Thursday, July 18, 2013

Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Above is our spot at Wanoka Lake National Forest in the Chequamegon National Forest, east of Iron River Wisconsin .  Coming out of Minnesota , it was a very short trip through northern Wisconsin and into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For those who like to follow on the map, we left Itasca State Park in Minnesota on Route 200, east to pick up Route 2 , and then through Duluth, Mn. into Wisconsin on Route 2.  We then followed Route 2 all the way to the Mackinac Bridge in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

This is a very rural US route with little traffic and very pleasant scenery.  As a note, we have been noticing how quiet these main roads have been.  Traveling through Wisconsin, we had times when we could see for miles, but we were the only vehicle in sight.  Sometimes it is hard for our Massachusetts minds to wrap around Wyoming, for instance, which is the 9th largest state.  But the largest city, Cheyenne, has a population of only 59,446!  The entire state of 97,100 square miles has a population of only 563,626.  That is a ranking of 50th out of 50 states.    VERY peaceful.

Every so often, we need to stop to empty the tanks and do a laundry.  We could find, and have on occasion found, a local laundry in a passing town or we can stop at a private campground.  This was Summer Breeze in Iron Mountain, Michigan.

Very clean laundry, very nice people.  And the price, with an Escapee discount was less than a state park.  We even connected to electricity--it worked!

A great plus of stopping in Iron Mountain was discovering Pasties.  That's pronounced Pass-tees!! The area was settled by a number of immigrants from different countries--Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Great Britain.

From Cornwall , England came the miners to work the iron mines.  They brought with them this delicious little meat filled pastry.  Filled with beef, pork, potatoes, onion, seasonings, and rutabaga(or not).  They were handy meals for the miners to take with them.  A number of shops feature them. We found ours in Iron Mountain at Pasty Oven on Route 2.

We don't want to forget finding a great cheese shop on a back road of Ashland , Wisconsin.  The Benoit Cheese Shop had a wonderful variety of 140 Wisconsin cheeses.  We had to purchase a few pounds of a 9 year old cheddar and a raspberry sartori.

We have used the Good Sam RV Travel Guide(Trailer Life and Woodall's) directory, the All Stays app for smartphone,  our Escapees book, Passport America, State Parks book,Corps of Engineer book, and the Dow National forest list to find different campgrounds.  We find the Dow list to be very accurate on the size of the sites and the directions.

For instance, Camp 7 Lake in the Hiawatha National Forest near Manistique, Michigan was a great stop.

Note how large our site is.  We felt like we should invite others to join us!.  Excellent separation from adjoining sites.

Typical of a National Forest campground is a bulletin board as you enter.  The little green box has a fee envelope for you to fill out.  To Jan's right is a cylindrical pipe to place the envelope and fee.

Don't expect to have an office.  Quite often there is not even a campground host.  So far, we have found them to be quiet, clean , and great places to stay.

As you can see, there are sometimes electric sites available.  Since we do not like to make reservations, we never plan on having an electric site.  Most often , they are reserved well ahead anyway.  Also, we usually prefer to be away from these sites where it it is quieter----and often the sites are more separated.

In this case our site was $16 , and as you can see from the picture below, only $8 per night with our National Park America the Beautiful Senior Pass.

Beautiful fishing dock.  Most of the fishermen, however, were using their boats for fishing.

We enjoy a campground that offers plenty of walking opportunities.  This campground had paved trails by the lake and a path that went around the lake.  At 90 plus degrees and quite humid, we settled for walking in the park. 

Many of the sites could just walk to the water for  swimming.  The shore was well lined with good sand.

We even took advantage of the beach area for a few days.

Jan and I found a nice post office in the quiet town of Cooks, MI.  Not far from the railroad tracks, the postmistress was very friendly and helpful.  She even recommended a grocery store on our way east.

Across from Jack's in Manastique is a great view of Lake Michigan. Route 2 at this point offers a number of spots where people can pull over and use the beach or just sit and enjoy the lake--very much looking like the ocean.

Great views and a little cooler on a hot, humid day.

Our next stop is at Brevoort Lake Campground in the Hiawatha National Forest.

It is a good sized lake that is only one mile north of Lake Michigan.  Very close to St. Ignace which is the northern entrance to the Mackinac Bridge.

Good place to wait out the thunder storms that will clear out the hot and humid air.

Nice campsite for coffee---when the sun shines.

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