The first glimpse of Port Huron, Michigan, from the bridge, on a hazy morning:
Here's a little garden in Port Huron that seems to have been planted to please travelers looking down from the bridge. The sign in the window says not to pick the flowers, and with binoculars you can see a stern-looking department store mannequin in an evening gown standing behind the sign -- the enforcer. Better not.
Michigan is amazing. So big and wide open and gorgeous. In the "thumb" of the mitten near Canada, we drove through miles of lush farm country studded with homey towns with old brick Main Streets and old houses with sweet porches and Riverfests and farmer's markets. When Paul Simon sang, "It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw -- I've gone to look for America," he never should have left. He was in the heart of America before he went anywhere.
This is Vassar, Michigan. We drove through here, but I didn't take this picture -- I borrowed it from Google Maps.
As you get further north the land gets stranger and wilder and lovelier.
This is the shore of Lake Huron near Cheboygan, looking across at Bois Blanc Island. (Google made that little movie out of a series of pictures I took, all on its own.) The water is indescribably clear and lovely, turquoise and aqua, the sun is warm, the air smells spicy and salty and sweet all at once, wildflowers bloom by the water. Dad said, "I like it here."
Then we drove across the stunningly beautiful Mackinac bridge to the Upper Peninsula. (We hear that people from the U.P. call people from the lower part of Michigan "trolls," because they live under the bridge.) It's the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere and the fifth longest in the world, but mostly, it's just lovely. Here's a bridge cam.
Our hotel is right across the street from the lake. After dinner we crossed the street to the Manistique boardwalk that runs for a couple of miles along the sandy shore. There's a sign for the Carl D. Bradley Memorial Park. The lake looks so innocent and peaceful, glittering under the sun on a summer evening, with waves lapping gently on a sandy shore, but the park honors a freighter by that name that sank in a storm in Lake Michigan in the 1950s, with 33 lives lost. The boardwalk leads through the park toward the town to a breakwater where -- on a calm summer evening, at least -- you can walk out to the Manistique lighthouse. We did.
Back on shore, along the river in the shelter of the breakwater, there is this lovely old boat.
And along the path on the way back to the hotel, a half-hidden flower: