Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010-25 Houghton/Hancock Michigan

Houghton/Hancock Michigan
Copper Country

Campground:  Hancock City Beach/Rv park.  $20-22.  Electric and cable Tv.  Nice wooded setting.  Some sites along Portage Lake.

I traveled the rest of the way to the Houghton/Hancock area in the U.P. and quickly set up my campsite with views of Portage Lake.  My sister Ann (she’s the oldest), I being the youngest and always will be, got together for an evening of reminiscing and talking about our current lives as well.  Discussions of mystical visions within the family that were never spoken of, to the joys of having made it to retirement age filled the evenings conversations.  Family being foremost on our minds.

A day or two later I joined up with a friend of mine, Ron who’s working up here in one of the newest National Parks,  Keweenaw NHP.  I had planned an adventure to find the Trailer Park Taj Mahal in Zeba Michigan.  It was listed as one of 7 Rv wonders of the World.  Ron had heard of it and even had a picture of it, so with my internet description we headed out towards Baraga/L,anse  in search of the MH park that was built on steel girders and was multi-levels in height.   We stopped in the L,anse visitor center for directions, but no one had heard of it.  I suggested that they really should bone up on the history and national landmarks in their area.  Ron and I grabbed a local map to make sure we were headed in the right direction to Zeba and off we went.

Unfortunately, it does not exist
Having missed the side road we were supposed to turn on, we doubled back and finally found Zeba road.  No MH park.  Circling down the next road we passed lake side homes, but no MH park.  We were directed across the county road to the other side and there was the Zeba MH park, with it’s loop road as described (the street sign had been removed, no wonder we missed it the first time around), but no high rise homes on steel girders.  We stopped again and asked a couple of workers repairing an ancient MH if they knew where this Taj Mahal of Trailer parks was.  No on had a clue.  We began to think that maybe it had been torn down, as it may no longer meet safety codes.  What with small travel trailers and MH’s stacked this way and that up the side of a hill on steel frames.

Our next stop was the local library, thinking they surely would know the history of such a unique structure.  As I eagerly got the to counter and asked the Library staff for some information, they looked at me like I was a nut.  I showed them my computer print out of the directions and description and suggested they check it out on the Internet themselves.  It quickly began to dawn on all of us that Ron and I had been Cyber Punked.  Imagine.  It was all a hoax.  Well I never…. We had a good laugh over it, still a bit befuddled that I’d been punked.

Ron then suggested that we explore an Indian cemetery he had found a couple years ago.  It had unique huts known as spirit houses built over some of the grave sites.  It was supposed to be on Indian cemetery road, but we couldn’t find that road so we just went down a couple others and before you knew it, we’d found the cemetery.  A historical sign described the Piney Indian Cemetery, part of the Chippewa Indian Reservation.

Days later, after enjoying the wonderful weather up here on the Keweenaw Peninsula, I met up with my 4 cousins at the Michigan House in Calumet.  A perfect location to have lunch with relatives I never knew I had until Henry started doing our family genealogy and created the Palosaari/Luukkonen Family History.

What interesting conversations with my new found relatives and friends.  We discussed everything from sightings of  Moose, which they have been attempting to reintroduce into the area, to remedies for high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  One being to soak chunks of eggplant in a bowl of water for a couple of days in the fridge, then drink the water.  Donald tells me the water has almost no flavor, though it is quite purplish in color.

the old family home

In the evening, I went over to Houghton where they have free concerts on Thursday nights in a parking lot down near the new Portage Township Library and Portage Lake.  Odd they don’t hold it at the City park with it’s band shell.  Heard a small trio of young performers first.  The lead singer belted out her songs (which all sounded the same to me) with such a high pitched voice amplified by two large speakers. The sound was quite painful to listen too after all I was sitting in the front row.   Fortunately the next band, the Backyard BBQ band was really good.  A mix of Memphis Blues, New Orleans and rock really rocked the house.  Or in this case, the parking lot.  The set up and location appear to be an afterthought and I hope they eventually find a better location for a great summer evening event.

So as you can see, I’m enjoying my visit to my home town of Houghton and the Copper Country.  I have another week of exploring and visiting while here in the U.P. so if any other exciting things happen, I’ll be sure to let you know.


Chris said...

I spent several wonderful summers exploring the UP when I lived in Midland MI. Lots of fond memories of hiking old logging trails in the Keewanaw Penninsula and camping (like squatters) on 7-Up private land along the lake. (S.East edge of the Penninsula) My fave place was King Lake Forest Campgrounds -- down a gravel road off the main E/W highway just below the Penn. Only 6 campsites but the little lake had an island and a pair of bald eagles who returned every year to raise their babies. the perch was so thick we could just snag them with our hooks and pitch them in the canoe. (not a tall tale) I think I have Ginny convinced to try at least a year on the road to see if it's a fit for her, too. but that's a ways off...
Chris (Linn) Santa FE

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