A Hidden Gem on the Upper Peninsula


The next leg of our route took us through the Sault Ste. Marie, the upper Michigan peninsula and down to Greenbay Wisconsin.  We caught up with old friends, discovered a hidden historic gem and saw Lambeau Field, home of Beau’s beloved PackersSerpent River to Green Bay

June 4 – Serpent River to Sault Ste. Marie
It was a dreary morning, much like the night, as we sat staring out the steamy windows, over our bowls of morning oatmeal and finishing up some videos and writings of the days prior. Monty has taken to the habit of plopping his feline furriness between us in the wee hours of the morning and balling up for warmth. Needless to say our quality of sleep has been suffering somewhat, making the morning coffee that much more of a necessity than just it’s usual indulgence. We may appear as pros at managing our RV’s systems to the average camper, but we’re still in our infancy of methodical processes when it comes to some tasks, and as luck would have it, it’s Dump Day! Joy.… The research has been completed, the tools are on board, however, Beau still feels as though he’s rummaging through Grandma’s attic every time he opens the storage hatch and pulls out the collection of hoses, tubing and fittings required for this arduous task. The process wouldn’t be that bad except that he usually forgets about the gloves until he gets that first waft of sewer gas pluming into his face as he uncaps the hold to connect our pipe. Regardless, it’s done and over and Beau successfully wrestled the pieces back into the hatch. His toes were wet but we’ll pretend it’s from the water tap. We continued our route north along Lake Michigan to Sault Ste Marie. We have an old friend who lives there and we were fortunate to be able to meet up with him, as well as have a free place to stay for the night. We’ve known him for years from different places and careers and can never resist the temptation of his mouthwatering home made curry. It had been a few years since we had seen him though and it was great to have the afternoon and evening to catch up with him and his folks as Monty did laps of the house, property and petting stations as per usual. Duncan later took us out for a walk to a really cool park with trails to Crystal Falls and Minnehaha Falls as he regaled to us stories of his childhood, jumping off the falls into the pools below, feats we see as dangerous in our wiser years. We preyed upon Duncan’s hospitality and took the opportunity to do some laundry and stretch our extension cord to his nearest outlet to warm up our 200 sqft. of Izzy comfort for our driveway campsite. Catching up with a great friend was a fantastic way to temporarily end our Canadian leg of the journey as we rested up for our crossing south back in the USA in the morning.

 

June 5 – Along Lake Michigan to Fayette Historic State Park
With a belly full of pancakes courtesy of Duncan’s mom, we showered, packed up and bid fair well to Duncan and his family and really to Canada for a little while. We drove through Sault Ste. Marie to the border crossing, which was a surprisingly eventful drive. There were two vehicle accidents, one where someone had rear ended another and then one two blocks later where a massive roll of steel had fallen off a transport truck.

Fortunately no one seemed to be hurt in either case and the slower traffic gave us a little extra time to solve our route. The signage for the border was a little confusing but we found the correct turn and crossed the bridge into the US. The border was a little complicated since we still have Georgia plates on the RV and have Canadian passports. IMG_0460_fixWe also had some restricted food items that we had sadly only picked up a few days ago. Apparently no citrus, avocados, peppers, tomatoes among other things. The boarder guards were very friendly though and also gave us some information on exporting the RV from the US which we apparently need to do, and should have already. We stopped just after we crossed to boarder for fuel and to re-provision and make some lunch. From there it was a straight shot continuing west along the highway. We stopped at one scenic lookout and rest stop which turned out to be the north most point of Lake Michigan. We couldn’t believe how powdery the sand was for a lake but then again it is a big lake! We took some selfies, had a pee break and continued our journey.

As is usually the case, we had been researching while driving to find a place to stop for the night and one of the state parks seemed like a good option. It was a nice drive following the lake south before making a left and heading for Fayette Historic State Park. We unfortunately had to drive 16 miles down the road and Beau wasn’t too impressed about the distance with the end result being so up in the air, but we made the move regardless. We arrived at the park and it was a little more than the $25 we thought it was going to be as we had to pay a park fee as well. We were feeling a little peeved about the price but had already driven 16 miles so we decided to proceed. We found the spot we had chosen (we had to call an operator to reserve a site) only to find there was no way we’d fit Izzy on it and it had a reserved cone. We decided to use the one next to it instead, there were not too many people in the park as could be happily expected on an early June Tuesday. Upon examining the brochure we had picked up it seemed there was a historic area down the way. We unloaded the bikes, got a few bits tighten up, and set off down the trail on their maiden voyage. The innocent thrill of being back on some bikes again under the beautifully blue sky was a joy in itself, however, the historic site blew away all of our expectations. It was an immaculately kept town from the 1860s.

We exchanged an incredulous look and wondered what rabbit hole had we fallen down. We had the town to ourselves other than the couple deer doing some spontaneous grounds-keeping. There was a hotel restored to perfect condition, the old foundry walls were still standing as were the walls to the town store. Many of the houses the middle class would have lived in were still there too. Fayette was a bustling iron town in it’s hay day being the mid to late 1800’s. We road our bikes all over town and were able to explore inside of some of the buildings too. Understanding our park fee went to such a grand project, allowing us to peer back in time to how our ancestors lived on this remote peninsula of northern Lake Michigan gave us a major appreciation for the Parks Department. IMG_9261_fixAfter a thorough investigation we rode back to our campsite where our kitty was patiently waiting to be let in. We made some dinner and decided to take a short walk through the woods behind our site to the beach to catch the sunset. The beach was inundated with some sort of flying insect, they didn’t seem to bite but definitely were annoying. We set a camera to interval on a tripod and sat back to enjoy the reds, yellows and oranges spreading across the horizon and reflecting in the calmness of the vast lake. It was a killer day on our lakeside route, we drifted to bed dreaming how the next days could possibly live up to this one.

 

June 6 – Green Bay
After whipping up some breakfast and coffee in Izzy’s galley, we bicycled over to the beach area of the park but were unfortunately completely underwhelmed. It was nothing compared to the historic town we’d explored the day before. We decided to head back over to the town as we wanted to try to drone the area again and take some more pics for the album before heading out. The footage was great as the winds were much calmer, although the sky wasn’t as picturesque as yesterday. There was still lots of daylight ahead of us but there were equally as many miles if we wanted to reach our destination of Green Bay, WY this evening. We loaded up the bikes and set off down the highway before stopping just outside Green Bay at Cooper Culture State park to make some lunch. IMG_0508_fixTaking advantage of the warm day and an opportunity to stretch our driving muscles, we decided to take a little walk around the park and had Monty in tow. He surprisingly followed behind, guarding our flank for a little bit then would run ahead of us and await for our arrival before falling back again. None of us were really sure of the situation but it worked out fantastically as we explored the park together keeping an eye on each other. We had been discussing where to stay for the evening and what to do with ourselves since it wasn’t too late in the day and we were only about 30 min from Green Bay. We decided to have a free nights stay at the Cabela’s parking lot and then go check out the stadium. Since tomorrow was Beau’s birthday we decided to go for dinner at the Lambeau Atrium restaurant, 1919. From the Cabela’s lot, a few blocks from the stadium, we unloaded our bikes and started searching for our bike locks. We searched high and low, digging through our plethora of boxes and storage bins but couldn’t find either of them, we suspect they were left behind in one of our many packed locations. We went into Cabela’s and fortunately they sold a gear lock that seemed to be more than sufficient. With that sorted, we hopped on our bikes, helmet and all, and biked straight down the road to Lambeau Field. We took some photos outside the stadium then locked our bikes to a lamp post and went to check out the swag shop as it was closing shortly. Beau picked up some Packers magnets and we found some other Packers swag on clearance since it was for Jordy Nelson.

We took a few more photos and then headed into the restaurant for a bite. It’s called 1919 since that was the year the Packers were founded. We enjoyed a nice pre-birthday dinner, a beer and a delicious Bloody Mary, garnished with beef jerky! We split an amazing flat bread, smoked white fish dip and some naughty deep fried cheese curds, after all, we’re cheese heads! Once we were full to the brim we took the rest of the white fish dip to go and headed back to Izzy. Monty was dying to go out so we decided to give the leash another go. Of course as soon as we got out of the RV, Beau stepped on the cat and he took off and out of the harness. Instead, we decided just to walk around the back of Cabela’s with him until they closed. Fortunately he seemed to stay near by so later on we just let him out to do his own thing. The evening finished off with some more computer work and write ups. We were lulled to sleep by the roar of the highway.

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Diane Dee

Diane is a lover of all things travel. She and her young family wanted to explore North America from the comfort of their own home so they bought an RV. After fully rehabbing a 1994 Safari Trek, they set out to explore both Canada and the USA.

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