East Saginaw Bay

Monday, 19th July 2010; 10:45 pm - Location: ,

It’s remarkable just how many people there were following – and then leading – me out of Bay City into the Thumb on M-25. They kept showing up in my rearview mirror and eventually passing me. I checked on a map; there’s not much to go to. And on a Monday afternoon?

They thinned out once the road headed northward; the only reason to go that way is if your destination is one of the small towns in the thumb; it isn’t on the way to anywhere. Unless you’re doing something silly like I am.

There’s no road following the bayshore out of the Tri-Cities area into the thumb; you have to go inland, past cornfields and… fields of things I am not botanist enough to identify from the road. But once I got to the west coast of the Thumb, it reminded me a lot of the west coast of the Hand. The strip of land between the highway and the Bay has lots of cute cottages (rather few of which were for sale, which is noteworthy in Michigan) and actual… beaches. Yes, the same westerly winds that made the Lake Michigan/Michigan coast so beachy also work here. I pulled over at the beach in Caseville, the town nearest the state park. Nice beach.

I got to Albert Sleeper State Park about 6pm. How does it take over 9 hours to travel such a short distance? First, note that I did not take the direct route. It’s probably only about 50 miles across the Bay. But still: it’s under 150 miles. OK, riding slowly helps. I’m rarely hitting 40mph (actual speed, not the scooter’s optimistic guess) on this trip. Blame poor aerodynamics and… er… mass. But the main reason is that I’m stopping to smell the roses, and just not giving a damn what time it is. Hell, most of the time I’m not sure what day it is. I like this.

The day-use part of the park is on the north side if the highway, with the campground across the street, with an overpass walkway. I was careful to reserve a site at the side of the park away from the highway.

Because of its position at the tip of the Thumb, Sleeper claims to be one of the few places in Michigan where you can watch both a sunrise and a sunset from/to the Lake. I’m not getting up to catch the 6am sunrise, and I missed the sunset; I’ll take their word for it.

Instead I was hiking their trails at sunset, where I apparently stalked a deer. The first time we met she saw me before I saw her, and bolted away. Conveniently the trail went the same direction, and I saw her again, briefly. My camera was useless for this, as it’s slow to activate, slow to react, and the autofocus is useless in woods where trees stand in front of trees which stand in front of deer; it always focuses on a tree. A while later I heard her snorting. This is her way of warning other deer of danger. I’m harmless of course, but a deer smelling the same human repeatedly would understandably conclude she is being hunted. And in fact the land in question is open to hunting (not that a deer could ever comprehend that concept), so her reaction was correct.

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