Saturday, August 7, 2010

2010-26 Houghton Michigan, Keweenaw Peninsula

Leaving the U.P.
Ashland Wisconsin.

Campground:  Bad River Casino.  Elect and Water.  Free.  Parking lot type sites with a nice view out back and there‘s a paved bike path too.  Free $5 play at casino.

I left the Keweenaw Peninsula with some sadness.  The time flew by so quickly, I feel I only spent a few days there rather than the two weeks I was actually there.  My sister Ann was a joy to be with as she has a most happy constitution.  As we were driving around town one day, I looked at the large wall that faces the road leading into Hancock.  I asked Ann if she remembered the time when we three kids, around 12,13 and 14, were walking over to Hancock and just as we reached the high wall, a pigeon plopped a big one, right on her head.  Dorothy and I did everything we could not to laugh, as we knew how pissed off she would be.  But a few good chuckles escaped and Ann, in a heated tizzy,  insisted we walk all the way back home.  Across the bridge, through Houghton and up the two blocks back to our house.  After hearing the story, Ann said she didn’t remember it, but we finally had a really good laugh over it.  She couldn’t wait to share it with all her friends.

Her partner Jim was taken to the hospital emergency room on the last day of my stay there, having felt under the weather for a number of days, but he is recovering from the chest pains and headaches.  He’ll be in the hospital a few more days for tests before going back home.

Schlepping around the old home town, driving through the countryside, noticing the small changes along the way and photographing old mining buildings and some scenery was a highlight.  Amazing how the eye can see things differently each time I go back to a familiar place.  Though the same old brown buildings remain, houses with torn and worn siding that has weathered too many winters, heavy sandstone buildings in town with minor face lifts that never quite make it to the 21st century.  And gad the miles and miles of trees.  You know, Michigan is covered with about 80% forests owned by State, Federal or mining concerns.

On my way up from Munising the other week I stopped in the Yooper Tourist Trap, a fun gift shop with everything Yooper (Upper Michigan).  From T-shirts to license plates that say, “Yooper, by Da grace of God” and T-shirts with sayings like, “God made beer on the 10th day so the Yoopers wouldn’t take over the world” and “Not born a Yooper, but I got up here as fast as I could”.  Yup, the U.P. is a most unusual place.  My friend Ron and I were talking about the character of the people which is often described by the Finish (?)phrase, Sisu.  A hard word to define in the English language as it sort of means  gutsy, resilience or strength but never in a boastful way, or fortitude perhaps.  Maybe an old phrase, keep on keeping on, but that’s not it either.  These people are proud to be Yoopers, to have endured and become the people they are.  And a new character up here,  an openness to saying hello.  My neighbors at the campground were stunned walking downtown Houghton, and  folks just came up to them and saying a howdy and how are you today greetings.

I’ll miss the Yooper dialog, the cool days (70’s to 80 a few days) to the cool cool evenings, great sleeping weather.  The stunning Lake Superior views and beaches.  Not for swimming of course unless your in your teens and still haven’t figured out that 56 degree water is friggin cold.  Of course there are many inland lakes that are much warmer for swimming.  Wonder why more Rv’ers haven’t discovered this ideal country 100 miles north of no where.  Especially during those hot summer days further on south.  It generally stays so pleasant temperature wise, that most locals have no a/c and even many stores have none either.  If they do have a/c it’s usually in only one room of the house.  Michigan Tech has grown enormously since I was last here, looking like a small compact high rise city in the middle of the North country and bordering the edge of Houghton.

Oh and before I forget, here’s a link to some Pasty recipes.  If you’ve never had one, they are an entire meal inside of a pastry shell.  Very popular in the U.P.  They were brought down into the mines and heated over the miners lamp for a hot meal while in the mines.

But it’s once again time to head on down the road, through the tiniest of towns and hamlets with names like Atlantic Mine, South Range, Trimountain, Champion Mine, Toivola, and Donken.  Skirting the Western shores of Lake Superior and the Pine Mountain ski areas.  Thick masses of yellow wildflowers, light lavender to purple colored fire weed and  miles and miles of Queen Ann Lace boarder the county roads and rural fields.  Mysterious rivers and creeks cross under the road disappearing into thick forests and marshlands covered with cattails.

Before heading out of Michigan, I passed through Wakefield, where I took a few pictures of a Peter Toth Indian statue carved out of a large tree.  Peter carved Indian statues in all 50 states as a tribute and reminder of the misdeeds done to the American Indian.   You might recall the one I took pictures of in Valdez Alaska.

I didn’t mean to ramble on so about my visit to my home state of Michigan, but it’s a place that I hold dear to my heart.  Until the next rambling saga, have a super day where ever the sunshine finds you

And as always, lots more photos on the Picasa Photo site.  

1 comment:

LindaSue said...

Well I did it. Made it all the way back to Oct of last year. Took me this afternoon and evening but it's done. AND no disappointments here. You do such a great job. Also, have to say I have enjoyed the Picasso picture albums. Haven't taken it all of them yet, but I will. Really a great addition.

I don't know if you remember me but we did talk last year if I remember right.

I have the little 15 ft. Aliner Cabin A3. Haven't gone camping in over a year and I miss it. Soon I will try it again. Just other things have gotten in the way. Mostly I have just been sitting here the last six months. It is not a bad thing though. I spent most of my life running around like a chicken with my head cut off. So I have been enjoying some quiet time. Never thought I could do that but have come to enjoy it more than I knew was possible.

Got myself an aircard about two weeks ago so now am up and running on the net again. I did miss that. Have spent time getting back to reading all the blogs I have tagged. What a job and so much fun.

All the time wasn't wasted though. Reread 1421 again ( Gavin Menzies ) the year China discovered America. That led me to go to the library again and request some books he references. Received books from libraries as far away as San Antonio and other universities and such. What a wonderful thing we have available to us. I also searched and read about volcanoes erupting all over the that have been recorded and written about. Fascinating stuff. Also searched and read (when I could get online)about the new fossil finds in Africa and our human species and so much more.

I guess I am lucky the my mother instilled early the love of reading. I love to read and learn new things. So much out there.

Anyway, enough blabbing on. Just wanted to let you know that as before, I enjoy your blog and all the info you share. Keep it up. Stay safe and enjoy your journey down the road. If ever you get to the SE Ala area, we are just outside Dothan and soon to be on our own little acre of land. Will have a 50 amp electric hook up if needed. Later Linda