Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Our Visit - 2010
On this page . . .
From home to Escanaba ▼ Side trips along the way▼ Escanaba to St. Ignace
On the road again . . .
Manistique 4th of July Parade
From home to Escanaba . . .
We left our condo and headed north towards the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Our itinerary included the summer Good Sam Samboree in Escanaba. Because we had reservations at Higgins Lake soon after the Samboree, we decided not to return home then turn around and to drive back to Higgins Lake. Instead, we stayed in the UP for a couple weeks.
No matter how frequently we drive across the Mighty Mac (Mackinaw Bridge), the first sighting of it is fantastic. We drive over the hill or around the curve and say - "there she is". And, driving across the Mighty Mac you are in awe of the view of the Straits of Mackinaw.
As we cross the Mighty Mac, we are looking left and right as much as possible. The view is just fantastic. We often comment about the isolation of the Upper Peninsula from the Lower Peninsula in the ferry days.
Frequently, you will see a ship or ferry crossing the Straits of Mackinaw.
A sign at the toll booth confirms where you are.
We spent the first night in St. Ignace. A long pull-thru made for an easy overnight stay.
The drive to Escanaba started with a little fog but quickly cleared.
We saw this dam with the spillway open as we entered Escanaba.
Go to Escanaba - 2010 to see our visit to Escanaba.
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Peninsula Point Lighthouse is about a mile east of Escanaba . . . by water. It is about a 45 mile drive on land. It is recommended that you do not bring your RV. That is good advice. They do provide a small parking lot where the road narrows. The sign said, one lane road ahead with pull-offs. We give them credit for maintaining the pull-offs. The light tower is located at the end of County Road 513 off of US2, about 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Rapid River, Michigan.
The lighthouse was built because a shoal extends more than 2 miles into the lake, posing a hazard to navigation. The light thus had two purposes: (1) it marked a turning point; and (2) it warned mariners away from the rocks and shallows. Danger was inherent in the confluence of reefs and the shipping channels—which lead to safety at the docks of Escanaba, Gladstone, Fayette and Nahma, Michigan. These busy ports transported fish, iron ore, and lumber, among other products. In 1856, the U.S. Government recognized the need for a lighthouse on the peninsula to aid navigation around these dangerous shoals and reefs separating Big Bay de Noc, Little Bay de Noc, and Green Bay of Lake Michigan.
Funds were appropriated for the building of a lighthouse at the end of Stonington Peninsula on July 20, 1864. However, it was not built until 1865, following the United States Civil War. It was maintained as an active aid to navigation until 1934.
Minneapolis Shoal Lighthouse
Old foundation of living quarters still visible.
The stairs were very ornate.
Other views from the top . . .
Stonington's Peninsula Point Lighthouse, a Gathering Place for the Monarch Butterfly
When we first arrived, Mary Lou saw a Monarch butterfly.
The Stonington Peninsula plays a crucial role in the migration of the Monarch butterfly. In September, thousands of monarch butterflies converge on the area to rest before their migration across Green Bay to Door County, WI. It has been called the Point Pelee of the Upper Peninsula because it is an important location for migratory birds.
A plaque shows more information.
The USDA Forest Service operates the grounds as a picnic area. There are ten tables and grills on the lawns surrounding the tower. Pit toilets are available, as well as drinking water.
Along County Road 513 . . .
A fifth wheel residence A view of Harbor Tower in Escanaba An old store
This is not politically correct but a sign posted as we turned off of Route 2 onto County Route 513 pointed out construction ahead paid for with Stimulus Money. We found it interesting that they were installing curbing at the intersections on asphalt and dirt roads. They may be going to improve the whole road but we didn't see any evidence of it.
An hour should be plenty of time unless you picnic at the tower.
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Escanaba to St. Ignace . . .
After nine days in Escanaba, it was time to head east again. We had lunch on the way out of town and pointed the Ram east - the fifth wheel and trailer followed.
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Indian Lake . . .
We made reservations at Indian Lake Spate Park so we were not traveling over the 4th of July weekend.
We had reserved the largest pull-thru site in the park so we did not have to unhitch the Aluma trailer. This is easier when we will not remove the cart from the trailer.
Across the road from our site is a wood stairway into the water. Saying "into the water" is correct. The stairway stops in the water. There is no beach.
Even the terraced section with the very decorative stone stairway ends in the water.
The only place where there is a beach is at the 'park beach', where they dug out and made a beach.
Indian Lake is a pretty lake. At its deepest, it is only 18-fert deep. Ninety percent of the lake is 15-feet deep.
During a walk late in the afternoon, the sun glistened on the water.
This is the view we enjoyed from our windows one evening. The sun set directly in front of our trailer. We had several beautiful sunsets. The winds were strong most of the weekend. Not pleasant for sitting outside.
We decorated a little for the Fourth of July. The Ram had its traditional window mounted flag. The HHII had a new set of static cling-ons. If you look real hard you can see them on the windows.
The day we visited Big Spring (Kitch-iti-kipi), we drove through the 'West Section Campground" of the state park.
The 'west section campground' is a semi-modern campground. The sites are more wooded and the roads are gravel. It offers electric, water on tap, pit toilets but no showers. With our self-contained HHII, we could have gotten along fine.
We found our way to the boat landing and small beach for the 'west section'. A guy was at the beach throwing a stick for his dog to retrieve. .
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Manistique 4th of July Parade . . .
It is always interesting to see parades in other towns. We have been to a parade that consisted of one band, one float, a fire engine and several politicians. The Manistique parade was the longest we have ever attended. Maybe because it was their 150th anniversary celebration. For a town of 3,000 people, they had good attendance and great participation.
The parade started at 12:30pm in downtown Manistique. Not knowing anything about the parade other than the parade route, we left camp at 11:00am. We were in our position by 11:30am. We had an hour to wait for the parade.
No that's not true . . . the parade did not start in front of us. We had to wait another half hour for the parade to reach our location.
And, this little girl was there when we arrived.
She was dressed up for the occasion.
Her scooter and other things entertained her
until the parade started.
A clown came by a little early to warm up the crowd.
Finally, a State Police car and a Sheriff's car followed by flag bearers arrived - the parade had begun 'for us'.
If you stay with us to the end, you will find out
that the parade was continuous and lasted for
one hour and twenty-five minutes.
It was a VERY windy day. The other women may may have already lost their hats. But, this woman was holding on to hers for dear life. We sat in the sun to stay warm.
The Boy Scouts and any organization you could think of was represented in the parade.
Neat golf cart . . .
NAPA had an entire fleet of trucks and little 'toy' cars.
The county hospital and county medical service groups had a strong showing in the parade. This one was very original. The 1950 babies, now adults, were dressed as babies.
One of two bagpipe marching bands . . .
Fire department mascot . . .
A small tractor for a small trailer . . .
When we went to the Escanaba City Band concert, it was announced that they had a busy schedule over the Fourth weekend. The list included this parade.
We were fortunate - - - every band played as they passed our location.
Candy by the handfuls was tossed from just about every vehicle and float. We observed one float driver throw five handfuls of candy to about that many children.
A black fire truck A real nice car - body/paint/mechanical A a busy golf cart
The parade included a lot of commercial entries, several county governmental agencies and not too many politicians.
Good sounding steel drum band . . . on strange instruments - note the oil drums. They sounded something like Stomp.
Vintage farm tractors were popular tow vehicles.
A steady line of decorated vehicles . . .
Canadian Legion . . .
Sharp car Sharp snow vehicles
The Shriners shined.
Everyone loves to see the big men in the little cars.
The little girl had just about had enough 'parade' by this time. She had all the candy she wanted. It was time for a break.
People were commenting about this guy coming along and handing one piece of candy to each child. He appeared to be an individual just out having a good time on his golf cart.
A tracked vehicle . . .
A series of emergency vehicles . . .
Nine truck tractors in a row. It had to be every truck tractor available in his fleet. If you look hard, you will see horses in front of the blue truck tractor. The driver in blue truck tractor directly behind the horses was blowing his air horns . . . the horses never flinched.
One rider is riding bareback.
It looks like, bring your son to the parade in style day. What little boy would not like pulling the chain for the air horns.
The last vehicle in the parade was a golf cart. It was one of two we saw during the parade asking for donations towards the expenses for next year's parade. We saw many people making donations.
Yes, The parade passed in front of us for almost an hour and a half.
While it was a long parade, it was fun. All of the attendees and participants seemed to be in the spirit of the Fourth of July and their 150th Celebration. The weather cooperated. The ladies behind us suggest a great little place in town for lunch.
All in all, a great day.
We hope your 4th of July was as successful.
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Leaving Big Spring (Kitch-iti-kipi) - 2010 , we followed a road with an interesting name and found a boat launch for the west side of Indian Lake.
We spent time at Indian Lake SP working on our Web site and reading while listening to music and our favorite radio talk show on the computer. A couple evenings we watched DVDs on the television. We did miss our mornings with the Today Show. All this because, thanks to DTV (digital television) we could not receive a reliable television signal.
Our last look at Indian Lake . . .
On the road again . . .
We hitched up between rain showers on Tuesday as we prepared to leave the Upper Peninsula.
As we drove east on Route 2, we seemed to be chasing the rain. We experienced very little rain but drove on wet roads all the way to St. Ignace.
We knew our visit to the Upper Peninsula was almost over when we saw this I-75 sign.
And, again we said, "there she is".
Our 2010 visit to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has ended.
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