UP turn

Monday, 15th July 2019; 2:01 pm

Sometimes when the road takes a sudden turn, it turns like this.

(Photo taken yesterday.)


Monday, 15th July 2019; 11:30 am

There’s a big spring nearish Manistique, called Kitch-iti-kipi. I stopped there 10 years ago, but the rain had let up, so I detoured over to it for another visit.

The water flows out of the ground at a constant temperature, year round, creating a pool of very clear water, that flows off into Indian Lake. There’s a flock/herd/gaggle of fish who live in the pond at the spring.

The park service has a hand-cranked raft on a cable that visitors can take across the little pond. It has a roof, and it’s open in the middle, so you can look down and see the bottom without waves/sunlight interfering. It’s fascinating just to watch the fish, then as you get to the middle you see the bottom roiling as the water flows up through it.

Rainy morning in Fayette

Monday, 15th July 2019; 8:07 am

I was half awake when the rain started at 6:00 am.

The good news is that I practice universal precautions: I prepare the camp for rain any time I go to sleep or leave the camp, no matter how nice the weather. So, aside from leaving my wet towel hanging out on the scooter hoping for it to dry out overnight, I was prepared: the rain fly on the tent was set up, my boots and shoulder bag (where I keep my rain suit) were in the tent’s vestibule, and my jacket and other assorted gear were on the picnic table wrapped in the rain cover I bought for my big backpack. The only thing that got significantly wet were my socks, when I ran out of the tent to grab the towel. (It’s mostly dry. Which is important now.)

Not so good is the timing of this. If I’d known it was about to rain, I would’ve quickly packed the tent. I’ve done that in the past when it started to rain during breakfast. It’s a little counterintuitive to get rid of your shelter, but packing it would’ve kept the tent dry. Meanwhile, I’d stay dry in my rain suit. But the rain started quickly, and now the tent is wet (on the outside). Unless the sun comes out to dry it, I have to pack it wet. Ick.

And I’m in a dead zone for mobile service, so I don’t know how likely that is. I foolishly didn’t check the weather forecast for this area last night when I did have a signal, so I don’t know if this is a rogue rain cloud, or just what I have to expect for today.

UP Day 3

Sunday, 14th July 2019; 8:54 pm

I have to say that turning off M28/US41 onto a low-traffic road early this afternoon was like a breath of fresh air. It was the kind of road where you could see a nice view, and just pull over and stop for it, because you were only going about 40mph.

The previous night’s not-that-great sleep started catching up with me, so I pulled off at a little turnout that I think was for fishing the adjacent river, set the phone to wake me in 15 minutes, covered my head with my emergency bug net, and took a nap. That’s how to do it!

I got to Fayette Historical State Park around 6pm, which is what happens when you schedule a reasonable amount of riding in your day. It’s 15-20 miles south of US-2 on a peninsula sticking into Lake Michigan, which is why skipped it on my previous passes through the area. (The first time I rode around here, I stayed at Indian Lake State Park instead… which apparently doesn’t exist anymore.)

The peninsula reminds me of… the Lower Peninsula, which makes sense since it’s one of the southernmost parts of the UP. It even has a fleet of big wing turbines in the middle of corn fields. (And signs in the yards of some residents protesting the wind farm… as if not having wind power was actually an option anymore.) The corn was only about a foot tall, but it’s remarkable to see it grown at all this far north.

The state park is at the site of an old company town, where immigrants smelted ore back in the days of Big Iron. It also has some natural territory, which I explored a little as well.

As is my habit, I ended up at a bar and grill near the park for dinner. (Campground cooking would add just a bit too much additional challenge to these trips.) At the bar are eight locals who sound like eighteen and there’s a jukebox that’s trying to drown them out with 70s-80s pop/rock. But they have Upper Hand IPA and fresh deep-fried whitefish, and I’m OK with that.

Make Way for Ducklings

Sunday, 14th July 2019; 4:24 pm

Fairly mature ducklings, from the looks of them, but this crew somewhat reluctantly followed mother across the road after I stopped for them.

There were some chickens a little further down, but they didn’t seem interested in crossing the road. I didn’t ask why.

Canyon Falls

Sunday, 14th July 2019; 1:05 pm

Before rerouting, I wanted to catch one last point on my original itinerary. I saw Canyon Falls in an article about waterfalls in the UP and was surprised that I had been past it (or near) a few times without knowing it. I wasn’t doing that again.

It’s a short hike from the highway between Lake Michigamme and L’Anse. It’s been called “the Grand Canyon of Michigan”, which is fair to neither the Grand Canyon or Michigan. It is a series of rapids that leads to some falls that have cut a cool gorge into the rock.

Definitely worth the morning. But now I change course for Fayette and Lake Michigan!