So where was I... writing this for the THIRD time now. We visited the Upper Peninsula. The UP. They're considered Yoopers there. Yooper = UP. Get it?
Here was our route minus the stop we made in Mackinac. Let's just pretend that comes right after Sault Ste. Marie (F), mmkay? Great.German restaurant in town.
Cheesy husband. ;)
At dinner enjoying a German brew...
Dinner! You're looking at potato balls (remember those from Oktoberfest, Alison?) and rindfleisch (beef).
Day 2: We drove from Green Bay, WI to Hancock, MI where we picked up Ray's parents at the airport. Post-pickup, we headed to Copper Harbor, MI. We hung around to check out the boat we'd be taking the next morning, visited a lighthouse, explored the area, picked up some supplies from the miniature country store in town and had dinner. This was our first experience with a pasty (pronounced past-ee). Don't ask me. It seems the Upper Peninsula folks beat to a different drum and apparently different grammatical rules. ;)
Our hotel rooms are behind my MIL who is taking this photo.. right on the water in Copper Harbor.
The boat we would be boarding the next morning!
My husband and FIL in Copper Harbor.
A lighthouse we visited...
The boat and dock from our hotel rooms! We were close! My husband is a pretty incredible planner.
And fresh blueberries right outside our cabin door... I couldn't get enough.
Our hike to Scoville Point.
Wee, we're on a boat!
Hello Isle Royale, hello!
During our first hike on the island
Lewis and Clark. ;)
We watched the alternate transportation option (expensive seaplane) come and go while canoeing on our second day.
Some rich guy behind us-- don't worry about them. They're just showing off.
Toad. The island boasts over 500 moose and 25 wolves. We saw a total of zero. But we did see a froggy.
Here's a photo of Lake Superior
Back to the photos... from Day 5. A couple photos of the cabins we rented...
Pancakes each morning with freshly picked blueberries!
We look happy-- because we're relieved we still had our lives after that crazy boat ride!
Day 6: We explored an old copper mine (the UP is known for rich copper resources), had pasties for lunch, walked around another mining town with a park ranger, explored Michigan Tech University, and McClain State Beach.
We took a cograil car down to the mine.
This ladder-looking item behind us used to hold 30 men at a speed of 15-20 mph down to their mining stations. Scary job!
The mine is about 45 degrees inside, so they provide jackets for our tour. And those schnazzy hard hats. ;)
Mmm pasties. Disclaimer: I didn't have one. They were all ruined by meat.
Here's is the pasty-making production line.
Soo Locks. About 10,000 ships per year cross through the locks which allows them to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. We were lucky enough to watch a barge cross through the locks within the hour of us arriving!
We first made our way to Tahquamenon Falls State Park to see some of their falls. They weren't overly dramatic-- but that's just because we're jaded. We've seen some incredible falls and these were just nice.
Heading into the lock!
Day 8: Our next stop was Mackinac and Traverse City, MI. We crossed over the Mackinac bridge and touched our feet in cold Lake Huron. We decided not to "do" Mackinac Island this trip because we felt we'd done enough. Also, we felt like that would make for a nice, leisurely family road trip vacation in the future. You know, with kids. Sometimes we reserve things because it feels right. This one felt right. Mackinac Island reminds me very much of Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California. I've been there by ferry and by plane (thanks to my pilot friend, Nic Grillo). It's a touristy island and it's fun to hit up for a day trip. And it's especially nice with kids because they get the boat experience and to be on an island. Plus, I can just picture the strollers and ice-cream eating little ones on the island. It wasn't our time. We wait.
Also, we chose not to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore this time around, either. We'll do so when we're back visiting Mackinac Island. I was not about to get back on another boat! We felt like we'd seen so much and that visiting the rocks would be perfect with kids, too.
Getting credit for Lake Huron...
Driving over Mackinac Bridge
Traverse City was the coolest little city we'd been to in all of Michigan so far-- or the entire Midwest, I think! It was a bit of a hippie town with eclectic shops and great restaurants and shopping. It reminded us so much of Sonoma, California or anywhere in Colorado. We love that culture. Hence the reason we have tentative plans to retire in the Pacific Northwest someday. I'm kind of a hippie chick and quite enjoy the relaxed vibe you get amongst the heavily pierced, organic foods, hemp bracelets, and nature. Anyone get what I'm saying? We stuck around for a street fair they were having and had some delicious pizza. Anyway, we have NO photos of Traverse City except of an old insane asylum turned loft apartments and businesses. The insane asylum was established in 1885 and is gorgeous! Some investor bought it up after being closed for a long time and about half of the remaining buildings have been restored and are currently in use. There are still quite a few in disrepair. Loft apartments are going for $400k-$700k from what we saw-- and while they are beautiful, our concern was that there are a bunch of (still) dilapidated buildings around and no guarantee money won't run out. Who wants half of their living complex to be run-down?
Here's an aerial shot:
Here are some photos I took while there... mostly of the areas still in disrepair.
We then scooted our way to Kalamazoo and explored their town and their Panera Bread. Mmm good. This is where our road trip really started coming to a close. We decided that instead of just parking ourselves in another hotel, we'd head home and stash the cash for another weekend adventure sometime soon. We felt that 9 days was good enough for R&R. Not that we were ready to be back in civilization and reality just yet, but because another vacation just sounded so great.
So here we are, back.