78. Heading North

Weds., July 1, 2020

My time is up at Wabasis Lake and I need to find a camping spot for the 4th of July holiday. I figured that I’d find something further north and away from big cities. I was fortunate to find a site in Manistee, MI. Manistee is a nice little town located on the shore of Lake Michigan between Ludington and Frankfort. I’ve stayed at Manistee before both by boat and by RV.

First, the travel stats for the month of June. 1,414 RV miles averaging nearly 54 mph.

I spent a long and quiet 4th in Manistee. Daughter Deb’s stay at Grand Haven ended and with the holiday couldn’t be extended. There were still vacancies here in Manistee so she came with her motor home on Friday and spent the weekend. Monday she headed to AnnArbor for an appointment and I headed further north. I still don’t have a destination or goal for travel but am thinking to head west along US2 near the Canadian border. With the border closed, I figure there will be fewer US travelers in that area in that the border will be a ‘stopper’ and zero Canadian travelers with the border being a ‘cork’ for them. US2 is a wonderful East West northern version of RT66 stretching from Maine to Seattle. It’s generally a good highway, lots of travel stops, easy fuel stops, local eateries and camping opportunities.

I’ve also finally gotten the motorhome title which needs to be re-registered in MT (I used my MT LLC to buy the MH as MT doesn’t have sales tax). MT uses a vendor for LLC registrations by mail and so far I’ve not been able to get a response from the vendor. So maybe I’ll register it in person at my ‘home’ DMV near Glacier.

My route for Monday. I debated with myself about taking the ferry to Mac. Island but it was hot and Mac Is is either a walking adventure or a riding one behind the tail end of a horse team neither of which seemed enticing to me. Besides I’ve been there a dozen or more times and who needs more fudge. Also internally debated heading to the LeCheneaux Islands/DeTour Village/Drummond Is but since I camped there 2-3 yrs ago, decided to bypass that as well

I ended up going north of US2 to the south end of Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior. There are thunderstorms going on here which actually sounds relaxing to me but hampers picture opportunities. There are two things I’d like to see within a hundred miles. One is Whitefish Point. All Lk Superior commercial shipping has to clear dangerous Whitefish Point which is known as The Graveyard of the Great Lakes. It is home to the Whitefish Point Shipwreck Museum. I visited it a few years back but there were still ice burgs on the water (small ones) and it was snowy and cold. I’d like to revisit. It’s about a 40 mile side trip – same road in and out – so the weather needs to be hospitable or it’s not going to happen.

Another reason for heading past US2 further north is that I’d like to see Tahquanamon Falls. I think I’ve been told I saw them when I was a kid but I don’t have a memory of it and it seems to me that I’ve been hearing about them all my life. I still need to research how much walking is involved.

I can then either cut back south to US2 (the U.P. is only about 50 miles north to south in this area) and head west along the northern shore of Lk MI or continue west along Lk Superior to Pictured Rocks and later merge with US2 near Ironwood and the WI border. Stay tuned

From a bluff north of Manistee overlooking Lk Michigan. In the distance, jutting out is Point Betsie with its lighthouse barely visible. Point Betsie and Little Point Betsie were dead reckoning NAV aides for entry to the Manitou Passage when my family, decades ago, headed north on Mr Lucky (our 30’ sport fisher) towards the ports of Leland or Charlevoix.
Point Betsie Lighthouse
And then, of course, there is crossing the Might Mac. There is always, always, always maintenance in process on the bridge. Today the northbound crossing was restricted to one lane and it was the outer, waterside lane that was blocked. So I thought you should see what crossing the bridge by motor home was like.
Lest you think it was very reckless for me to be filming holding both my iPhone and the steering wheel let me point out 1) speed is restricted to 45mph or less
2) with the outside lane restricted, no cars, trucks, buses etc would overtake me on the passenger side, i.e., I only needed to watch what was in front of me
3) the brown grating seen here is the centerline and it is a foot wide and is a gentle rise of 3-4” above the driving surface which, if you tried to cross into oncoming traffic, would push you back into your own lane and finally 4) hitting an oncoming car would have far less consequences than crossing an empty lane, jumping the guard rail and taking a 15 story plunge without a parachute.
There are many ways to experience the Straits of Mackinac. When I was young and my mom and dad took me on trips to the U. P., there was no bridge and we’d wait in line to drive onto the ferry to cross from Mackinaw City to St Ignace or vice versa.
In 1974, I crewed on a Chicago-Mackinac yacht race and it was a fantastic sight going under the great bridge preceded and followed by racers on a full spinnaker run. This is but one picture of a memory full from that trip.
But with all due respect to boaters, riding a ferry or being a crew on someone else’s boat UNDER the bridge still isn’t as much fun as transversing the straits 150’ above the water in my own vehicle with clear vision around me. I only wish there had been a freighter passing below to add perspective

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2 thoughts on “78. Heading North”

  1. Allen- two things I would suggest you do in the Western U.P., if time permits. Possibly you may be familiar with them but it’s always enjoyable to repeat.
    First, Black River Road out of Bessemer
    It follows the Black River and its many waterfalls north to Lake Superior and a port of refuge/safe harbor and is very scenic and beautiful.
    Second, Brockway Mountain Drive up to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
    “The 9.5 mile seasonal drive located off of Highway M-26 between Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor is the highest above sea-level drive between the Rockies and Alleghenies. Breathtaking views of Lake Superior and thousands of acres of the Keweenaw and inland lakes. Amazing sunset views are available free of charge.”
    Fort Wilkins State Park is there at the end with camping .
    Fort Wilkins-Modern(800) 447-2757 159 site(s)Campsites with 50 amp Service, Electrical Service, Mini Cabin, Modern Restrooms
    Ron and Gert have enjoyed both they tell me, but Ron suggests Brockway Mountain Drive with the toad only. Maybe the Black River Road likewise. As our experience has been over the years, unhooking the toad and adventuring out less encumbered can be favorable, especially when a need to turn abound occurs.
    Keep up the blog; I’ve enjoyed it- cruising and riding along and quite a few places with memories as well!
    Don Faber


    1. Thanx. I spent a few days in the Keeweenaw Peninsula a couple of years ago. I wanted to see the northern beginning of US 41. I had a condo a block off from 41 for about 8 yrs and then after our joint FTing was over we bought another condo about 1 block off 41 in the Everglades- Port of the Islands between Naples and Everglades City. And being that close to Miami I’ve been to the southern end of 41 as well. Ron did recommend back then driving Brockway Mtn Rd and I did with my toad. I also liked seeing the scary, to me at least, bike trails cut into the mountain side complete with wooden bridge across gaps. No way!

      Thanks for the tip on Black River Road. Sounds like fun.

      I enjoy doing the blog. It gives me something to look back on and forces me to take some pics. I like writing it in my mind as I drive and transcribing the thoughts to electronic ‘paper’ gives me something to do in the evening. I only wish the blogging opportunity had been available or if it was, known to me, years ago when Sharon & I full timed for 14+ yrs and for nearly 450,000 RV miles criss crossing the country.


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