Category Archives: USA – The Midwest

X Marks the Spot: Five of the Most Interesting Geocache Sites Around the World

By Jocelyn Brown

Photo by Natalie Fox

Photo by Natalie Fox

As children, we were adventure-seekers, pirates, and treasure hunters. We dreamed of finding the X that led to the golden prize, or treasure chest filled with doubloons. Well now, we can make those dreams a reality. Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt, and is ultimately a hide-and-seek game for adults. Players use a GPS receiver or their cellphones and other clues and navigational information to find containers, or geocaches around the world. These geocaches are sometimes filled with small treasures that you can take, but make sure you leave something else for the next treasure seeker! Continue reading

A Taste of Traverse City

Sipping, Sampling, Dining, and More!

By: Charlene & Richard Mixa

Scenic View through trees at Bowers Harbor Inn (Mission Table)

Scenic View through trees at Bowers Harbor Inn (Mission Table)

On the shores of Grand Traverse Bay sits the captivating unique town of Traverse City. Glacier-sculpted landscape created miles of sugar-sand shoreline, rolling hills, and a majestic peninsula. Located on the 45th parallel halfway between the North Pole and the Equator the climate flourishes with lush vineyards, as well as, cherry and apple orchards. Continue reading

A Memorable Michigan Golf Vacation

Bellaire, Michigan is a Golfer’s Dream
By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Hawk's Eye Golf Resort

Hawk’s Eye Golf Resort

A true golf mecca is hidden in the rolling hills of Northern Michigan. Sure Gaylord, gets a lot more attention, but Bellaire, Michigan can definitely hold its own as a golfer’s dream. With spectacular terrain, humbling course designs, and subtleties that challenge golfers of all levels, the Bellaire golf courses are some of the toughest in Northern Michigan. Yet, they are exhilarating to play! Continue reading

Northern Michigan’s Gem: The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

The iconic Tower at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

The iconic Tower at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

A Luxury Resort Surrounded by Sweeping Vistas & Magnificent Lake Michigan
By: Charlene & Richard Mixa

Seeking a respite from the Florida heat, we felt “the call” for a visit to Northern Michigan Here we look forward to cooler temperatures along with lush forests, rolling greens, grape vineyards, cherry orchards and the sparkling, sugar-sand shores of Grand Traverse Bay. A favorite premier destination resort is the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa with its iconic glass Tower, creating sky-high experience and expansive views of the scenic landscape. Continue reading

Best States for a Motorcycle Vacation

By Sally James

Vacationers on Motorcycles

Vacationers on Motorcycles

The things which make something enjoyable are, of course, subjective. Someone who loves history will wax lyrical about the old cities of Europe, which won’t interest a wilderness-yomper one jot. A ski nut will appreciate mountainous resorts the charms of which will be completely lost upon a beach bum. This subjectivity is as true of motorcycling as anything else. Some love straight, desert roads in which to roar along with the world spread out before you. Others like the challenge of a bendy forest road. Some like it warm, some hate to sweat in their leathers. As such, any ranking of states regarding their general enjoyability for bikers is going to meet with stormy opposition in some quarters. So we won’t attempt to do that. Here instead are the best states for hitting the road on two wheels according to certain criteria – namely: Warm riding weather, dry riding weather, safety, and gasoline prices.

Honda CX400 1980, Stuart, Florida

Honda CX400 1980, Stuart, Florida

Warm Riding Weather – Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana In all fairness, this is a pretty subjective category. After all, some people might prefer the crisp tang of a Wisconsin winter to the hot humidity of a Southern summer. Feel free, therefore, to completely ignore this category and go your own sweet way! To be honest, we’ve mainly chosen these states based upon their hours of daylight and the relative paucity of chill winds. In general, the states of Florida, Arizona, Hawaii and Louisiana are the most likely to give you a good, clear run of days in which the daylight is abundant and the nasty weather keeps away. Texas isn’t far behind, but loses points for just being too damn big to gather non-conflicting data for! Don’t take it as read that these states are automatically going to roll out the climactic carpet for you, however. We all know about Florida and Louisiana’s issue with hurricanes! These states give you your best chance of consistently warm riding weather, but it’s by no means 100% guaranteed!

Vacationer from Ohio Relaxes by Motorcycle

Vacationer from Ohio Relaxes by Motorcycle

Dry Riding Weather – Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona Wet roads, snowy roads, and water splattering your visor do not make for a great ride. Some may enjoy the challenge, and some may relish the chance to pit their snow chains against the ice, but those of us who like an easy life would probably prefer to hit the road on a dry day. Working on yearly averages, the driest states are Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona. However, it might be worth taking seasonal averages into account as well. In the summer, California just about manages to knock Nevada from its desiccated top-spot, while in winter you’re more likely to find dry conditions in North Dakota (which perhaps helps to account for this state’s exemplary safety record – see below). In general, though Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona are the most consistently dry states all year round, so if you’re not a fan of slippy tires and the scent of soggy weather, it might be an idea to head West!

Safety – North Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi You need not worry about damage (to yourself or you bike!) or theft if you head to one of these states. The roads here are smooth and well-maintained – particularly in North Dakota - which makes for an enjoyable as well as a safe ride. The accident and fatality rates for all vehicles, not just motorcycles, are commendably low in all three states (which will make your mother happy!). North Dakota notably experiences low levels of congestion, and drivers tend to be both considerate and bike-aware. Helmet laws are laxly enforced within Nebraska, which counts against them, but this does not stop Nebraskans from taking the initiative and wearing helmets out in spite of law-enforcement’s unbothered stance on the issue. Mississippi, meanwhile, are both consistent and persistent with their traffic safety laws. Thefts of motorcycles are low in all three of these states.  If you want your bike undamaged and your body unscarred, head on out to North Dakota, Nebraska, or Mississippi.

Gas Prices – Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Kansas Gas prices zip up and down all over the USA on a daily basis, so don’t rely too much on this information in a year’s time! As it currently stands, you’ll get the most miles for your dollar in Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, and Kansas – but it might be worth checking before you book anything, just to make sure!

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Indiana’s Amish Country: A Serenely Simple Life

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

A Postcard View of Amish Life

Menno-Hof

Menno-Hof

A horse-drawn black buggy clattering on the roadway with a bright orange traffic triangle on the back is our first greeting to northern Indiana’s Amish Country. Recently receiving accolades of a “Favorite Faith-based Destination” by the National Tour Association tour operator members, we are excited to take a deeper look at Amish life and getting to know the people behind the straw hats, bonnets, and simple clothes. Continue reading

A Five-Star Kohler Experience

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

The Shining Stars of Luxury at The American Club

The American Club

The American Club

Destination Kohler! The American Club, the newest star in the Forbes Five-Star galaxy of luxury hotels shines brilliantly in the Village of Kohler, Wisconsin. Initially it’s hard to imagine a luxury resort across the street from a huge factory, not on water, not in the mountains, nor even near a tourist attraction. Continue reading

“Come Home” to Michigan’s The Homestead Resort!

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

A Retreat for Sports Enthusiasts, Couples and Families

Picturesque view at The Homestead

Picturesque view at The Homestead

Miles of pure white sand dunes, shimmering blue waters, rustic towns, verdant forests, and a fresh water resort all combine to create a breathtaking travel destination with plenty of activities for families, sports enthusiasts and couples. Voted the “Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a fantastic escape and retreat for travelers. Continue reading

The Grandeur of Grand Traverse Resort & Spa

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Michigan’s Premier Resort for Recreation, Relaxation, and more!

The Grand Traverse Resort

The Grand Traverse Resort

Grand Views! Grand Golf! Grand Spa! Grand Dining! Impressive and awesome, Michigan’s Premier Resort, the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa is “totally” grand. A sprawling 900-acre resort with 54 holes of championship golf, stunning views of Grand Traverse Bay, choice dining, a sensational spa, and plenty of recreational activities, it is a magnificent year round destination. Continue reading

Historic, Yet Hip Holland, Michigan

By Charlene S. Mixa

A great American Town with a Dutch Heritage

A little boy in Dutch Costume

A little boy in Dutch Costume

“Holland” the name conjures up visions of windmills, canals, tulips, and wooden shoes. Bringing a “touch” of the Netherlands to the United States, Holland, Michigan offers charm and history with its deep Dutch roots. A warm, welcoming town on Lake Macatawa, Holland began as a religious settlement and is a much more diverse city today. Yet, much of its original religious convictions continue with its traditional Dutch architecture and ambiance. A vast array of recreational activities, great beaches and a splendid downtown with eclectic shops, galleries and exceptional eateries invite visitors to relax and spend a day, a week or a lifetime. Continue reading