May 29 – Leaving Michigan

Today began with some very sad news when we received an email informing us that our close neighbor and very good friend, Jim Cunningham, had passed away earlier this morning.  We’ll miss him a great deal.  Cancer is such a horrible disease!

We left our campground and headed west.  The terrain was a bit hillier than we we’d seen since leaving New York State.  We were surprised at the number of ski resorts in the northwestern Michigan.  Many of the towns we passed through had definitely seen better days … with many, if not most, of the commercial buildings abandoned or falling down.  It was bit depressing.

The morning’s excitement came in a flash when a bird flew into our windshield and bounced somewhere into the woods on the side of the road.

Along the route, we saw areas with long stretches where there had been clear cutting back from the exiting roadway 30-50 feet

which gave the impression of future road expansion.  This was surprising as we could drive for miles

with literally no traffic in either direction.  In fact, during our 203 mile trip, we passed an average fewer than one car going in the opposite direction per mile, and sometimes we’d go 5 miles and not see another vehicle.

It was also a bit surprising how few farms we have passed during the past several days.  Only as we approached the Wisconsin border did we see any farming operations.

We have continued to pass fields of what appears to be some form of grass with blankets of yellow flowers (which we are still trying to identify.

We did, however, pass through many areas where large stands of white birches seem to be thriving.

This was a pleasant surprise as both Debbie and I had witnessed the loss of nearly all white birches in the areas of Massachusetts and New Hampshire where we lived for most of our lives.

Passing through the Ottawa National Forest in Wisconsin, we saw sign after sign which informed us that if the yellow light was blinking (which it was on most such signs), it meant there were elk in the area.

We assume that these sign lights were triggered in much the same as city traffic lights … the elk would push a button when they wanted to cross the road.

When we pulled off for lunch in a rest area, we discovered we were sitting on Wisconsin’s version of the Great Divide; in this case, the place where water on one side drains toward Lake Superior and on the other to the Mississippi River basin.

And, then there were the bugs!  It is a common ritual to clean (often scrub) the bodies and bodily fluids some number of bugs off our windshield and front of our rig.  Today, however, the number of such corpses hit an all-time high.

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