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I have no clue why. LOL. Really I don't. One minute it's a lazy Sunday afternoon and I'm hard at work on my latest, the next I'm bundled into the passenger seat of the truck and we're driving up 1-75 heading North once again. It could have been the fact the day started with seeing a flying wing aircraft up in the sky. Seriously. Can't tell you which one or why - but it gave the day a certain auspicious feel that we just had to exploit.

Remember the old jokes about Sunday drivers? People with no real destination in mind and no real timetable that always end up dawdling at some ridiculously low speed in front of you when you are in a hurry? It's not really the same on 1-75 in mid-Michigan. After all, the median speed is usually over 80 mph, but close enough. As for how unplanned this was - well, once again the camera stayed home. Rats! This means fewer pictures in this post, but more clickable links for that festive, interactive experience.

Everyone that knows us knows that we are West Coast Michigan People. Pentwater, Silver Lake, Ludington, Sagatuck, Holland and the like are our usual haunts. But here we were heading to the East side. It's been a few years, but hey, it's closer. We just wanted a quick drive to see some big water. Nothing major. Famous last thoughts.

The original, half-formed plan was to visit Saginaw. Other than driving by and waving at automotive plants I've never really played tourist there. Eyeballing the hand that stood in for a map we would see water at Saginaw Bay.. After all, based on a blurb from the official City of Saginaw site we could expect to find the following:

The Riverfront provides almost constant relaxation opportunities year-round whether cruising up and down the river on a warm summer day, fishing from the banks or the new pier near Court Street, walking along the Saginaw Riverwalk, watching fireworks over Ojibway Island, or Ice Fishing in the Annual Shiver on the River.

Awesome. Any place with a pier or riverwalk has my vote.

Alas, a wrong turn took us away from downtown, and back toward the freeway. Such is the luck of Sunday Driving. Undaunted we continued on our aimless wandering.

Most Southern Michiganders carry within them a line of demarcation that lets us know "Hey, you're almost up North". You just hit that spot and you know. Ours has always been the Zilwaukee Bridge, just north of Saginaw. as shown in the photo by Adrianne Bonafede. You can click on the main Zilwaukee Bridge link to read some interesting facts about the bridge and its history. Including its dubious claim to fame resulting from the collapse during construction. the main reason we remember it is the years of lane closures and miles of traffic backups that added hours to any trip. Here's an example of what used to be all too common.

Lucky for us it was clear sailing and we headed off to Bay City. In the past we've spent as much time in Bay City as we have in Saginaw. Mainly we just drove through, looked with admiration at some historic houses and drove on. Well, trust me. We're coming back here again.

It would take several blog posts to really give Bay City and its attractions the time they deserve. Most of our time was spent at the Edward M. Golson Nature Park and Boat Launch. Here's where I regret not having the camera. Wide, wide stretch of Saginaw River. Huge boats tearing it up, boats launching, boats being hauled in, nature trails, walkways, water, piers, A drawbridge in the up position! Trust me, I searched for some good pictures to share - but didn't find any that did it justice. This place would occupy us for hours and hours. Just as interesting is the history behind its creation. Click here to read how The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and the federal and state governments sued Bay City, Saginaw and General Motors over contamination of the Saginaw River and bay. The construction costs for this park were paid out of the $28.2 million Natural Resources Damages Settlement reached in 1998.

From there we wandered on to Downtown Bay City where we strolled the Rail Trail.

As taken from the handout: This is 10 mile looping trail that surrounds the east side of Bay City and follows the west bank of the Saginaw River. The trail is an asphalt and cement path on land once used as railroad right-of-way. It was designed to be used by joggers, cyclists, and roller-bladers. The Riverwalk/Railtrail loop connects or passes very near to the following parks: Maplewood Park, Carroll Park, Bigelow Park, Ted Putz Nature Area, Riverwalk, Veterans Memorial Park, Dwan Property, Defoe Park, and Infinity Skate Park.
This 6.1 acre, downtown park is centered on an amphitheater and is used primarily for arts performances at the World Friendship Shell. It is decorated with a large oval sculpture and water fountain that can be seen down the length of Center Avenue. There is a boat dock at the seawall to accommodate all sizes of vessels.
The Bay Arts Council schedules concerts throughout the summer and in conjunction with major events such as the 4th of July, River Roar and the Tall Ships Festival. Wenonah Park was established in 1908 and has a rich history serving as public space in the downtown area.

I couldn't have said it better so why try to improve on perfection? This place had it all. did I mention even more drawbridges? Definitely a satisfying Riverwalk experience.

If you are interested in the Roar on the River - click here and here for more info, images and a slideshow.

You might think we would call it day and head home, wouldn't you? After all, this started out to just be a short drive. Yes, but Caseville was so close, and it's been so long since we stopped there we couldn't resist driving on.

We passed through Sebawaing. The home of Big Chief Sugar (currently hiring seasonal workers, by the way)and the Michigan Sugar Festival. Always fun. But the big winner of the trip was found in Pigeon, Michigan. Yes, we were lured in by the shiny engineering of the Harvest Wind Farm. I understand people have many views on the large turbines ranging from the aesthetic, the environmental, and the health. But we can't resist their mechanical allure and went off the path into the fields to get as close as we possibly could until we pulled off and went to reach out and touch. Truly amazing. I've found some interesting videos on their construction. Click here to watch one.

Getting late, and Caseville still lay ahead. We've visited many times over the years. Camping in October at the Albert E. Sleeper State Park (we were one of only two filled campsites that frosty weekend!). Summertime in the oldest, most decrepit motel room you can imagine (not even in existence anymore, darn it), and finally, at the very wonderful-can't-recommend-enough Lodge at Oak Point Bed and Breakfast. Jacuzzi and fireplace anyone?

But can you believe we forgot it was the "Cheeseburgers in Caseville" Festival? More pink flamingos and Jimmy Buffett music than you find in the Keys. Just fun. People, booths, cars, music, food, the pier, the breakwall, fireworks. Yeehaw.

Here are some links to view videos showing off the fun and festivity we were able to partake in: here, here, and here. Did you recognize us in any of them?

It was a real shame when we had to head home. But our bellies were full, and our truck full with Michigan produce bought from the stands along our journey. Honeyrocks, tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, new potatoes, green beans and more traveled home with us. thank you, Michigan Farmers. Although, I have say, all this gmo/hybrid corn is getting scary. Even the plants themselves and the leaves look different than the corn we used to grow.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
A festival with flamingos? Wonderful!
Aug. 17th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Right up your alley! There were big flamingos, little flamingos, plastic flamingos, stuffed flamingos, even *eyebrow waggle* blow-up flamingos. Definitely a good time.
Aug. 17th, 2010 12:39 am (UTC)
Cheeseburger festival? How awesome is that!
Aug. 17th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
The deep fried cheeseburger stands were a little scary - I'll admit it. But a lot of fun.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )