A Road Trip to Union Pier, Michigan

Like most, travel hasn't been an option for quite some time, but at last we finally felt like it was time to get out there. While looking at B&B's that could accommodate a specialty diet, we came across Garden Grove Inn. A boutique inn located in Union Pier Michigan, it is just the right distance for an easy road trip, about four and a half hours to get there. It was Labor Day weekend so most rooms were already booked, but we got lucky and there was a room with a king bed still available. The king bed is a must have for your too tall photographer here, 6'8"  doesn't work very well on smaller beds.

Bags packed, we hit the road... we opted to stick to back roads and state routes and avoid tolls and interstates. The drive was smooth, the amount of traffic for a holiday weekend was minimal and there wasn't much construction. Winding our way through Ohio, just outside of Van Wert we came across a rather large group of wind mills, not the largest group I have seen but more than I have seen in some time. Having passed the propellers being pulled down the highway I am always in awe of their size.

The last stretch of the road to get to the inn had me wondering if we made a mistake. Since we were taking the back roads we had an experience most would miss going on the interstate. The road was the worst patch job and uneven pavement I have ever driven on. I sincerely feel bad for the people who live on this road, although I am guessing it keeps speeding under control. Eventually we got past this patch of road and found our destination. The innkeeper was a wonderful help and we quickly got settled in and headed out for dinner.

As we were heading back from dinner we noticed that it looked like it was going to be a great sunset and decided to head down to the beach. Sadly the beach was very crowded and really didn't lend itself to a photo opportunity as a good portion of the beach front is private property. But it was understandable, the sunset was absolutely gorgeous so we took the opportunity to just stop, admire and enjoy the moment before heading back to the inn to call it a night.

We made plans to head back the following morning for sunrise and hope for the best. The sunrising in the East would likely be blocked by the trees but I was fairly confident there would still be some amazing light. The sunrise was obscured by the trees but the light was enough to give a beautiful warmth to the scene. The rolling waves and water to the horizon made an image that is one of my favorites to this day. (Click on the image to see the larger size)


16mm, 1/125sec at f9, ISO 100

After the amazing sunrise, we still had a few hours before our breakfast would be ready at the inn so off we went to find coffee. We found a cool little local coffee roaster called Red Arrow Roasters, which I am pretty sure was the only place open this Labor Day. After getting some good coffee we were on our way to the Warren Dunes State Park. Originally we had planned to head to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, however since I had been to the Indiana Dunes before we opted to go somewhere new.

By the time we were parked at the dunes the sun had fully risen and there wasn't any of that amazing light left. It was still a beautiful morning. Photographing dunes from the parking lot was challenging and not really anything of interest. This image is one of the bigger dunes, you can see my Toyota FJ in the bottom of the frame by the tree. If we had better hiking gear with us we likely would have explored it further.

There were some other images taken at the dunes but they weren't all that exciting. The last image I would like to share is the Herring Gull whom I captured in several locations as it hopped around trying to avoid the waves, this one is my favorite. It finally finds a spot to sit while not getting hit by the waves, keeping its feet dry with the wave crashing in the background.

185mm, 1/400sec at f9, ISO 200