MICHIGAN TRAVEL TIPS
THE HOLOGLOBE PRESS
(The 45th Edition)
Victor Edward Swanson,
RULES OF USE
The reports and stories contained on this Web page have been put together with information taken from "The Victor Swanson Fabulous Files of Places to See in Michigan and Wisconsin" and with information obtained from operators and staffers of tourist attractions and from press releases, Web sites, and other sources. The reports and stories are provided as a public service by Victor Swanson and The Hologlobe Press. Almost all persons and entities, such as staffers of radio stations, may freely use the materials; neither AAA Michigan nor any employee of AAA Michigan may use, distribute, download, transmit, copy, or duplicate any of the material presented on this page in any way or through any means.
- - - Travel Thoughts for Everyone - - -
Through all the editions of Michigan Travel Tips produced so far, I have tried to give an impression of what can be seen in Michigan by traveling in Michigan, and it seems to me what I have shown is people in many other countries have not as much in their countries as can be found in Michigan, which is only one of the fifty states of the United States of America. It occurs to me not one of my thoughts about Michigan in all the previous editions of Michigan Travel Tips has covered how big Michigan is--if I were to talk about only the lower peninsula of Michigan, I would have to say it can take at least six hours to drive from top to bottom (when driving at speeds on the main roads usually between 55 miles an hour and 70 miles an hour over the distance) and it can take at least four hours to drive from one side to the other. Although Michigan can be considered big, there are a lot of similarities about cities and towns in one region of the state with cities and towns of another region of the state, and, of course, there are a lot of dissimilarities, as I have found over the years, especially the last year, which has been a time when I have been able to spend a lot of time far from where I have been based for the last fifty years or so. Besides talking about some places to see in Michigan through this edition of Michigan Travel Tips, I talk about some thoughts or impressions about things that I have learned from people in the state and talk about impressions of things that I have seen around the state, which a person from another country would not learn about probably by taking a trip in Michigan to see tourist attractions.
Oh, hold it! I have the impression people in Michigan are getting used to accepting lower and lower standards for products, since no matter where you travel, you can see cheaply made plastic things, such as parts for toilet tanks that were made in China, in stores all over the state, especially at big-name chain stores, which was not possible in the 1960s and 1970s, as I remember. I had to do work on a toilet-handle unit of a toilet for a friend of mine recently, or I had to replace a toilet-handle unit because it had broken. The toilet-handle unit was made of plastic. To make a repair on the toilet, I wanted a toilet-handle unit that was made of metal, but the first unit I found was so cheaply made (another low quality part made in China) that the handle would swivel about crazily and scrape the toilet tank (the rod or axle right at the base of the handle was really loose fitting in a socket unit). I found another toilet-handle unit, and it was better than the other unit was but it could have been made better. Be aware: When you travel in Michigan, you will find many cheaply and poorly made items--especially household items--manufactured in China for sale in stores, and I will say that, the big push by companies to have everything made in China is leading to people getting used to lower quality goods.
Incidentally, the person who had done work on the toilet previous to me only did a "c" quality work, as I will describe it. The hole for the handle unit (that plastic unit that I had to replace) of the toilet tank was bigger than the support shaft of the handle unit, and the person had not compensated for that well. To install the metal unit, I took the plastic nut for the broken toilet-handle unit and shaved it down, using a grinding wheel, and made an insert that screwed on to the new unit, and that piece that I made allowed the handle unit to fit snugly and not wiggle in the hole (that hole for the handle unit of the toilet tank).
All over the state of Michigan are restored houses, many made in the early 1900s and earlier, and one reason that the houses have been able to be restored to what they were like originally or nearly originally is they were originally made with materials that would last. An example of an old home that still stands today is the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, which is at South Haven, a city located along Lake Michigan of the lower peninsula of Michigan. Liberty Hyde Bailey was a man who lived from 1858 to 1954 and who, for one, worked to "improve the life of the small farmer" (as the Web site related to the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum notes), and he was an author, producing dozens of books, two of which were Wind and Weather and Garden-making. In the winter, not all the restored and historic houses in the state are open for regular visits, but the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum is one that is, though it is only open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in January and February. And there is no admission to enter.
It seems to me, since by my determination, houses are not made as strongly today as they were, for instance, one-hundred years ago, many, many houses built today may not be considered worthwhile for restoration in the future.
Let me talk about two places in Michigan to see. I finally had time to get more information about the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum, which is at Naubinway (of Mackinac County of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan) and which I had first talked about in an edition of Michigan Travel Tips last year. For my files, I note that the museum has a lot to see, such as at least sixty-two snowmobiles, a few of which were originally prototypes, and some of the makers represented are Arctic Cat, Galaxy, Polar, and Ski Bee Scout, and the place has helmets, snowsuits, and other snowmobiling-related items. The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum is usually open on a Thursday-through-Sunday basis from noon to 6:00 p.m., and it is easy to find, located two blocks south of the blinking light above US-2 at Naubinway. I have not been in the museum yet, but it does seem to me, through what I have learned, the museum is worthwhile for people who want to see a museum related to snowmobiling. Keep in mind: Naubinway is scheduled to be the site of a "Top of the Lake Antique and Vintage Snowmobile Show and Ride" on Friday, February 15, 2008, and Saturday, February 16, 2008, and the event will include, for instance, a "display of sleds" on that Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and a banquet (with a raffle) on that Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Let me interrupt my train of thought with an aside. When you travel in Michigan, you might be unaware it is common for some people in the rural areas to have more than one job, and the reason people work more than one job is jobs can be hard to find and pay can be low, and it is common for each person of a young married couple to work. Certainly, Naubinway is located in what can be called a rural area.
I now return to my train of thought. I finally took time to get more information for my files about the Splash Universe RiverRun Indoor Water Park, which I had first talked about last year. In essence, Splash Universe RiverRun Indoor Water Park, located at Dundee (of Monroe County of the Lower Peninsula) is an indoor water park and a hotel, which is made up of 163 suites, some of which are "Family Fun Suites" (made up of a one "King"-type bed and two bunks) and some of which are "Splash Rooms" (made up of two Queen-type beds), and each room has a full bathroom, a television set, and other features, and some rooms have, for example, wireless-Internet-access service or a refrigerator/freezer. The resort is made up of a water park proper, a shooting arcade, a restaurant, the "Treehouse pub," a gift shop, meeting rooms, and more. The Splash Universe RiverRun Indoor Water Park is open all days of the year, and the address is 1000 Whitetail Drive.
By the way, when I first talked about the Splash Universe RiverRun Indoor Water Park, it had yet to be opened.
Dundee can also be called a place that is in a rural area, but, for example, a person based in Detroit or the Detroit-Metropolitan area, the biggest metropolitan area of Michigan, can reach the place within one hour or so.
If you go traveling in Michigan, you might tune in to radio stations, maybe to hear news reports or get impressions of what music people like from town to town or city to city. What is unfortunate for a radio listener is no matter where the listener goes in Michigan (or even the country), the listener will find a lot of similarity in programming from one area to another--or if an area has a number of stations, those stations will often sound similar in style with a group of stations in another area. Since the 1970s, a number of things have reduced the amount of the diversity of radio formats in Michigan (and really the country), and the amount of diversity has been reduced by a number of factors, one of which is the rise of satellite-fed syndicated radio networks or services (which really began to increase in the 1980s) and federal government rules that have allowed a person or entity to own or control more than only seven radio stations in the country at a time or a few more than only seven radios stations in the country at a time, which had been the way is had been for decades (generally speaking, since the 1990s, federal broadcast rules have allowed a person or entity to own or control hundreds of radio stations and that idea has given rise to a central management often programming many stations around the country similarly--that is, if a company has a radio station in ten areas, each radio station could be given a similar format and air the same programs). Because of how the radio industry has become less local in focus since the 1970s, you are very less likely to learn about things going on around the state when you travel than you would have in times before roughly the 1980s (radio stations air less news than they once did and air fewer public service announcements).
My knowing the information in the previous paragraph is why, I present the information in this section.
There is a professional and internationally known ski jumping hill--the Pine Mountain Ski Jump--at Iron Mountain (of Dickinson County in the Upper Peninsula), and the Kiwanis Ski Club at Iron Mountain reports that an annual Pine Mountain Ski Jumping Tournament is scheduled for February 15, 16, and 17, 2008, and, officially, the event for those days is the "FIS Continental Cup."
One of the museums overseen by the Detroit Historical Society (which is based in Detroit of Wayne County in the Lower Peninsula) is the Dossin Great Lake Museum, which is located on Belle Isle, which is surrounded by the Detroit River and a part of Detroit, and, through March 2008, one of the exhibits at the museum is "BOBLO: Entertainment Island," which for a good part of 1900s had a popular amusement park and was often reached by visitors through trips aboard "BOBLO boats," each a big paddle wheel boat, and yet another exhibit at the museum is "City on the Straits: History and Ecology of the Detroit River," and if a visitor goes to the museum, the visitor can see one of the real "pilot houses"of former Great Lakes freighters that are on display in Michigan--the pilot house once belonged to The William Clay Ford. Generally speaking, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum is open during the day on Saturdays and Sundays.
I recently discovered this information: The Jesse Besser Museum is a museum located at Alpena (of Alpena County in the Lower Peninsula), and, last October 6, the museum received a donation of a 1928 Model "A" Ford car, which, though two-tone in color, looks mostly dark blue to me (I have seen it in a photograph), and now information about the vehicle exists in my files.
Since 1990, a sled-dog race called the "U.P. 200" has been scheduled to take place every year in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and the race will take place on February 15, 16, and 17, 2008. Actually, there are two races--the "U.P 200" and the "Midnight Run." For this edition of Michigan Travel Tips, I note that the organizers of these races do hope people will take part as volunteers, and, for example, one job a volunteer might do is take up a position somewhere along the trail for the "U.P. 200" and be ready to aid a musher, should aid be needed. To learn more about the "U.P. 200" and the "Midnight Run," you should see the Web site identified as www.up200.org. By the way, the trail for the "U.P. 200" race involves such areas in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as the Marquette, Deerton, Wetmore, and Grand Marais areas.
At Berrien Springs (of Berrien County in the Lower Peninsula) is a religious-based university called Andrews University (the religious organization behind the university is the Seventh-day Adventists), and although the university is a religious-based university, it does have a natural history museum, which is entitled the Andrews Museum of Natural History, and the total collection of items at the museum is well above 38,000 specimens (not all of which are on display, of course), and one of the big items of the collection is a complete skeleton of a woolly mammoth, and I will report that, generally speaking, the museum is open when the university is open for classes.
Like any place in the world, Michigan has areas, such as some neighborhoods in Detroit, that I would not urge you to visit, especially at night, and, like anyplace, Michigan has bad people, and I could do a discussion about people with ignorant thoughts, which would include well-known television personalities, but those three topics will not be covered in this edition of Michigan Travel Tips, but I will report that, if you take a trip in Michigan, you should not have trouble, and your trip should be pleasant, and, yes, to use a cliche, I can say that you will find likeable people as a rule.
Okay! Do not worry about the price of gasoline. You will probably hear thoughts about how much a gallon of gasoline costs, and you might hear complaints from some people about the cost. As a friend of mine continually points out, it is amazing about the prices of gasoline--some people think the price of a gallon is too high, but they will spend more than the price of a gallon of gasoline for a single cup of coffee.
Incidentally, on one tank of gasoline, a vehicle should be able to run the distance from the Straits of Mackinac (where the Mackinac Bridge is) to at least the base of the Lower Peninsula, which meets either the northern border of Indiana (another state) or the northern border of Ohio (another state). Enjoy your safe traveling in Michigan!
Your travel tips of Michigan in this edition of Michigan Travel Tips are:
The Andrews Museum of Natural History, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, the Lower Peninsula.
The Jesse Besser Museum, Alpena, Alpena County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle, Detroit, Wayne County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, South Haven, Van Buren County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Pine Mountain Ski Jump, Iron Mountain, Dickinson County, the Upper Peninsula.
Splash Universe RiverRun Indoor Water Park, Dundee, Monroe County, the Lower Peninsula.
The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum, Naubinway, Mackinac County, the Upper Peninsula.
- - - Public Service Copy for Broadcasters (four pieces) - - -
February is a time that many people in Michigan look forward to
because it is when there should be a lot of snow on the ground for
skiing, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities. On February 15,
16, and 17, another Pine Mountain Ski Jumping event called the "FIS
Continental Cup." is scheduled to take place at Iron Mountain, and
the only reason it may not take place on a given day is if the wind is
strong--wind is bad for ski jumpers. That ski jumping event is not
the only big winter-type event scheduled for what can be called the
weekend of February 15. For well over a dozen years, a big-time
sled-dog race has taken place every year in the Upper Peninsula--that
race is the "U.P. 200." Again this year, the race is scheduled, and,
actually, two races are scheduled for the weekend--the "U.P 200"
and the "Midnight Run." The organizers of both races could use
volunteers to help out. Think about it, and enjoy your safe traveling.
And now I have a message from Victor Swanson, who for about
three decades was a traffic reporter for radio stations in Michigan
and is now the publisher at The Hologlobe Press. In the winter,
snow falls in Michigan, and in the rural areas of Michigan, many side
roads or back roads never get plowed, so the roads can become
impassable. In the rural areas, though, road crews do a good job
of keeping the main and secondary roads open in the winter, and,
for example, it is rare when secondary or main roads are blocked
completely by piles of snow, so it is easy to get around to ski resorts
and the tourist attractions that are open. When road crews do their
work in rural areas, they can cause snow to build up in driveways
of homeowners, and that snow has to be removed by homeowners.
When you travel in Michigan, watch for guys and gals shoveling or
removing snow from their driveways, and enjoy your safe traveling
In early January--when some warm weather showed up--it was
possible for someone to plant tulip bulbs, but, certainly, we are not
in the planting season of Michigan, and you will not find any flowering
gardens outside. For example, during the summer, the property of
the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, which is at South Haven, which is
in Van Buren County of the Lower Peninsula, has flower gardens
for visitors to see, and it has a wildflower trail. Since it is winter,
there are no flowers to see outside, there, now. Although it is winter,
the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum is open to visitors, though only on
a Thursday-through-Monday basis. The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum
focuses on a man named Liberty Hyde Bailey, who was an author
and who, for example, in the early 1900s, worked to "improve the life
of the small farmer." Remember: The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum
is at South Haven, and use those safety belts to enjoy your safe
In the middle of this coming February--particularly during what
can be called the weekend of Friday, February 15 through Sunday,
February 17--big outdoor events are scheduled to place in the
Upper Peninsula. The Pine Mountain Ski Jump at Iron Mountain
will be the site of an international ski jumping event, and, in the
general Marquette/Grand Marais region, there will be two big-time
sled-dog events, one of which is the "U.P. 200." On Friday
and Saturday of that weekend, Naubinway has an "Antique and
Vintage Snowmobile Show" scheduled, and one of the features of
that event is a display of "sleds" on Saturday from ten to three.
Incidentally, Naubinway is the home of the "Top of the Lake
Snowmobile Museum," which, generally speaking, is open during
the day on a Thursday-through-Sunday basis, and it is a museum
that has about 60 "sleds" and many more snowmobile-related items
on display. Enjoy winter in Michigan, and enjoy your safe traveling!
- - - Contact Information - - -
The Hologlobe Press
Postal Box 20551
Ferndale, Michigan 48220-0551
The United States of America
copyright c. 2008
File date: 10 January 2008
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