JULY 19, 2023
Let's see. I think we made 3 stops. Maybe even 4. Sometimes we just stop so Bri can stretch his legs. As you drive west, the rest stops get nicer. More truckers, more long quiet roads. Heaven if you ask me. When I can see far, my head feels clearer. Maybe that's just me, but there is something so calming about being in the middle of nowhere. This connection was smooth sailing and good weather. Michigan is beautiful!! We fell in love right away. It feels and looks very much like New Hampshire in the places we past by.
We arrived at Hearthside grove https://www.hearthsidegrove.com/ around 5pm. WOW! What a beautiful "RV" park. It felt more like a really nice housing development. My initial reaction was to be pissed. lol. When we are in the RV I like to rock my crocs and mismatched whatever. Every RV (well most) had to be well over a million in this place, and each site had its own little additional custom housing until, gorgeous maintained landscaping, ponds with fountains, heavily gated entry, pickle ball courts, a pool, clubhouses, we were by no means roughing it. Ok, and let's be honest, we are far from roughing it in this RV, but I do like a good campground vibe. But Brian loves this shit, his inner child is a happy retired guy who wants to play pickle ball and lounge in luxury, lol. So we compromise and do a bit of both. I have to admit though, it felt very safe, which not all camp grounds along the way feel like, and it was a beautiful place to walk the dogs, and hang out. Most places I won't go far from our RV alone, but here I felt totally fine. I would go back. And if you are looking for a place to stay with privacy and elegance, this is your place. Clean, and beautiful, and staff to match.
We got settled and took a ride to explore. It was overcast and on the cooler side. Our first stop we went to check out Petoskey State Park to dip our feet in Lake Michigan. One of our favorite things to do when we travel is get in whatever water we can. Touch the steam, splash our faces, get our toes wet. There is something so soothing about it all. The connection to the earth, just being in nature. Watching Summer adopt these habits has also been so rewarding as a parent. I hope she continues on in her life adventuring and living. If there's anything we want as a parent, it's to set them up with real life skills. And for us, high up on our list is being about to navigate the world. Airports, bus stations, maps, detours (on the road and in life) bumps, hard things, unexpected situations, all of it. Im proud of her as I watch her do all of these things with Grace. After stopping at the park, we took the dogs for a nice long walk and we turned in for the night. Driving days are a little draining on all of us.
JULY 20, 2023
ITS POURING. The thunder woke me up, followed by lightening tight behind it. The rain was coming down so hard, like something off a movie really. I must say, this is quite possibly my favorite way to wake up in the RV. I made some coffee and enjoyed everyone sleeping for a bit. Again, my favorite part of the day, the peace of the early morning. We wanted to be lake side all day on our only full day in Petoskey! So now what with all this rain? Let's check out the town. The rain was predicted to clear by later afternoon. A huge part of any trip we have realized, and in life, you can't predict the weather, so go make the best of it. A few rounds of our new Roasted and Toasted card game in the rain storm did the trick.
Exploring, and learning about where we are is our favorite thing while traveling. Summer makes lists of fun facts and we read them in transit. We love learning stuff when we get there. Visiting local restaurants and museums and finding local treasures (and yoga studios, which is still on my list, haven't done that on this trip yet)
The first thing we started noticing in the town, that we had picked up on a little bit, was Petoskey Stones were a big deal. Maybe you can find them all over the state.. still figuring that out. You can buy them in all the local stores, but I was determined to find my own!
What is a Petoskey Stone?
The Petoskey stone is fossilized pre-historic coral fossilized rugose coral, Hexagonaria percarinata. Distinguishable by its unique exoskeleton structure, a Petoskey stone consists of tightly packed, six-sided corallites, which are the skeletons of the once-living coral polyps. The center of each polyp was the mouth and contained tentacles that reached out for food. The hexagon shape of each cell and thin lines radiating out from the dark “eye” in the center are distinguishing features unique to this fossil.
So cool right?!
Before stone hunting, we went to check out the little lake side town of Petosky. We found some adorable shops, and bought some cute new things. T-shirts, mugs, stickers etc. The usual, except we always try to find the gift stores that are a bit nicer then the others so the things we bring home are worth buying. Summer saved up some money for the tip, and got me the most beautiful Michigan shaped cutting board, and had it wrapped in the store for me! Im obsessed. Photo below.
A store worker told us to check out Roast and Toast for some lunch. 5 stars! https://www.roastandtoast.com/. Check them out, such a good back story. Food was YUM. Latte was one of the best I've ever had. Summer got a caesar salad (just me or I can never spell caesar right on my first try). Amazing salad, menu was huge and everything else looked FAB too. Great vibe, kind staff and if it was local. to me I would definitely be there all the time.
Time to stone hunt. We got some tips and tried out East Park a bit down the road, and away from the busy state park. Summer and Brian went out far and hunted in the water! I put my seagrass hunting skills to work on the rocky edge. We found some!! Nothing big, but we took them back as treasures and we had a lot of fun looking. You can't really see the makings when they are dry, and unpolished, so you have to get them wet to make sure you have the goods! Im hoping I can find a polishing place when I get home, hmmmm.
Our exploring time frames are always limited to the dogs, so back we went to hang, refresh and take them for a walk before dinner. We went to head out the door and it was open. Winston was gone. MY HEART DROPPED. Summer thought she shut it tight. Brian ran outside yelling and I followed behind him. We spotted him (THANK GOD) standing at the end of the driveway. I think if he could have spoke it went something along the lines of "hmmm, I've never been out here without my mama, what should I do now, I can't leave forever, dey have all the good foods and stuff...." His initial reaction to our panic was to run away from Brian, but luckily he was rational and didn't go far, and came to me when I pretended to have a treat. THIS WAS AND IS MY BIGGEST FEAR. Especially on the road. I would have moved into the town until we found him. Trip and life to a full stop. I burst into tears once he was inside. MAN, life. Up, down, sideways. THE JOURNEY. Right? So wild. But the only way to feel and find joy, is to LOVE.
Ok. Time to regroup. Dinner is on our minds. We took advice from a local at the RV park and went to The back lot. https://thebacklot.menu/petoskey/ food trucks all privately owned and a bar. Cool vibe, crazy unorganized per Brians standards but I really we really enjoyed it. Food was really good, wait times weren't terrible. Down side, you had to fight for your life to sit, if you didn't find a spot (which we did but it was one of the last) you would have to eat standing up. But everyones chill and having a good time. Kid friendly A couple fire pits. Literally just in the back lot of a building. We stayed for a couple hours, got a beer and had a few different things from the food trucks. The taco truck was my favorite. Roasted pork burrito bowl. YUM. Amazing pork. Summer got a pizza, and Bri got cheese curds from the cheese truck and a grilled cheese. Best friend cheese I think I have ever had! We cruised Petoskey State Park one more time for rocks, and headed back home to the dogs. Tight spoon all night with Winston is an understatement.
We woke up and hit the road to Wisconsin
Our little collection of stones we found, and other fun treasures from the gift store.
Roast and Toast
If you ever roll through Petoskey, make a stop here! Coffee was amazing, and food was so good too!
Lake Michigan, East Park
This is the spot we found our rocks in, sounds like there are a good handful more of beaches between here and Traverse City that you can also find them. We met a woman who had grown up there, and the locals go to the dollar store and get a mini strainer and tape it to a pole to grab rocks they think may be Petowskey stones from the bottom while wading because its hard to tell. They sell similar things in town for upwards of 60 dollars!
Anyone feel me?
If you are ever in Michigan, please try these chips! They are THE BEST! Maybe you can even order them online, don't wait! Michigan is known for their cherries, and now to me, known for these chips!