Fishing & Fun in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan + Sleeping Bear National Park

Chicago, Illinois >> Elk Rapids, Michigan 319.8 miles, 4 hours 48 minutes

Our next reservations were in South Dakota at the end of July. I gave us eleven days after our departure from Potato Creek State Park in Indiana to arrive. I didn't know exactly what our path would entail but I knew that I wanted to see Beth in the Chicago area. As well, I was hoping to connect with a Mama that I knew from Dance Church when she would join our crew way back in 2014 right before she moved back to Michigan.


Heather was open-armed excited for our arrival. "Me casa es su casa," she wrote in

a private message via Insta. Unfamiliar with Michigan's Upper Peninsula, we left Mama Jen's house and spent Sunday making the drive around the northeastern side of Lake Michigan. Yet again, I found myself impressed with Cee's ability to run out of the van and towards the park at a roadside rest area where he quickly found a group of children to join in a game of 'tag.'


My mental state was certainly better adjusted post my workout and cry. Yet, as the week unfolded, I found myself still struggling. In spending time with Heather and chatting about the vastly different lives we are both leading, I realized that although my son is easily adaptable it is me who is extremely challenged by my own adaptation. Oi!

My mind is strongly attached to the idea that I am a morning bird who prefers to go to bed early in order to wake early. Yet, here at the 45th parallel where we are located almost exactly between the equator and the North Pole, it remains light in the sky until close to 10pm. Our summer bedtime seems to be taking place nearer 11pm, which also means that both Cee and I are waking later in the morning. "Just enjoy summer," I began cajoling myself.

Mama C enjoying summer 2021 at Sleeping Bear Dunes NP, Michigan

Two years ago, Burt and I gave away most of our things, put our most precious possessions in a used RV that we bought from a friend, and headed south of the border for adventures into the unknown for who knew how long. (We were fleeing the high costs of southern California living with remission from a gnarly, 4th stage cancer battle. As well, I was escaping the patterns that had me trapped in my "parent wounds," which my mental health had been struggling with for decades.) While at our first, major stop in southern Ecuador, all of our most precious possessions were purged from the RV and sold off. Then, Burt's cancer returned and he died. So, it's not so much that I haven't figured out where I want to stick us as much as it is that I don't want to be stuck. Even in the midst of all of this global chaos - of a worldwide, infectious disease, environmental calamity (the west is an inferno!) and political upheaval - I feel less called to hide under a rock and do what most people do (which is to "settle down") and instead I am moved to strike out into greater aspects of the unknown. This passionate, feminist ballad by one of my favorite feminist folk rockers says it best....

Being from California where there is a lack of water and decades long drought, I feel comforted here in the Upper Peninsula where we are surrounded by fresh water. Meanwhile, Cee has been in (budding) fisherman's heaven as he has fished in Torch Lake, Birch Lake and Lake Michigan, thus far. Burt Lake is next. ;)

His first "all by himself" catch on the river between Boardman Lake and Lake Michigan in Traverse City, MI


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