Our journey continued to The Sleeping Bear Dunes in Northern Michigan. Now, to the technologically backward, it might seem like a simple task to look at a map, choose a route involving interstates, and driving to our destination. But, to a tech-savvy pair like Central Planning and I, it made more sense to follow the route chosen for us by our Global Positioning Satellite unit known as "Snickerfritz". We figured that, being as how satellites can see the world in much the way we see a map, it would be a simple task for Snickerfritz to guide us by the shortest route possible to The Dunes, whereupon we would have more time to frolic and play in the sand.
However, we failed to take into account that the shortest route may not necessarily be the fastest route. Instead, we naively trusted modern technology to do our thinking for us and as a result, I saw parts of Michigan that I am certain have not been seen by people in a long while. In fact, even Snickerfritz's screen showed empty gray areas on either side of the road we were on. If your GPS unit doesn't know what's on either side of the road, this is a sure sign that you should stay on the road and keep going until you no longer hear the distant sound of Dueling Banjos.
Still, we kept on, following the directions plotted out for us by Snickerfritz, and doing our level best not to panic. Despite the offbeat route, we finally arrived at the dunes near suppertime. Unfortunately, we had not taken into consideration that Michigan, especially Northern Michigan, does not necessarily adhere to the calendar with regard to seasons. For instance; while it was hot and muggy in Southeastern Michigan, in Northwestern Michigan, it was cold and rainy. Inquiries to Diswan and Datwan as to whether they were ready to hike the dunes and see the lake were met with resounding and definitive negative responses. Not that I blamed them; it was cold, windy, wet, and we were all hungry. So. we hung around the beach for a bit and then headed for Mackinaw City for the night.
Make no mistake, the Northern coastline of Michigan is gorgeous and I can readily see why it would attract people to live there.Not my cup of tea, really, but I understand other people wanting to do it. Perhaps I wouldn't have been so hasty to bail out on Michigan if I'd known such places existed.
Nah! Give me my dry, dusty, prairie any day!
Soooo, once again guided by Snickerfritz, we made our way back to an area that the GPS recognized and drove across the upper edge of the Lower Peninsula to Mackinaw City. It was during this time that one of the harsh realities of Michigan hit home; if you want to see Michigan, you have to go to Michigan. No one "passes through" Michigan; if you want to see it, you have to make it your destination. The problem is that Michigan does a shitty job of promoting itself. They have a few, really stupid, "Pure Michigan" commercials that do nothing to recommend the place, and the trials and tribulations of Detroit eclipse anything else happening in the state, so no one ever wakes up in the morning and says, "Wow! I really want to visit Michigan." It's too bad because much of the state is gorgeous. In fact, as we proved the following day, it is possible to overdose on scenery.
Next: "Look kids! Scenery!"