Driving Day: Proud Lake to Clare

We left Proud Lake Campground around 11:30 a.m. and headed to General RV, just a few miles away. We’re pretty sure we need a different tow hitch because a 4 inch drop is just a little too low. While they had tow hitches, we couldn’t see a tech (no surprise there) and don’t have the right tool to do it ourselves. We’re heading to my cousin’s in the UP, and I’m 99% sure they’ll have the tool, so we’ll wait to get a new hitch.

We also looked for Dometic refrigerator handles, since apparently I have super strength and snapped ours (I don’t actually have super strength — it’s just plastic and not the best design). Well, they don’t have any in stock. Since our current set up of a Command Hook and Duck Tape isn’t sustainable, I’ll order one to my cousin’s house.

Take the scenic route

We are driving on M-13, which is a side road. We’ve been avoiding expressways as much as possible. First, no trucks. Second, we literally have all the time in the world — so why not see small town America? There are so many cool things we’ve seen out the window. From barn art, to small town main streets, to really fancy houses in the middle of nowhere, lots of lakes. And corn. A lot of corn.

Oh, also, a lot of Dollar Generals — which I have a new found love for DG, as they have random odds and ends and the prices are amazing.

Why are barns painted red?

A barn somewhere in Michigan

Which brings me to my next question — why are barns always painted red (except for Kentucky – I’ll get to that). Well, a quick google search told me that early farmers rarely could afford paint but still needed to protect the wood on the barn. Skim milk, lime, and iron oxide made worked well in place of paint and gave a red color. I guess the tradition just stuck.

Now, we noticed when driving through Kentucky that a lot of barns were painted black. We learned from our very knowledgeable Hipcamp host that tobacco cures faster in high heat, and since black attracts sun/heat it worked better than red. So, there you go.

We are headed to the Clare, Michigan area. This is a place I spent a good portion of my childhood weekends, as we had a large piece of property near Lake George. I haven’t been to the area in about 20 years, so I’m sure much has changed (especially in the time of COVID) but hoping I can still get a cherry burger from the Whitehouse — and visit the Doherty Motor Inn — where my dad ended up being friends with the owner because we visited so often.

It’s also fun to show Chad around, and create new memories in places that are still so special to me. This is his first trip to Michigan, and I haven’t explored it much since I moved to Seattle in 2005, so we’re learning everything we can about this great state together.

And I can’t wait to share all of our adventures with you. Now only if I can find some WiFi that has an upload speed of over 1 Mbps.

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