It's pretty, pretty simple, and for a cheapskate like me, cheap. (The crazy gasoline price in the past day or so, notwithstanding.) An early fall camping trip; all you really is a tent, a sleeping bag, maybe a pillow and a mattress pad, and a way to get to wherever you are going. The Michigan DNR will show you where you can camp, and once in a while you get lucky as I did years ago, and you find a place hardly anyone knows about.

This was September probably twenty-some years ago. I had visited a friend in Gaylord and was headed back south and wanted to just have a day or two by myself to clear my head after a busy summer. This was before cellphones overtook our lives, but in this instance, I wish I had one just to put where I was into the GPS memory. I was somewhere near the Manistee River. I stopped at a bait shop off of 131 and got to talking to an older gentleman, and he said if you go down the road there about a couple of miles, and there, at the bend, there's a little strip of road, and the government owns. Do veer, because that's private property. You drive down this private road a mile or so, and then you see a bluff overlooking the river. That was it. When I got there, I found the most beautiful place you could ever ask to run into. It was about a 100 ft. bluff overlooking the river, just as he said. And nobody, but nobody around. I pitched my tent, got a small fire going, and grabbed a beer, and said "thank you, God, for making this place.". In the morning, even better; I made some coffee over the fire, and just took in the scenery.

I'm sure if I looked hard enough, I could find the location again, but I don't know if I could duplicate the magic of that moment. I wish you some of the same good fortune I had, to find your happy place.

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