Kay & Lawson's Great Lakes Tour - August - October, 2000
This trip took us through twelve states and one Canadian province. We stayed at campgrounds bordering on all 5 of the Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Erie, Huron & Ontario), as well as many other smaller lakes and rivers. Photography and words can't possibly describe the beauty of the country we saw. We put 5333 miles on the truck - the trailer probably saw 500 miles less - during the 6 weeks we were on the road. We traveled through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and back to Texas. We hope you enjoy this log of our trip.
We left Richmond on Wednesday morning, August 30th, heading up US-59 to
Livingston, TX. Then east on US-190,
TX-63, & LA-28 to Pineville, LA where we spent the night. It was 107 in
Pineville that day. It took the AC an hour to cool the trailer down.
The next morning we followed LA-28, US-84 & the Natchez Trace Parkway up to Raymond, MS. We spent the weekend visiting with Lawson's sister, brother-in-law, and mother. Still no escape from the temperature, which ran at 105 one day in Jackson.
In an effort to get some relief from the 100+ temperatures, we headed north on the Natchez Trace Parkway on September 4th (Labor Day). That day we made it to Tishomingo, MS and stayed at Tishomingo State Park. It was a nice park located on a lake. That night the long awaited cool front finally arrived to northern Mississippi, and gave us relief for the rest of the trip.
On Tuesday the 5th, we continued up the Natchez Trace Parkway to Nashville, TN. About 90 miles from Nashville, we stopped at the Meriwether Lewis Monument (Lewis & Clark Expedition).
By early afternoon we made Nashville and toured The Parthenon - a full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon. Very impressive!
That afternoon we stayed at Two Rivers Campground (on Music Valley Dr.) in the heart of the Opryland area. We spent the next day touring The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson. The mansion dates from the mid-1800s and sits on extensive plantation grounds, with many other old buildings.
Late that afternoon, we left Nashville and headed north on I-65 through beautiful rolling hills, and stopped for the night in Franklin, KY.
On the 7th, we continued north on I-65 through KY. In Louisville, we toured Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby and continued on to Clarksville, IN, where we spent the night at Add-More Campground.
The next day, we continued up I-65 to Indianapolis, where we stayed at the State Fairgrounds Park. That afternoon we toured President Benjamin Harrison's Home. It was built in 1875 and is furnished with many of his personal items.
Saturday the 9th, we headed north on US-31 to Peru, then north on IN-19 through countless corn and soybean fields and picturesque farm buildings. We stopped along the way at Nappanee, IN to tour Amish Acres, a historic Amish farm, complete with livestock. We didn't realize prior to then that northern Indiana has a large Amish population. We saw many horse & buggys on the country roads. That afternoon we made it to Elkhart, IN where we stayed at Elkhart Campground.
Sunday it was rainy all day so we road around in the truck some that afternoon, looking at the Amish farms in the area.
Monday we did some shopping at the local RV Salvage business (Elkhart is the World Capital of RV Manufactures), and then headed toward Detroit on US-12. By late-afternoon, in a violent rain storm, we arrived at Detroit/Greenfield KOA in Ypsilanti, MI.
Tuesday the 12th, we spent all day at the Henry Ford Museum. With its 12-acre building, it is equivalent to one of the Smithsonian in size and quality.
Across the freeway was the Visteon (old Ford Powertrain Div.) building. We stopped by it, but nobody we knew was around. I spent many hours in that building during my TI career, getting roasted by Ford!
Wednesday, we spent all day at Greenfield Village. With 81 acres of historic buildings, it is in the same league as Colonial Williamsburg. Henry Ford founded the museum and village in 1929.
On Thursday the 14th, in the morning we toured The Henry Ford Estate- Fair Lane, a massive mansion located on the Rouge River in Dearborn. It has a 300-foot long tunnel that connects its power plant to the main house.
In the afternoon, we toured the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores. The sixty-room house took 3 years to build and was completed in 1929. Light rain today made picture taking difficult.
On Friday, we left Detroit and crossed over the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor, Ontario, Canada. We were pleasantly surprised at how good and well marked the roads were compared to Michigan. We traveled King's Hwy (KH) KH-3 along the northern shore of Lake Erie. We were also surprised to see all the many farms and fresh produce stands along the road. They even grow tobacco there. We learned that southern Ontario is referred to as the "banana belt" of Canada. We loaded up on broccoli, cauliflower, apples, plums & such.
At St. Thomas, we took secondary roads #45 & #42 to Port Burwell. For the night, we stopped in Port Burwell at Sand Hill Park, on the shore of Lake Erie.
Next morning we continued on #42, KH-6, KH-3 & the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) to Niagara Falls, ON. We stayed at Scotts Tent & Trailer Park about 3 miles from the falls. We stayed there 4 nights. While there, we visited Table Rock Complex, Goat Island, Maid of the Mist, Niagara on the Lake, Botanical Gardens, and of course we spent a lot of time just looking at the falls. We really enjoyed our time there.
On Wednesday, the 20th, we left Niagara Falls and traveled up the QEW and KH-401 to Toronto. We stopped at Darlington Provincial Park on the northern shore of Lake Ontario near Oshawa. Next day we rode the GO-Train into Toronto, and the Metro Subway to Casa Loma, a medieval style castle. Sir Henry Mill Pellatt began building it in 1911. It took 300 men nearly 3 years to complete and cost $3.5M Canadian dollars.
On the 22nd, we traveled north on #34, #4, KH-12, KH-11, KH-169 & KH-69 to Parry Sound, on the eastern shore of the Georgian Bay. We stayed at Trailside Park. The countryside was heavily forested, with rolling hills with very rocky soil. In fact, northern Ontario is one BIG rock with a little topsoil on it and many thousands of beautiful lakes and rivers in the valleys. Unfortunately it was overcast and rainy the 22nd & 23rd, so not good for photo-taking.
On the 23rd, we continued north on KH-69 to Sudbury, then KH-17 & KH-6 to Sheguiandah on Manitoulin Island, where we stayed at Batman's Tent & Trailer Park. The next morning at 7AM the electric power went off. We discovered that it had been turned off all day for the entire island, so they could upgrade the power lines. Faced with temperatures in the 40's & 50's, no electricity and likewise no water, we decided to leave the island. We went back up KH-6 to Espanola and Apsey Lake Park.
Next day we went up KH-6 to KH-17 & KH-108 to Elliot Lake, where we visited the Nuclear & Mining Museum. On the way to Elliot Lake, we stopped for lunch at Serpent River. On the road to Elliot Lake, and in the Elliot Lake area, we saw the most spectacular fall leaves of our entire trip. After leaving Elliot Lake, we came south on KH-108 to KH-17, then west to Iron Bridge, where we spent the night at Viking Tent & Trailer Park.
The 26th, we continued on KH-17 west to Sault Ste. Marie, where we stayed at Bell's Point Park. That afternoon, we went to Gros Cap, overlooking Lake Superior.
Next day we took the all-day train ride on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. We saw many beautiful fall colors, lakes, rivers & waterfalls on the 114-mile trip to Agawa Canyon. The canyon was beautiful, but the mid-30's temperature and brisk wind made it pretty uncomfortable.
On the 28th, we crossed over the bridge back into the USA and motored south on MI-129, MI-134 & I-75 to Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground in Mackinaw City, MI. Next day we took a jet boat over to Mackinac Island and bicycled all day. The only modes of transportation allowed on the island are horse, bicycle, or foot.
Saturday, September 30th, we took US-2 west along the shore of Lake Michigan. Then MI-77 & MI-28 north & west to Munising Tourist Park in Munising, MI, on the shore of Lake Superior. The fall colors were nice in this area.
On October 1st, we left Munising and headed west on MI-94, to US-41, then south to MI-35. We spent the night in Escanaba, MI, at Park Place of the North Campground. The Sand Point Lighthouse is on Lake Michigan.
The next day we traveled south on MI-35, US-41, & WI-26 to Hidden Valley RV Resort & Campground in Milton, WI. We passed hundreds of big farms along the way. We spent 2 nights in Milton.
On the 4th, we took I-39 south into Illinois. Then I-55 to Granite City, IL, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, MO. We stayed at the Granite City KOA for 3 nights while we toured St. Louis. St. Louis is the location of Lawson's first job out of college in 1963, at McDonnell Aircraft (now Boeing Aircraft). We toured the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse, as well as a GM Auto Assembly Plant in Wentzville.
On Saturday, the 7th, we went south on I-55 & US-67 into Arkansas. We spent the night at Jacksonport State Park near Newport, AR. Sunday we continued south on US-67 and I-30. We stopped in Hope, AR, to see President Bill Clinton's birthplace. No trip through AR is complete without a stop here. Bring plenty of Pepto-Bismol, as the supply is always short in Hope.
We continued on to Country Pines RV Park in Marshall, TX, to spend the night. Next day we continued south on US-59 back to Richmond, TX.
This draws to a close our Great Lakes Tour. We really enjoyed this trip. We hope you enjoyed our travelogue and photos too. The beautiful scenery and all the friendly and helpful people we met made the trip a real pleasure for us. We found "southern style hospitality" everywhere we went, even in far northern Ontario! We truly thank God for protecting us on this journey and allowing us to experience and enjoy another part of His great creation. God willing, please join us for another short Texas RV trip in the near future.
Bye for now,
Lawson & Kay
How clearly the sky reveals God's glory! How plainly it shows what He has done! Each day announces it to the following day; each night repeats it to the next. Psalms 19:1-2 (TEV)