September 2011: Impromptu Lake Michigan coast road trip

Pat and I decided on a last minute overnight road trip. Not being able to decide where to go, I fired up Google maps on the iPhone and sized the map to fit an area within 5 or so hours’ drive. We then closed our eyes, turned the phone and pressed down an area along the map’s edge. That would be where we’d go. No offense to Pickneyville, Illinois, but we weren’t thinking that would be our prime destination. Plus, it was still too close.

So we scrapped this plan and simply opted to head north into Michigan. We thought it would be nice to stay as close to the coast of Lake Michigan as we could. We did a Lake Michigan loop back in September 2005, going north along the coast in Illinois and Wisconsin, then east through the UP and across the Straits of Mackinac and down into the Lower Peninsula.

This time we headed northwest out of Indianapolis on US 421 (the Michigan Road). In Michigan City, we headed into Michigan on US 12 until it branched off and headed east. At that point, we continued north as closely along the coast as we could, following the Red Arrow Highway or Lakeshore Drive as applicable.

We decided to call it a night in Benton Harbor. After a few failed Priceline bid attempts, we just booked a specific hotel HOJO) and price through them. We were in the HOJO parking eivrflot at this point so we just walked in. It took a while for the reservation to get sent by Priceline to the hotel. In the meantime we occupied ourselves with meaningless small talk and listening to the lone desk clerk handle several complaint calls one after the next. “hello, front desk! I’ll be up shortly and will spray with air freshener. Yes, that’s all I can do, sorry!” Sure enough a few minutes later, but felt like an eternity, they received it and we were on our way upstairs. Our room was standard; not great not bad. A bit worn but not dirty. Certainly ok for a night’s stay.

The next day (Labor Day), we headed over to Grand Rapids to visit The Ford Museum – Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

Lastly, to satisfy our hunger, we decided to pay a visit to the iconic Rosie’s Diner in Rockford. It’s most recent TV fame was likely as a result of being featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, but many will remember it from the 70’s Bounty paper towels commercials featuring actress Nancy Walker as waitress/owner Rosie.

Then, time to get home to Indiana…till next time!

Slideshow of All Photos

For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will openĀ in my Flickr site.

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