Another year, another crazy road trip for the family. This time it was two weeks. Our goal? Sleep next to every one of the Great Lakes. Since neither of the boys had ever seen a great lake, and my wife and I had only seen two each, this was a pretty lofty goal.
Our gear loaded up, we hopped into the car and sped west down the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Now, my view of the state of Ohio comes largely from my mother, who attended Kent State University back in the 1970s. They talked funny there, made fun of the Jersey kids who went out to play in the snow, and didn’t know what real food was (answer – hoagies and cheese steaks and pizza). My mom took her visiting college friends to the beautiful Jersey shore, where they admired the world famous beaches here. Her college friends took her to Lake Erie, which may or may not have been on fire when they got there. haha, I kid (okay, not about the lake possibly being on fire). I’ve seen some lovely parts of Ohio on my own, like the Wright Brothers shop in Dayton, Great Seal State Park, Cuyahoga National Park, both of Cleveland’s buildings (language warning if you click), and, of course, the house from A Christmas Story, but wasn’t counting on Lake Erie being a highlight of our trip.
Our first real view came at Marblehead Lighthouse in conveniently named Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. This small lakeside park contains the oldest operating lighthouse on the United States side of the Great Lakes… and it’s a scenic little park. It definitely was not the Lake Erie I’d come to expect from my mom’s memories from the ’70s.
It’s also located directly across from Cedar Point, which bills itself as “the roller coaster capital of the world”. While I’m too afraid of heights to check this claim, my friends in the know assure me that it’s a really awesome park.
A few feet above the lake was high enough for me today!
From there, we drove another hour onward to our stop for the night, Maumee Bay State Park on Lake Erie, just near the border with Michigan. We arrived and got our tent up just in time to jump in as a fast moving thunderstorm hit.
For those that can’t read the tiny print on the sign, it’s the sign warning you of active algae blooms. It should be safe to swim, as long as you aren’t young, old, or have a weak immune system. And under no circumstances should anyone swallow any of the water. Gross. The other lake was also closed to swimming for health reasons even worse than an algae bloom. Blech.
The views were still nice though, and we spent some nice time on the sand playing with a ball and chasing gulls.
Next on our journey…
We cross into Michigan, visit River Raisin National Battlefield, see Henry Ford’s collection of historical artifacts at Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, and get our first view of Lake Huron at Bay City Recreation Area.