The Great Escape

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On July 30th, my wife and I are breaking out.  We’re leaving town, and we’re taking the four dogs with us.

The Great Escape. 

Goodbye, Georgia heat.  Hello, Northern Michigan!

Our summer RV trip of 2020 will be underway.  Today, I’m sharing our plans.

We're heading out on The Great Escape! A month in Northern Michigan with our 4 dogs and the RV, an escape from Georgia's summer heat... Click To Tweet

The Great Escape

I’ve never been a fan of the excessive heat and humidity of a Georgia summer.  While I was working, I didn’t have much choice.  I dealt with it.  Now that I’m retired, I can choose where to spend my summers.

Enter…The Great Escape.

Last year, the great escape entailed taking The Great American Road Trip, a 10,000-mile cross-country trek to visit our daughter and her family in The Pacific Northwest.  It was a lifelong dream to travel across the country and we’re grateful that our retirement allowed a 3-month journey to do it.  Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, The Tetons, The Olympic Penisula, and a wide variety of State Parks on our outbound and return legs. 

Great trip, great memories.  And with it, The Great Escape tradition was born.  

This summer, we’ve decided The Great Escape will take us North, with a focus on my home state of Michigan.  After spending some time in Ohio visiting my wife’s family, we’ll be visiting my family in Southern Michigan before heading up the Lake Michigan shoreline and across the infamous Mackinac Bridge:

Looking forward to pulling our 5th wheel across the Mackinac Bridge

After crossing the bridge, we plan on heading West across Michigan’s amazing Upper Penisula as far as  Porcupine Mountains State Park, where we’ll veer South to visit my Uncle Carl at his summer home in Door County, WI. From there, we’ll pick our way back South to our retirement cabin in The Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia.

Here’s the 3,000-mile trek plotted on a map:

If all goes according to plan, we’ll be pulling back into our cabin’s driveway in the final days of August, with the worst of the summer heat passing through in our absence. Without the constraints of a J.O.B., we’re free to migrate as the urge calls.  The Great Escape is calling, and we’re responding.

Instead of sweating through the dog days of summer, we’ll be enjoying a combination of family, wilderness, and cool Northern evenings.  It sounds like a perfect way to spend the month of August.


A Sabbatical for The Retirement Manifesto

As I did during our trip to The Pacific Northwest, I’m taking a break from writing during our trip.  These trips are special, and I want to fully embrace the experience.  While I love to write, the reality is that I don’t like to write when we’re traveling in our RV.  I’d rather be free to…

  • Enjoy the scenery
  • Take hikes with our dogs
  • Swim in The Great Lakes
  • Relax
  • Visit
  • Live.


Free to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.  I worked 3+ decades for the freedom I now enjoy, and I savor the reality that Freedom represents.  Freedom to write when I want to write.  Freedom to not write when I don’t. Freedom to pursue The Great Escape, and enjoy my cold water swimming in The Great Lakes in the midst of the dog days of summer.

Come Along On The Journey

If you’re interested in following along on our journey, feel free to connect via the following Social Media platforms.  While I won’t be writing, I’ll plan on sharing plenty of photos from the road.  I love photography, and I look forward to sharing what we’re seeing, as we’re seeing it.  Look me up:

  • Instagram:  My “go-to” site for posting scenic shots throughout our journey. 
  • Facebook:  I’ll write posts from time to time during our journey, along with some of the best photos.
  • Twitter:  With 10k followers, I avoid the “noise” on Twitter and just share random thoughts.

If you’d rather wait for my blog posts, no worries.  I’ll be back on the keyboard in September, happily pecking away from the new World HQ of The Retirement Manifesto in the Treehouse Writing Studio.

If the mood strikes, I may summarize our trip via a video on my YouTube Channel, as I did for The Great American Road Trip.  Then again, I may not.  There’s that Freedom again, such a marvelous element of life.


Retirement is the time to live as you choose to live.  If the concept of The Great Escape appeals to you, you’re free to incorporate it into your life.  We’ve incorporated it into ours, and we enjoy the annual tradition.

When this post “Goes Live” on July 29th, we’ll be busy packing up our 5th wheel and making final preparations for our Thursday morning departure.  Forgive me if I don’t get a chance to respond to the comments per usual.

The Great Escape is calling, and I must go. 

The sabbatical starts now.

RV across the USA
Our “Rig” at 11,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies – July 2019.




  1. Even though I’m in the DC area and that’s well north of you, I know that you live in the Georgia Mountains and the elevation gives you some cooling. The past two weeks in DC have been miserable, between 95 and 100 every day with humidity to match. I hate it. And although I’ve traveled pretty much everywhere it seems, I’ve never been to the Michigan UP, I hear it’s really amazing. Looking forward to the pics, have a great time!

  2. Grew up in Michigan and my dad was born and raised in the UP and we have been there many times. It is absolutely beautiful in the summer – enjoy the trip!

    We are in Florida and the summers are difficult but the fall winter and spring make it worth it to us for sure. We are are on our own mini escape right now to the mountains of Virginia. We look forward to longer escapes after FIRE!.

    Safe travels!

  3. Have fun, it is beautiful up there. One issue is biting flies and mosquitoes so make sure you have plenty of bug repellent.

  4. Hi Fritz!

    Retirement = freedom. Time is something no one can buy and you never seem to have enough of. Enjoy your trip. Carol and I always feel grateful to have the means to travel when we want and where we want. He is SO good to us!

    Fritz, when driving south from the UP, you will cross the Menominee River that separates MI from WI. Look south and you will see a USN warship being built by the Marinette Marine Co. I worked there parts of several years…last being in 2008. Seems like yesterday! Wonderful couple of towns there. Hard working people with great manners! 🙂

    Have a wonderful, fun and safe trip with wifey and dogs. We will be camping this Sept in IA and MN after we solve our major electrical issues in our fiver.

    God speed, Steve

  5. What precautions are you taking during the pandemic? Georgia isn’t looking good right now while Michigan has been doing very well. As a Michigander, I’m concerned that travelling will increase risks for all of us.

    1. I have to admit that I was thinking the same thing. Here in Victoria, Australia, all our borders are closed because we have covid cases of around 300 per day, with 6 or 7 deaths per day. The rest of Australia wants nothing to do with us.

      I just looked up Georgia’s statistics. You’re running at 10 times our figures.

  6. Welcome back! You are headed to some beautiful places. I’m not sure Lake Michigan will be the way you remember it with the high water levels. I wish you safe travels and a wonderful time.

  7. Enjoy! In other times I’d off to take you for a scenic flight out of Harbor Springs. Totally different view from the air.
    Safe travels.

  8. Safe travels and enjoy the adventure. I do have one piece of advice, learn to play the guitar so you can have fun around the campfires at night!

  9. Hi Fritz,

    I have retired but haven’t found the courage yet to take long road trips (Covid). Besides, my wife doesn’t like camping to that requires a bit more planning. Oh well, I am retired now so plenty of time for that! Have a great trip!

  10. Have fun Fritz. I just retired and are waiting to close on the sale of our house in Ellijay in a couple of weeks. Our RV is ready to roll full time. Safe travels and have fun.

    1. I was JUST thinking about that….Lots of trouble with protesting/riots up in Chicago and Milwaukee as well at the moment….In fact, a road block protest of the Dan Ryan highway in Chicago has been announced on social media and was in the news today…They are calling for 25,000 people to show up and plan to block it on Saturday August 15th at noon….I hope you will have already gone through that area by then or plan to use another route…..Not meaning to cause any controversy at all, but its getting a bit dangerous in some areas of our country right now….and when I saw the map with your route, I just got concerned about out favorite writer…Hope you guys have a blast and be safe!!

      1. Ironically, we revised our route last night (I didn’t have a chance to update the map). We’re going well West of Chicago, heading out to Rockford, IL before heading South. Gives us a chance to visit some more family in that area, and provides a VERY wide berth around the chaos that is Chicago.

        For any others who have commented, thanks for the understanding on my lack of response, but I have an RV to pack! Chat with you all in September!

        1. Our trips from Ohio to MN to visit family always included a wide swing around Chicago. Usually spent the night near Rochelle, IL for some neat train spotting at the Railroad Park. Husband a rail fan, and we would pick up a pizza, and watch trains roll by while I read a book or did a crossword puzzle.

  11. Haha, it figures that you’ll be coming through Ohio while we’re on our own road trip! I think you’re the one spying on my computer and plotting your plans trying to make sure we’re not around when you come by! 😉

    I love it, Fritz – hope you guys have a blast!

  12. Fritz, just came back from a week in the North Carolina mountains where it was in the 70s vs. the 90s in the Triangle area so completely understand the desire to go somewhere cool! Since you will be so “close” to Isle Royal National Park, you have to make the hop and spend a few days there but due to Covid, you have to take the seaplane there and there won’t be any services there so it’s a chance to really “rough it” or just go for a day trip, get some hikes in. It’s very secluded and a chance to really get away from civilization.

  13. Have a great trip! We took 2 short road trips around Oregon and we had a great time. It was great to unplug and relax for a few days. Enjoy!

  14. Have a great trip, Fritz. As an early retiree myself (56 and retired in 2017) we take a fall trip each year for ~2weeks. This year we will be tripping to UT to hike the Mighty 5 national parks. Last year we went up through OH to Niagara and into Ontario, Frank Lloyd Wrights Falling Water south of Pittsburg and through Louisville for the distilleries. Make sure to stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. What a great day we had there. Have a blast. It’s good to have such well earned freedoms.

  15. Have a wonderful time Fritz! You’ve already inspired us with last year’s trip and we’re looking for a gently used air stream and plan to hit the road April 2021. We plan to follow your 330 rule too. Stay safe and have fun.

  16. Have really good fun Fritz.

    The whole point in being retired is to enjoy the journey. It sounds like you have a great trip ahead of you.

    Living in Scotland, I sort of envy you being warm. It is summer here and it is in the 60’s. If we are lucky, it will rise to late 70’s. For my family in London is likely to be 90-100F, far too hot without aircon. But how much do you spend on aircon, when you need it 10 or 20 days a year? We need it about 2 days a year! So we just use fans and open the windows!

    A super trip…

  17. Sounds wonderful and so well deserved!

    I spent a year living in Houghton in the UP. It was amazing!?

    Good move on your part.

  18. Congrats!!!!

    I spent a year living in Houghton in the UP when I was just out of college. It was amazing!

    Good call!!! Enjoy!!!

  19. Hey Fritz,

    Your picture of a lighthouse reminded me of an article many years ago about staying overnight in unique buildings. Lighthouses for example. Apparently one can rent a night in a lighthouse, and some offer long-term stays as caretakers. So most any unique location, where one wonders – Can I stay there?, well yes, you probably can (old bunkers, tree houses, caves….. So a lot of potential “Great Escapes.”
    While in Michigan, check out the sand dunes, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore or other similar parks.

    1. Looks like you will be real close to Holland Micigan. Make sure you stop by the State Park and if you have a few extra hours stop downtown.

  20. Enjoy your trip Fritz, there is nothing we enjoy more in retirement than being able to leave on an RV trip and being gone as long as we want. It’s part of the realization of the freedom that retirement has brought to our life. We travel for a couple months in the the Fall, often in the U.P., then we do it again for a couple months in the Spring. We love the freedom of being able to just drive around and be no place in particular. Enjoy the experience, as I know you will, the experiences we enjoy in life are absolutely priceless.

  21. Have a wonderful trip. Enjoy Door County, I love it , especially since I live there!

  22. Hi Fritz,

    Enjoy the trip and travel safe. Please bring me back some beef pastys, smoked whitefish and fresh cheese curds.

  23. Hey Fritz,

    We are about 2 years away from taking off in an RV for at least a year. We’d love a fifth wheel, but my husband is afraid of backing it up, thinks it’s terrifying. What advice do you have that will give him the confidence that we can do this?

  24. Bring your mountain bike for some great riding on the Kohn Meir and Emma Carlin trails in Southern Kettle Moraine State Park just south west of Milwaukee, WI on the way to Rockford.

  25. Here is how passion, love and hatred are related.

    We love many things, but we can only passionate/hate for very few things.

    You are fortunate to eliminate the things that you hate!

    If you can narrow down the many things that you love, you will discover the path forward is so much more
    intense and interesting.

    Enjoy your trip North!

  26. Enjoy the trip, Fritz. We completed our own 6000 mile cross country move on July 4th (San Diego to Raleigh via Portland area) in our 19 ft van and I can’t wait to get back on the road. Unfortunately (well, not so bad) we are waiting for our new house to close so we can escape again. Ironic, I guess.

    Felt safer from COVID in the van – except when we went to Yellowstone and most were not masked up. My cross country observation – if all the precautions are based on science, then why is every state doing something different? COVID remains a scary bugger we know very little about, so wash your hands….

  27. Wow, that trip looks so much fun! Cool thing is you will pass pretty close to where I live when you hit Green Bay – I’m about 90 minutes from there. Enjoy the trip!

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