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Road Trip!

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  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    Now, Steve being an actual resident of the UP will be a whole lot better on it but it is beautiful beyond words.

    Things that I've done up there - the Soo Locks are a great way to spend a little time. You can get one of the tour boats and they take you out, give a little tour and you go into a lock twice - once to bring you up to the Lake Superior level and once to bring you back down to the Michigan - Huron level.

    Even if you don't need to hit the lower peninsula for anything I still recommend going over the Mackinac Bridge just for the beauty of it. It's am amazing piece of engineering and has a breathtaking view. A word of warning - some people are so intimidated by the thing that they are afraid to drive it. They have guys there whose job it is to drive cars over the bridge, carrying the timid drivers as passengers in their own cars. This would be a perfect job for me - just driving back and forth across that bridge.

    We had, shall we say, a funny little excursion back in 1988 which is really the last time I was able to get up there. There is a boat out of Munising, Michigan that takes you out to see the Pictured Rocks from Lake Superior. We got into town late and night and got a cabin for the night. Mention we were going on that trip and the guy at the cabins says "I hope they go out tomorrow. It was too rough yesterday."

    We get there bright and early the next day. They take our money and we get on the boat. A little bit out into the harbor they mention the lake is a bit rough and 2 to 4 foot waves but they are game. The first mate says they have three life jackets - one for the captain, one for him and the third was up for bids. They point out all sorts of things on either side of the harbor as the waves get bigger as does their estimate of the size of the waves in the open lake.

    Great Lakes waves are always fun - more straight up than ocean waves. We and my wife (who was maybe two or three months pregnant with our oldest at the time) area having a good time of it and I'm checking to see if this boat is named Edmund Fitzgerald bu the time they announce that the waves are running over ten feet in the open lake and topping out at 15 feet and, no, they weren't putting their boat out in that and they'll refund half our money when we get back to shore.

    We still had quite a bit of bounce before things calmed down and then they announced they were going to give us all our money back when we got back. I had paid by check and they paid me back in cash. Apparently they'll cash checks for you but only if they test your worthiness on the boat first.

    It turns out the way they decide if the lake is safe for the tours is to take the first one of the morning out and have a look. That day that was us. One day I must go back and try that again.

    If you are up around Whitefish Point the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is there. The guy who owns that is a little odd but there are some neat things in there. It;s right at the Whitefish lighthouse - the one that if it had been working that night might have guided the Fitzgerald safely in. What I mean about the guy - he had divers go down and get the ship's bell from the Fitzgerald and then petitioned the Canadian government (it's in Canadian waters) to prohibit divers from the site because it's a grave.

    That's enough for the moment.....

    Part of my theory os taking any ferry that even remotely goes here you want...

    Atlantic City - it pains me to say this but unless you like casinos there's not much to recommend it anymore. Kills me as I used to go down there all the time to walk the boardwalk or check out the now long gone stores on Pacific and Atlantic Avenues. Far too much of the city is now built to experience only indoors which is silly right at the ocean.

    New Jersey has not done right by its coast line with rare exceptions and AC is the worst offender. The place where they got things right was Island Beach State Park which looks like the whole coast did when I was a little kid.

    OTOH, if you end up there anyway let me know. I'm 30 miles north.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I live in AZ, hometown base is TX.

    I drive to TX twice a year to visit family.

    Even with gas prices at $10/gallon, driving is still cheaper than flying.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    Ah.... The longest day of my life was spent driving from Deming, NM to Kerrville, TX.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I drove 24 hours straight thru from Santa Ana, CA to Winters, TX one hot summer day in 1985 - the day I exited the Marine Corps.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    Making sur ethey didn't change their mids and wanted you back in right then? ;)
  • kathyc2kathyc2 Posts: 159
    Thanks for the info. I've been to the shipwreck museum and locks. I did not know that you could actually take a boat into the locks though.

    The bridge is pretty cool. I've been over it a few times and that's the first road trip I took after I got my vert. A couple years ago I was on the Island in Oct. The weather turned nasty and they closed the ferry line going to Mackinac City. We had to go to St Ignace and then take a bus back across the bridge. I thought it was fun, but a couple of my travel companions didn't agree.

    That's too bad about AC, but I'm glad we got the scoop before we went. NJ and RI are the only states east of IN that I haven't been to. Hopefully they can get it built back up to a tourist attraction. I'm sure it would bring a lot of money into the state.

    Casino's can be fun. We'll probably stop at a couple in MI. I'd rather make my donations to the Native Americans than to Trump anyway. :)
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    I think that AC suffers from the same sort of thing that Asbury Park (which is really turned a corner these days) has. First, no one has a real plan - they just have a bit of an idea for one thing and figure the city will rise by itself around their jewel of a plan. This never works. Second, all the charlatans come in . They can squeeze money out of a place that sure looks like it doesn't have any in a really breathtaking manner.

    When i moved down here when there was only one casino and a lot of ideas people would buy up old properties and burn them down when it seemed profitable. As a result AC lost many of the old places that gave it its character.

    Because of its lack of casinos Asbury Park avoided a lot of that and like several cities here found folks that were willing - eager even - to buy up these old, dilapidated houses and put the effort into restoring them and living in them. This was the gay community. Worked for a big section of Paterson and is now doing the same in Asbury.

    Anyway, do come to NJ. My best recommendation for places we haven't screwed up too badly are in the northwest corner which is hilly and still reasonably rural, Cape May and, naturally around Long Beach Island which is my current neighborhood.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    I was just going to suggest the Pine Barrens country.

    Then you could compare beaches. :)
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    Good point. Technically I live in the pine barrens. The eastern border is the Parkway. I'm just inside the border. In the pines and 5 miles from the beach.

    I could use a place where the water is warmer for more of the year but you would be the last guy I'd complain to about cold water. :blush:
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    . :shades:
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    edited May 2011
    Heated pools are usually too cool for me. :-) My wife grew up swimming in the Pacific off San Diego and then taught swimming in the Yukon River one summer, so I fully expect her to jump in the big water some.
  • xluxlu Posts: 457
    My last 10 day trip in April was a bit less than 3,000 miles

    Similar here; our family goes to a road trip every year in different part of the world, usually it's about a 3000 miles in 2 weeks.
  • nj2pa2ncnj2pa2nc Posts: 813
    Drove thru 42 states. Would stop at the welcome stations and pick up the cheap motel/hotel books. Picked a nice motel that offered free breakfast. Would start our drive after breakfast and would start looking for a motel before 5PM. If we liked the area we would stay more than one day. Many beautiful places to see in the good ole USofA.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    Anyway, do come to NJ. My best recommendation for places we haven't screwed up too badly are in the northwest corner which is hilly and still reasonably rural, Cape May and, naturally around Long Beach Island which is my current neighborhood.

    I think that you can still have a very nice "Jersey Shore" experience in Ocean City. Plenty of nice beach, a nice boardwalk and you are a stones throw from all the towns.

    Sea Isle if you want to hit the bars on Ocean Drive (15 mins)
    AC for Casinos etc (25 mins)
    Wildwood for the boardwalk/ water parks etc (35 mins).

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    I would agree with that.

    Another nice shore place is Seaside Park. Just south of Seaside Heights (which is a whole different story) and north of Island Beach. Seaside Park hasn't gotten horribly tacky like its northern neighbor and is a quieter, family town.

    My cousins tend to rent a place in the northern part of Seaside Park and it's great. Has a nice boardwalk to walk on but no businesses on it yet it's walking distance to Seaside Heights so you can do the crazy boardwalk things if you want.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    so did you travel with friends or family? kids?

    I like the idea of going without planning. However, with 2 boys now, we can't do it like that.
    I hope one day, before I get too old, I will have an opportunity to go cross country without worrying about kids, jobs, family.... just like a moive :)
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    A moive? :confuse: :P

    Sorry. Couldn't resist.

    Yeah, I remember a couple of trips where I didn't know I was going until maybe 20 minutes before taking off. This is from NW Jersey. One day an old high school classmate called and asked if I was doing anything and I said no. He say "you want to go up to Connecticut?" Maybe four hour trip and stayed a couple of days. Really nice time.

    Another time my brother decided he was hitching across the country. This scared my mom. My dad wakes me up offering to pay all costs to get him to Michigan where he knew someone so mom would worry less. This was fine. Such trips are how I devloped my love of the Great Lakes and the UP.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    Isn't that the way you guys in Joisey pronounce it? :P

    We sold out in '99 and did a year long road trip. Good times.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,305
    I would pick up my wife at work and we would head out in whatever direction the car happened to be pointed. We had jobs, a new car, and no kids. This lasted for 3 years and then we became parents. Our destinations included the ocean, the mountains, Canada, or Oregon. :D
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    Sweet. I really want to get out on such a thing. Of course now in addition to kids old and young I have medical issues that really limit how long I can be away.
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