We departed Wellston at 0910 hrs., a full 20 minutes ahead of planned departure. The colors have been glorious the past few days here is northern Michigan. It was, as always, hard to say goodbye to Mom. She handed me a bag (very heavy) full to the top with travel snacks. Bill says we will have to drive much farther than Jacksonville in order to finish them! Kind of like Christmas stockings – full of fun goodies.
We made our first “rest stop” at the rest area in Clare – we usually choose to stop within the first hour just to check everything inside and outside our rig. Traveling in the current COVID climate, we truly appreciate having our own bathroom facilities and kitchen/food provisions. Pay-at-the-pump fuel stops pretty much completely eliminates the need to enter a public facility unless we choose to. It is heartening to see many people choosing to observe social distancing and use masks.
As we traveled south, the colors are less dramatic – more yellows and oranges and less red. Unusually, we noticed that traffic in the northbound lanes was extremely heavy with backups. Typically, on Sunday, traffic is headed south from “Up North” as everyone migrates south and back to work. We are not complaining – the light traffic was greatly appreciated.
We arrived at Sterling State Park in Monroe at 1440 hrs, fully set-up by 1500. The park has a fairly significant occupancy for Sunday, and this continues to be true on Monday. (We had originally planned to be here on Friday and Saturday, but the park was at 100% occupancy.) Sterling has many wonderful walking/running/cycling paths, and we set out to explore some of them with Piper.
After a very early night (headed for bed at 2115 hrs.!) – we were up and ready to check out some of our favorite spots. We headed out for a trip down memory lane – checking out our old neighborhood and the houses we lived in. We drove past our former church and other special spots. We enjoyed walking through Munson Park and checking out Custer Airport. Lunch was, of course, chili dogs and root beer at Vince’s West Elm Drive-In. They still have their $1.00 chili dogs on Mondays! On our daughter’s recommendation, we also tried their chili-cheese fries – topped with their special hot dog chili. Again, thanks to COVID, we couldn’t enjoy having the tray over the window in traditional drive-in style; and the outdoor seating area was occupied.
On the way back to Sterling, we drove past General George Armstrong Custer. When the kids were little, they named him “Custer Bill” – insisting it was their dad.
This afternoon, Bill and I were absolutely thrilled to have Jeanne and Carl visit. It was a blessing to be treasured – the opportunity to spend time with family, chat, catch up, and share a meal. They brought us some delicious chocolate chip cookies that Carl baked. We sampled a few, and I have taken the precaution of hiding them from Bill so that we will be able to enjoy them on the road.
We are finishing this evening inside listening to a thunderstorm and the rain on the roof. In the morning, we will be heading south!
Must see/do/taste in Monroe if you are passing through:
Vince’s West Elm Drive In for chili dogs and homemade root beer.
Tiffany’s Pizza – great pizza and salads – but even better cheesy garlic bread sticks!
Cakes by Stephanie – try it all – you can’t make a bad choice here!
Sterling State Park to see Lake Erie.
Munson Park and the Raisin River Walk for lovely walking trails.
Danny’s Market – pick up a marinated prime rib and follow their cooking instructions (you’ll thank us for sure!).
Independent Dairy for homemade ice cream.
263 miles traveled.