed.
BTW – The Bridge in the background is the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge to Canada.
Below are the Tahquamenon Lower Falls also know locally as the Root Beer Falls, The first and third images were taken from a row boat, the second and fourth image from the shore.
Below is a typical field just south of the lake and below that an abandoned gas station.
Then we headed south to Mackinaw City. We spent two nights in Mackinaw City and one day took the ferry to Mackinac Island. No cars are allowed on the Island, you can walk, rent bicycles, take a carriage, or a horse. You can have a late breakfast at the Grand Hotel, if you arrive there before 10 AM. The Island is a beautiful place and has been important for 100s of years, in trade and later as a retreat for the rich in the summertime.
Mackinaw City also has a wonderful charm, surrounded by Lake Michigan on one side and Lake Huron on the other. Mackinac Bridge is something spectacular in its own right, connecting the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. We bought the obligatory fudge and had a very nice time, although it was our first day of bad weather, it rained heavily in the late afternoon. Also, must recommend Darrow’s Family Restaurant, great food, and famous for its pies. Try and get there as early as possible, there is always a line, due to its quality.
Here are five images of Mackinaw City early in the morning, before opening. There is still fog over the city.
From there we headed south to Bay City to visit family, stopping at Grayling for lunch and Hartwick Pines State Park, one of the last remaining “Old Growth Pine Forest” in the State. Bay City was a nice break, we spent two wonderful days there just relaxing with family and chilling out, before heading down to Detroit.
We were in Detroit for five days and four nights seeing old friends, from as far back as elementary school, and spending time downtown at a friend’s nightclub one evening. We spent a day at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier Art Museums in the USA. Another day walking around the downtown and the Detroit River taking in the fantastic old Art Deco Buildings from the turn of the 20th century.
DIA hosts the Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera, these Murals used the Ford Rouge Plant as an inspiration. The murals are amazing!! Here are some images, we were able to take, with the exception of the first image which I borrowed from Public Domain to give an idea of the enormity. The murals are very large pieces of Art.
Several shots of the interior of the Guardian Building Completed in 1929 – Fantastic example of Art Deco.
We walked along the Detroit Riverfront.
We bid Detroit goodbye for now and did the long haul all the way to Charlottesville, Virginia with the intention of staying there two nights. Visiting Monticello and then going to the University of Virginia to see the large library building that Thomas Jefferson had designed. Unfortunately, we ran into some really heavy rain in the late afternoon through the late evening, so we didn’t get in the Charlottesville until 9 o’clock in the evening, this was on a treacherous unlit two-lane blacktop country road at night. Monticello was nice and it was interesting. There is a lot to take in about Thomas Jefferson, his legacy is complicated but full of rich history. We went to University of Virginia, which is a beautiful Campus, entered and explored the Jeffersonian Library. At U of V they now have very large monument to the slaves that built the original University, all the names etched in black granite.
From Charlottesville we drove about 50 miles to Rockfish Gap, which is right where the Blue Ridge Parkway begins in the north, this is mile zero, and headed south. The road itself is smooth and well maintained. The scenery is beautiful and we were extremely lucky since there was absolutely no traffic, it seemed as if the road was closed off for us. The Parkway is a two-lane highway never straight for more than one hundred to two hundred yards. You are either going up (around 3500 feet and always it seems no lower that 1500 feet) or going down and just went on and on and on like that. There are pull offs for some Vista points where we stopped, and we looked out over the valleys on either side of the Parkway. It’s very wooded and we made it all the way to Roanoke, Virginia, mile marker 121, and got off to spend the night. The next day we were back on the Blue Ridge Parkway to continue our trip and we had to take a little detour as part of it was closed right there, but we got back on continued our journey south and drove again all the way down to Boone, North Carolina, miler marker 238.5. It’s tiring to drive but it was just gorgeous. In Boone we spent the night had some the best Bar B Que I’ve ever had at a place called Pedalin’ Pig.
The next morning, we decided that we would call it a day as we were getting tried and decided to make the straight drive to Savannah. On the way up we only used Savannah as a pitstop with the assumption that we would spend a couple of days there on the way back. We got into the Savannah and the next day we walked around, which we really enjoyed, by the waterfront and historic neighborhoods. People were very nice we left deciding we liked Savannah after all. Decided to leave the cameras in the car.
Then the next morning, waking up for the straight drive through to Miami, as there is really not much to see from between Savannah and Miami. There is St. Augustine which neither one of us are very fond of, of course Jacksonville but we had no reason to really go there same with Gainesville. Nice places, but nothing was drawing our interest. So, the straight haul back, we got home early evening.
31 days on the road from July 22 to August 22. I have put together a directory of 31 images from 31 days on my web site. I hope that you enjoyed reading this and reminiscing with me. We are looking forward to our next trip which we are planning for the color change sometime in October. Tentatively, we are thinking of driving back up to Boone, NC and continuing down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then deciding what to do, whether to hit North Georgia or perhaps somewhere else, but I don’t think we want to stay out more than two weeks this time.