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Day 18 (9.19.07) - We make it to Michigan (Photo's Added)

Upper Michigan that is (or Yoopers)

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Today was my sister, Que's birthday. We remembered to send her a birthday card earlier this week - but we forgot to call her today. We're sorry Que - Happy Birthday!

It rained pretty hard most of the night, so I was a bit surprised when we woke up and the sky had patches of blue and it wasn't raining. We could see the water below our campsite and the Apostle Islands that were all fogged in last night. We decided not to take the 'grand tour' of the Apostle Islands and Lighthouses to save time (I'm still second guessing that decision), so we took a little time to enjoy Bayfield. Mom bought some smoked fish in Bayview and enjoyed it as we drove along (we've been eating a little too well on this trip I fear - having seen some of the pictures of myself!)


Before we left on the trip, we figured we would only be driving about 4 hours a day, so we'd have lots of free time. We brought some hobbies along, such as music instruments and paint sets, to help us fill up all our free time. Well, we spend a little time on housework, a couple hours a day sightseeing (sometimes more), a lot more time then we thought with just short stops (to take pictures of just about anything we think is cool), and of course driving. If I spend an hour or two on the laptop at night, the day is pretty much gone and the blog usually behind.

After we get through New England, we'll probably budget more time for rest, e.g. stay at a nice place a couple of nights and get caught up on things. We did plan an eight month trip afterall, but only budgeted one month to go across the north of the country (so we'd have a month to spend in New England before things started shutting down for the winter). So we should be able to take things a little more leisurely the last six months (I can dream, right?)

However, the main thing tripping us up is just that there are so many more interesting things to see and do than we had expected. Every state we've been to has had so many more interesting things to see than we can take in. We've felt rushed most of the trip and we've both picked up brochures for places and things to do that we just haven't had time to do. I met someone who's sister had RV'd around the US and took eight years to do it, not eight months! Given what we've experienced so far, I think that's about right. However, I haven't the time or money to spend that long on the road (I'm pilfering my retirement savings to do this trip as it is), so we'll just have to do as much as we can in the time that's available. I'm not sorry I took the trip, I'm just musing a bit on wishing I had time to take in even more, write even more in the blog, etc.

So anyway, about Bayfield (and many other small towns along the Lake Superior shoreline), we were both impressed about how similar this seemed to small coastal villages or towns we've seen along the Pacific Coast. The nautical theme is often used for shops and covered thoroughly by gift shops. We saw marina's and boat yards that could have been twin sisters to those in Puget Sound (smaller however). Mom also noticed the 'sea' grass in the sand dunes. Lots of seagulls, although we've seen them all along our trip, even in the Rocky Mountain and Plains states. The one thing different was the smell - no salt air. For some reason, this bothered me, these places just didn't smell 'right' to me. Mom didn't seem to think it was a problem. Also Mom noticed the lack of shells on the beaches. Where we live there are lots of clam shells and sand dollars (out at Oceanshores anyway). Perhaps there used to be here but they were all used for Buttons (I think that's what the Pierre Museum said?)

We hugged the shorelines of Lake Superior through Ashland, Wisconson and had lunch at a Country Kitchen there. Mom remembered these to be a buffet style restaurant out west that she really loved. We had seen these all over out here also (like DQ), but out here they are (or this one was) a sit down restaurant more like Denny's. In the parking lot was a small tree that looked like it had clearish cherries on it. We asked the waitress what it was and she had no idea there was a tree in the parking lot. However, a nice young fellow eating in the next cube over overheard us and went outside to check. He thought it was a choke cherry, but the fruit wasn't ripe yet and probably wouldn't have time to ripen before winter hit (we are in the far north now). His name was Buck and he was on a mini-vacation since his job is to load grain ships for export and he didn't have any ships to load for a couple of weeks. It turns out that Wisconsin is a big grain exporter and Lake Superior has a lot of ports on it (Duluth is one of the largest ports around). I thought that was pretty neighborly for him to overhear a question and run outside to check into it - but we've been meeting mostly nice, helpful people all along the trip so far. (We'll see if the east coast can compete in this category!)

Ashland does have a small lighthouse in the harbor - we many not have taken the tour in Bayfield, but we can sometimes take pictures from shore!


There is also an old railroad trestle used to load ore onto ships. It's something of a neighborhood eyesore and the community is trying to get the railroad to tear it down. I thought it was rather interesting however.


We crossed into Michigan exactly 3,108 miles since we left home - it was supposed to be 3,000 miles across the whole country! I guess all those north/south jaunts have taken their toll on our mileage, trip time, and my budget.


The visitors center was very helpful, and of course we picked up a lot of brochures & information. We learned that the two parts if Michigan are the Upper and Lower Peninsula's and the visiters center was mostly geared to the upper peninsula. A lot of folks here sound like they have French Canadian accents, and the local's seem to call themselves 'Yoopers' (gift shops carry all sorts of cards, T-Shirts, and other sundry items with "Da Yooper" on them, sort of like Uf Da I suppose). Shortly after crossing into MI we spotted this unusual post office. I forgot to note the name of the town however.


As we were driving along, we saw a bridge and sign saying we were at Agate Falls. We stopped since it seemed it was right along the highway and took the path to the falls. Even the bridge over the falls is picturesque (and somewhat historic).


It was surprisingly beautiful (surprisingly because Amnicon Falls had been a bit of a disappointment, but Agate Falls was much bigger and more spectacular). I think even Mom enjoyed the hike, but of course was a little tired at the end. I went back to get the RV to save her some walking, but forgot to take the bungee cord and strap off that normally ties down her walker. So when I went to put the walker back on, there was nothing to tie it down with. We put the walker inside the RV and I drove back to where it had been parked, and sure enough, found them both. (We have 'lost' several items during this trip, but most don't stay lost more than a couple of days).


The seaside towns were nice, and we've really enjoyed the 'seashore' (e.g. lake shore for Lake Superior), but I think what has surprised us the most has been the fall colors. We were expecting to see some fall colors in New England, but they came earlier here. We started seeing reds and yellows at Lake Itasca, MN - then more in Wisconson, and finally really spectacular ones here in northern Michigan. According to the tourist brochure's, there are about three weeks in the fall where the colors are so beautiful, people come to Upper Michigan just to see them, including artists who like to paint them. Having seen them ourselves, we can certainly believe it. (And we weren't the only ones enjoying the colors!)


Finally, I decided my blog was far enough behind and we really needed some luxury (ok, housekeeping), I'd splurg on a really nice RV park. The campground guide said there was an RV park in Ishpeming, MI, which was about 193 miles from Bayfield and I decided to stay there. After setting up and paying the high fee, we found out their wireless internet hadn't been working all summer - so I'm still typing my entry in Outlook and will have to upload it later. Oh well, at least we got the rig vacuumed and some laundry done (my Aunt Madeline has gratiously offered to let us do laundry there, but once we realized how FAR we still had to go to get to Berrien Center, MI - we felt we'd better go ahead and do it now. We'll have more in a few days…)

Ishpeming is pronounced ISH-pem-ing, with the accent on the first sylable. It is a lot more interesting place than I realized - check tomorrow's blog and learn more...


Starting Mileage: 112936, Bayfield WI
Ending Mileage: 113129, Ishpeming MI
Weather: Sunny, 70 F

Posted by jl98584 18:32 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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