(The 6th Edition)


Victor Edward Swanson,



    The material contained within this page is derived from my "fabulous files" of places that vacationers can see in Michigan and Wisconsin, and, in fact, my fabulous files contain information about hundreds of things to see.  The material is provided as a public service of Victor Swanson and The Hologlobe Press.  Almost all persons and entities, such as radio stations, may freely use the material; 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 - - -

    Let me set the scene:

    It happens to be a sunny summer day in Michigan.  From the kitchen window, you look out to the backyard, and there it is, that patch of grass that you are going start to rip out with a sod cutter in about a half hour, once your Uncle Larry gets back from the rent-it place with a sod cutter.  Uncle Larry manages to bring a sod cutter that works, and the sod cutter shakes you about with every run you make.  Next, you pull off the strips of sod and stack them in two piles on the driveway near the apron of the driveway, hoping someone will steal the stuff.  You roughly level the ground where the sod was, slicing off high spots and filling in low spots.  Next, you put down a bed of what appears to be ground-up rock, and you pat it down well, and you put down another layer and pat it down, and what you end up with is a fairly level patch of ground, about fourteen feet by twelve feet.  Now, you lay down patio squares, and, at about midnight, you are done.  You have a new patio.  The sky is clear, and the moon is up.  There, you sit, Indian style, in the middle of the patio, and now you are wondering where to go on a vacation to rest.

    Generally speaking, the color season of Michigan--that time when the leaves of the trees go from greens to reds or oranges or yellows or whatever--runs from mid-September through the end of October, and it is more fully noted, here, that the color season takes place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in late September, in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula from late September through about mid-October, and in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula from early October to about the end of October.  The Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, which is based at Benton Harbor (in Berrien County of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan), is a nonprofit entity in Michigan that gives out information about good routes that people can follow to see the colors of the season, specifically in the southwestern corner of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  Some of the routes that the council promotes are "The Apple Country Tour," the main theme of which is apples and cider, "The Harbor Country Tour," a part of which involves the shore of Lake Michigan, and "The Blueberry Tour."  The tours guide people to some of the wonderful places of the southwestern region of the Lower Peninsula, which are noted in a free color-tour map that the organization makes available, such as through its Web site (at www.swmichigan.org).  Some of the counties that people who are making color tours of the southwestern corner of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan get to see are Berrien County, Van Buren County, and Cass County.  In total, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has 15 counties, and Houghton County and Keweenaw County are two that many people consider traveling through on color tours, and these counties of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan seem to get more publicity in relation to color touring by some entities than the other counties get.  I remind you US-2, which is in the southern half of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, has many scenic sections; for example, US-2 between Manistique and Iron Mountain is a good section to travel on during a color tour, and that section exists in parts of Schoolcraft, Delta, Menominee, and Dickinson Counties.  Mackinac County is the county of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that is right north of the Mackinac Bridge, and that is the county in which people will find the Birge Nature Preserve.  The Birge Nature Preserve is at Point Brulee, which is about two miles west of Hessel, and is made up of about 168 acres.  The preserve touches Lake Huron, touching it with a 2,000-foot-long frontage, and there is a viewing platform at Loon Lake.  The Birge Nature Preserve can be seen on foot or in vehicle, and a person's trip to Birge Nature Preserve could involve taking westbound M-134 from Hessel to Point Brulee Road.

    Then, you wake from your dreaming about places to see, and your eyes focus on that vehicle of yours, and you realize it is time to get that vehicle ready for winter--and that is some more work you have yet to do before the snow comes.

    I now have for you an unusual reminder about getting a vehicle ready for winter, which goes beyond what might be called "fluff reminders" about checking such simple things as coolant and oil and wiper blades.  Since the early 1980s, at least, the front-wheel-drive format has been the rule for passenger vehicles, but it has yet to become the rule for pickup trucks.  Pickup trucks are usually rear-wheel-drive vehicles, and rear-wheel-drive vehicles have drive shafts.  Drive shafts can have points that have to be greased from time to time; for instance, the U-joints of a drive shaft might have to be greased regularly (if they can be, by having grease fittings).  A good time of the year to grease a drive shaft, if it can be done, is in the fall, since it makes the drive shaft ready for winter.  A drive shaft can be a one-piece unit or a two-piece unit (which really includes a front shaft, a support-bearing unit, and a rear shaft), and if the drive shaft has grease fittings at the U-joints, the grease fittings will look like little knobs (which are called "Zerk' fittings).  What some people are unaware of is a drive shaft could have grease points that are sort of like tiny rubber plugs (or stoppers), which are about a quarter inch in diameter and hard to see; for example, Chevrolet pickup trucks of around 2001 can have such spots.  To grease such points, a mechanic has to use a needle-nose dispenser on a grease gun; a needle-nose grease dispenser looks like a hypodermic needle and might be called a needle-nose injector.  During the greasing process, a mechanic pushes the needle in to each rubber plug and pumps grease in to the joint related to each plug.  If you are unaware whether or not your vehicle has a drive shaft that has spots that can only be greased by using a grease gun with a needle-nose dispenser, you should find out.  Maybe, your vehicle has such spots, and maybe they have never been greased, which is not good if the vehicle has many miles on it.  Make sure you take care of all needle-nose fittings, if your pickup has them, or make sure the person that works on your pickup takes care of the needle-nose fittings, if your vehicle has them.

    Your travel tips for today are:

    The Birge Nature Preserve of Mackinac County of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

    The color-tour routes promoted by the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council in Benton Harbor of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and at www.swmichigan.org.

    Making sure pickups are completely greased and ready for winter.

- - - Public Service Copy for Broadcasters (four pieces) - - -

Number One:

    In the fall, people make color tours of Michigan, and some of

the favorite regions for color touring are the northwestern region

of the Lower Peninsula and the northwestern region of the Upper

Peninsula.  To see good color in the trees in the Upper Peninsula,

a vacationer usually has to be in the Upper Peninsula in late

September.  For example, the best of the color season for

Mackinac County should take place around the end of September,

and that means people who want to see the best color at the

Birge Nature Center of the Hessel area should be at the Birge

Nature Center at about the end of September.  The Birge Nature

Preserve is a 168-acre preserve near Lake Huron, and, in fact,

it has a 2,000-foot- long frontage at Lake Huron.  People who do

go there are very likely to walk the trail that leads to a viewing

platform at Loon Lake.  Remember: On a trip to the Birge Nature

Preserve, The Hologlobe Press urges you to be buckled up.


Number Two:

    Hart, Mears, Shelby, New Era, Rothbury, Montague, and

Whitehall are places near Lake Michigan--in the general

Oceana County area of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  In

essence, the places are linked by US-31.  The places are also

linked by the Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail.  Although the trail

has "bicycle" in the name, the trail is used by walkers, hikers,

and even people in wheelchairs, and portions of the trail can

even be used by horseback riders. Yes, the trail is used by

cross-country skiers in the winter, but now it is color season!

The trail is about 24-miles long and at least ten-feet wide,

which is the width of the asphalt strip.  One of the scenic places

is at the White River Bridge, and that is where people find the

White River and a marsh. The Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail is

a state park.  And The Hologlobe Press reminds you, on your way

there, watch for stopped traffic around the bend, and enjoy your

safe traveling.


Number Three:

    September and October are the color-touring months of

Michigan, and what quality this color season will be rated as

having had will only be known in November, when the leaves are

down and gone.  The leaves of the southwestern quarter of the

Lower Peninsula of Michigan are expected to have good color in

about mid-October.  The Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council

has suggestions about routes that people can take on color tours

in the southwestern quarter of the Lower Peninsula.  For instance,

the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council hopes you will go to

its Web site and learn about the Orchard Tour, the Blueberry Tour,

and the Apple Country Tour.  You should guess the Apple Country

Tour focuses on apples and cider.  A free map of all the tours is

available at www.swmichigan.org.  And The Hologlobe Press

urges you to be courteous on the roads and enjoy your safe



Number Four:

    For years, you have probably heard people and organizations

urge you to get your vehicle ready for winter.  Winter is coming

again!  The Hologlobe Press has this winterizing tip for people

who have pickup trucks.  The rear-wheel-drive format is the rule

for pickup trucks, and many people are unaware that pickup trucks

can have little-known grease points on the drive shafts.  These

special grease spots can only be greased by using a grease gun

fitted with a needle-nose grease dispenser.  The grease spots are

like little rubber plugs or stoppers--into which a needle-nose

grease dispenser is pushed through.  If you have never heard of

such grease spots, you should find out if your vehicle has such

spots, especially if you are a do-it-yourselfer. Before winter

comes, make sure your vehicle is completely and properly greased.

When driving on a wet road or in rain, keep that speed down, and

enjoy your safe traveling in Michigan.


- - - Contact Information - - -

The Hologlobe Press
Postal Box 5455
Dearborn, Michigan 48128-0455
The United States of America

copyright c. 2004
File date: 10 September 2004

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