Sunday, July 19, 2009

Munising, MI to Washburn, WI

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Continued to Munising. Stopped at a parking area right on the shore of Lake Superior. Let Gopher run and have a swim. In Munising, we walked to the Munising Falls and then to the Sand Point Beach part of the Picture Rocks National Lakeshore. Stayed the night at the City campground called Tourist Park Campground. It’s right on Lake Superior.


Rained last night. The day was partly sunny. The last four days have been very nice; we’re grateful. Drove to the Miners Castle area of the Picture Rocks National Lakeside. After that we went grocery shopping at Glen’s Market and then bought pasties for lunch. Pasties, pronounced pass-t’s, is a lunch from the days of the Cornish miners in the 1880’s. It’s a filling of potatoes, rutabaga, meat, & spices stuffed into a heavy pastry shell then baked. Got one chicken, one veggie and one apple. The chicken & veggie were OK; wouldn’t make a habit of them, but they weren’t bad. The apple was like eating a good apple pie. We continued to our campground, the Au Train Forest Service campground. Our site is directly on Au Train Lake. For a while we had the place to ourselves. Let Gopher off leash. She swam and chased the chipmunks. There are chipmunks everywhere you look. Must have been a good year for chipmunk breeding.


A rainy day. We drove to Marquette. Toured the very nice Maritime Museum. The museum had a large collection of Fresnel lenses from old Great Lakes lighthouses, exhibits about shipwrecks and life-saving and the “best collection of Life Throwing Guns in the Great Lakes as well as an area devoted to two WW-II submarines; the Darter & Dace. The plan was to spend the night at the City campground but they were full. There is a festival at the park where the campground is so the place has been booked for some time. Continued west with no particular destination in mind. Stopped frequently at different roadside parks. Wound up in the parking lot of a casino in Baraga for the night. Didn’t much matter where we spend the night. It was cold, rainy & windy. The couple parked next to us had a border collie. We let the two dogs run around the large open field next to the casino. They lived in New Mexico but he graduated from the University of Florida and was in the same fraternity as I was, just 10 years earlier. Small world.


A dreary morning. Drove to the City of Hancock and stayed at the Hancock Campgrounds & Boat Launch Facility. Had a site right on the lake. We walked around the Quincy Mine which is part of the Keweenaw Heritage Sites. In 1843, one of the nation’s first mineral rushes occurred here. Copper was discovered. The Quincy mine #2 shaft reached 9,260 feet; there were 85 levels in all. The world’s largest steam hoist was constructed to transport men into and ore out of the deepest levels of the mine.
As we were driving back to the campground, I noticed a sign pointing to a food co-op. Stopped in and bought each of us a great sandwich for lunch, some roasted soy beans and prepared salads. Such a relief from Wal-Mart. Filled the tank with $2.33 gas. The cheapest in quite some time.
As the day went on, the sun came out. We sat outside playing Mexican Train and planning the next few days. Today is our last day in Michigan. Heading on to Wisconsin.


A grey, overcast day. Left the campground about 9:30. Stopped at Wal-Mart then headed to Wisconsin. Since we had no real plan for the day, we took our time stopping at several road side rest areas and a state park. In Ironton, MI we noticed a sign for a festival so we drove downtown to see what it was all about. Your typical small town festival. A handful of craft/junk booth, charitable organizations, food vendors, etc. We were hoping for some local specialty foods. Pasties perhaps, baked goods. Nope. Just burgers, fries, etc. We poked around for a while then moved on.
In Wisconsin we noticed a sign pointing to the Iron County Parks, Harbor and Campground on Lake Superior. What a nice find. We parked directly on the lake for most of the day then headed for the Bad River Casino in Odanah. They have a free RV campground with water, electric & a dump station. In addition, when you register for a players card, they give you $5 in slot machine tokens. Carol won $2.75. I lost all my tokens. We had the buffet for dinner; among the worst meals we’ve had in a casino. Oh well. The free camping helps cancel out that bad experience. Except for dinner, we thoroughly enjoyed the day.


Woke up to a beautiful, bright, sunny day. Our camping neighbor is from the Michigan U.P.. He and his wife were both marveling at the wonderful start of the day. He said last years winter was a tough one. Started early and ended late. Not for us, thank you.
Drove through Ashland, WI on our way to Washburn. Ashland has a city RV park right on Chequamegon Bay. We didn’t stay there but it would be a very nice location for a future trip. We parked near the city marina and all went walking on the bay front trail. Photographed the old iron ore loading dock. Until the early 1900’s, Ashland was a major iron ore port. Later we went to 11:00 mass at Our Lady of the Lake church. The alter was among the most beautiful we’ve ever seen. Later we stopped at the North Woods Information Center and museum. A very informative exhibit on the local timber, iron ore and fishing industries. Learned that Lake Superior is the worlds largest fresh water lake by surface area and Lake Baikal in Russia in the largest in terms of water volume. It’s over 2,400 miles from the Port of Duluth, MI on Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway. It was interesting to note that by 1900 the “inexhaustible” supply of trees was completely gone. There was a quote by a WI senator giving a speech arguing against regulation of the timber industry. He said the supply of trees was so vast, it would last WI for every future generation. Reminded me of the Bush Global Warming logic. By the early 1950’s the Lake Superior fishing stock had been so depleted the commercial industry essentially collapsed.
Continued on to Washburn; our destination for the day. Stayed at the Memorial & Thompson’s West End Park Campground. We have a beautiful site overlooking Lake Superior. As I type this,

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