Relax and enjoy Michigan’s U.P.

I think we’re getting more relaxed and leisurely about our trip.  I feel it in how I walk and move, how well we are sleeping, and how slowly we pack up and leave a campground in the mornings.  And it’s okay with us.

Tuesday we had a really pretty driving day.  The two-lane road wound through evergreen forest, then a section of hardwoods, then evergreens again for sixty miles.  We faced a strong headwind today from Straits State Park to Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

The Rivermouth campground in Tahq Falls State Park had a very nice space along the Tahquamenon River.  We weren’t inclined to explore too much, the outside temperature never rose above 50 degrees and the winds were very stout.  

We’re pleasantly surprised at the low census in all the campgrounds so far.  We’ve largely had our pick of the campsites and have enjoyed good choices. Helpful too is our penchant for arriving campgrounds by 2pm, earlier than many travelers. We see folks arriving as late as 6pm, and they might have smaller range of choices.

Last night late I went outside to secure the truck and gear. The silence and darkness were magnificent! Straits SP was noisy most of the time because of continuous work on our end of the bridge and many children, dogs, and party-folks in the campground.

The western sky at 11pm was still softly illuminated but everything else was completely dark. And not a sound anywhere. This evening we sat at the Tahquamenon River bank on our campsite and watched more carefully to witness sundown at 9:30p.m. How great are these looooong days?

Visited Whitefish Point Lighthouse, Shipwreck Museum, and U.S. Lifesaving Service Station today. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum was small yet stunning. It features a dozen notable shipwrecks local to this location. The museum displays nice artifacts and supporting information about the shipwrecks.

The last exhibit, appropriately, is the Edmund Fitzgerald which sunk in 1975. Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting song about the Edmund Fitzgerald plays very often on radio but seeing the movie and seeing the artifacts made the history much more vivid for us.

A great museum and lighthouse exhibit

This lighthouse campus apparently was fully in use by the US Coast Guard through 1971. The buildings were maintained in excellent condition, unlike those at Forty Mile Point which required considerable renovation and repairs. Still, the Forty Mile Point Lighthouse keepers house and lantern room were more interesting and, we think, more indicative of life in the very early 1900s than this one at Whitefish Point.

The biggest falls between Mississippi River and Niagara Falls

After lunch we drove out to the Tahquamenon Upper Falls. The Michigan State Parks has done a great job providing access to many viewing points for the Tahquamenon Falls while preserving the terrain along the river banks. There are many trails to choose from, and a wide boardwalk along the most traveled portions.

The day had finally warmed up after a very cold night and morning. A leisurely cup of freshly brewed coffee, comfortable rocking chairs, and really nice post and beam construction at the concession at Upper Falls encouraged us to pass the afternoon slowly. We could have stayed longer but wanted to get to Lower Falls before the afternoon cooled too much.

We arrived after 6 p.m. at Lower Falls and enjoyed walking several hundred yards around the river bend to view the falls from their side. We’ve had superb weather and no traffic or crowds at any attraction during the past two weeks. This seems a perfect time for touring the area although we can imagine the weather being less hospitable — we’ve just been lucky.

This area is a paradise

And so it seems only fitting to finish with this picture, the unincorporated community sign for the nearest town to Whitefish Point and Tahquamenon Falls. Yoopers probably agree the appellation is most apt to this center for winter sports. For us, Paradise aptly labels this beautiful summer spot.

Sort of represents the driving we described in this post

An afterthought, I realized it might help a little if I show this sketch of our driving from the campground to Whitefish Point and over to Tahqua Falls. And no, we didn’t four-wheel from Tahqua Falls back to the campground, I probably didn’t have the location transmitter on until the end.

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees

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6 responses to “Relax and enjoy Michigan’s U.P.

  1. I added the small map of driving discussed in this post,

    Jim

  2. Richard Hunt

    When we were there, the GPS took us about 25 miles up a logging trail (unpaved). The only traffic was a few huge logging trucks coming toward us. Navigator Julie tried to stop me from turning where the electronic voice said to, but I listened to the wrong voice. We learned later the trail was a known recreation site for four-wheelers. It was dry and we didn’t have to go to 4wd-low. Adventure is where you find it, and where it finds you. Have fun.

    • Richard, we’ve had the same GPS misdirection experience near the Blue Ridge Parkway, and in the Great Smokies (Cades Cove), and in Phoenix. As one impatient ranger told us, “Get a map!” So we double check our route for reasonableness before accepting the GPS solution. Better safe as sorry.

      On that aside, I won’t ask how you know what happens when you overfill your black water tank from the rinse inlet — trust me, you are not the only one to know consequences from such a feat. Someone who sleeps in our trailer had water streaming down from the little vent cap on the roof. . .

  3. Richard Hunt

    As an aside, you might warn your readers about attaching city water to the wrong water input, and turning the water on. When you push the toilet pedal, water may jump two feet high into the bathroom. Please do not ask how I know this.

  4. Thank you for bringing back memories of the trip we took thru the UP a few years ago. It is truly Gods country!! Sorry it is so cold but you are “up north”. Knew you would love the area!! It was always amazing to me how light it always was at 9: 30. Guess that’s because it’s at the western end of the eastern time zone. Have fun!! Tried a pasty yet? Hugs Julie

    • Julie,
      Not so cold, today started at 60 and we saw 73 degrees when we went to town for a beef pasty, some groceries, and gasoline. I sat an hour on shoreline of Lake Superior this morning at sunrise drinking a cup of matcha and enjoying the quiet morning. Highly variable weather by the day or by the hour.

      You’re right about the length of days but I wonder if it is more due to the high latitude than the time zone location? It’s great whatever the cause. We joke we are acclimatizing ourselves for the 20-hour days we’ll face in AK. Not sure it’ll help though — last time we were in AK we found it difficult to call bedtime when outside it was as bright as a summer afternoon.

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