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8 Favorite Destinations, Year 2

We’ve now been on the road for two solid years. During that time we’ve visited 145 different locations in both North and Central America. Last year we highlighted Eight Favorite Destinations from our first year of travel. With another full year under our belts, it’s once again time to select the best from the last 365 days. Each of the following headlines links back to our original blog post about the destination.

Pictured Rocks, MI

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI

If 200-foot, multi-colored sandstone cliffs along a lake of emerald-colored water isn’t how you imagine Michigan, it’s time for a pilgrimage to Pictured Rock National Lakeshore in the state’s Upper Peninsula. It absolutely blew us away with its striking similarities to one of our favorite excursions ever: rafting through the Grand Canyon.

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Photo of the Day: Sleeping Bear Dunes

Park Bench at Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore

Park Bench at Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore, Michigan

(Not) Extreme Kayaking

Porcupine Mountain Michigan

Waterfalls, three of them, are what drew us to a hike along the Presque Isle River in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains. For awhile we thought we’d get the unexpected benefit of seeing some extreme kayaking. Mostly we watched this guy evaluate the falls and then carry his kayak around them. I guess he decided that risking bodily injury for our entertainment wasn’t a good idea. Wus.


The Great Lakes are great for many reasons, but the word, in its original usage, simply meant large. And that they are. So large, in fact, that in many places the curvature of the earth hides the opposing shoreline from view; so large that the moon’s gravitational force causes measurable tides. Sitting on the beach, or bobbing in the water, you gaze at the horizon as if over the expanse of a vast ocean.

Some months ago we left the oceans behind with a heavy heart. Dry land can be awesome, but even the most boring towns are made more interesting if they’re on the water. Thankfully, this part of our voyage wound us East to West through the Great Lakes. I’d seen Lake Michigan from the shores of Chicago, but I still didn’t expect the beautiful blue and green water we encountered throughout much of the region. At times, when the light was right, blue water would mix with reddish sediment to cause purple striations close to shore.

We expected large, we found great.

Pictured Rocks in Pictures

There is no way to adequately describe the 200-foot sandstone cliffs–carved by time and the elements into natural caves and bridges, painted by seeping minerals, and framed by emerald green waters–that comprise Pictured Rocks Natural Lake Shore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Photos don’t do it justice. The only way to fully appreciate these natural wonders is to explore them in a kayak, like we did with a tour provided by Paddling Michigan.
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