Friday we went 148 miles to South Range, Wisconsin---a suburb of Superior, Wisconsin, which is right across the border from Duluth, Minnesota---at the western tip of Lake Superior, one of the Great Lakes and the largest freshwater lake in the world.
It was an easy trip, even though the roads in Minnesota did not improve. I can't imagine how much damage is being done to our trailer from the constant thumping.
We are staying at the Northland RV Park.
It's a nice place and we have a nice site. We're here for only one night to make up for the extra day we had to spend in Bemidji.
After setting up, we immediately returned to Duluth. We had been advised to spend some time at Canal Park, a restored area of nice hotels, shops, and restaurants near the entrance to the port area of Duluth/Superior.
One ship (1,000 feet long) coming in was here to pick up 65,000 tons of coal, to be carried to Ontario, where the load would be combined with similar loads from five more such ships into an even larger ship, for transport to Europe. Wow!
We then stopped for a couple of drinks at the hotel on Barker's Island in Superior. A nice break.
Tomorrow, it's on to Michigan.
The trip to Ishpeming, Michigan, the next morning was an easy, but long, 238 miles---over much better roads.
Sunday afternoon, we traveled the 15 miles to Marquette to look around. It seems like a decent place. It is, for example, the home of Northern Michigan University, a sprawling campus of 9,400 students (NCAA Division II; Nickname: The Wildcats).
We walked along the waterfront in one of the several very nice parks in town.
We also visited Presque Isle Park. Nice place.
There is a huge coal-fired electricity-producing plant in Marquette. (Coal is very plentiful in this part of the world.) If you listen to the environmental folks, who hate coal, you would be amazed to discover that the air is extremely clear here. Hmmmmm.
We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way back to Ishpeming where I got a haircut and we picked up a few things, including mussels which we had for dinner. Delicious.
On Monday, we drove along the edges of three of the five Great Lakes on our way to Mackinaw City, Michigan. The 148-mile trip took us by Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron. Man, are they big. The trip itself was an easy no-brainer. The last leg involved driving over the Mackinac Bridge (five miles long; opened in 1957; beautifully lighted at night)
We are staying at the Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground, a beautiful; tree-filled park with more than 500 RV sites, right on Lake Huron, in Mackinaw City.
We had to back into our site again, which I let Becky handle. She did a great job, with my guidance, of course. Even though there are a lot of trees here, we are in a site with satellite access. Whew.
Tuesday was largely a relaxing day. We drove into town to see what it was like. It’s very civilized. Then we went to nearby Mill Creek Discovery Park,
a large, very nice historic state park containing, among other things, a recreated sawmill and related buildings that were originally on the site. It was well worth the admission price.
Wednesday was our planned trip to Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel. We took the Star Ferry for the 23-minute ride to the island. Normally, it only takes 18 minutes to cover the nine miles of water, but this one circled under the bridge first. A nice addition.
At first, the island looks quite like any other shorefront location, but it’s a bit nicer. And there are no motor vehicles allowed on the island. There are, therefore, zillions of bicycles and quite a few horse-drawn vehicles. There are lots of Victorian-style buildings there, and a few magnificent mansions.
And the Grand Hotel is spectacular. It’s 125 years old this year.
The 112-mile trip to Traverse City on Thursday took us on Michigan Route 31 through the towns of Petosky and Charlevoix.
We then went into the heart of Traverse City to have lunch at the Red Ginger restaurant. It‘s the only sushi place in the area and all of the choices were rolls. That is, there was no simple fish-on-rice or sashimi. (The dinner menu is normal.) A bit strange, but the food was delicious. I might add that there was not an Asian face anywhere in the joint.
Traverse City is located on Grand Traverse Bay, a huge bay on the east side of Lake Michigan. It has only 14,000 people, but it’s the center of a metropolitan area with ten times that population.
Friday we took a circle route to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore
It was a nice way to end our stay in the Traverse City area. Saturday, it's on to Birch Run, Michigan, our last stop before heading back into Canada.
The 151-mile trip to Birch Run was easy. We are staying at the Pine Ridge RV Campground.
It's very nice. It also has a lot of trees. When we made the reservation, we were smart enough to request a site that would accommodate our rooftop satellite dish. It worked. We got one of the few that exist here.
Our first order of business was to have lunch at Tony's I-75 Restaurant, a local landmark.
According to the menu, Tony's serves 11,000 pounds of bacon, 600 pounds of onions, and 625 pounds of tomatoes every week.
After lunch, we visited the nearby town of Frankenmuth, founded in 1845 by 15 German farmers---and still thriving.