May 20, 2022-All Around Lake Michigan and Beyond

(click for today's pictures)

We had a wonderfully slow start this morning. We began with pancakes outside-this was a nice since we have only cooked outside once on this trip, but then we did inside that evening. The weather was perfect this morning with it being about 70 degrees.

Robby made pancakes and sausages, and everyone had their fill. After cleaning that up, we walked a mile in this campground with Bentley. It is a big place-yesterday it seemed more full than today, but it would be a really happening place in the summer time for sure.

They even have a fancy section-you have to be a certain type of rv to be in. Of course it is more expensive, but we were surprised in the lack of shade over there. Maybe it is because we are from Arkansas where it does get hot, but shade is very expensive. 

Speaking of Arkansas-I have had two people comment on my accent since we have been up here. The first was at the ice cream place. Reagan could not understand how the man heard an accent-she tried to tell me that we don't have that bad of an accent. Now, I didn't say "Y'all" or anything, but still my accent is pretty thick. 

Anyway, after eating and after our walk, we all loaded up to go to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It was just about 10 minutes away. Our first stop was the Dune Climb. This was a sand dune that was gigantic. In Arizona, we did the sand dune thing-those were just mounds, not even hills, compared to this mountain. 

Bentley couldn't come up this, so Reagan opted to stay back for the first bit. So as the rest of us trudged up the mountain, we could hear Bentley whining for us. (She did eventually calm down.) In just a few minutes, we were the ones whining and panting. That Dune Climb was no joke. You would get to what you thought was going to be the top, and no, you would just be able to see more sand to climb.

About on the third hill on this mountain, I was convinced that we would be at the top. Robby and Graham were ahead with Whitman lagging behind (of course). I didn't want to yell so I called Graham on the phone to ask if it was worth me climbing up to them-he said, "well, we can see a bit of the lake." I took that as a no and began my descent to switch with Reagan.

On the way down, I felt like I should tell people to turn around. In my mind, we would all climb this dune and look over to see the waves lapping on the shores of Lake Michigan. No, we almost all had heart attacks trudging up this  mountain to look over the top to see the shores of Lake Michigan another mile ahead of us. It took a lot of effort not to start shouting to people to turn around. I felt like I had been deceived-though I am not really sure where I got the idea that we would be able to see the lake from the top. I probably made that up. 

Now if you do look at our pictures, there are some with us on the dune and a lake behind us. Yes, that was pretty, but that lake we could see from the parking lot. Seriously though, climbing the dune was fun and memorable, but just not as picturesque as I had wanted.

After the dune, we went to the visitor's center. That was about 12 miles away but that was fine, since we had all day. I really should start rating National Park Site visitor centers (For example: Arkansas Post NM-10 out of 10, Guadalupe Mountain NP-0 out 10...I've been to a lot of National Park sites so this list could be long and gracious, it would definitely be an interesting list for sure.) All of that to say, the park ranger today would receive a 5. Friendly and helpful, but not overly either. 

We walked around the visitor's center fairly quickly since we had to wear masks. Then we went on to the 7 mile drive overlooking the lakeshore. And by this time the fog had again rolled in, and it was starting to get darker. We enjoyed the drive...

well, we enjoyed the first part of the drive. By the second part half, it was dark. Not like it is going to rain dark, but like it is night time or there must be an eclipse happening dark. It was wild. We finished the drive, just as the bottom fell. It rained like crazy. It took Robby and I both to watch the road. The rain was so loud that we were having to yell in the car. And possibly there was even some hail, but we couldn't really hear it because it was so loud.

Thankfully, we made it back to the camper safely, and then we sat in the car for a few minutes waiting on the rain to subside before running to the door. When we did start going in, the kids went first one at a time. I was the last one in the car, and by the time it was my turn, it was raining hard again so I had a few minutes in the car by myself before I did go back in the camper.

We were going to have a very, very early supper, but Robby ended up suggesting a movie. Well, 3-so soon we were driving 30 minutes to get to the theater. We had to rush since the girls' and Whitman's movie started in exactly 30 minutes. They watched Family Camp, the big boys saw Dr. Strange or whatever the new Marvel movie is, and Robby and I watched Downton Abbey. 

While we were in the theaters, we did realize how bad the storms were earlier today. Grannymom called about the weather as did someone from church who had given us some Michigan travel tips. They were all checking on us-the tornado did go through a town that we drove through yesterday that is about an hour from where we are now. 

After the movie, there was a quick stop to pick up oil for the minivan-it needs a topping off. Then Graham saw a 7-11 that was calling his name. So the kids all jumped out and bought icees. Then it was back to the camper. 

Once we made it there, Reagan and Keaton went to the bathhouse for their showers while Graham had a shower here. Everyone else worked on making their pizzas for supper. We did air fryer pizzas which were delicious. Then we topped it off with s'mores. 

By this time it was raining again-it wouldn't be a camping trip with the Dennies without rain. It did slack off enough for Robby to hook up the car, unhook most of the camper things and for us to walk the dog before we did head to bed for the evening. 

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