Great Lakes Road Trip- Day 4- The Hodag and Mt Arvon

28 Nov
The Rhinelander Hodag

The Rhinelander Hodag drawn by Blueberry Pie

As we were leaving town, we saw a large, dinosaur-like statue of a monster.  Then we saw the monster again on the water tower.  “What is up with this monster?” we wondered.  I googled  “Rhinelander monster” on my phone and we found out about the Hodag.  The legend of the hodag was one of the funniest things we have ever heard, and we deeply regretted missing the opportunity to take a picture of the family with the hodag statue.    We vowed to research local legends of the towns we stay in on family trips from now on.

After about a 4 hour drive on the highway and an intense hour of driving on unmarked logging roads out in the boonies of Northern Michigan, we reached the top of Mount Arvon.  I wasn’t too worried because DH was doing the driving.  We almost got the van stuck in a huge pothole/mud puddle at one point.  I think Mt. Arvon should probably have a sign saying 4 wheel drive is needed or park and walk the rest of the way up.  The “road” is extended from the parking lot most online sites describe, so you can pretty much drive to the top now.  But like I said, consider walking the last bit if you are in a large vehicle or don’t have 4 wheel drive, especially if it has been rainy.

Mount Arvon

Mount Arvon

On the way down, DH had a headache from the worries of transporting the family through such unfamiliar territory with mostly unmarked roads.  When we got to the nearest town, L’anse, I suggested we stop at a park to relax for a bit.  We stumbled upon this little playground right on the shore of Lake Superior and spent 20 of the most glorious minutes of my life playing in the sunshine and breeze.  Every time since, when someone says, “picture the perfect place” or “Picture yourself on a beach,”  I imagine myself back in this little park.


Mom! Watch! aaand cue Chariots of Fire soundtrack: Dun Dun da-Dun Dunnnn daaaa….

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We planned on camping at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  We got there at about 5 pm and all the camping spots were taken.  Online had warned of this, but we have always been so lucky to get campsites, that the DH assumed we would find one.  We did not.  After lots of frustrating driving around, we found a picnic spot, and I cooked dinner while the kids played on the beach again.  We should have just gone ahead and visited the pretty places there at Pictured Rocks that we wanted to see, but we wasted all our daylight looking for a campsite.  Hind sight is 20/20.

As our trip progressed, we learned the hard way that the Great Lakes are a popular attraction and you should book ALL of your campsites/hotel rooms 6-12 months in advance.

After dinner, we checked all the local hotels.  No Vacancy.  So we started driving along the route we had planned for the next day.  I googled hotels all along the way on my phone and called ahead looking for a place to stay.  We finally found a room in St. Ignace, Michigan and stopped to get some rest at 12:30 a.m.  in a lovely little motel called Bay View Motel, right on the lake.  It was low priced, clean, and rustic.  I loved it.  I also loved getting some sleep.  It was our good luck spot for the trip.




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