Author’s Note: I’ve made a list of 100+ events, places and experiences that happily unite people. I’m taking a tour to see and experience as many of them as possible, and also meet up with Society members and friends. Of course, I’ll be sharing these #HappinessUnites moments with you. Or find out more of the why’s of the #HappinessUnites Tour in my article: 3 Reasons I’m Hittin’ the Road. Or find where my #HappinessUnites Tour has taken me so far – and what I’ve had time to write about. If you want to meet up with me, check out my #HappinessUnites Tour schedule.
#HappinessUnites Tour – Stop 17: Lakes
Lakes were a big part of my early childhood—most likely because my dad liked them. According to my Nanny, my mom’s mom, my dad took my mom to the lake on their first date. She always told me the story about my dad picking up my mom for that date wearing blue jean cut-offs, his cowboy hat and boots. Oh, and no shirt. I got the idea that he didn’t make the best first impression on his future in-laws. Plus, I can only assume that he had yet to discover my mom didn’t like water.
Even though my mom wasn’t a fan of water, she loved my dad enough to learn to water ski during those family vacations at the lake. When I was around eight, my dad got me a kid pair of water skies. But I took after my mom, and have never been a big fan of lakes — well, more specific, I’ve just never been a fan of being underwater. I like to breathe so I never learned to ski.
However, I have many fond memories of camp cooking, rendezvous with fellow campers, riding my bike at Brownwood State Park and the air blowing on me when riding in the boat.
I don’t remember why we quit going to the lake for vacations but as my brother and I got older, we started going to places like Six Flags and Ruidoso, NM.
Fast forward to adulthood – when I was in Center City, MN for a work training in January, one particular lake left me awestruck when I discovered that ice fishing was real — just like in the movie, Grumpy Old Men. In my winter climate naiveté, I thought the ice fishing scenes, the ones with all of those tiny houses sitting on a frozen lake, were strictly for theatrical effects.
My next “wow” lake happened on a work trip to Duluth, MN when I saw Lake Superior. I’d never seen a lake that reminded me of the ocean before. After seeing Lake Superior, I decided that seeing all of the Great Lakes was on my bucket list. On a trip to Chicago, I got to see Lake Michigan and then again last year when I went to Wisconsin for a Dallas Cowboys – Green Bay Packers Game.
However, I still needed to see Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. When Society member Chisa, invited me to visit Michigan for Apple Cider, I realized I could also see Lake Huron and Lake Erie in one fell swoop. Since lake experiences like swimming, picnicking, fishing, boating, camping, watching 4th of July fireworks, cruising, or just living on one unties millions of people every year, visiting a lake, or two, needed to be part of my #HappinessUnites Tour.
Once I checked into my hotel I realized I could make it to Lake Huron before sunset. I headed out to the City of Port Huron—the first city I could find on my phone and GPS that looked like it was on the lake.
When I arrived in the City of Port Huron, I discovered this huge bridge that would have taken me to Canada. I was bummed that I’d forgotten my passport, but was a little nervous that I’d miss my exit to stay stateside. Fortunately, I didn’t, and found Lake Huron.
It was almost dusk when I arrived, but people were swimming and enjoying the water. It wasn’t too crowded and I could enjoy the serenity of the lake. I could see a sail boat and the Canadian shore. The white sand shore was also surround by huge magnificent trees.
I met Rob and told him about my #HappinessUnites Tour, then I asked him to take my picture in front of the lake. He was so excited about the history of his town and offered to show me the bridge. I wasn’t exactly sure why it was so important, but his enthusiasm for it made me curious. So after leaving the lake, we went to the bridge.
We went to Pine Grove Park by the Blue Water Bridge. It was a place for people to park then stroll alongside the St. Claire River, see art and read about the area’s history. Across the river, I could see a large casino in Point Edward, Ontario, Canada. It felt like I could almost reach Canada or at least throw a stone to the shores — well maybe not, because I’m about as good a thrower as I am a water skier. I asked if people just took their boats to the other side, and Rob explained in the past people did, but they can’t anymore because you’d be arrested.
The bridge was gorgeous and a freighter was sailing under it when we arrived. Rob told me a little about the history of the bridge, which officially opened October 10, 1938. The Canadians built half of it, and we built the other half. They actually had an issue when it met in the middle, because we measure in inches and they used metrics—but they found a solution. It’s been expanded since those humble, confusing beginnings, and it’s now the second busiest commercial crossing on the United States – Canadian borders.
Next, Rob showed me the retired Huron Lightship that was the last lightship on the Great Lakes. Lightships were essentially floating lighthouses, and Rob explained that men would stay on her for weeks at a time. Although she was a big ship she wasn’t so big that I’d have wanted to spend weeks at a time on her.
Rob also pointed out the Thomas Edison Museum, which is across the street from the park. I had no idea this is where Thomas Edison grew up, and I’d have gone to the museum if it had been open.
Rob was a delightful surprise tour guide that I happily stumbled upon during my visit to Lake Huron. Because of him, I was able to check an item off my bucket list, and also learn so much about this historic city.
Later on, back at the Livonia Marriott, I talked to James a bit about my tour and he graciously took a picture with me for our Parade of Smiles.
The next morning, I got up early so I could drive over to Lake Erie, by Monroe, the third oldest city in Michigan.
I stopped in a quaint neighborhood by the lake. It was early, so no one was out yet. You could just enjoy the waves – listen to the video above for a little wave happiness booster. Although it was a sunny – actually a record breaking warm day, the leaves by the lake were changing colors. If I lived in the neighborhood, I could envision myself walking over to the lake each morning or evening to soak up the pure energy that nature graciously gives the world. At that moment it was easy for me to see why my Dad loved lakes so much.
Then, it was off to the Plymouth Apple Farms to meet up with Chisa to have what she told me would be the “best apple cider ever.” It was time for the next #HappinessUnites Tour Stop.