Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lake Hudson Recreation Area, MI

We have a little Garmin Nuvi GPS that we let do most of the navigation as long as it's not too wonky. We don't expect a lot from it, since it came free for opening a new credit card a couple of years ago. And we haven't used it much since we have GPS in our cars. But with Morty, we have it on all the time. Today, it chose a series of mostly county roads to be the quickest route to Lake Hudson. I would have understood shortest, but quickest too? We must have been smack in between the highways and interstates. So the google map that I sent a link to was nice but not as interesting as the many small towns and country roads we experienced today.
Many of these little towns are right out of the 19th century. The town of Harrod's State Bank is a prime example: Sandstone building with big windows and bold gold leaf lettering that hasn't changed in nearly 150 years. Another bank in Napoleon advertises "Bailout-free since 1897." Journeys like today's are every bit as good as the destination. We were a little surprised to drive through some huge fields of cherry tomatoes, in an area that seemed well in the ruts of corn and soybeans.
Lunch was a little Chinese restaurant in Napoleon -- very reasonable, and way above average in cuisine. Dinner was relegated to a couple of micro waved calzones around 9PM.
The campground was about what you should expect from a state recreation area at this time of year: dirt and pebble roads, electric-only huge sites, very low population since the start of school. The nightly fee is only $16, but you also need a pass - annually $29. We were a little disappointed by the intermittent rain, but it did hold off for our walk of a couple of hours through the campground and down to the boat ramp. Got some decent pictures of the flowers and trees, but totally missed the huge white tail that bounded across the road fifty feet in front of us. The lake is man-made, and pretty shallow, but the DNR uses this for fish brooding, so the fishing is supposed to be excellent. The bad news is no cell or wi-fi here, so this update will be delayed somewhat.
This campground is the first Dark Sky Preserve in the Land of the North - no or minimal lights to enhance night time sky observation. Lynne woke me around 4AM to say that some stars were peeking through the clouds. When I finally got up around 5, the sky was clearing substantially, so I tried to get some star photos. A tripod is mandatory since you just get glow worms hand-held. Otherwise some interesting results.

Lynne had an article about the UM Art Museum at Ann Arbor, and we might make that tomorrow's intermediate stop. I guess its about 80 miles from here. Then we would continue on further north to Pinckney State Recreation Area.
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