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Pre-Trip The Last Hurrah?

Swissmiss

Premium Member
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Day 4: He who controls the spice controls the Universe.

We were up early again today. We wanted to get a jump on the morning’s activity before it got too hot. ☀☀☀

We started with breakfast at a place near our hotel. I had cinnamon roll French toast and eggs. DH had some fancy pancakes and eggs.

Next we drove 30-45 minutes outside of Traverse City. Our destination- Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore.

There’s multiple sites you can visit within the dunes area. We started with the infamous Dune Climb.

This is the first dune from the bottom:

View attachment 396051

And from the top:

View attachment 396052

And then there’s several more dunes of varying slopes before you finally get to Lake Michigan.

View attachment 396057

View attachment 396053

You can see the lake early on but it takes forever to get there.

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Success!

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And then you have to hike back. 😳

The hike is 3.5 miles round trip and takes a couple of hours.

On our way back to Traverse City we stopped by another hiking trail called Pyramid Point. It was just over 2 miles.

Got another view of the lakeshore. We obeyed the sign:

View attachment 396074

and didn’t go down here:

View attachment 396075

View attachment 396076

Back to the hotel to freshen up and de-sand.

“I don’t like sand. It’s all coarse and rough and irritating. And it gets everywhere.”

I think there is still sand in DH’s car. Any maybe his hiking boots. 😂
I was reading this thinking it would be a great place to visit some day with my DD but she absolutely HATES sand! We start our annual 2 week beach vacation and she will most likely only join me once on the beach - and only because I will resort to bribing her - and in all likelihood she will not remove her sneakers and socks. She’ll hang at the pool and I’ll enjoy the sand and salt water. 😀
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I was reading this thinking it would be a great place to visit some day with my DD but she absolutely HATES sand! We start our annual 2 week beach vacation and she will most likely only join me once on the beach - and only because I will resort to bribing her - and in all likelihood she will not remove her sneakers and socks. She’ll hang at the pool and I’ll enjoy the sand and salt water. 😀
There are plenty of beautiful sand-free spots to enjoy Up North but Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes is definitely not one of them. 😂
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Actual Disney pre trip information:

Today I was able to get a reservation for “lunch” at Oga’s In November. I booked it for two just in case. 🥳

Still on the fence about getting a reservation for lightsaber building. I don’t *need* a lightsaber but I was able to save about $200 on my hotel reservation. 🤔
 

youngdeb

Active Member
Actual Disney pre trip information:

Today I was able to get a reservation for “lunch” at Oga’s In November. I booked it for two just in case. 🥳

Still on the fence about getting a reservation for lightsaber building. I don’t *need* a lightsaber but I was able to save about $200 on my hotel reservation. 🤔
I made a reservation for the lightsaber building for our trip in January just in case we decide to splurge. It's expensive, but I've heard great things about it.
 

Loco_driver

Well-Known Member
Actual Disney pre trip information:

Today I was able to get a reservation for “lunch” at Oga’s In November. I booked it for two just in case. 🥳

Still on the fence about getting a reservation for lightsaber building. I don’t *need* a lightsaber but I was able to save about $200 on my hotel reservation. 🤔
I’m jealous! I was unsuccessful in booking anything for our December trip. I shall continue trying!
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I made a reservation for the lightsaber building for our trip in January just in case we decide to splurge. It's expensive, but I've heard great things about it.
I’m telling myself it’s not a $200 toy, it’s for the experience etc.

I ended up booking Savi’s as well just to have it.

There were multiple time slots available on the one date I looked at. It looked like the morning was full but there were plenty of afternoon and evening spots.

I’m hoping that my ease in booking Oga’s and Savi’s fortells not terrible crowds for early November.
 

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
I’m telling myself it’s not a $200 toy, it’s for the experience etc.

I ended up booking Savi’s as well just to have it.

There were multiple time slots available on the one date I looked at. It looked like the morning was full but there were plenty of afternoon and evening spots.

I’m hoping that my ease in booking Oga’s and Savi’s fortells not terrible crowds for early November.
I got all 3 experiences... but hubby needs to pick from Droids or Savi.. not both.. (honestly I'm hoping neither because it would be a pain to get it home flying) But we will keep Oga's for sure.. that way we know we have a way in the land without having to rope drop.
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I got all 3 experiences... but hubby needs to pick from Droids or Savi.. not both.. (honestly I'm hoping neither because it would be a pain to get it home flying) But we will keep Oga's for sure.. that way we know we have a way in the land without having to rope drop.

Oh no. I didn’t even think about the flight back. 😱

Time to see how a lightsaber fits into Spirit’s luggage shenanigans.

Also good call on making your DH pick one of the two building things.
 

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
Oh no. I didn’t even think about the flight back. 😱

Time to see how a lightsaber fits into Spirit’s luggage shenanigans.

Also good call on making your DH pick one of the two building things.
Just the blade part alone is 3ft. My biggest suitcase is 28 inches... so it won't work for us... you'd think Disney would already recognize this and figure out a shipping service.
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 4: Pho-friggin’ fantastic

After showering in non-sandy refuge of Traverse City we went out for early dinner. Our goal was to try something new.

We ended up a Vietnamese place called The Good Bowl. So so good. Got a bubble tea with some of the freshest boba I’ve had in a while. I think the dish I had was called bun and DH had pho.

We walked around town and shopped.

The water levels in Lake Michigan (and also Lake Huron) are higher than normal. Hence we saw this:
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Usually we walk along those docks but not today.

Walked off enough dinner to get some ice cream. Moomer’s ice cream. Yum. I got dark chocolate with cashews and caramel. DH got coffee flavored.

We relaxed at the hotel for bit. And decided that instead of more reading we should go out.

Initially we tried the bar atop of our hotel but it was too crowded and had a weird vibe.

We ended up downtown seated at the bar area of a nice restaurant.

DH rarely drinks but decided to do it up on vacation and ordered a White Russian. DH abides.

I awkwardly asked the bartender about a speciality cocktail on the board.

BES: “What’s in the Cherry Gin Smash? Other than cherry and gin. Wait. That’s all I need to know. I’ll take one.”

Drinks were excellent. DH only finished half of his so I gladly helped him with the rest.

Saw this on the walk back to the hotel. It still amuses me and I thought it was especially funny post my 1.5 drinks:
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Also spotted a neat mural:
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Back to the hotel for bed. Tomorrow we would again be on the move.
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 5: On the road again.

Checked out of our hotel and put all of our stuff in the car.

We settled on a place nearby that we hadn’t been before (although I was really tempted to suggest Patisserie Amie, an old favorite). Ate outside. I had eggs benedict that were good. DH had something with smoked salmon.

Then we were on the road again. We decided to take the longer, more scenic route up the western coast of Michigan (rather than the faster highway route up the middle of the state)

No pictures (because I was driving) but part of the route was all this really narrow and winding road that is called “The Tunnel of Trees”. It’s supposed to be gorgeous during the fall. It was still pretty during the summer but man- I wouldn’t want to drive it during the winter or during a rain.

About 20 minutes from our destination the check air pressure alarm jolted on. 😬

We were in a very rural area so we nervously continued on to Mackinaw City and stopped at the first gas station we saw.

One tire was low so we refilled it. Then I noticed this:

398265
😱😱😱

We checked into our next place. It was a little 2-story motel along the water. Had a corner room with tons of windows and a 2nd door to another exterior hallway. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Lake Huron from our window:
398266

Sorry for the messy room:
398270

398271

A very retro bathroom:
398272

I genuinely liked the walls in the bathroom. (The pink tub- not so much):
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DH decided to nap. I was too worried about the tire to nap. Instead I went to a local car repair shop.

The mechanic took a look and checked the air pressure on all of the tires. He said the rip looked more cosmetic and said so long as the tire didn’t continue to loose pressure we should be good for our upcoming long highway trip home.

Semi-relieved I went back to the motel to relax.
 

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
Day 5: On the road again.

Checked out of our hotel and put all of our stuff in the car.

We settled on a place nearby that we hadn’t been before (although I was really tempted to suggest Patisserie Amie, an old favorite). Ate outside. I had eggs benedict that were good. DH had something with smoked salmon.

Then we were on the road again. We decided to take the longer, more scenic route up the western coast of Michigan (rather than the faster highway route up the middle of the state)

No pictures (because I was driving) but part of the route was all this really narrow and winding road that is called “The Tunnel of Trees”. It’s supposed to be gorgeous during the fall. It was still pretty during the summer but man- I wouldn’t want to drive it during the winter or during a rain.

About 20 minutes from our destination the check air pressure alarm jolted on. 😬

We were in a very rural area so we nervously continued on to Mackinaw City and stopped at the first gas station we saw.

One tire was low so we refilled it. Then I noticed this:

View attachment 398265
😱😱😱

We checked into our next place. It was a little 2-story motel along the water. Had a corner room with tons of windows and a 2nd door to another exterior hallway. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Lake Huron from our window:
View attachment 398266

Sorry for the messy room:
View attachment 398270

View attachment 398271

A very retro bathroom:
View attachment 398272

I genuinely liked the walls in the bathroom. (The pink tub- not so much):
View attachment 398273

DH decided to nap. I was too worried about the tire to nap. Instead I went to a local car repair shop.

The mechanic took a look and checked the air pressure on all of the tires. He said the rip looked more cosmetic and said so long as the tire didn’t continue to loose pressure we should be good for our upcoming long highway trip home.

Semi-relieved I went back to the motel to relax.
I love those old retro pink tiles and I super love the star dust white walls... very mid century modern!
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 5: Hot town, Summmer in the (Mackinaw) City

Since the tire thing didn’t take long I knew DH would still be napping. I decided to take a walk behind our motel.

The Mackinaw Bridge:
398880

Here’s Mackinaw Island across the water:
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Then I grabbed a book from the car and read by the pool until DH was done napping.

What a view!:
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Next we walked to the main area of Mackinaw City to explore and get dinner.

M.C. is super touristy. Mostly motels/hotels, T-shirt shops and fudge shops. We walked until we got hungry.

DH picked a place to eat. And Italian place. The fact that there was someone outside trying to entice people to eat there should have been a red flag.

The food was super overpriced (even by vacation standards) and was just meh taste-wise.

What DH and I both found unsettling were the decorations. This Italian restaurant had an abundance of taxidermied animals. They were everywhere. All those dead glass eyes. 😳

We found it super creepy. We jokingly decided that we should inquire about the presence of taxidermy when picking any future new restaurants. I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture.

Back the room for a bit and then went out for another walk. Our final activity for the day didn’t start until... night.

Just after sunset we went about 10 minutes out of town to the Headlands Dark Sky Park. It’s an area with very little light pollution right along the shore of Lake Michigan where there is star gazing at night. (You can also explore there during the day). It’s also totally free.

The night we went there was an astronomer there pointing out constellations with this cool pointer thing.

He also had a giant telescope set up and you could see Saturn which was super cool.

We also got to see the International Space Station fly by.

It was an amazing experience that I would definitely recommend.
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 6: 🎶I’m on a boat! 🎶

Started out the day with coffee and pastries from a little bakery downtown. Then back to the room to pack up and check out.

The tire pressure was stable overnight which was a relief.

We dropped our overnight luggage off at the ferry docks and then dropped our car off in the ferry company’s overnight parking lot and walked back to the ferry dock.

Most ferry boats go straight from Mackinaw City to Mackinaw Island but we lucked out and happened to be on one that went under the Mackinaw Bridge in its way. It’s longer but cooler than the typical trip.

400008

“If you’re on the shore than you’re sure not me- Oh! “


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Going under the bridge:
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Almost there!:
400010

We arrived on Mackinaw Island in the late morning.

DH hadn’t been here since childhood. I would say it had been about decade for me.

The first thing you notice on Mackinaw Island is the smell of horse 💩Some places are worst than others but it really seems like you can’t escape that smell no matter where you are.

DH is pretty finicky on smells. He was grossed out but survived this part of the trip somehow. 😂

I was shocked that even with the smell, DH suggested that our first order of business should be an early lunch.
 

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
Day 6: 🎶I’m on a boat! 🎶

Started out the day with coffee and pastries from a little bakery downtown. Then back to the room to pack up and check out.

The tire pressure was stable overnight which was a relief.

We dropped our overnight luggage off at the ferry docks and then dropped our car off in the ferry company’s overnight parking lot and walked back to the ferry dock.

Most ferry boats go straight from Mackinaw City to Mackinaw Island but we lucked out and happened to be on one that went under the Mackinaw Bridge in its way. It’s longer but cooler than the typical trip.

View attachment 400008

“If you’re on the shore than you’re sure not me- Oh! “

View attachment 400009

Going under the bridge:
View attachment 400012

Almost there!:
View attachment 400010

We arrived on Mackinaw Island in the late morning.

DH hadn’t been here since childhood. I would say it had been about decade for me.

The first thing you notice on Mackinaw Island is the smell of horse 💩Some places are worst than others but it really seems like you can’t escape that smell no matter where you are.

DH is pretty finicky on smells. He was grossed out but survived this part of the trip somehow. 😂

I was shocked that even with the smell, DH suggested that our first order of business should be an early lunch.
I hadn't been to the island since I was 5, when we went 2 years ago... we stayed in St. Ignace instead of the city because the hotels are cheaper and less touristy in that area, then take the ferry from that side. I was thinking of going again for a weekend in october... we shall see how it goes!
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I hadn't been to the island since I was 5, when we went 2 years ago... we stayed in St. Ignace instead of the city because the hotels are cheaper and less touristy in that area, then take the ferry from that side. I was thinking of going again for a weekend in october... we shall see how it goes!
I think fall would be a great time to go. Less crowds, not as hot. I didn’t look at the exact dates but I keep seeing a lot of Mackinaw City/Island hotels on Groupon that I think were for fall.
 
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