The Upper Peninsula is now in the rear view mirror, but here are a few last looks:
Snow levels in the Upper Peninsula. Really. The record is 390.4 inches in a season (1978-79), and the top of this gauge is what all those inches look like. The red tab about a third of the way down is last year's snowfall.
Pictured Rocks National Seashore: this tree is perched atop a pillar of rock, with its roots extending back to the mainland (you may need to enlarge the photo to see it). The tree gets ALL its nourishment from that strand of root. An old photo shows the arch of rock that was there as the tree grew, now caved in.
Tahquamenon Falls, the second (or third?) most voluminous falls east of the Mississippi River. The brown color comes from tannins leeched from tamarack trees.
John finds some relaxation in one of the best seats in the Calumet Theater, constructed in 1900 from the city's bulging treasury -- money that came from copper mining. Frank Morgan (the Wizard of Oz), Lon Chaney, Jr., Sarah Bernhardt, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr, and John Philip Sousa all played here.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is a sobering experience. It is also home to the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The lift bridge between Houghton and Hancock, MI -- the blue middle section is raised when a tall ship needs to pass through (and yes, we did see it raise) and a "sign of the times" -- in July!
Mackinac Island -- the place where no cars are allowed (except emergency vehicles), so everyone walks, rides bikes or horses, and still manages to eat lots of fudge. One of the best of the old, elegant hotels is on Mackinac Island -- the 19th century's Grand Hotel. Five U.S. Presidents (Truman, Kennedy, Ford, H.W. Bush, and Clinton), Thomas Edison, and Mark Twain have all stayed here. Its long porch, claimed to be the largest in the world at 660 feet, overlooks the lake and is THE place to relax in white rocking chairs. Thomas Edison hosted his first phonograph demonstration on this porch.
Apparently, it's also THE place to get married -- this bride walked down the porch instead of down the aisle (the guests and wedding party are at the far end). A guide told us there is a two year wait to get married on the Island.
What did we learn in the U.P?
- The Strawberry Festival isn't until July. That's probably when it is finally warm enough for them to ripen. Don't even ask about the corn.
- Every mile of road has at least 4 snowmobile trails, 2 bait shops, and a place selling jam.
- I love pasties, and John hates them. Pasties are meat/potato/rutabaga filled dough, formed into a half moon, and eaten by holding it in the hand (originally an easy meal for copper miners). It's pronounced past-tea, not paste-ee.
- Grand prizes in local contests tend to be huge truckloads of fire wood.
- John quickly learned to speak Yooper, ev'n betta den dem Yoopers, eh? And he spoke it to waitresses, gift shop workers, and da udder Yoopers whenever he could. No one challenged him. Yous dun gud dere, eh John!