Saturday, September 14, 2013

Taking the Backroads - The Starting Point

Here it is...the start of my new blog series...Taking the Backroads.

This blog series was inspired by our vacation to Montana this summer. We spent quite a bit of time on US2, starting in St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and finishing in Browning, Montana. US2 is definitely a back roads highway. I saw so many things that I wanted to photograph as we drove along, but felt the frustration of not having the time to stop and do that. So I decided as we traveled along, that I would take the time this fall to explore the back roads nearer to home. When I could devote a whole day, a couple of times a month to exploring, taking the time to stop and photograph the things I saw.

Destination: Whitehall and White Lake
I did a little scouting around at the end of my Creative Inspiration Day last week Friday. I followed the Shoreline Trail from North Muskegon to Whitehall. Beautiful drive along this trail, but that is a trip for another day.

I realized once I arrived in Whitehall that the only place I had ever been there was the McDonald's which is right off the expressway. What a cute town and so many things to see. Which is exactly why I am doing this new series, so I will get out and explore more, to see all the things I have been missing.

Oakhurst Cemetery

I noticed this cemetery on my way out of town last week. It was my first stop this week. I am like a kid in a candy store when I am in a cemetery to begin with, add to that the new historical knowledge I gained last week from the Cemetery Walking Tour that Glen and I did. Now I am a kid, already hopped up on sugar, walking into a candy store.

The first section of this cemetery was in the "Park Style", my favorite. So many beautiful grave markers to photograph. I even found a Woodsmen of the World one. Thanks to the walking tour last week, I know what one of those is. I will post more photographs from this cemetery on my other blog, Field Notes and Photos.


I have a motel fascination. When I was a kid and we traveled that is the only thing that I remember as an option. I need to dig into the history of them but that sounds like a winter project. I love the vintage appeal of their signs.

Notice on the sign it doesn't say anything about Wifi. I can't say that a phone in the room is a big appeal to travelers anymore.

Once through town I turned onto Lake Street, which leads to the  part of the Shoreline Trail that I was on last week.

You don't see too many one lane road areas anymore. This one went under the old rail truss.

This one is for my friend Roxi, she loves Sunflowers.

Love the contrast in the old and newer sign styles here.

Fruitland District No. 6 School

I had seen this old schoolhouse last week and definitely planned to stop this week, but I was even more excited to stop as I approached from the opposite direction. I saw this...

My Flipboard (an app for the iPad) loving husband sent me this article this week. Sometimes I think about getting this app for my iPad, but I would hate for Glen to stop sending me articles. I love the fact that he is thinking about me when he reads something.

I admit I have always loved old playground equipment but this article got me excited to go out and photograph anything that I can find. A metal slide is a rare treat to find these days.

White River Light Station

This was my final destination for the day. I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the museum part of the light station. It cost $4 to get in and all there was to see were two small rooms on the second floor filled with memorabilia and artifacts. Normally you could climb to the top where the light is, but that was closed because they were painting up there. The best part was the spiral staircase, even though it made me feel kind of funny being in such a narrow space and standing on see-through steps.

Some Thoughts From the Road

  • My attention span for this kind of adventure is about 4 hours. I started at 8:30 a.m. and by 12:30 p.m. I was mentally done and hungry.
  • I need to pack a bag on Thursday night with my water bottle and a snack. I had my water bottle in the refrigerator ready to go but I forgot it along with a snack, which I really could have used.
  • Dining alone. My goal for my Friday Creative Inspiration Days was to try new places to eat. I did a great job the first two weeks, but this week I couldn't do it. I stopped at one family style restaurant and looked at the menu. It was your average menu: burgers, sandwiches and salads. The food at these type of places tends to be on the greasy side, which irritates my stomach. Also I  feel weird dining alone in these places. They either stick you at a crappy table or are slow to wait on you. So this week I went to a Panera Bread. I know I will like what's on the menu, and it is definitely not weird to be eating alone there. Best of all they have Wifi. If it's any consolation I had never eaten at this particular Panera Bread.
I hope you enjoyed this first addition of Exploring the Back Roads. I can't wait to get out and do more of them.

Joining my friend Helen for Weekend Walks
Joining my friend Kim for Friday Finds


  1. this is wonderful, I shall be back later to read the links and reread the content as it is all so interesting (I've just been called to dinner), I think this will also be a fun series for you to do.look forward to the next post.

  2. I'm liking your new series very much. I'm a firm believer that we often overlook what's closer to home as we speed off to places further afield. I'm amazed at how many discoveries you made just on the one trip. The motels are very 'American' and iconic to me - I'd love to hear their history! Thanks for linking to my blog.

  3. You are quite adventurous to go alone...I'm not sure I would (haven't). The old slide was a highlight for me and brought back a lot of fun memories of growing up living across the street from a nice city park with a "big" metal slide, and we loved taking waxpaper with us now and then to slicken it up to go faster. Old cemeteries are so interesting. This was a really well rounded backroad adventure and I enjoyed the visit.

  4. Thanks for sharing Sarah I love seeing through your eyes, so different from where I live. We visited Panera Bread when we visited the US a couple of years ago loved it..i particularly love the staircase....

  5. Lovely shots. They have a nice, nostalgic feel to them.

  6. Great series idea. I was wondering how you pick your places? I went to the PA poconos this past summer and we did similar things... it was fun.

  7. I love this idea and look forward to your upcoming posts.

  8. Can't decide which is my fave, the old motel sign or the metal slide. Boy do they both spark childhood memories! Your Backroads idea is super! I can't wait to see more.


  9. Thanks for sharing your back of my favorite things to do, is travel those back roads, finding treasures everywhere!!

  10. aw...... thank you for the flowers! I love that slide close-up. The playground article was a neat find. We had Giant Strides when I was in grade school. My absolute favorite! But they took them out by the time I was probably in 4th grade. I had totally forgotten about them. I look forward to your adventures.

  11. What a great idea for a blog series. Love the sunflower shot and the sign promising a phone, ha! Great shot of the spiral staircase too. Looking forward to coming on more adventures with you. :)

  12. What a lovely adventure you had! You really covered a lot of ground. I love the old school house, those fascinate me. They are so rare here and usually very difficult to get to. Oh, the slide, now that brings back some great memories! Love your feet on the stairs!

  13. What a fun trip! I think 4 hours would be the right amount of time for me, also. I love to explore like this, but don't necessarily need an entire day. You saw some wonderful things and got some fantastic shots. I hope you enjoyed the slide :-)


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)