Michigan For The Win – So Far

After a long day of driving, yesterday we came to Coloma KOA in southern Michigan. I have to say, this is the most at home I have felt since starting on the trip. I’m still pretty homesick and it will be great to get the wagon back home to Washington State; but there are a few things in Michigan that have vastly improved my outlook. I am sure that as I get closer to the East Coast it will tend towards being even more liberal, more diverse, more green. But so far this is the best I’ve seen on this Road Trip Across America.

We woke up yesterday in Wisconsin at the Oakdale KOA and hit the road in pretty good time. The last couple of KOAs have been one-nighters and Bruce and I have just been pushing forward to accomplish our goal.

From Wisconsin, we drove into Illinois and drove right through the heart of Chicago. It looked like a nice city to walk or bike in; and if we’d been staying close by I would have walked around a bit and gotten some pizza just to say that we did. But we had big plans for the day, so our one stop in Illinois was just north of Chicago at the Baha’i House of Worship. It was a really pretty area. We got a couple of pictures {even though Bruce wasn’t supposed to go on the grounds, I just kept him off the grass and planned to play dumb if anyone got upset} and we walked around a golf course that apparently ran through the residential area around the temple. It was strange and I didn’t feel terribly welcome there even though there was an obvious walking trail that had no signs about keeping your dog out. We got a couple of homemade cookies and a gatorade from the two uninterested highschool age kids working the concessions area. The guy was much more interested in his donut.

We had to drive from that stop directly through downtown Chicago to get around the lake and into Indiana. The traffic was bad, the drivers were terrible, the city planning was worse. It seemed that everyone had made the collective decision that every speed limit sign was 15 mph too slow and adjusted accordingly. When it switched from a 30 to a 45, everyone went from 45 to 60. It was strange. People suddenly realizing that they were in the wrong lane was frequent which could be blamed partially on the bad road planning but mostly people didn’t seem to know that they were expected to pay attention to their surroundings. I was also a little peeved that there were SO many tolls. It is possible that google just decided to screw me – at one point my google maps told me that I was on the quickest route to avoid a slow down on the freeway – and maybe there was a route that would have avoided the tolls. But having multiple tolls on a freeway doesn’t make any sense to me. Sure we get tolls in Washington on the 520 bridge, the Tacoma narrows bridge, and certain areas of I-405 if you stay in the carpool lane. But having all lanes of traffic on a freeway pay tolls without it being associated with a bridge project or some other construction cost would cause uproar in Washington.

Soon after leaving the Chicago area and crossing into Indiana, we got to the Indiana Dunes State/National Park. We meant to stay on the state park side assuming that more national parks are weird about people having dogs; but at one point I asked a park ranger about the supposed dog area and he said that we were good anywhere in the national park section as long as he stayed on leash. Bruce was definitely the most popular dude at the beach and got to meet a lot of people including some kids that I am sure reminded him of my two nieces. He loves meeting kids but he seems to get extra excited around girls 5-10 years old. It could just be the noise they make when they see him and want to pet him, though. We had a full day there, arriving when there were no spots left in the parking lot except for one spot where the car on one side was way over the line (but we still fit the van!) and leaving when the parking lot was more than half empty.

Bruce had a great time and I was happy to see him totally wiped out for the car ride from there into Michigan.

Four states in one day.

Arriving in Michigan, I was really craving another burger. I had been really happy to see the one Carl’s Jr that we went to in Wyoming; and I usually wouldn’t do fast food twice in a week; but when I saw the BK signs, I had to know. There was a possibility that they wouldn’t have the same menu as I am used to in Washington.

For Bruce, the highlight of the day was definitely the beach. For me, it was hands down the BK lounge (if you didn’t chuckle to yourself just now, go watch some Dane Cook and you can thank me later).

I got the Impossible Whopper without tomato and a side of jalapeno poppers. It was so damn good.

The KOA is super nice in Coloma too; although I was disappointed that they didn’t have a book exchange like the last one. I took the opportunity last night to work on my sequel to MutinyUprising.

Mutiny is available on my Author Page, and hopefully Uprising will be on there soon. But with my electric system in need of a solar panel I have been trying to make sure I have some options to unplug with. So in town today I went by a book shop and picked up Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky.

We’ll see.

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