Michigan vs. Pennsylvania

From my title you might think I’m writing about college football teams today – Michigan versus Penn State. It might be football season but football is definitely not the subject of this post.

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll remember I highlighted some Lake Erie lighthouses Papa and I visited on our autumn vacation last year to Michigan.

We left our home on a sunshine-filled, crisp fall October morning in 2019 and road-tripped on some blue highways along Ohio’s shoreline of Lake Erie. As the day progressed, so did the temperatures and it reached 80° by mid-afternoon and I began to regret my packing choices of cool weather clothes.

By the time we reached our destination in Michigan, the tide had turned, so to speak. We encountered much colder weather which eventually caused me to regret my packing choices again because I didn’t bring enough warm clothes, like hats, gloves, and a winter coat! We even encountered snow.

But there was another big difference that became so very apparent on that trip. Usually in our neck of the woods, we have some nice color on our deciduous trees during the autumn months, but for the last several years, our fall foliage just wasn’t that great. And being such a lover of the season, I missed those vibrant colors.

With each mile as we traveled northward through Michigan last October, my eyes beheld a feast of gorgeous, colored trees bedecked in vibrant shades. I just kept exclaiming, “Those trees, that color, oh, oh, oh!” as I grabbed my camera for shot after shot.

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”~ Emily Brontë

After being fall color deficient for so long, I absolutely reveled in seeing those lovely trees with their coats of scarlet, gold, russet, and amber.

That was a year ago. And now it’s 2020 and something magnificent happened — yes, I can say that even in this dreadful year of difficulty and hardships that we won’t soon forget.

Autumn, in all its glory, shined forth here in my hometown area. The leaves this year have been beautiful and Papa and I took another day-long road trip not too far from home just to bask in all their splendor.

So I thought I’d give my readers a little quiz (no need for test anxiety, this is just for fun!) and post some fall photos for you to identify. Some were taken in 2019  in Michigan and some were taken just recently here in my own little corner of Pennsylvania.

Can you identify which fall photos are from Michigan and which are from my home state? (Answers provided at the end of this post.)

#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ~ William Cullen Bryant

Well, how did you do? Here are the answers: #1 Pennsylvania 2020; #2 Michigan 2019; #3 Michigan 2019; #4 Pennsylvania 2020; #5 Michigan 2019; #6 Pennsylvania 2020; #7 Michigan 2019: #8 Pennsylvania 2020.

Anyone get them all correct? You get an A-plus!

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Onward and upward

blogIMG_9448Onward and upward. That was our goal on our October road trip to Michigan.

After being awed and inspired by our day-long (which wasn’t ample enough time) visit to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, we traveled north.

Our next stop for the night would be St. Ignace, a small Upper Peninsula town on the shores of Lake Huron, just across the famous Mackinac Bridge (more about that later).  

As day turned to dusk, the view outside our vehicle’s windshield still continued to cause me to keep my camera handy. The further north we traveled on a highway not busy with traffic, trees displayed their autumn glory in rich color.

Having been deprived of such beautiful fall displays in our home state for the last couple of years, I reveled in the sights. Fall, after all, is my most favorite season of the year. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

We crossed into the Upper Peninsula via the Mackinac Bridge in the dark so we couldn’t see much of that amazing five-mile long suspension structure that connects the two peninsulas.

But we could tell it was pretty windy as we crossed and rain was falling. Unfortunately, by the time we reached our hotel destination, the weather forecast wasn’t promising as rain continued steadily during the night.

We scrubbed our plans for the next day – visiting Mackinac Island – because the forecast called for 90-100% rain all day long. Instead, we decided to just go with the flow. Get in our car and drive even farther north just to see what we could see. An adventure on less traveled ‘blue highways.’

blogIMG_9372 (2)And we found some treasure troves that day like the photo above. As temperatures plummeted during our unplanned day trip, the air became crisper and sharper and the scenery became even more beautiful. And then snowflakes flurried through the air.

On more than one occasion, Papa had to stop the car or find a place to turn around after I would exclaim, “OHHH, look at that!” and wanted to capture a photo. (He patiently supports and understands how much I enjoy taking pictures and I’m so thankful for him.)  

We wandered as far north as Lake Superior and found lighthouses to visit and the site of the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, an American freighter which sank during a storm on Lake Superior in November 1975. The entire crew of 29 was lost in the lake and if you’re older mature like me you may remember a song recorded by Gordon Lightfoot about that tragedy.

Finally, to wind up our random day trip excursion, we found ourselves in the northeastern end of the Upper Peninsula at the St. Mary’s River in Sault Ste.Marie.

There we stood for over an hour with 20 or so other folks on an outside observation deck, shivering in the cold, but determined to watch a 740-foot long Canadian freighter  travel through the St. Mary’s Falls Canal (called the Soo Locks) connecting Lake Superior with Lake Huron, which is actually 21 feet lower. 

blogIMG_9502

Canadian vessel moving through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie

Had we driven any further, we would have crossed a bridge into Canada. But since we didn’t have passports with us to get back into our own country, we just waved to our neighboring country from the American side of the river.

We traveled a lot of miles that day but the sights we observed and visited made even a cold, almost wintry day well worth a few shivers. And we also realized what a small world this truly is.

While waiting for the freighter to travel through the Soo Locks, we began chatting with another couple, who were also tourists. The gentleman had a distinguishable southern accent but we could tell from our discussion he had been in the military.

As we conversed, he asked us where we were from. Since we hail from a rural area outside a small town that most folks have never heard of, we usually just answer with the name of our nearest city because it is ‘just down the road’ from us.

Of course, this gentleman wanted to know what part of the city we lived in, so we had to explain that we actually reside outside the city near a small town. He was persistent in asking what the name of that was, so we finally told him.

His face lit up and he said, “I’ve been there!” And he proceeded to name the little village across the river from our hometown. Why on earth had he visited our neck of the woods? He once had a military buddy from our hometown.

There are so many big sights to see in this seemingly big world, but as Papa and I have discovered, we can travel for hundreds of miles yet meet up with someone who has something in common with us. 

Taking a detour from our itinerary showed us it just might be a small world after all.

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

Color me autumn

blogIMG_1915Color me…

I suppose nearly everyone can name a favorite color.  It’s usually the color we’re drawn to the most – the one that delights us or perhaps even defines us as a person. 

If red or dark purple fascinate you, you might be bold or aggressive.  If you fancy blues and greens, you like peaceful, calming effects.  I imagine someone who favors orange is outgoing and extroverted.  

If I have to choose a favorite color, yellow it is.  I’m drawn to it like a bee buzzing around a succulent flower.  Yellow just makes me jubilant all the way around.  I find it cheerful, sunny, and just happy.

Because I love yellow, you might be inclined to think spring or summer are my favorite seasons.  After all, those times of year are usually filled with abundant sunshine and brilliant yellow flowers breaking out in vibrant color.

But no, color me… autumn.  Color me a mixed palette of yellows, reds, oranges, golds, and even browns splashed amidst green here and there.

Color me sunshine shimmering through the leaves of ever-changing trees creating a feast for my eyes. 

Color me warm sunny days and cool frosty nights.

Color me acorns and crunchy leaves underfoot. 

And color me blazing bonfires set against an inky night sky.

My favorite color – the hue of me – isn’t just one color at all.  My favorite color is autumn. And I find my favorite color when I venture outside with my camera and allow my favorite color to encompass me.

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” ~ George Eliot

(A note from me: This is a re-post from my October 2013 blog; I thought it worthy of sharing once more. Autumn’s colors have not arrived yet in our area and I’m longing to see them.)

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com