With something approximating sadness we left Michigan. We loved the UP and liked the casino parks, but the Lower Peninsula, which comprises most of the state, is not that interesting and could pass for Monroe or Baton Rouge, except in winter. The next stop was the Maumee Bay campground just outside Toledo, Ohio. Ohio state parks all participate in Passport America on a Sunday night through Wednesday night basis, which makes them halfway affordable.
Maumee Bay is part of Lake Erie. Unlike Superior and Michigan, this great lake looks like Louisiana water – a brownish green that is in no way clear. But it has beaches, fresh water, and is so big the breeze coming off it is cool, even in late summer. This park is one of only two we’ve visited with paved bike trails. This one runs along the beach, around an inlet, back out to a lighthouse, and back to the campground, about five miles in all. You get a cool breeze off the lake, some shady sections, and it is blessedly level. It adds up to a very nice ride.
Wednesday night got downright chilly with a low just above 50. We’re seeing some red trees, and the natives are preparing for winter. Clearly autumn is just around the corner, and I have checked another entry off my personal bucket list: enjoy a summer that doesn’t get hot. There were a few days in Idaho that were hot, but the humidity was low, and we had the Salmon River to chill in, literally. Compared to a Louisiana summer, north or south, that was pretty cool.
Labor Day isn’t much if you’re retired, and without at least a barbecue it’s just another Monday. So we cooked! Using our $15 Wal-Mart smoker grill, we ‘cued leg of lamb. I marinated it for an hour in red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and mint jelly with garlic and red pepper flakes, then smoked it with the lid down for half an hour, then wrapped it in foil to rest for another half hour. Meanwhile Kat made a blueberry bread pudding and I whomped up some Lyonnais potatoes. It was good grub.
If Maumee sounds familiar, you’re no spring chicken, and you just pleaded guilty to reading the comics. Think back: Steve Canyon’s niece, Poteet, was a journalism grad of Maumee U. Around here they’re still debating whether that fictitious school was based on Bowling Green or Miami of Ohio.
And yo, Jim, you think nothing’s going on in your ‘hood?