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Marching through Michigan

By Michigan we’ve begun to realize how much the Great Lakes have to offer. And we’ve only seen two!

We worked our way up the west side and spent a few days in the Huron-Manistee National Forest. The weather was finally cooling down a touch and our new solar was performing admirably, so it was nice to relax in the forest for a few days.

Van Solar Panels Up

Unfortunately, I relaxed my camera duty at Sleeping Bear Dunes, which was completely packed on a Tuesday. Gorgeous lagoons with clear water made us understand why. And by packed, I mean the National Park campsites were completely full (over 100 spots).

This left us to wander back down to some horse camps, which we had to ourselves.

We spent a morning walking around Traverse City, and then worked back up into the Upper Peninsula. Sault Ste. Marie became one of our favorite towns so far, although we’re visiting it in early August so a bit biased.

Up in that area is a gorgeous state park known as Tahquamenon Falls. This is another place where getting up early served us with a peaceful trip despite the crowds. We had the trail to ourselves but there were loads of folks coming in as we were leaving.

Overlooking Water Michigan

And of course; Lighthouses!

Explore Michigan Michigan Lighthouse

On the Lake Superior side of the UP is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. See below:

Pictured Rocks Park Michigan

Michigan Beach

The furthest point that we traveled from this end was Marquette, MI. We found signs of the heavy mining that built this area in the form of a heavy ore dock. These were for loading high-mass and low value ore onto ships to be carried to the steel plants. They look quite steampunk in person!

Marquette Michigan

We found some great camping right next to the lake although pulled inland a bit upon reading about storms in the weather forecast. Too many downed trees to risk one punching through the fiberglass roof!

Michigan Van Top Parked In Michigan

After eating some amazing whitefish in Mackinaw City we moved quickly back down toward Detroit and Ohio. Just a couple more nights in the horse camps!

Michigan Through Trees


This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Hey guys! I’ve been following your journey for a while now and it’s amazing how much you’ve seen. Me and my wife are working on a similar build (1996 Dodge Ram 2500). I was wondering if you guys did any pre trip maintenance and what repairs you have run into? I did notice you guys had some issues with overheating which has happened to our van a few times also and was wondering if you found a way to overcome this problem. Reliability is a major issue for us since we will be on mostly blm land. Have fun in Ohio, that’s where we are starting our journey. Good luck with your travels and hope to see you out there!

    1. Hey Tony-
      For pre-trip maintenance we spent most of our effort making sure the suspension and steering was sorted. Depending on how the vehicle was used previously, the old Dodges can wear through ball joints and those become pretty unsafe on the road. Brakes and tires we also replaced. It was running smoothly and there weren’t any codes or anything so we didn’t do much in the way of tuning it.

      On the road it hasn’t been too bad. We had one shock go out (easy fix) and a u-joint fail in the driveline. As far as overheating, it hasn’t really caused us much stress yet, although probably not running properly it only overloads on long hills in warm weather (we’ve pulled over three times in eight months to let it cool off). If it’s overheating just driving around I would definitely be looking into it. If you want more details, let me know!

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