By Judy Hitchings, F93640
Would you like to spend some time along the largest lake, by surface area, in the world? Lake Superior is just that lake and it was the site of Heartland Execs. chapter’s fall rally. We gathered from September 19 to 25, 2013, at the Bay Mills Resort & Casinos RV Park in Brimley, Michigan, to enjoy some of the special offerings of the Lake Superior area. The park overlooks the lake, which holds 10 percent of all the fresh water on our planet. Pete and Mardi Douma were our hosts for the rally; they were assisted by Marshall and Caroline Putt.
Attendees arrived on Thursday, and after catching up with everyone at happy hour, we were treated to a wonderful meal of barbecued pork and all the trimmings. Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, so Mardi and Caroline topped off our evening with “trailer trash,” a yummy ice cream treat that’s popular among the RV crowd. Surely, they took out all the calories first! Afterward, most took advantage of the beautiful evening to chat under a nearly full moon.
The next morning we enjoyed coffee and doughnuts in our tent shelter, but the beautiful moonlit night had given way to a cool, rainy day. We were still able to enjoy the nearby Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise, Michigan. Nearly 550 shipwrecks on Lake Superior have been recorded. After touring the museum and the restored lighthouse, we stopped at Little Falls Inn for lunch.
Since the weather was less than desirable, with pouring rain, our trip to Tahquamenon Falls was cancelled. That didn’t cause too much of a problem, though. With our base camp at Bay Mills Resort & Casinos, many decided to try their luck at the slot machines.
Approximately two weeks before we arrived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Mother Nature had dealt us a blow. The Agawa train trip into Canada that Pete had so carefully planned was cancelled due to washed-out train tracks caused by heavy rains. Instead, Pete led us across the border into Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, to the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, where a festival was taking place. We were amazed to see all the antique aircraft there. After lunch at Docks Riverfront Grill, we traveled through the Canadian countryside to the Agawa Trading Post so some members of the group could satisfy their shopping withdrawal. The trees were starting to change colors, so we were able to enjoy a little fall beauty along the drive. Since many of us travel with our dogs, Max and Cathy Stinson volunteered to stay behind to care for them during our daylong adventure. A big thanks to them.
On Sunday, we caravanned to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, for a boat tour of the Soo Locks. Going up the St. Mary’s River, we traveled through the American Lock. Coming back, we went through the Canadian Lock. Our tour guide told us about the history along the river, so the trip was quite interesting. Afterward, we stopped to eat at The Antlers, a favorite of both locals and travelers. It is a quaint place, full of stuffed wildlife specimens and local memorabilia.
Monday morning we had free time to visit places we hadn’t been able to squeeze into our schedules, challenge the casino odds once again, or just relax and socialize. In the afternoon, we held our annual meeting in a room at the casino. This was followed by dinner catered by the casino chefs. Not a person left hungry.
Tuesday morning we once again enjoyed coffee and doughnuts outside in the crisp Michigan air. Later we left for a trip to Munising for our Pictured Rocks boat tour. The weather was sunny and the rock formations were amazing. After our nearly three-hour cruise, we had dinner at Foggy’s Steakhouse & Lounge, where guests can cook their own steaks on an 8-foot indoor grill.
On Wednesday we began our journeys to other destinations; some as close as lower Michigan, others as far as Texas. A few visited nearby Mackinac Island, where the only way to get around is by walking, bicycling, or riding in horse-drawn carriages. As always, we are glad we live in a country where we are still free to travel as we do and enjoy the lifestyle we love. God bless America!