I may never drive I-75 in Michigan again.

Yesterday I began the trek back home, traversing most of Michigan. The morning started with a scenic drive along Lake Superior before turning inland to cross to the south side of the Upper Peninsula. This led me to my first stop, the old Cliffs Shaft Mine. The retired mine is now a museum, which was closed for the season. All the same I was able to check out the crumbling cement monolith that houses one of the old hoists.

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A little further along the peninsula drive was the decommissioned K. I. Sawyer Air Base. Part of Strategic Air Command during the Cold War, the site still operates as a lightly trafficked municipal/commercial airport. Across the road are static displays of some of the iconic aircraft that were stationed there over the years.

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Finishing the trek south I made it to the south side of the peninsula, driving along the shore until reaching the famous (and famously sketch) Mackinac Bridge, the land crossing between the two sections of Michigan. Once across I stopped in Mackinaw City to check out the old lighthouse.

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I knew from the beginning I wasn’t going to be taking the standard blast down I-75 through Michigan, instead choosing the longer, slower, but more scenic US-23 coastal road. This was a great decision. The two lane road brought some fantastic scenery and roadside stops, and between the plentiful passing zones and numerous full passing lanes getting stuck behind slower traffic was never a problem. Along the way I stopped in Cheboygan, a few random roadside scenic points, and the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse in Rogers City (which comes with the bonus of a shipwreck on the beach) before stopping in Alpena for dinner. My one regret was not mapping out the other lighthouses in advance so I could have seen more of them.

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Shortly after dinner the sun went down, limiting my ability to sightsee, but the drive was still enjoyable. Finally, down by Saginaw Bay US-23 joins I-75 and I was forced onto the interstate. I took it down to my last tourist stop, the quasi-Bavarian town of Frankenmuth. Due to the late hour pretty much everything was closed, but it was still fun walking the main road. I look forward to stopping next time I’m in the area for one of those “world famous chicken dinners.”

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Today marks the end of the journey, starting in Imlay City, crossing through Canada, a quick stop at Niagara Falls, and on home to Massachusetts. It’s been a blast, but one can’t avoid work forever.