Northern Michigan | My Family Travels
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 Our tropical Paradise isn’t Tropical

     When most people think of a “relaxing vacation” they probably picture sunbathing on a tropical island.  Not my family.  We like relaxing vacations but not tropical ones.  We enjoy beaches but not neccessarily oceanside ones.  No, my family and I picture northern Michigan.  We took this particular vacation in 2006.  The highlights were Alpena and Ossineke, Sault Ste. Marie, and Taquamenon Falls.
      We first went to Alpena and Ossineke, two towns on Lake Huron.  Now I’ve lived in Iowa most my life so the thing that struck me the most while driving through Michigan were the trees!  There were so many!  And being of course a loyal C.S. Lewis and Tolkien fan my imagination was filled with dryads, hamadryads, and ents.  But I must withdraw from the fictional realms because there is something I must explain before I get any further.  We lived in Ossineke Michigan for the first three years of my life.  The great thing about that is my parents know their way around that area.  They knew how to get us to Ossineke Beach where we walked along the shore, played in the water, and picked up way to many shells.  They knew “John Lau Saloon” was a great place to eat in Alpena.  And Mom knew that afterwards she wanted to go walking on Gilchrist Wharf.  However once we got there we discovered that the Alpena Symphony Orchestra was giving a free concert in a nearby park.  So we went on a relaxing walk and got treated to a concert!
     Unfortunately the next day we left Alpena and Ossineke.  Fortunately we were headed for the Upper Penninsula (UP), the land of the Yoopers.  Yoopers are people born in the UP.  According to them “Trolls” are people that live below the Mackinac bridge.  This bridge is five miles long and connects the Lower and the Upper Penninsula. So we crossed it.  we were going to Sault Ste. Marie, a town close to the U.S.-Canadian border.  Sault Ste. Marie (pronounced Soo Saint Marie) is home to the Soo locks.  These locks were built to help boats make the transition from Lake Superior to Lake Huron.  Did you know that the locks were the most heavily guarded area in North America during WWII because of all the war materials that were shipped through?  This was one of the things we learned when we took a boat tour of the locks.  Also during the tour we went through two of the locks and saw the Sault Ste. Marie International bridge that connects Canada and Michigan.
     Another thing we did while in the Sault Ste. Marie was visit Taquamenon Falls.  We visited both the Lower and the Upper Falls.  We took lots of pictures and had a picnic-lunch which we shared with a chipmunk who was partial to muffins.  Last of all we took one of those longer-than-it-looked-on-the-map hikes.  So tired but not unhappily our adventures in Sault Ste. Marie came to a close.
     Soon afterwards we left northern Michigan and our vaction ended.  Before I finish though, I have one more thing to say: everything did not go perfectly.  We had our quarrels.  What family doesn’t after being around each other twenty-four hours a day, multiple days in a row?!  Every meal we ate wasn’t always the best food we ever tasted; every hotel wasn’t top notch.  But all I really remeber is that we saw some beautiful places, learned new things, and had just as grand a vacation as we could have had on a tropical island.

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