2010 Michigan Suburban trip

In 2000 the Potter family went on vacation to Michigan and stayed at a house near Glenn. For the past ten years I've heard about all the fun things they did and the nice places to visit. After our long haul motorcycle trip to South Dakota last summer we decided to go somewhere closer. Michigan sounded like a nice destination.

We decided on June 12th. June is a good time to travel weatherwise, and for me it fit my work schedule, too. We usually plan our trips during the winter, so you have months to wait and wait for time to arrive.

On Memorial Day we took a pre-trip ride to North Central Indiana. On the way back we were riding on SR43 when John hit a slick spot in a curve. Long story short...Debby got a broken ankle and the 2008 Venture was totaled.

Due to the wreck we decided to make it a Suburban trip...John & Debby's 2010 luxury Suburban to be exact. There are four of us this year. Mike is solo this year, I'm always solo, and John & Debby. Four will be a nice number in the truck. No one is hugely disappointed by driving instead of riding. Some of our trips are motorcycle based. This trip was more of a vacation where motorcycles were the transportation. It's all good.

June 12

Eureka, IN. 6:52 am. Unlike years past I didn't have to get up before the rooster. This year I get front door pickup. They even brought me a polar pop!

The Suburban has navigation but I also brought my GPS since it had the routes and locations of places we wanted to visit programmed in. It was also cool to have all the electronics since we're pretty nerdy.

The route is SR37 to I-465 at Indianapolis, loop around Indy, then take US31 north to our destination. It's cloudy, and it's been raining off and on already. The Suburban is already earning it's keep. It would suck to be wet on the motorcycles five miles into our trip.

Martinsville, IN 7:37 - We stopped in Martinsville at the 'Indy' restaurant for breakfast...basically a rebadged Waffle House. It's nicer to stop for breakfast after you've done some miles. I love pancakes, and biscuits & gravy, but a lot of time they don't like me. I had an omelette instead. We met another couple whose wife was hobbling around. Same scenario...bike wreck. They were gonna replace their Ultra Classic with a trike. John has been thinking about the same thing but Goldwing based.

John used OnStar to plot a course with his navigation. It wanted us to take I-65 to Chicago, then head east. We joked and laughed about it's constant complaining for him to get on it's preferred course. My GPS (a Garmin 478 this year) had been programmed by me so it didn't complain at all. I also like to use my GPS for its tracking. I can download the tracks each day as a diary of sorts. It helps me remember things as I write these trip reports. I can sync the track times with the times on pictures to remind me when and where things happened. Kind of nerdy...like me.

Near Tipton, IN. 9:44 - The trip around Indy had been unremarkable. Clouds. Occasional rain. I had already nodded off a couple times and was developing a reputation. Near Tipton we pulled off for another break at an abandoned store with a funny sign to burn some cigarettes and so Debby could stretch. She needs to mobilize once in a while to keep things flowing with her broken ankle.

Back in December our pumper was rolled on the way to a fire. The company that is repairing it, Renewed Peformance Inc., is just down the road in Tipton. If they were open on Saturday we could stop and visit it. It is also getting some upgrades.

South Bend, IN. 11:36 - Time for lunch, so we decided to go to Chik-a-filet since it was close. It had been a leisurely drive so far. The others are making fun of my head-bobbing. We see an occasional train and remark how there won't be anymore around Bedford now (see here). Since John has been thinking about triking a GL1500 we are on the lookout for trikes...and motorcycles in general.

After lunch Mike took over piloting responsibilities and I moved to the co-pilot position. The weather continued to be cloudy and damp.

For months leading up the trip we've been teased by the Tim Allen narrated 'Pure Michigan' commercials. Now we're here!

Enroute to our house we would cross over the St. Joseph River several times. US31 merged with I-196 near Benton Harbor so Mike made good speed. As we passed South Haven we saw a Walmart and a huge Menards. At exit 30 we turned onto the Blue Star Highway and into the quaint little town of Glenn.

Glenn, MI. - At 13:24 we arrived at our house. We were a couple hours early and the cleaning lady was still there. She was kind enough to let us put our luggage in the garage.

To kill some time we headed back to the South Haven Walmart to buy some groceries. It was fun buying groceries on our first day of vacation. Debby was in her wheelchair and rolling all over the place. We tried to talk her into using one of those Walmart scooters but she wouldn't do it. Ha! We piled the cart high with goodies. Even shopping seems fun when you're on vacation. We have our whole vacation to look forward to and we're giddy.

When we got back to the house the cleaning lady was almost finished so we unloaded our luggage and groceries. When you stepped out of the truck you felt that cool lake breeze. Ahhhhhh.

After some lounging and house exploring we decided it was time to see the lake. We walked the ~1/8 mile or so to the public access point. Several of the houses were for sale...probably for a small fortune.

Debby stayed at the top while we climbed down the beach. The view was great. After several minutes of taking it all in we headed back up the stairs. We paused at the top to catch our breath. Getting old sucks.

Walking back to the house we decided to drive down to South Haven and visit the pier and lighthouse. We loaded up the Suburban, and with John at the helm, headed back south on I-196 for the second time today. The GPS led us to the shore, but we were on the wrong side of the inlet as the lighthouse. We stopped where people were having a cookout and John asked a lady for directions. The lady was nice looking and her daughter(?) was even cuter. Mike (now single) and I (single for life) both noticed. Lusting aside...soon we were over a drawbridge and and John found a parking spot near the pier.

We meandered towards town for a ways, then did an about face and headed west towards the lighthouse.

We strolled passed a beach. No nudity...Mike and I checked. Somewhere down the coastline someone was letting off some steam.

The walk down the pier was nice. The cool breeze, lake views, boats coming and going, and the houses along the shoreline. The lighthouse was neat. Not sure if I've seen one up close before.

We probably spent 15-20 minutes just enjoying the sights and sounds. Then we headed to the truck, and drove back northward on the Blue Sky Highway which leads directly to Glenn. The 2-lane was a nice scenic drive. We were discussing where to eat and decided to try the diner in Glenn.

Excellent choice! We all had the fish and chips dinner. The cole slaw was perfect, and the fish and french fries tasted great. Debby and I had our eye on some pie, but I was all talk. Debby was true to her word. We all left full and patting our stomachs.

When we got back to the house I sat up the laptop and did my nightly ritual of downloading GPS tracks, pictures, and email. I also got into "Hefner mode"...pajama pants and slippers. We lounged on the deck until after midnight, talked, and just enjoyed our first day in Michigan. Ahhhh...Pure Michigan.

296 miles.

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