WEEK 11 RUN-WALK-BIKE ACROSS AMERICA STARTS TOMORROW. Earned Runs 2019 Vacation Week August 3-12 has officially begun. Enjoy this upcoming week's posts that, for several years now, have been geared more toward vacation fun than purely fitness interests. We hope to arrive back from our time off refreshed and energized to make the most of the remainder of August.
Segment 27: Ferry from Milwaukee WI to Holland MI
Segment 28: Holland MI to Coldwater MI
Segment 29: Coldwater MI to Bowling Green OH
THE WEEK BEGINS WITH A HIGH-SPEED ferry ride across Lake Michigan, from the terminal in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to one in Muskegon, Michigan. The trip takes 2.5 hours and allows travelers on their way into “Pure Michigan” (the state’s tourism advertising campaign) to avoid Chicago area traffic around the southern end of Lake Michigan.
Upon arriving on the eastern shore of the ‘Big Lake’, the name those living in West Michigan use to distinguish this Great Lake from the many smaller recreational waterways in the Mitten State, you will be at the far edge of the Eastern Time zone. The sun sets just before 9 pm here in early August, and the long twilight period extends the length of camping and picnicking days at State Park beaches even further.
From Muskegon MI, you will travel through blueberry country as you move south to Holland, MI; the nearby fields will be in the height of production for the year. This charming college and vacation town, which boasts a Dutch heritage and spring Tulip Festival, hugs Lake Macatawa and its channel to the Lake. A mix of humble, quaint, and stately cottages are built into graceful tree-covered sand dunes that extend inward a short distance from the shoreline.
[Blueberry lovers take note. The development of cultivars at Michigan State University, the contribution of these varieties to the state’s agricultural economy, and spread to other blueberry growing regions of the world is discussed in a University newsletter item, “Building a Better Blueberry”.]
As the route continues in a southeast direction, it passes through farmland and around more lakes. The most productive fruit, vegetable, and landscape plant growing areas in the region are found in this western portion of the state. That’s because of the climate-moderating effect of Lake Michigan, which acts to extend the growing season longer than in areas farther inland. Michigan is third in the nation in apple growing and is a leading producer of blueberries, cherries, peaches, grapes, and other fruit. You will skirt this area and travel more centrally through farmland where dairy, livestock, and corn are also of agricultural importance.
On the way to Coldwater MI you’ll pass through the city that gave its name to Kalamazoo College, home of the Boys Junior National Tennis Championships since 1943. “Nats at the ‘Zoo” is one of the most important events for 16 to 18-year old tennis phenoms in the US, held in early August.
At the end of the week, the route heads from Coldwater to another college town, Bowling Green, Ohio, briefly running through the very tip of northeast Indiana, also a Midwest apple growing area.
This part of Indiana and northwest Ohio is the area where Johnny Appleseed established nurseries that may have contributed to the future presence of apple orchards here. According to a tripsavvy.com item “Ohio and the Legend of Johnny Appleseed”, farmer John Chapman spent time in Defiance County, Ohio; the “colorful—and beloved” figure died at the age of 70 in Fort Wayne Indiana, both south of this week’s route.
Our trek across portions of states bordering the Great Lakes seems to highlight fruit and produce growing, which may be a surprise to some who only associate this part of the country with heavy industry and the Rust Belt. Travel, even that which involves distances not too far from ‘home’, nearly always offers wonderful opportunities to learn.
RUN, MOVE & VACATION, HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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