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BigRedDog

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We went camping in Grayling for the long Labor Day weekend.  We usually go to the UP but my wife had to have some minor surgery at the U of M on Friday so that really shortened our earlier planned trip farther north.  We were done at U of M by noon and got to Grayling around 4.  We didn't have any reservations at any of the campgrounds and weren't sure if we'd have to move on across the bridge or not.  Lake Margarethe is the most popular DNR campground in the area and Hartwick Pines is the most popular state park.  Both of those were reserved full but there are numerous DNR campgrounds in the area so we just started driving.  The first on we came to was on 72 a few miles west of Grayling and is the Manistee River Bridge campground.  It was late when we got in so we just took the spot that was easy to back straight into in the dark.  We didn't even unhitch the camper because we weren't sure we were going to stay there.  When we got up the next morning we were greeted by one of the neighbor's four dogs they were letting run loose!!!  Fortunately I didn't just open the door and let our dog out or there just might have been a ruckus.  I shooed the dog away and got our dog out and back in without any issues.  Then I took my bike off the carrier and took a ride around the rest of the park.  We were in the next to the north loop and there were 2 other sites occupied there and they said they had one more group arriving later.  I took a ride and found the very front loop was completely unoccupied.  It was close to M72 but my wife is hard of hearing and traffic doesn't bother me much anyway so we found a site with a nice set of concrete steps right down to a dock on the river (small river, large creek at that point).  A sign at the top of the steps on what limits are on trout.  I thought maybe I'd see the fuzz there fishing but no such luck ;) ;) ;)

Once we got moved and settled in I took the dog down to the creek to see if he could scare up a fish for lunch but he wasn't interested.  Signs up everywhere about keeping your dog on a 6 foot leash.  You can see his leash and it was only a 5 footer so I figured he could look for the last foot of leash too.  We were doing a lot better with him than the people just letting their dogs run.

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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2018, 11:18:02 PM »

This was on Labor Day and looking up at the south tower of the Mackinac Bridge.  I walked this year from Mackinaw City north and turned around at the south tower.  I got there 6 minutes too late to walk all the way to the mid point.  I had my MapMyHike app going and I still walked 5.3 miles so I got my money's worth.  I would have made it on time if I hadn't spent 7 minutes talking to the two DNR gals at the state dock.  The one gal was a dog lover and she had the best time playing with our dog. 




I know these are backwards but that's the way Shutterfly decided to arrange them. 

A bonus point if you recognize anyone in the photo...   10 bonus points if you're in there yourself!!!



When I got back to the DNR dock I had to get a few pictures of the 'real' ice breaker Mackinaw.  We haven't been there to tour it yet but our son toured it there last fall.  We had been on it when it made it's 'farewell tour' and docked in Toledo probably 12-15 years ago.


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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2018, 11:24:17 PM »

Back at the campground and down on the dock looking northwest at the Manistee River.  I stood and looked for some fish for a bit but there is a big kayak and canoe launch place literally across the creek so I think they keep the fish away from that stretch.  On the other side of the bridge the DNR has a place that's just for fishing and the parking lot was full most of the time we were there.



I've got more pictures but I'm getting tired.  Been waiting for the football game to get over so I can watch the news.
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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2018, 10:23:32 PM »

I crossed up the above photo with a different one.  Here are the two photos that go with the above photo.  This is at the Goose Creek DNR campground about 6 miles north and east of where we were.  This one is a campground where people take their horses and ride trails. 

You've seen boat ramps before...

this is a 'horse ramp' for walking your horse into the water.  The steps are only 3-4 inches and it's all concrete and railroad ties.  They've actually put a lot of money into building this but this was also one of the better used DNR campgrounds we saw up there. 

So, the photo above actually is just to the left of the 'horse ramp' photo below.



Then the photo below here is to the right of the horse ramp and if you look close you can see where they ride back up out of the water and onto a trail.  I wasn't that interested to see how far the trails go but you can probably look it up on the DNR website if you're interesting.  There appear to be several trails that all meet right in that area.



I think this is all the Manistee River and not the Goose Creek. 
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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2018, 10:30:28 PM »

We did go out for Sunday Dinner while we were there.  One of the local fire departments in the next county west.  The campground is just east of the county line and as you head west you start into some nice hills.  When we were coming back there was a deputy running radar at the bottom of the hill and then they had a pursuit vehicle that was catching people just about the county line.  One even made it all the way to the bridge.  They were there a long time and eventually the state police showed up.  I wondered if maybe the speeder was challenging that the deputy pursued him across the county line?  The trooper wasn't there long and then everyone was gone.  It was an easy stretch of hills to get 'rolling' on so I'm guessing it's a good source of revenue from the tourists!!!

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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2018, 10:33:23 PM »

Back at the campgrounds Monday after most everyone else had left.  I took this picture from the middle loop in the campground where we had spent the first night.  This is looking southwest at the bridge and the dock that was at the foot of our campsite.

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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2018, 10:41:42 PM »

This is the canoe and kayak livery that is right across the river from the dock on our campsite.  Sunday it was kind of busy but not offensively loud.



I'll have to go back and look at my original pictures.  I didn't think it was that much out of focus.

Anyway, sometimes Google 'likes' a photo you've taken so they decide to 'enhance' it somehow.  This time they decided to convert it to black and white.  Interesting but I wasn't thrilled.  95% of the pictures I took in the Army were black and white I've never done much with black and white since. 

There are times you can get some nice artistic photos by using black and white but I'm not that patient with my photos to get into that at this point.



This one is out of focus too...   maybe that is part of their enhancement scheme.

Makes me wonder if all these teens that are sexting pictures of their various anatomy parts ever get an 'enhancement' from Google?
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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2018, 10:50:32 PM »

Nothing out of focus here...  that's just fog.  It had been raining and it was warming up fast Sunday morning.  The water was ice cold and it was all mixing up and making some fog. 

I wish Google would have figured out how to enhance this one...   this was one of my personal favorites of the trip.



Note all the canoes piled up in the background.  There were lots of power trucks in the area because they had several storms go through during the week before.  I saw on Twitter today that Consumers was thanking Camp Grayling for their hospitality to the CE employees while they were up there working.

I took this one from almost the same place on the steps but I zoomed in a lot more. 

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Maverick

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2018, 11:40:58 PM »

That Canoe livery is Shell Haven. The owner also own the dispensary across the street and another one in Frederic. Nice guy and nice canoe livery. I like that they take you upstream and you end at the livery.
Whenever I kayak the Manistee I use his place.
The AuSable has way more options for canoeing. I didn't go at all this year but there is still time.
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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2018, 09:00:58 AM »

That Canoe livery is Shell Haven. The owner also own the dispensary across the street and another one in Frederic. Nice guy and nice canoe livery. I like that they take you upstream and you end at the livery.
Whenever I kayak the Manistee I use his place.
The AuSable has way more options for canoeing. I didn't go at all this year but there is still time.

I had really wanted to get over to Shell Haven and at least take a closer look but our trip had been shortened a couple of days and I just didn't make it.  We're planning on going back to that same campground hopefully later this fall. 

We did see the dispensary across the road.  Seemed to be doing a fairly brisk business just watching the traffic in the parking lot.  Actually I noticed several of them up in that stretch from Grayling to the straits. 
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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2018, 09:03:57 AM »

I went back to my original photo file and ran these two back through the steps again.  No idea what happened the first time but they look much better now.






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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2018, 09:10:52 AM »

This must have been the original landing at the campground.  No concrete in the steps and they're getting a bit rickety.  My wife has been having some issues with her ankles and I didn't want her walking up and down these steps.  I'm sure the dog could have handled them just fine though.  This was on the 'loop' that Google maps originally sent us to and where the larger group of anchors were set up.  We camped the first night here and then moved and got our own 'landing' on the river. 

This is more behind (north of) the livery.  You can see the pile of canoes straight ahead through the trees and to the right you can see the bridge over 72.  I wish I had a thermometer to take the temperature of the river but it was cold.

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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2018, 09:37:42 AM »

Our son has been building some pintle hitches for our trucks and I had told him about the ones we had on the back of our M-60 Main battle tanks.  As we're driving through Grayling one morning I spotted a display behind the American Legion and clear at the back is an M-60.  We went back to get a picture and sent him.  He agreed that what he's building is not quite this heavy duty!



There was also an older M-48 Main Battle tank at the display.  It was closer to the road.  They must just keep adding to their display and going to the back.  Another couple of pieces and they're going to have to re-arrange things.

It does make me feel 'old' to go past the M-60s on display anywhere.  They have one on Temperance Road at the Temperance VFW and I usually try to avoid that area.  Those are not old tanks...   I served on those ;) ;) ;)

The first night we were at the 'landing' site at the park we had a visit from one of the DNR workers.  I con't think he was a sworn officer but I never got around to asking him either.  I was wearing my 3rd Infantry Division (Rock of the Marne) hat and he had commented on it.  He is 9 years younger than me and had enlisted in the Army.  After serving his first 3 years he went to Officer Candidate School and then stayed in the Army another 28 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.  He had been in a tank battalion as an EM and had a couple of tank related MOS numbers.  Anyway, even though he was 10 years behind me he had served on the much older (Korean War vintage) M-48 tanks.  Then as an officer he had skipped over the M-60s and went directly to the Abrams models.  He said he had never served in the 3rd ID but had been to Fort Stewart.  I laughed and told him that I had never been to Fort Stewart but we were planning on attending one of the 3rd ID annual reunions that are held there. 
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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2018, 09:55:30 AM »

Our previously made trip plans got detoured when my wife discovered she could get into U of M for a minor surgical procedure (I cut the stitches out last night so I'm thinking maybe I could have done the surgery too ;D ;D ;D ).  She had to be there at 8 am but we were hauling the camper and then heading north after her surgery.  We got up there about 2am and parked across 7 parking spaces (I was not a popular guy that morning I'm sure but that parking lot is designated as the RV parking lot) right down by the Huron River and below the helicopter landing pads.  Only heard 2 takeoffs while we were there.  That is actually a pretty nice place to camp out.  After I got her up the hill for the surgery the dog and I got out a couple of lawn chairs and watched the kayakers going down the Huron River. 

My wife was done about 11:15 and we got back to the camper and relaxed a few minutes and then loaded up and we were pulling out at exactly noon.  As we had walked back the length of that parking lot we had only seen a few parking spaces open and none adjacent to each other.  Literally as I turned to pull out of the 7 spaces we looked ahead and saw a pickup hauling a long tent camper driving in and looking for a space to park.  We stopped and chatted for a few minutes and I suggested he might want to go buy a lottery ticket that night too.  I hope he won!!! 

So, while the dog and I are on one of our walks while we waited I spotted this Ford Explorer with it's personalized license plate.  I wonder if they are a Spartan fan with their own big red dog or if by chance the owner is a member of the MSU Board of Directors?  Any Spartan fans out there with any ideas on that one?  It must have been the owner's birthday because this was on August 31st and their license tags expired on their birthday in August of 2018.  Surely no one would drive around on expired tags ;D ;D ;D

I actually got busted going into the State Park in Monroe last fall a few weeks after my birthday.  The gate person checked my 'passport' numbers and came back and told me it was expired.  I literally had the new tag laying on the top of the center console so I showed him that and promised to go put them on as soon as I got over to the dump station. 

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BigRedDog

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Re: Labor Day camping trip and walking the Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2018, 10:06:41 AM »

We usually buy our smoked fish in St. Ignace (north side of the bridge) but since we didn't make it up that far this trip we had to find a place in Mackinaw City.  Since there were people and cars packed throughout downtown we headed south on 23 a couple of miles and found this place.

http://bigstonebay.com/

Excellent selection of both smoked and fresh fish.  Lots of fillets or whole fish depending on what you're looking for.  I didn't see any of the whitefish sausage or spread but we'll be looking for it the next time we go back. 

My paternal grandparents did some commercial fishing on Lake Superior during and after WWII.  I was still little but I remember by Dad and his Dad discussing the 'price wars' with other fishermen on the lakes.  I remember my Dad telling the story of driving a load of whatever fish all the way to Sault Ste. Marie and not even getting enough money to pay for the gas the truck took (and gas was pretty inexpensive back then). 

Here's a 2 year old article about fish price wars and it involves this fishery:

http://www.michiganradio.org/post/price-war-over-popular-great-lakes-fish
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