Saturday, September 29, 2018

Lake Michigan: A Last Summer Hurrah!

I've been trying to post this for weeks, but TaGeez and I have been pulling double shifts and double duty, which has left little time except for the daily cache.  Now that cold weather is setting in and the days are darker, earlier I'm enjoying reliving this post-Labor Day adventure.

What started as a family adventure turned into a couples-only weekend after PopLob took ill. So, hotel book and rental car at the ready, what to do? What to do? Well, geocache. Right? 


Our initial plan was to take PopLob for a weekend of cider mills, white fish dinners, and beach views from camp chairs. Now with no need to stay close to interstate restrooms, we decided to detour to some of the sites off the beaten path. First stop is Fort Customer National Cemetery.

Avenue of Flags GCGZRX

Did you know we had German POW's during World War II? Why did that take me by surprise? I guess I assumed we were too far from the action.  It was moving to see the row of German headstones so far from home. 

Our open itinerary means we could tick off some personal goals including caching in the last three lower Michigan counties we needed.  Chief Noonday is in the middle of farmland north of Richland.

Chief Noonday's Grave GCB030
Afterwards we headed south through Kalamazoo to enjoy the newest geocaching Virtuals, most of which were located in cemeteries. Unfortunately, to avoid the spoilers, I can't share too many pictures.

Look at these! Old marble protected by stainless steel caps! We're seeing more and more steel in cemeteries lately.

Typical Cemetery Cache GC495EP

Several more cemeteries, a Viking Muffler Man plus the Paw Paw Wine & Harvest Festival, we finally made it to South Haven in time for dinner.


Hampton Inn in South Haven was affordable, very close to downtown, and made a fabulous recommendation for dinner....


South Haven is a quaint downtown is shops and restaurants and (thankfully) not many tourists the weekend after Labor day. So relaxing strolling hand-and-hand peering in shop windows and groping park benches for geocaches. 

Downtown South Haven GC34JQD
We had a relaxed, prolonged dinner people watching in Clementine's. Still a little restless, we decided to cruise down for a glimpse of the local lighthouse only to realize we happened upon Lake Michigan at sunset! I think the pictures speak for themselves.

GORGEOUS! We were back the next morning. 

South Pier Overlook GCJYR1

Happy as can be we packed up and started heading North - visiting cemeteries and lighthouses, geocaching and dipping our toes in the cool, blue water along the way. It couldn't have been more perfect. 

Ode to Eleanor GC73WJ5


Holland is known for its windmill and annual tulip festival, but you can't neglect a visit to Big Red. Look at all that sand and so few people!

Big Red GCP7TK


Next found us in Grand Haven where we spied two lighthouses as well as several other geocaches.

Grand Haven is known as Coast Guard City and hosts an annual Coast Guard celebration. No surprise the Coast Guard station is the site of one of the new Virtuals.

Virtual Reward - Coast Guard City USA GC7B8J9

We turned into town for lunch at the Dee-Lite Bar & Grill. We were given a choice to wait for a table in the dining room or immediate seating in the bar. TaGeez ducked out to the men's room, and the couple at the next table openly laughed at me when I ordered a round of water. Little did we know when we were seated in the Theater Bar that they were famous for their Sunday morning Bloody Mary drink buffet. You can see the lady over TaGeez's left shoulder making up her next round!

The food was delicious and worth the trip back.


This stop in Muskegon was much different then the last. Sunny and blue, water as far as the eye can see. Plus we practically had the beach to ourselves.

Light House Park GC4BMNE

Confession time: I have a water video library. I have videotaped the sounds and sites of the surf from various Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean (North Carolina to Maine). I find it a great de-stresser at work. We added quite a bit of footage on this trip, but these contained lighthouses in the background!

Unfortunately, there wasn't much Roadside America or Atlas Obscura stops along this route. So close to the USS Silversides, we felt we had to stop. Well, that's all we have to say about that.


And final stop North is Whitehall. We enjoyed this stop earlier in the year with Shelley Jean, but this time the summer warmth was with us.

Feeling blessed because we live in Pure Michigan!

Even TaGeez kicked off his shoes!



It's finally time to head home, and we have a few more stops in mind.

Caching Down in Germantown  GC7AA6N

If you ever make it to Grandville (southeast of Grand Rapids), you most definitely need to try the celebrated caches by hoekfam. One was guarded by a platoon of skeeters, the most favorited was MIA, but Updraft will definitely be my favorite of the trip. Want to see this amazing cache in action, check out my Facebook video!

Updraft GC5931G

We missed PopLob, but it was the tonic for a very trying year. Hopefully these memories will get us through the Winter ahead. 

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