Our Lazy Daze Motorhome

Our Lazy Daze Motorhome
2009 Lake Louise

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan

In our opinion, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a very beautiful part of the state.  The UP has broad expanses of hardwood forests, numerous lakes, and a sparse population.  The largest city is Marquette with 38,000.  Most of the towns on our route was small and seemed lost in some past decade.  The few larger grocery stores are all IGAs.  We loved the Michigan State Parks, few amenities, but situated in beautiful places.  This is a great state well worth another visit.

09/05/2012  Wow, what a great sunrise this morning!!  We took a few pictures then departed the Mackinaw Mills Creek CG in Mackinaw, MI about 1:00 pm. We highly recommend this 600 site CG, the staff are friendly and the view of the Mackinac Bridge from our site on the lake was breathtaking.  We got a discount for the ferry and they have a shuttle to the docks. We will definitely come back and recommend the CG to others.  As we were leaving, we decided to do our laundry and get some  groceries in Mackinaw City. We drove separately to find the laundromat and Jeanne passed under a low bridge with a clearance of 10’ 6”. (The clearance on our RV is 10'6".)  She heard a noise on top of the rig.  It seemed only to be the antenna scraping the bridge.  We felt blessed that we didn't have any damage. We traveled on I-75 over the Mackinaw Bridge. The toll was $14. We stopped at the tourist center where we got a wealth of information on the UP from a native yooper!  He wanted us to stay on the UP for a month!! We took exit 344 B onto route 2, followed to route 77 then onto route 28. There was a terrible rainstorm.  We were definitely in the wilderness. The landscape reminded us of Alaska.

This was our front yard at Mackinaw Mills Creek CG.  The sunrise we woke to with the Mackinac Bridge in the background.  Canadian Geese were everywhere, but we weren't that far from Canada so we knew why!

We had heard that the great lake region had wonderful sunrises and sunsets and we were not disappointed.

I am standing on the rocks in the above sunrise picture and turned to snap a shot of our Lazy Daze.  So you can see we were very close to the shore of Lake Huron at Mackinaw Mills Creek CG.  We asked for a site on the lake and were delighted with our view.

  We drove on to the USFS campground, Bay Furnace in Munising, MI on Lake Superior. Arrived about 5 pm.  The cost was $8 per night with electricity (and the old people's card). As we unhooked the car, Jeanne noticed a flat tire on the toad.  Poor Ed.  He put on the spare after a few expletives came out of his mouth! He changed the tire like he was in his 20s!!  We plan to get the tire repaired tomorrow. Jeanne fixed tacos for dinner. We have now camped on three of the five Great Lakes. Bed by 9:30 pm.

We had Pasties (pronounced pass-tees) in the UP, recommended by Ed Daniels. A meat, potato and rutabagas mix in a pastry with optional gravy.  It doesn't look like much but is was great.  Tasted like a Southern chicken pot pie without the English peas!!

Gas got higher as we passed from Indiana into Michigan, but this was the highest we paid at the Munising, MI Shell station.  Wow!!  4.249/gal,  $157.28 to fill Ms. Tara. The UP is so isolated that all the gas (and everything else) costs more up here!

09/06/2012 We were up at 9 am, very late for us, and drove into Munising.  We had the tire repaired at a NAPA service center, then walked around the small town of approximately 2,000, did a little shopping, and ate lunch at the Navigator Restaurant. We had baked White Fish based on the recommendation of our new friend at the St. Ignace, MI Visitor's Center. It was very good.  Then bought tickets for the sunset cruise along the Pictured Rocks National Seashore ($35/person). We took the last boat out that evening, a recommendation from our friend Pam Summers.  The boat left at 5:45 pm and returned about 8:00 pm. The rocks were very pretty with the warm afternoon sun reflecting off the water.  The colors are from minerals in the rock cliffs several hundred feet above Lake Superior. We took lots of pictures. Lake Superior is about 500 feet above sea level and at it's deepest is about 700 feet below sea level. On the way back to the campground, we stopped at Frostys Bar and Grill, located in an Indian Casino for dinner. There was lots of cigarette smoke and gambling, but our options were limited and the food was good.
We saw this sign on the side of the bank in Munising.  What?  I remember Fallout Shelters as a kid, but that was more years ago than I want to remember!!!

This lighthouse was at Grand Island on the way to Pictured Rocks.

The rocks were absolutely gorgeous, especially in the warm afternoon sun!

Ed is laughing because this guy in the blue jacket was like popcorn.  Every time we wanted to take a picture this guy jumped up and got in the way!!

  See what we mean?

  We think this is called Indian Head.  But can you see the image?  It was pretty cool!!


  As we were docking, the sun was setting.  It was absolutely the best way to end this wonderful day!!

Dinner at the Kewadin Casino in Christmas, Michigan.  We didn't gamble, but heard a lot of people winning quarters!

09/07/2012 Friday. It rained all night.  We were up at 8:30 am. We turned the furnace on to warm up while we showered. We must be in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota for our Photo Workshop on September 16.  Bob, our friend and coordinator of the workshop, had emailed us some time ago that he made arrangements to stay at the Buffalo Gap Ranch and Campground in Sentinel Butte, ND. Their website showed their CG located next to cattle pens, so we tentatively plan to stay at the Red Trails CG in Medora. Appears to be about 15 min and 8.5 miles away from Buffalo Ranch. We’ll see how this works out.   We departed the campground at 12:45 and Jeanne drove about 140 miles to Porcupine Wilderness State Park, to the Union Bay Campground, close to Silver Spring, MI. It rained part of the way. We bought gas at Bergland Exxon at $4.099/gal.  Pretty high by our standards.  We arrived at Union Bay CG about 4:30. We stayed in site 84, one row back from the Lakeshore. The campground started to fill up quickly after we arrived. The cost was reasonable, $75 for three nights with electric. Ed grilled sockeye salmon and peppers/onions for dinner. This is the first time Ed has used the gas grill this trip. We cannot get TV, neither the batwings nor the satellite dish, but that's okay.  There's a lot to see and do here besides watch TV!

The Porcupine Wilderness State Park was dedicated in 1945 to protect the last extensive tract of old-growth hardwood and hemlock forest remaining in the Midwest. To the native Ojibwa people, this chain of mountains rising from the waters of Lake Superior reminded them of kag, the porcupine. Fifteen years before the Civil War miners started the ”copper rush” in this area and were soon followed by those looking for land. Copper mining was a huge deal.

The Lighthouse at Ontonagon.

 Downtown Ontonagon.  It seems like a small western town.  

Lake Superior

09/08/2012  Up at 8. We bought 3 bundles of wood at the camp store. We went to the Welcome Center and got info on hikes. Ed bought a sweatshirt. Continued on to Ontonagon about 13 miles away. We stopped in a gift shop and bought a few items. We found out there that there is a huge copper boulder in the Smithsonian that was mined at Ontonagon.  We'll look for it next time we visit.  Jeanne got a great picture of the Ontonagon Lighthouse. We had lunch at Syl’s Restaurant for a pastie and slaw. We shopped at Pat’s IGA, the only grocery in the area. We returned to our campground and took a walk. It rained into the night. We worked on the blog and on the travelogue keeping track of where we've been and expenses. Too wet for a campfire tonight!

 Lake of the Clouds

 We had our lunch right here.  It was so beautiful.

 Summit Peak.  The trees are turning orange and red but only about 10-25% of the color has shown up according to the website.  That is Lake Superior in the background.

 Lake Superior looks like our Gulf of Mexico!  Beautiful sand and waves.

09/09/2012 Sunday. Up at 8:30 am. Jeanne finished adding to the blog while I went for a walk. Packed a lunch to explore the Porcupine Mountain State Park.  As we drove to the Lake of Clouds scenic area, we came across a doe and two fawns and a large tom turkey along the road. It was only a 300 foot walk from the parking lot up to see the broad sweep of valley that included the Lake of the Clouds, the Carp River and the broad expanse of valley. We had our lunch at one of the observation platforms. On the way back, we stopped at the camp store and again at the Welcome Center. Our next destination was the Summit Peak scenic area. This was about 15 miles on the park’s South Boundary Road where we saw another fawn and one little Bambi.  Once in the parking area, we climbed up a path about ½ mile and continued on wood steps and boardwalk for another 1/3 mile until we reached the summit. Jeanne’s β-blocker almost knocked her out. At the top, we could look out over a tremendous expanse of forest in every direction, and even out to Lake Superior. I assume that there will be a crowd of people here beginning in about 2 weeks when the trees peak their color.  While at the summit, we saw a bald eagle soaring over the valley. We returned to our site and had a basil/ tomato/pasta dish for dinner. Ed started the campfire and some neighboring campers brought their chairs and came over to chat and share our fire.

We do enjoy our campfire!!

 What goes down must go up!!

These are two of the four waterfalls at Presque Isle in the Porcupine Mountains.  We had a great time there, but next time, we will do the entire hike.  We knew we had to get over to Superior, WI tonight, so we didn't have time to do it all today.

09/10/2012 We took a moment this morning to clean the RV and do a load of laundry. We were sad to leave the Union Bay CG and took the Park’s South Boundary Road with car in tow to the Presque Isle Scenic Area where we hiked. This scenic area has four waterfalls and a walk along the river ending where it dumps into Lake Superior. We didn’t do a lot of the trail area, but did manage to visit two picturesque waterfalls. On our way down county road 519 to get back on US 2, we saw a mother black bear and two cubs cross the road. Each stopped to look at us and then scampered on. They were too far away to get a good picture, but it was pretty exciting since one of the park attendants told us that they rarely see bears.

We hadn't planned to visit the Porcupine Mountains, but now we can't imagine a visit to the UP without going there.  We only wish we had more time.  We will be back to do all the things we didn't get to do on this trip!

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