Leaving before sunrise for the second road trip I have ever taken by myself. A five-and-a-half-hour drive to South Haven, Michigan was on my agenda for the day. The sky was pitch black and the morning atmosphere was freezing. The air was crisp and only 54 degrees, which made me glad to know I wore a sweater. Being homesick from Pensacola Beach, Lake Michigan was the closest thing to a sound mind which I experience from the beach. Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes and the third largest of the five. Being as it is the sixth largest lake in the world, Lake Michigan was an adventure and a historical visit.
After an hour and a half into the drive, the thunderstorms started pouring down. Although it was 7:45 am the sun still was not completely up, so the sky was dark, foggy, and storming. After an hour of miserable thunderstorms, I arrived in Illinois where the rain had stopped. As the sun finally came up with a few hours left, the leaves flew against the windshield from the strong winds. Driving through Indiana the trees alongside the road were full of astonishing autumn colors. Seeing shades of pumpkin orange, maroon, and army green leaves I was filled with pure amazement– finally receiving a glimpse of my first actual fall.
The sign reading “South Haven in 1 mile” brings pure excitement to my face. Getting off at the exit I stop at the nearest gas station, surprisingly I had made it the whole way with 64 miles until empty to spare. The wind was strong enough to blow a hat off my head if I were wearing one. As a gust of wind hit me it also slammed my car door shut that I had left open while pumping gas. I knew I had to be close the lake with winds that heavy and powerful.
Arriving at the lake was a glorious sight. The sky was blueish grey with not much sunshine, but the view of the Lake was too gorgeous to care about the sky. At the top of the hill was a bench to look down on the crystal green water crashing against the sand. Before walking down to the water, I decided to jot down some notes while sitting on the wooden bench. The wind was blowing too much to try to write in a notebook near the lake so the bench facing the water was the next best option. I decided to take out my lunch on the bench so I would not have to endure the crunching sand taste that often happens. The smell of my bittersweet dill-pickle in my travel sized cooler was overwhelming. The Cherrywood colored steps leading down to the water reminded me of home on the beach.
With my leggings rolled and my shoes in the sand, I decided to feel the water. The water was breathtaking and absolutely freezing. Although it was unbearably cold I had to take it in a few moments before stepping out of the water. To my right about a quarter-mile down was a glorious pier with a red and black lighthouse at the end of it. Walking along the tan sand squishing between my toes, the sight of children running and playing felt like home. Boulder-sized rocks aligned the left side of the pier. Walking along the pier toward the lighthouse the waves were crashing so high they crashed straight on the pier and soaked my sandals. The lighthouse had a sign claiming, “The United States of America donated this Lighthouse to the Historical Association of South Haven” a beautiful piece of history before my eyes. After stepping off the pier I decided to head back to my car and grab my towel to sit on and enjoy the view for a while.
While grabbing my towel I noticed a white leaf alongside the curb, so I picked it up to admire. One side was completely bleached white, while the other side was yellow with rotten brown spots a peculiar piece of nature. After sticking the leaf in my car, I walked back down to the water where a lady was standing. I asked if she was from South Haven and if there were any good places to shop. The kind elderly lady directed me to the downtown which was within walking distance of where we were standing. The lady assured me “to follow the sand all the way past the pier and I would hit the downtown,” so I kindly thanked her and headed on.
The downtown was the kind you see in movies. Everyone walked everywhere, and in just a few blocks you’ll hit the movie theatre. The exquisite harbor full of astonishing boats was also located near all the tiny shops’ side by side of each other. The smell of a small-town bakery was alluring, but as I was walking towards it the rain had started again. Scurrying back to my car expecting the rain to pour down hard like the drive up, it suddenly stopped. It was approaching dark, so I knew I needed to head back home soon anyway. Taking one last walk down to the water before heading back was a bit bitter, considering I never wanted to leave the town of South Haven.
On the drive, back I decided to stop in Indiana at the mall which had the closest Cinnabon in my direction. The Indiana mall was the most beautiful two-story mall, full of all the best store and food places. I spent a bit too much time wandering around before realizing I was still four and a half hours away from home. After grabbing a box of cinnamon rolls, I ran back to my car to avoid the rain and hurry home. Since I had already jammed to every song I could think of, I decided to spend the last hour of the drive thinking in my thoughts. The day had been an unforgettable day and I wanted to reminiscence the last hour before arriving home. Although I enjoyed my day I was genuinely happy to see the Cedar Rapids exit sign approach. Exhausted and relieved the second I walked through the door I was asleep on the couch from an amazing day in South Haven, Michigan.
Glory to God