Trying to close the Northern Gap (May 2015)

Lately, things have been moving so fast that I sometimes forget how much planning went into these trips. This trip included five states and yet it seemed especially easy and carefree or maybe it was just good planning. Looking back, I think it had a lot to do with the quick 2hr 40 minute flight from Boston to Milwaukee. I decided on Milwaukee because of the easy in, easy out of this airport and since Wisconsin was my last state before flying home, it was a perfect fit for me.

This trip like most trips, looks something like this;

  • land
  • grab bags
  • pick up rental car
  • hit the road

Indiana

I was able to be on the road by 9:30 am making my way from Wisconsin to Indiana in pretty good time. When driving long distances, there is always a need to stop for various reasons, but with each stop, I make sure I get the most out of them. Bathroom of course, supplies if possible and coffee when needed. The plan was to camp my first night at Indiana Sands Dunes State Park, so when I arrived at the park, I registered, grabbed a site and then went exploring before sundown. That might seem like I lost a block of time from starting at 9:30 am to setting up my campsite but, it’s all part of Day 1, I sometimes need to get my bearings and adjust to the flying so admittedly I get lost, not geographically lost, just lost in the day I guess.

I arrived safely, had enough supplies for a few days, a comfortable place to sleep and I found some pretty awesome almond joy cookies at the local grocery store. Life is good!!

Indiana Sand Dunes State
Indiana Sand Dunes State

 

Good Night Chicago
Good Night Chicago
Indiana Campfire
Indiana Campfire

 

Michigan

After a great nights sleep and a walk along the lake, I was ready to head into Michigan. I had a rough idea where I was going to camp, but like most things if It doesn’t feel right, then I move on. Explanation below!

About an hour and half from Indiana Sand Dunes was Warren Dunes State Park, I drove in but, it didn’t feel right so I left and found my way to an hour north at Holland State Park in the town of Holland. The campground has two section, one section is about 1 mile from Lake Michigan surrounded by big pine trees, and a new restroom/shower building, the other section is close to the beach, mostly for RV’s because 90% of the sites  are on concrete, there’s maybe two places/sites for a tent to be staked to the ground. I preferred to be amongst the pine trees and the new shower building. Oddly, I can’t find any pictures on my campsite or that section of the campground. Not sure why but, I do have a few from my time exploring Holland and the beach around Lake Michigan.

Here’s a little look at the area.

Came over from Yep you guessed it Holland
Came over from Yep you guessed it Holland

 

Boats
Boats

 

Bench
Bench

 

Heart in the Sand - Holland Michigan
Heart in the Sand – Holland Michigan

 

Ohio

It was going to be a stretch to get Ohio in, but I had to make the effort, since coming back for one state just didn’t make sense and honestly I was running out of time so, I decided on Harrison Lake State Park because of it’s closeness to the other states.  Unlike going to a place that is widely known to everyone and photographed a lot like Yosemite, Alaska or even Boston, arriving in a small town always hold so many surprises for me or sometimes it’s a big let down. This town did NOT let down, it was so cute, so photogenic, I just loved it.

This is downtown Fayette, Ohio

Fayette Ohio
Fayette, Ohio
Feed waiting to be picked up
Feed waiting to be picked up

 

The window awnings are car hoods
The window awnings are car hoods
Good Morning Ohio / See Ya Around
Good Morning Ohio / See Ya Around

Illinois

Well, it’s time to start moving back towards the airport for the last two states of this trip and guess what I rolled into…….. YEP a big storm in Illinois.  High Winds and Rain!! Yippee this is starting to be a theme with #Camp50

Arrival Illinois - Moon Roof Raindrops
Arrival Illinois – Moon Roof Raindrops

Illinois Beach Sate Park located in the town of Zion was my pick, I think because of the name of the town. TRUE!! This campground has six rows of campsites. Of course, who doesn’t want to camp close to the water and the waves but, due to the storm it was extremely windy, which brought the temps down to a feel like of 35 degrees. When I went to see how windy it was on each row,  I saw awnings from RV’s laying on the ground, trees whipping around and people camping in tents were either moving back a few rows or in complete disbelief, so I opted for 3 rows back, camping in the 200 section.

I paid for the site, put up my paperwork at my site but, I didn’t set up the tent because of the winds. I decided to explore Wisconsin for a bit since it was 15 minutes away from the campground and to find me a Lou Malnati’s  (Thank You to ThePeakSeeker for the pizza tip). I’d set up the tent when I was done exploring, you know just before I was ready for bed, that way the tent wouldn’t blow away 🙂

You try camping in weather like this
You try camping in weather like this

 

Tree / Zion, Illinois
Tree / Zion, Illinois

 

Lake Michigan East Facing
Lake Michigan East Facing

 

Angled the car to block the wind

 

Wisconsin

Staying at a campground that is geographically close to the airport is important to me on my last night so, on this trip I decided to stay at Richard Bong State Rec Area. The campground has two sections Sunset Campground and Sunrise Campground, it also has wide open spaces for birds, frogs and other animals. I didn’t think about it at the time but wide open spaces means there were coyotes too. I didn’t see any, or have a run in with one but, they sounded so close and absolutely beautiful, howling in the night. I tweeting out how beautiful they sounded but, hoped there weren’t as big as the ones in the “Twilight” series.

Wisconsin Campsite - Tetonsports Tent
Wisconsin Campsite – Tetonsports Tent

 

Wisconsin Rec Area
Wisconsin Rec Area

This was another successful trip, yes it seemed easier than the past trips but, I still believe it’s because of all the research and planning I’ve put into these trips. Each of these trips brings me closer to who I was meant to be.

For now I’ll leave you with this quote.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~ Harriet Tubman

 

2 thoughts on “Trying to close the Northern Gap (May 2015)”

  1. Hi Cousin,
    I have been catching up on your travel log from last year. Your great adventure has been blessed. Thanks for sharing the wonderful photographs. How many states do you have left?
    Best wishes for your journey!

    1. hello there Cousin Thanks for following along or catching up 🙂 I’m a few stories behind, should have another story up in a few days. I finished the lower 48 in November. I have Hawaii and Alaska lined up for April. Pretty exciting and healing.

      Hope all is well with you and Dan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *