Our Michigan trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 865 miles, and drove for 19 hours and 29 minutes during our week in Michigan while avoiding highways. Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Road Side Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Factory tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate.

Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Michigan over the past week.

Famous person: Henry Ford

Famous food: Pasties & Cherries

Roadside attraction: Big Gus/Big Ernie & Worlds Biggest Pie plate & Town of Hell

State Capitol/Museum: Lansing

National Park: Pictured Rock National Lakeshore

Historic Location: Fort Mackinac

Can't miss attraction: SOO Locks & Henry Ford Museum & Mackinac Island

Factory tour: Ford Rogue F150 Truck

Please view our previous blog posts for the past week for further explanations of our experiences in Michigan.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $ 105

Comments: $105

$ 2.19 gal. in Lavonia, MI was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.37 gal. in Ishpeming, MI the was highest price paid.

Groceries: $26

Walmart $26

Comments: We did not have a huge grocery bill this week because we cooked food for ourselves. Great job!

Dining out $92.00

Museum store $ 3.00 (unbudgeted water, no outside beverages permitted)

Hell Hole Diner $ 5.00 (that’s their real name, unbudgeted and disgusting)

Slabtown Burgers $18.00 (unbudgeted, and disappointing veggie burgers...the ultimate veggie burger search continues)

Traverse City Pie $ 8.00 (best cherry pie in the entire world)

Jean Kays Café $17.00 (best vegetarian pasties ever!)

Pizza $ 24.00 (unbudgeted but limited options on the island)

Jean Kays Café $17.00 (We went back for seconds, no regrets!)


We ate out a lot this week, but did so only to experience local cuisine. Great job!

Entertainment: $90.00

Ford Museum $68.00 (budgeted “Can’t Miss Attraction” admission x2)

Fort Mackinac $22.00 (budgeted Admission x2)


We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $0

Walmart parking lot $0 (slept in parking lot x7 nights)


We continue to do great in this category

Miscellaneous: $38.00

Ferry to Mackinac Island $38.00 (budgeted expense round trip x2)


We did great in this category!

Michigan Expenses Grand Total: $ 351.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is Michigan Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 10

“The government had a long history of fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget, and that is extremely impressive”

Lori: 9

“Surrounded by 3 great lakes, tourism was clearly a strong part of their economy”.

Economy score: 9.5

Cost of Living:

Nate: 7

“The state sales tax is 6% and the state income tax is 4.25%, both of which are lower than Connecticut”

Lori: 8

“The farther north we went the more expensive gas and food were”

Cost of living score: 7.5

Quality of life:

Nate: 7

“The entire state was very clean and I never once feared for my safety”

Lori: 8

“If living in Michigan one would expect to deal with colder temperatures, but they have become accustom to surviving and thriving in winters fury”

Quality of life score: 7.5


Nate: 8

“People were generally happy, courteous, friendly and genuine”

Lori: 8

“People surprisingly chose to vacation within their own state, and enjoy outdoor activities”

Culture Score: 8


Nate: 9

“In spite of the snowy winters, the roads system in the state were impeccably maintained”

Lori: 9

“The beauty of the lakes surrounding the state were breathtaking, I could get used to looking at Lake Superior everyday”

Environment Score: 9

The verdict is in:

The final score for Michigan was 8.3, and it might be our new home state!!!


This is the first state to cross the 8 threshold to be considered our possible new home state!!! After being on the road for almost 3 months and exploring 9 states, we are beyond overjoyed to finally have found a state we may call our new home! Even more surprising, Michigan was not on our short list of states we were considering, but it greatly impressed us during our visit! Although Michigan made it to the next round, we still have 39 more states to visit on our cross country journey. We hope to discover a few more states that will join Michigan for consideration. Obviously, neither Lori nor I needed to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Michigan 8.3

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

Virginia 6.6

Pennsylvania 6.5

West Virginia 6.0

Kentucky 4.9

Missouri 3.5

Illinois 1.9