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May 6, 2021

Michigan Truck Camper Tour: Lake Huron Shoreline

Michigan Truck Camper Tour: Lake Huron Shoreline
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Tawas Point State Park is located on Lake Huron in Northern Michigan near East Tawas, Michigan.

The state park encompasses 183 acres at the end of a sand spit that forms Tawas Bay. It has been referred to as the "Cape Cod of the Midwest" and is a notable bird-watching site.

Ossineke is a rustic State Forest campground on Lake Huron with crystal clear water and a sandy beach. The area, including Presque Isle, has quiet beaches.

Cheboygan is near Michigan's Inland Waterway, a 38-mile (61-km) channel comprising many streams and Crooked, Pickerel, Mullett, and Burt lakes, with boating and fishing facilities. Cheboygan is an Indian name meaning "Through Passage," this refers to the Indians "passing through" during their fur trading days using the Inland Route to Mackinaw Island instead of the straits passageway.



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This transcript is generated using speech recognition software and human transcribers. and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before using it as a reference or source.


This is Arthur Busch, and you are listening to Radio Free Flint.

I'm your host, and we're on tour. Radio Free Flint is on tour. We started our tour about a week and a half ago.

The first stop was Ogemaw County, Johnson Lake. Johnson Lake is a special little place with not too many people on Johnson Lake. Great spot for hunting. I went to Johnson Lake to test out my new truck camper. You know, the kind that you put in the truck's bed and roll down the road.

I tell a story in the next or last episode, but I can't keep it straight. In any event, I bought a pickup truck and a truck camper. KZ sportsman. Decked out with the bathroom kitchen refrigerator.

And a horseshoe dinette, perfect for Charlie. He takes a lot of naps, you know.

So, we took off, my daughter and me. To try it out. The camper sleeps three and has a bunk, dinette, and bed over the cab. Comfortable, we've got air conditioning and heating.

We have a digital high-definition TV screen with an antenna on the roof that sticks the heck up in the air.

My first big lesson about RV truck camping was to watch out for overhead branches. Sure enough, heading down the little trail to the lake, the antenna got snatched by a branch and it. Grabbed a piece of my antenna right off. No problem, we got that corrected.

We were just going to try to camper out to see if we could, you know, work out any bugs that we might have with it, and all said, we have a big battery here and do off-the-grid camping or boondocking as they call it.

So, we brought a little cooler to accompany us, as well as the refrigerator that is propane.

So, we have food, a stove, oven, refrigerator off the grid, and lights for the camper.

So, we're all pretty set. We camped on a perch overlooking the lake, and it rained both nights we were there. So, I learned that truck camping could be a noisy experience in the middle of the night. Needless to say, I slept through it all.

I woke up, and we had a nice time. We did a lot of walking and hiking, and Charlie went through the woods. Of course, we've seen a few deer and so on.

Then we moved along for what would become quite an adventure because I wanted to traverse the entire Michigan shoreline, at least on the east side along the Lake Huron coast.

So, the next stop was Tawas point in Tawas, Michigan. The Tawas Point Lighthouse is a famous and well-known landmark for those raised in the Saginaw Valley eastern portion of Michigan.

And one of the things that I like most about Tawas is I have been going there since I was a little boy.

My parents took me to Minie’s cabins. Of course, auto workers in Flint didn't have the money to buy cottages in the day. So, they would rent these little lakeside cottages, and I remember across the road from the cabins was this fabulous miniature golf place where they had go-carts. Another good thing for little kids was they had a great beach.

And they had sunshine, and they had July. Not a bad combination.

My dad liked to fish, and so did we.

In those days, there were fishing charters for perch right out of Tawas and AuGres.

AuGres is south of Tawas, and it's a great spot for fishing.

So anyway, we would get a charter and go, and there'd be, you know, 10-15 people on these boats catching perch. And sometimes, if you got into a hole in the lake or in Saginaw Bay, you catch two perch simultaneously. What a thrill for a little guy, my sister Pat and brother Michael.

We had a great time and AuGres. Tawas had the beach and the cabins, so that's where we like to stay.

The fishing was pretty good, and I remember we would catch a bucket of fish. I didn't like fishing in those days because we had to clean them. So that for youngsters was not the best part of a vacation, cleaning a bucket of fish.

Nonetheless, my mom knew how to cook him.

That was good.

Over the years, I got to know Tawas and had friends who also had family in that area.

I had friends later in life that lived there, and I would visit, especially out at Tawas Point, and in the more recent years, they've developed a bike trail from the southern part of Tawas. Alabaster is what they call the Alabaster bicycle trail, and it goes along US 23. Up past Douglas drive.

 Flint people live on that beautiful stretch of road and the beach there.

And so, my sister and I, my brother, in the last few years, have taken a trip or two down that trail, and they've become quite fond of it.

The biking in that area has improved. I always wanted to do cross-country skiing in the Tawas area but never had a chance. So, we went to Tawas point, where over the years and visiting some friends of mine who lived in the little Coast Guard village next to the State Park where the lighthouse is. We used to take the kids to the beach there, and it was a great spot.

In the last few years, the water levels in the Great Lakes have been high from wet winters, so there's been a tremendous amount of erosion on the beaches to the extent that Tawas point is becoming smaller and smaller.

As I said earlier, Tawas point juts out into Lake Huron about a mile, so the climate can be in the middle of summer, 10 degrees colder on the point.

What's interesting is that it's in the flight pattern of the migratory birds, so Michigan is one of those places where birds migrate from Canada, and it's like a superhighway for migratory birds and Tawas Point. It is right in the way where the birds are coming down the coastline, and they don't generally like to go back over the open water too far out from shore, so they get a lot of people to come observe them migrating.

A lot of birds stop and take a breather at Tawas Point, so you can find all kinds of birds. It is a bird watchers paradise. The climate is different.

There are birds. There's a great beach, but now the beaches have eroded even to the extent that they've had to close buildings there on the beach. If you look at the Tawas Point Lighthouse, it was built on a day when the water came right up to the lighthouse. It's quite some distance away now, but it's not the first time it's flooded in that area.

Our campsite was pretty cool, a little soggy nearby. But we were right there on the path that had lots of hiking paths, so you could explore the point. It is undeveloped other than the little trails.

Charlie got into it, and we had a nice time visiting the beach. Although it's quite shocking to see the beach that used to hang out and be underwater, the trees starting to fall in, and the parking lots getting underwater. The concession building was closed and all of that. But truck camping got off to a good start.

Tawas, Michigan, is not a bad spot. We did a little shopping in Tawas, which I'll tell you about in a few minutes, and then my next stop along the way.

My daughter had to go back to work. But I continued my adventure up the coast. I'll talk about that in a few minutes.

We'll be right back. Here's a message from our sponsor.

My daughter and I moved along, woke up, and enjoyed the Tawas Point shoreline. What we could see of it. Because there were a lot of hiking trails there.

And the last time I'd been there, we saw a pack of deer, herd, which is the word. On that trail, we made it back home, and I set off again by myself, this time to Ossineke State Forest Campground.

What a magnificent place this is. Near Alpena. I pulled into this place, and it seemed to take forever to return to the lake from U.S. 23, Ossineke, and that marvelous beach. It was nothing like the Lighthouse Point in Tawas.

One story I missed aboutTawas. I wanted to tell you there's a Ben Franklin.

The weather was getting a little punky for my daughter and I, so we decided to go in town and check stuff out and do some knick-knack shopping.

Like all good tourists of Michigan would do, we went to the Ben Franklin. In the past, I had enjoyed shopping, and I walked in there, and right in your face were two aisles in a section of the store of Trump or regalia, Trump flags, Confederate stuff, and all kinds of offensive things.

And I thought what a country we've become, or the Ben Franklin now has become hawking the articles of the cult and confederacy, and everything was about Trump.

And I thought, well, that's an advertisement for no Democrats wanted in this store. So, I thought my daughter was in the middle of trying to get something, and I said, well, I think it's time for us to go up. She looked at me, a little disappointed. I get outside. She says what's up with that. And I said, didn't you see? That stuff I said. I'm not giving those people any money, so I walked down and skipped down the road only to find a French press mug. How to make coffee?

I didn't have a coffee maker; it was a thermos with a French press. That way, you can have a travel mug where you make coffee and drink it all simultaneously.

Anyway, with that bit of trivia, I'm sure you're not very interested in that story, but I made it to Ossineke on the shores of Lake Huron, and what a great place. I had nearly the whole park to myself.

My truck camper sitting there. I placed it so that I could see the sunrise coming over Lake Huron when I woke up in the morning. What a marvelous, marvelous place.

I can't highly recommend it enough to you.

Then I moved along against high winds. I was a little concerned about my truck camper blowing off the back of my truck. It seemed to be quite sturdy.

I made it to Cheboygan State Park about an hour down the road. Again, I'm on Lake Huron, but I think I'll pass on that park in the future. It was a muddy, ruddy road with all kinds of big deep potholes. Reminded me of Flint. People were packed in this place with these big camping rigs like sardines. I walked back to the end of my little rented piece of land only to see that there was no beach because it had been washed out! It looked like there were miles of wild rice.

A story which I just did. A story on wild rice with Barb Barton not long ago. A podcast episode.

So, it was kind of fun. I see that it was probably just a bunch of grass along the edge of the lake, but it had its own beauty even without the beach. But I felt kind of sad that all these people were cramped into this little place with little mud holes, and they could not walk on the beach.

That was pretty amazing. Anyway, I picked up sticks. I took off and went to Cheboygan, Michigan.

I went through Cheboygan. After a few of these Great Lakes and Lake Huron beach towns, you begin to think they all look the same. The developers back in the day built the same house with the same plans. Although they were cute and they were interesting. They still had a vibrance to these little cities along the shoreline. That was quite remarkable.

In any event, I'm rambling on here a little bit about Michigan. How lucky we are to be here, even if it gets chilly, and fall is one of my favorite times of the year, by the way. Especially along the shorelines with the trees.

And I I would like to say to all of you I appreciate all the support you've given me in my podcast.

We have an audience that's growing an audience from across the nation and even the world to some extent. The second most listened to country that listens to these podcasts is Ireland.

I have a fan base there now, I guess. Which, as my mom would say, tickles me. But in any event, I do appreciate the comments that you've left on Facebook.

I hope you enjoy my travels and podcasts because I intend to continue to travel and tell stories.

This is only the 1st; I'm sure I'll do some research in the future so that I give you something more interesting than my musings.

So, take care. And wherever you are, whatever you're going to do today, I hope it's fun.

I hope it removes you from the divided world we see on our TV screens. And that you'll get up and go.

So, take care.

This is Arthur Busch. You're listening to Radio Free Flint.

Goodbye for now.