August 31, 2017 (by Angela)
Last week, we camped in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan. To get there, we edged Lake Michigan until we reached what is known as the Straits of Mackinac, which is where Lake Michigan joins Lake Huron. This location was chosen because visiting Mackinac Island was on my bucket list. Check! Though Jim was only there with me for the day we went to the island, it was an enjoyable, though chilly, week for both Chewie and me.
In order to adjust for me returning from Tennessee and for Jim’s need to fly to the Northeast, we cut out the two-night stay along Lake Superior from our travel plans. Saturday night was spent in the RV parking sites at the casino in St. Ignace. On Sunday, we got set up in the campground just in time for Jim to head to the airport. Monday, Chewie and I visited Lake Superior anyway. We drove through a Native American Reservation and into the Hiawatha National Forest, where we stopped to view Iroquois Point Light Station and walk along the shores of Lake Superior. The lighthouse was lovely; the lake was beautiful with clear water where shallow. Chewie loved it; he did not want to leave. On the drive back, we found some of the least expensive gas we had seen in the state of Michigan, so I filled the tank.
Tuesday was rainy, so Chewie and I enjoyed just hanging out in the camper. No air conditioning was needed during our UP stay. In fact, I ran heat more than one time. There is a local UP dish known as a pastie (short “a” sound). I had to try one, so I went to a restaurant and purchased one to eat at home. It was good, but the gravy served on the side made the dish. Wednesday, I’d decided to take a day trip into Canada and use the 2017 free Canadian National Park pass I’d obtained. Not wanting to worry about whether or not I had proper documentation for Chewie, he went for a Rover Doggy Daycare stay nearby. It was not supposed to rain on Wednesday, but it did anyway. Of course, as my luck would have it, the Sault St. Marie Canal National Historic Site was under renovation, so I couldn’t go in the few buildings. With the rain, it would have been miserable to hike to the two islands in the historic site. I made a few pictures and then drove on to Fort St. Joseph.
Murphy, as in Murphy’s Law, was with me in this endeavor, too. I had based my trip on the address given on the web site for Fort St. Joseph. It implies it is the address of the fort, and it doesn’t say that it is the mailing address. The difference is about 25 – 30 km from the actual fort site. The island of St. Joseph is more trees than not. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the view on the drive, but I didn’t love the fact that it was going to take at least an hour longer round-trip than I’d calculated, and I really needed the “facilities.” By the time the driving was done, I was near to the most southwestern point of the island. Though I’d much rather have had the extra time to explore, I am still happy to have had the chance to go there. New information was gleaned from my visit. During the War of 1812, the British at Fort St. Joseph sprung a surprise attack on the American Fort Mackinac and took it. Later, in revenge, the Americans burnt Fort Joseph. Fort Mackinac was returned to the Americans as part of the peace treaty that ended that war.
On Thursday, Chewie and I explored St. Ignace, the town in which we were camping. He and I walked the boardwalk along Lake Huron, and later I went back into town to do a bit of shopping for postcards to send to our grands. Since Labor Day marks the end of their “season,” lots of things were on sale. I bought a raincoat that was 60% off. I didn’t have one, and on Friday, I was very glad of the purchase. With Jim home on Friday, we rode the ferry to Mackinac Island to walk along its roads, have lunch, visit its shops, and enjoy life without motorized vehicles for a short time. Because I could not choose just two or three pictures from our time on the island, I’m going to do a separate post on Mackinac Island and link it here when finished.
Saturday morning, we were thankful for sunshine and calm winds as we had to cross Mighty Mac, the Mackinac Bridge over the Straits and the 5th longest suspension bridge in the world. It can sway up to 35′ east to west and move as much as 20′ up and down. I did not want to experience those aspects. As it was, it was a beautiful and enjoyable crossing as we began our trek back south to Tennessee; however, I wouldn’t want to be on the bridge in fog, rain, snow, ice, or heavy winds.
I loved our week in Michigan. The only bad thing was that Jim had to fly away to work and missed most of the time there, but he and I made the best of the time we had there together.