Clueless Californians discover America!

Man, it’s really been awhile!  We have been making our way through the Northeast and down the Eastern seaboard and are just in awe of everyplace we’ve been!  It’s not overstating at all to say that every place we’ve been has been more beautiful than the last. Being California natives, I think we had fallen victim to the hype that the Golden State is the best place in the country, and it simply never occurred to us that any place else could possibly be as wonderful! But that’s before we discovered Michigan! 

Finally got to dip my toes in Lake Michigan! Not as cold as I was led to believe! I did later get to swim in it!

We arrived in Mackinaw City the 2nd week of June.  After so much anticipation, I was a bit afraid it would be a letdown.  This really was the impetus for the whole trip. Having seen a YouTube video from one of our favorite creators, Keep your Daydream (If you haven’t checked them out, you really should!) we knew that this was without a doubt the ONE place we needed to visit during this grand adventure.

We had made plans back in January to visit with our besties, the Gromises and the Tanjis, and reserved 2 nights at a Bed & Breakfast on the Island, and 10 days at the Mackinaw City KOA so we could explore more of the Upper Peninsula from that home base.  The whole first half of the trip felt a bit like a countdown to this way too short visit! We crammed so much into this week. Of course we spent a couple of nights on Mackinac, but we also went to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Tahquamenon Falls, Kitchitikipi Spring, the Great Lakes Shipwreck museum, and several assorted hikes to gorgeous waterfalls!

After our dear friends departed back to the Golden State, we went on to explore more of Michigan, visiting Traverse City and Grand Haven, giving the rest of the state our solemn promise to return as soon as we could!

I could go on for pages about this amazing area, but I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves and just say that Michigan did NOT disappoint!  Our goal is to go back another year and stay for at LEAST a month, and probably for a whole summer so we can spend more time seeing all that Michigan has to offer.  If it weren’t for the winters, we would seriously consider this as a potential retirement location! But of course, being California weather wimps, that’s not going to happen!

Once we reluctantly left the state, we passed again through Ohio, stopping at a few places along Lake Erie, including Erie itself to visit Underdog Barbecue,  (If you know, you know!) on our way to see some of our favorite buddies in Pennsylvania.  We have met up with our friends the Gens family a few times since they left California, and every time, we’ve just had a blast.  This trip was no exception!  We moochdocked on their driveway for several days and honestly, although it’s been almost 10 years since our last visit, it was almost like it was yesterday! We got to visit the Lucy & Desi Museum in Jamestown, (birthplace of Lucille Ball), go Kayaking on the Allegheny River, visit a railroad bridge that was completely destroyed by a tornado, and watch a movie in the park at the National Comedy Museum. It was a BUSY week!

From there we spent a couple of weeks enjoying Upstate New York, and once again were honestly shocked at how much we LOVED the whole region!  From the cities bordering Lake Ontario, to the idyllic towns along the Finger Lakes to Cooperstown and Syracuse, we honestly couldn’t tell you what town we loved more!  I have a thousand pictures I could show you but they’re going to have to wait until next trip, or I’ll never get this posted!

Sadly, this area is where we finally lost our beloved kitty, Oreo, who had been with us for nearly 20 years. We had been prepared for it but of course it’s always sad to lose a furry family member. We had her cremated and her ashes were scattered in the lovely memorial garden at Lollypop Farm, on the grounds of the Greater Rochester Humane Society.

We added this area to our list of places where we will definitely spend an entire summer exploring in another year, and very reluctantly moved on, passing way too quickly through Vermont and New Hampshire on our way to our second “Destination” for this trip, Acadia National Park in Maine! We’ll cover that next blog, where we’ll finally be just about caught up to “real time!

I’ll leave you with some teaser pictures from our time in NY, Vermont & NH, including some from our awesome Harvest Host stays!!

I keep having to pinch myself, and ask, “Is this really my life?”  I feel so blessed to be having this amazing adventure!

UP NEXT: We finally make it to the Atlantic Ocean!