July 10, 2016

The summer months are very busy times for the campgrounds in Michigan, since it’s  such a short season, the campgrounds start taking reservations in January, which fill pretty fast. I knew it would probably be hard finding places to stay and I was right. There are numerous web sites I use to find campsites, Passport America, KOA, Good Sam, Ultimate Free, Campendium, Big Rigs, Allstays, just to name a few.

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The road heading to our campsite Mill Creek Campground

Just on a whim, I put in private campgrounds in Lansing, Mi, we try to only drive 200 -250 miles a day, so Lansing, Mi was far enough, I  found several places, but of course, they were full, one camp host gave me the name of a park about (30miles) away from them. It turned out to be great tip, as they did have a site, it was basically full of locals wondering how we found them. There was a little lake, paddle boats, and fishing. The best part was watching the numerous men on golf carts following Guy around until he got to our site, then they all wanted to help him park, there were men on all sides of the coach trying to tell Guy which way to turn. Poor Guy! Lacy and I watched from the safety of the truck. I normally am directing him but this was a very tight back in area with lots of trees and a cross street, the site was nice and large just hard to back into.

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Firepits for campers without lake sites

No sooner did we get our sides out and the inside put together, there was a knock on the door, a neighbor wanted us to come over for an adult beverage!! Well, it was that time of the day, we ended staying there until way past the dinner hour. It was great fun chatting, more neighbors came by while we were there, seems like everyone knows each other as most stay there all summer. One other draw was the buggy on top of the truck, wanting to know how do we get it up there!!

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Mackinaw Bridge

What a small world this is as one of the couples, Terry and Denise, winter in Bullhead City, AZ where we spent the winter last year at my sisters house. We made plans to meet up with them when we get back there this year. (I did not take a single picture of the campground nor all of our new friends.)

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A great dog area and picnic area with fire pits at the Mill Creek Campground

For as long as I can remember I have heard of a little place called “Mackinac Island”  the only way to get there was by boat, everyone on the island gets around by bike or horse and buggy. This has been on my bucket list and I knew when we went full time we would be able to head in that direction and we were close enough to head that way.

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View from Mackinaw to the Mackinac Island

We were lucky to get reservations at the Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground but only for 4 days, it was great that they had a cancelation. This campground is right on Lake Heron, you can see the Mackinaw Bridge that connects the mainland with the UP, we could see Mackinac Island from the camp.

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This campground has over 1,000 camp sites, sounds like a lot but whats nice about this is the sites are well separated, tents are at one end away from the rvs, smaller trailers in another area, larger rvs off by themselves, (we got lost trying to find our site). The beach sites are pretty close together and not something Guy and I would want to stay at. Not all sites in the park have full hook ups except the rv area.

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Our campsite Mill Creek Campground/full hookups

Our site was on the second row right behind the beach sites we even had a pretty good view of the Lake. The park has plenty of walking and bike riding, there is a small pool, a small store.

The first thing we always do when arriving in a new town is drive thru to find out what it’s like, since it’s a travel day and I usually don’t cook on that day, we look for a place to eat. Driving thru and ending at the lake was a great surprise as we found the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and park. That just made our decision on what we would do the next day!!

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Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is at the turning point for ships making the difficult passage through the Staits of Mackinac, one of the busiest crossroads of the Great Lakes. This lighthouse went into operation on November 5, 1890. Construction of the light tower and the attached keepers dwelling was first lighted on October 25, 1892. The light was visible to ships 16 miles away and was in operation until 1958.

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The straits are narrow with dangerous shoals submerged along the side. Fog, swift currents and ice have claimed over 10,000 ships.

As we were at the lighthouse we noticed signs about Colonial Village, being of the curious nature we decided to go check it out and since we could walk there from the lighthouse, why not!!

Fort Michilimackinac, is one of hundreds of colonial settlements built in North America, the fort served as a fur trade center, an embassy to the Native American, and a military base for both the French and British. The fort was also used for exploration and military expeditions.

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The entrance to the Mackinaw Fort

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doing a cooking demonstration, green beans grown there in the garden, whitefish caught in Lake Heron

There were many people dressed in period clothes throughtout the fort explaining how each building was used and the every day life of the settlers, military and Indians.

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The ruins of the fort and the village have remained undisturbed, until archaeologists  excavated non-stop every summer since 1959. It is the longest ongoing archaeological site in the US.

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While we were at the Fort they told of the sawmill that was used to help with the lumber for building the fort.

The Old Mill Creek sawmill was not to far from town so we decided to go check it out. The sawmill turned out to be a pretty interesting place, they  had also recreated a home and store house.

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In 1780 the British at Fort Michilimackinac moved the fort over to Mackinac Island as a safer location during the American Revolution.

Fort Michillimakinac was burned to the ground by the British once they moved to the island.

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The sawmill was built to furnish lumber for the new fort and settlement on the island. The sawmill and dam were one of the earliest industries in Northern Michigan, and soon a grist mill, orchard, blacksmith shop and a warehouse were added.

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By 1867 the buildings were gone and the site had fallen into disrepair, in 1975 the site was recreated and made into a working sawmill and opened to the public.

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When we had checked into the campground they sold us our boat tickets to the island. The campground has a free bus and trailer (to haul the bikes) that will take you to where the boat leaves for the island.

Our next day will be heading in that direction. So come on back and check out all about the Mackinac Island.

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