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  • Writer's pictureTammy Bashore

Lake Michigan Circle Tour Solo Road Trip - Part 4 National Walleye Tour Saginaw Bay

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

On this particular morning, I actually slept in. Which means I didn't wake up until 7am, as opposed to 5:00am the previous mornings. Last night's particular Hip Camp site was so comforting as a solo woman traveller. I highly recommend it to anyone that is heading to Petoskey, Michigan. If you missed parts 1-3 of this solo adventure, you can catch up with those by clicking here, here, and here.

I was so thankful for the extra bit of sleep, but still wanted to get out early. On this day, I headed down the road to spend some time at Sleeping Bear Dunes before detouring my journey to the opposite side of Michigan, Saginaw Bay, to support my husband at his 2nd stop for the Cabela's National Walleye Tour. I am actually writing this blog post as I sit in a coffee shop (The Liquid Bean) in Devils Lake, ND, for the 3rd stop of the NWT. Supporting him is one of my favorite things to do! Here is this particular day's travel route:

Lake Michigan Circle Tour

The stretch of travel between Petoskey and Sleeping Bear Dunes was incredible. The little towns were so picturesque (Charlevoix and Traverse City to name a couple of favorites). There were farmer fruit and veggie stands dotted all along the way and incredible views of Lake Michigan as I drove. I wish I had had more time to stop and explore, but I was on a time crunch since I needed to be to Bay City by 3pm for the day 1 NWT weigh-in.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is too gorgeous to even put into words. The sand dunes tower 450' above Lake Michigan! You can drive through the park (about an hour drive if you do it quickly) and there are various stopping points along the way, with one of the last stops being the most visited due to it's unprecedented views. Some people go down to the bottom of the dunes to get to the lake shore and it is said that it can take 2 hours or more to climb back up! Yikes! I did not have the time to attempt it, thank goodness. I'm to afraid I would have been tempted to try! I've heard many people end up needing a water rescue because they are unable to make the trip back up. No thanks! You can see in this first photo, 2 dots in the lower right area. That is a couple trying to climb back up. At this point they had already taken 10-15 breaks and still had a LONG ways to go!

I spent a couple of hours wandering through the park and admiring the landscapes before continuing on my journey all the way east across the state to Bay City, MI. This part of the drive wasn't near as beautiful as the journey had been along the lakeshore, but I did see multiple "bear crossing" signs which kept my attention! I was hoping I would actually see one (safely from the confines of my vehicle), but that didn't happen. Oh well!

I arrived to Bay City and since I had a little bit of time, decided to head to the house where Brian had been staying all week. I knew it was a nice house but OH. MY. GAWD. Here I was, camping all week, roughing it, and he has been living in the lap of luxury at this incredible Tudor Mansion! It was built in 1912, had 7500 square feet, and the 3rd floor was a ballroom! The driveway to the home is a share driveway in this old historic neighborhood. So the neighbors are quite keen to knowing who is staying in this home. The neighbors became interested in these fisherman that had taken over for the week and there was even a mystery neighbor that would leave food on the front porch for all these poor fisherman that didn't have a lady to cook for them. Ha! ...<insert eye roll from this wife>... I did end up meeting this mystery neighbor and she was a lovely lady that was very impressed with how wonderful and polite the guys were while staying there. She also gave me a bit of the history of this home, which was quite interesting. It ranged from the original owner, dying in the home at a young age, then an owner getting into illegal financial issues, and also a drug dealer at one point! You can check out more on the home and see photos of the inside by clicking here, and rent it for yourself via Airbnb! If anything, check out the link to see the interior photos! Incredible!

*This photo below was taken from the Airbnb website. It was not snowing when we were there in June. For some reason I didn't take any photos of the home while I was there. Isn't it lovely!?

Lake Michigan Circle Tour

After drooling over the home and wandering through the 30+ rooms in the house, I headed downtown Bay City for the Day 1 weigh-in. Day 1, Brian weighed in 12.92 lbs, putting him in 48th place at the end of Day 1. Day 2, he came in with a weight of 13.97 lbs, for a total of 26.89 pounds over the 2 day tourney, landing him in 44th out of 109 boats for this tournament. You can check out all tournament results by clicking here.

As always, I am proud of him for putting himself out there. These tournaments take a lot of preparation, skill, patience, and brain power. I am so proud to be his wife and thankful I am able to support him on the tournament trail. These tournaments are not just his, they affect the entire family. There is a lot of time and money invested, which ultimately means time away from the family and money that could otherwise be put elsewhere. But these tournaments are a family priority. We are in this together. And while it isn't always easy, we do the best we can to make it work. If anyone out there is interested in tournament fishing, or has a significant other who is, feel free to send me an email! I'd love to chat about my experience as a wife of a tournament angler.

One of the highlights from this tournament is that I actually got to meet a reader of my blog! After reading my blog regarding our plans for the summer, she had reached out asking about the tournaments I would be at. Her husband fishes some of the NWT tournaments as a co-angler and she just happened to be attending the tournament in Saginaw Bay as well! So we made plans to meet up and I am so thankful she reached out! We spent time at the weigh-ins, getting breakfast, and hiking during tournament days. It was so fun to have someone to hang out with during those long tournament days! Not many of the wives/significant others travel with the anglers in walleye tournaments (or at least not many that I have noticed), so it can feel very isolating during the days. Luckily I tend to fill my time easily. But having someone who could relate to mom life and who is also an outdoors woman was so wonderful! I am forever grateful that she reached out and hope to see her again at a future tournament! Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we didn't get a photo together. I'm so bummed!

After the final tournament weigh-in, I packed up and continued down the road on my solo road trip. I would be spending this evening at a B&B near South Haven, MI. Then continuing my journey the following morning to Chicago to spend Saturday with my sister. Rising early Sunday morning and heading home. My trip was over and I have so much to reflect back upon.

Next week, is the final post, Part 5, of my solo road trip! I will be offering tips and lessons learned from my first solo trip, hopefully offering some insight and encouragement for anyone wanting to try one for themselves! Stay tuned!

#summer #solotrips #camping #fishing #nationalwalleyetour

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