So, with that said, I'm going to combine several places we visited in Michigan in order to get caught up.
Our first stop was in Rochester Hills, Michigan, which is a suburb north of Detroit. We spent two days with Don and Shelly Vanarsdalen who used to work with Brett at Sonoco. It's been ten years but they haven't changed at all. They moved to the Detroit area to be near their families but both of them miss the south, especially in the winter time. This past winter they had record snowfalls and it seemed to never end. We had a great time together and caught up on everyone's lives.
|Shelly and Don|
|Their two kids, Sydney and Adam, goofing off for the photographer.|
|Rochester is a busy little town with many eclectic shops and restaurants.|
|We stopped to have a few beers at this place. The front entranceway is carved from wood.|
|Getting seated on Main Street.|
|Enjoying a Michigan beer. Now this is the life!|
|Another different store, this one was aptly named, 'The Oz'.|
|The town has miles of biking and walking trails we enjoyed.|
|Swans were aswimming.|
|Lucy enjoyed the water with them.|
Our next stop was Bay City which is a little northeast of Detroit on Saginaw Bay and nestled on Lake Huron. The people in this state call the shape of Michigan 'the mitten' so Bay City is in the groove between the thumb and the other fingers. It used to be an old timber producing town but died out when that resource was depleted. They are renovating the downtown area which has the Saginaw River winding through it and the results were impressive.
Made of cement blocks, the structure is sturdy and we got to meet our neighbors quickly. Of course, some of the campers had to peek out the door to see what was going on but most everyone else stayed inside the adjoining shower rooms.
|In downtown Bay City there are trails along the Saginaw River to give you a good look at the area.|
|A tourist boat offers rides.|
|The Captain caught this picture of a bald eagle while we were walking along the river. What a great shot!|
|Part of the walking trail is on the left.|
|The debris you see in the water is part of the docks where the ships picked up the lumber form the sawmills.|
|There is even part of a wooden ship still in the river but we couldn't see it because the water was too high|
|This is the first frame dwelling built in Bay City in 1837. Construction methods used both hand hewn and sawn timbers mortised and tenoned together. It was built for French settlers Joseph and Mader Trombley.|
|Most people in Michigan are rather pale but not this guy at a local pool. Kind of gives Speedo a bad name.......|
|Traveling in the area we spotted this American Gourmet Pretzel Shop so we had to stop in.|
|It was a cute place with a lot of antique items.|
Bay City has a main thoroughfare called Center Avenue that presents a spectacular display of residential homes built between 1870 and 1940. Many of the homes were built by wealthy lumberman and later shipbuilders as the lumber industry waned. We took a bike ride up and down the street and photographed some of the more beautiful places.
|This was my favorite.|
|The intricate detail was amazing. I can only imagine what it must cost to maintain this house in such beautiful condition.|
Our final stop in the area was the town of Midland which is home to The Dow Chemical Company. We wanted to view the Dow Gardens which were started in 1899 by Herbert Dow on eight acres of land. The garden was an outlet for his creative interest in gardening and no outside experts were ever involved. He developed the gardens because he thought he could do something different and he chose to never copy anyone else's ideas. Plantings were always arranged so that at least part of the lawn disappeared in back of the plantings. The gardens are now 110 acres and one of the most interesting characteristics is the feeling of never seeing the whole area from any one spot.
|We spotted this black squirrel in one of the beds.|
|The home of Herbert Dow.|
|His son, who was an architect, built this home on the property.|
|There is also an area for children to grow crops with decorative scarecrows in it.|
What a beautiful place to see but it is time to move on. We are heading southwest toward Lake Michigan to a town called South Haven which we've heard is pretty neat. Peace!