Monday, July 4, 2011

North from Canada

The Michigan Sky

Michigan is a green state with lots of trees and rolling hills. It is snuggled in between 4 great lakes, and there are more smaller lakes all over. The cities are in financial trouble and some are trying to rebuild entire neighborhoods to block out crime and improve the areas. The worst roads we have experienced (outside of Des Moines) were in Michigan. What most people don't realize is Michigan is a great state to visit. We had a wonderful time! We visited Jarrett's cousin, Mariah and her family, as well as Jarrett's Uncle Russ and his girlfriend Dianna in the Northwest part of the state.

Ervin, Mariah, Jarrett, Kristina, Dianna, and Russ

Mariah lives in a cute house in the country by Traverse City.  We stayed a couple of nights, taking over her kitchen, reading, and watching too much Netflix (mostly "30 Rock"). We enjoyed the couple lazy days and catching up with Mariah and her family.

On Saturday, we went with Mariah and Ervin to canoe the Jordan River. We met up with Uncle Russ and Dianna who also canoed. With each couple to a canoe, the men sat in the rear to steer around the curves and fallen trees. The water was going faster than normal since the river was very high. The first two curves were the most difficult and we went about 10 miles down the river to our pick up spot.We ran into trees and the riverbank several times. I was a bit frustrated, thinking that the entire 10 miles would be tough. Happilly, the river evened out a bit and Jarrett and I got our sealegs back. By the end, we were skillfully maneuvering around some narrow and tough deadfall.

We had fun floating, being social with the family, and hanging out with Charlevoix's party crowd. Everyone would stop at a couple of pull off sites to have a beer and socialize. Someone would try to kayak upstream or swim in the cold water, which resulted in entertainment for everyone else. After we made it down the river, we headed up to Uncle Russ and Dianna's place for a yummy steak and potato dinner. Then we met up with the party crowd at a bar in Charlevoix. The bar had a one man band that got the crowd into dancing and singing with the music. It was a very good day!
Kristina by a lighthouse on Lake Michigan

The next two days we stayed with Uncle Russ and Dianna. We explored the town of Charlevoix, which had lots of amazing multimillion dollar yachts and even fancier boathouses. We checked out the beaches, a lighthouse, the mushroom houses built out of boulders, and watched the yachts go in and out of the channel.  Jarrett found two more dogs to fall in love with, Sandy and Katie. Two labs that were more than eager to play fetch then jump into the lake. 
Jarrett on Lake Michigan with his yacht in the background.

After the good time we had staying with family, we drove North over the Mackinac Bridge and through the UP (Upper Peninsula). The Mackinac Bridge is 5 miles long, an amazing sight on its own, that connects the state over Lake Michigan. Originally, we planned to camp in the UP, but another thunderstorm was on the way, and we didn't want to deal with another night of rain and lightening in a tent, so we continued on.
The Mackinac Bridge

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