Oh how we wished we had not stayed the extra day in Maumee Bay and had planned to stay longer here. Bruin Lake was for us what a campground should be like in so many ways. We arrived there after deciding not to stop in Toledo and deal with the road repairs and crazy traffic. We stopped on Rte 23 when we got to MI and I immediately fell in love with their welcome center. Organized by region, clean, with a beautiful area outside for walking the pets and picnicking I was in brochure heaven! The woman working there could not have been more helpful and I spent at least 15 minutes telling her what we planned as she gave me suggestions and brochures. One of my favorites though was something from the MIDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) that was a map of all planned road repairs for 2015, where they were, when they were scheduled to start and end. Such a simple idea and it makes planning ever so much easier. We do, of course, use the GPS, but we had not yet updated it and even then it does not know about road repairs. Just wonderful! The only thing we did not like was that in addition to camping fees MI also charges a recreation fee for the year. That is not too bad, as it is $35 BUT there is a charge for each vehicle and the daily charge for our car would be an additional $6 per campground. Luckily, you can also just get another recreation tag and with our reservations at 7 different parks it made more sense to spring for that and not have to hassle with getting a new tag at each place as well as paying more. It is interesting how the different states handle fees though, for as we would find in IA, some state parks charge next to nothing, provide the same or better amenities and don't have other costs tacked on. Moving from state to state and using the state parks highlights once again how different the states can be. Then again, it also varies from county to county within a state and a good or bad state park in one area does not mean for a moment that they are all the same.
The drive up was beautiful, once we got past Toledo, as we passed farmland and old barns and as we drove into Bruin Lake we were surrounded by towering pines and their glorious scent. Our site was across the street from the lakeside sites but private with lots of room. The lake was a short walk down the hill and there were trails around the campground. Because we would only be there for a night we didn't do anything other than walking and riding around but one of the best parts was listening to the kids. The park was filled with kids of all ages and all of them seemed to have bikes. The sounds of children's voices and laughter as they met and played together, into the early evening as darkness fell and then the smell of campfires and roasting marshmallows was just wonderful. To top everything off, the showers (about which I am extremely picky) were perfect! Copious amounts of luscious hot water with nice strong pressure and I was in heaven. I only take a 5 minute shower at the longest but it felt very luxurious.
After months of beautiful nature and the occasional town or city, driving over Toledo reminded us about industry
But soon again our way was marked by long, tree lined routes
the occasional farm
It was there and looking at the maps and brochures that we saw that the town of Hell was on our way to Silver Lakes and there wasn't a chance we would not take the opportunity to go through Hell.
Next Stop: Silver Lakes State Park Mears MI and a Dune Buggy ride after going through Hell!
Previous Stop: Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon, OH
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