Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ohio to Illinois with Michigan Along the Way.

After Cleveland we drove up to Berrien Springs which is along the St Joseph river in SE Michigan. This is a view of the  campground we stayed at from the bridge over the river.

About a year ago we purchased a cover that we attach to our front passenger awning.  It gives us shade and a little more privacy.

The park has large green areas allowing us space to exercise the pups.

Beautiful flowers were in bloom all around the park.
The St Joseph River encompasses 47 miles in Michigan and Indiana.  The river is known as a great trout and salmon fishing spot bringing in millions of dollars to local communities.  

Downtown Berrien Springs.

While in the area we stopped at Grand Mere State Park which is on Lake Michigan.  We parked the car and started heading down a path toward the water.  It was another extremely warm day so we thought the beach would be fun.  The information placard said it was about a mile walk to the beach. The first half wasn't bad.  It was on a nice flat trail in the woods with shade and occasional benches to sit on for those who got winded.   

Then the fun began.  The trail ended and we started slogging through sand as we headed up a tall sand dune.

And it just got worse.  The rise got higher, the sand deeper, and the sun hotter!

There was really no trail because the sand  swallowed up the footprints of those who walked before us.  At the top of each sand dune we hoped we would see water but all we saw was another sand dune to climb. 

Finally, hot and sweaty, we made it to the beach.  

The water was pristine.  This is the second time we have been on the Michigan side of Lake Michigan and we are so impressed with the water.  Wherever we go in Michigan the water is crystal clear with beautiful blue and green colors. 

The pups loved swimming in it.

We didn't bring our suits so we just got to watch the pups.

We met a woman with a Golden Retriever that she brings each day to swim.  I mentioned the long hike for her and her pup over the sand dunes and she just laughed.  She told us there is another entrance about a quarter mile down the road from where we parked that has direct access onto the beach but the locals don't mention it so fewer people will show up.  Makes sense to me!!!  

After a fun time on the beach we hiked back up the sand dunes and walked back to our car.  On the way back we noticed Desi was stopping every few feet to lick his paws.  When we go back to the rig I checked his feet and they looked rough.  The sand was hot and I think the pads of his feet got burned.  So we rubbed some aloe vera gel into them and he was good as new later.  What a pathetic face..........poor baby has such a tough life.
Geese swimming in St Joseph's River near our campsite.  Which one isn't a bird???

Desi tried his darnedest to catch up with a bird, any bird, but they just honked at him and swam away until he finally gave up.

We stopped at several wineries in the area and this unique one was called the Round Barn Winery.  Michigan is home to 119 wineries, bottling more than 2.3 million gallons of wine annually.  Production of Michigan wine has increased 63% over the last five years.

At another winery they also sold delicious looking candies.  Surprisingly, we didn't buy any.  Probably because we got so caught up in the wine tasting we forgot.

We left southern Michigan and headed to Elgin, Illinois, to meet up with the Captain's old Air Force buddy, Randy.  Randy and his wife, Valerie, live in Elk Grove Village which is a suburb of Chicago but the closest RV park is in Elgin so that is where we always stay.  It is a lovely county park with miles and miles of trails for hiking and biking and also has equestrian paths if you have horses.

Many years ago, in a 'former marriage' I lived in South Elgin, Illinois, and that was where both daughters were born.  This is the hospital they were born in.

Walking down memory lane, I finally remembered the name of the street we lived on so the Captain and I drove out to see the  place.  When I lived there all the homes were new with small trees in the yard.  Not anymore.  The little town is now a huge town with shops and restaurants and new subdivisions everywhere.  This street looked old and dated........I guess just like me :)

We spent several days with Randy and Val including a trip to another suburb, Rosemont, to have lunch at the Hofbrauhaus.  

The Hofbrauhaus Chicago is the first and only German micro brewery, beer hall, restaurant and beer garden in Chicago.  It is a replica of the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany, that is 400 years old.

The musicians played rousing German music including this gentleman on an Alp horn.

The food was delicious and this low-cal plate that the Captain ordered had all the German goodies on it.

I had a ladylike salad which was also quite good.

And, of course, there was the beer that was enjoyed by all.  

After lunch we walked over to a place called, iFly, that has indoor sky diving.  It was very crowded with people waiting in line to take to the air.

The Captain considered taking a flight but the wait line was too long :)  And after that delicious German meal it was probably better he didn't.

Time to move on.  As we head towards Madison, Wisconsin, we keep hoping the hot weather will abate but so far we have had little luck.  We have, however, saw many new sights, spent great time with our friends at almost every stop, and enjoyed each stop along the way.  What's a little heat. Peace!

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