Tuesday, July 03, 2012

More Michigan

 The Michigan vacation wasn't just a trip to visit my family or do some urban sightseeing, we also travelled to the north and had a little active vacation as well.  Whenever you want to visit Michigan's Upper Peninsula, there's just about no other way than to cross the Mackinac Bridge, unless you're coming from Wisconsin or Canada.  This suspension bridge was for a short time the longest suspension bridge in the world.  It's currently the third longest, which also isn't bad.
 It's one heck of a bridge, and the really creepy part is driving or walking on the middle two lanes, which are just metal grating.  When you look down you can see the water, and that kind of makes me dizzy. 
 We made it to the UP!  This bear pretty much says it all.  Paradise is a small town in the Upper Peninsula, and I was quite enamored of their fancy sculpture.
 It really was that empty on the beautiful white sand beaches.  We had very long stretches while we were driving where we saw no cars, no people and no houses.  Northern Michigan is not very densely populated, and the Lake Superior beaches are not only pretty far away for most, but Lake Superior is also rarely warm enough for a comfortable swim. But it certainly is pretty!

 The first night we stayed in Grand Marais and had a delicious breakfast at this fabulous fifties style diner. 

 We made it to our destination:  Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Our first hike was to Grand Sable Falls.

 We continued on to Grand Sable Dunes, which were also super fun.
 We took the scenic turnout to have a look at Miner's Castle, too.

 Above are a couple more shots of the sandstone cliffs that make up the Pictured Rocks lakeshore.
 After staying a night in Munising we visited the Chapel area for a full day's hike.  We saw probably hundreds of these precious little chipmunks!
 The first sight was Chapel Falls.
 Our goal was Chapel Rock, here's the top.
 There's our lunch guest.  We didn't notice this friendly guest when we sat down for lunch on a piece of driftwood, then I quickly found a total of three snakes and a chipmunk dwelling in and around the driftwood!  But they're all harmless.
There's Chapel Rock from the beach.

 After spending a night in Escanaba and eating delicious Michigan specialties like homemade pasties, we drove to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where we saw this shrine to awful, disgusting beer. 

The last big event was a ride on the SS Badger, the only coal-fired car ferry in operation in the US.  It was a long ride across Lake Michigan (about 4 hours) and nearly made me sick, but I was okay.  The kids had a blast, and so did I as soon as I got over the fact that I was out in the middle of Lake Michigan and can't swim!

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