Saturday, November 12, 2011

Michigan's Upper Peninsula Part 2

Where were we? Oh yes, we just saw the super-dull locks in Sault Ste. Marie and decided to make our way off to see the Pictured Rocks on the shores of Lake Superior. We drove and drove and it was a bit farther than I thought, but we finally got to Munising where we stopped to get some meat Pasties.(Pronounced pass-tees.) These are basically a miner's meal. A hearty meat and vegetable dish that you can eat like a sandwich. We went to a place that is reputed to have the best ones... AND? Eh. I liked them ok, as they are a big wad of dough wrapped around the meat and vegetable stuffing. I like anything with dough, but like most food up north, they were using canned vegetables. They are quite filling though. We weren't hungry for about another 8 hours I think. Anyhow, enough of me complaining about food. If I want to be able to say that I have a healthy relationship with food, I need to stop talking about how it keeps letting me down, like a bad boyfriend or something. Back on topic.

We went to Castle Rock overlook to see, well, Castle Rock. It was a really pretty drive there and the view is spectacular. They built a large deck right up to and a touch over the edge of the cliff. Eleanor was having a great time walking up to and onto the deck until she noticed that she could see the ground beneath the deck through the slats. There was anywhere from a few inches to a few feet between the deck and the ground below. Once she realized that, she was freaked out. How funny! The random things you don't think about, except, I do think about that. Boring story at the end of this post explaining why*.
Here I am holding my sweetie. The only way she would experience this. Clayton and I took turns as Win was asleep in the car.
Up close you can see her adorable face. Funny story, we got all the way to St. Ignace only to find that we didn't have any shoes for Eleanor. We had thrown her in barefoot I guess. Luckily, she takes her shoes off so often that there was a pair of church shoes under the front seat.
This is Castle Rock.
A closer view. You are a couple hundred feet up, but it's hard to get a feel for the scale until you are there.
Here is a picture of a tour boat passing by to give you a little scale.I had great plans to take us to more of the Pictured Rocks only to have freaking Nigel, our GPS voice take us on a major road to a different spot. So we missed a huge chunk of what I wanted us to see. Like everything between Munising and Grand Marais. It took so long to get to Grand Marais (since we went down, across and back up instead of just across) that the sun was starting to go down when we got there. However, it was so pretty there that I took a few quick pictures.
Sailboats in Grand Marais Harbor.
From there I wanted us to see the Sable Dunes that are East of Grand Marais and Sable Falls, but we got on yet another incorrect road. Durn Nigel. We ended up driving on a road that seemed right but was super wrong. By the time we knew for sure that it was wrong, we just wanted to call it a day and get back to the hotel. Well, then Nigel took us on about 30 miles of twisty dirt roads through a dense, dark forest in a now dark and nearly moonless night. Luckily, both kids fell asleep. It's kind of sad when two fairly travel-savvy adults can get lost with a detailed atlas of Michigan, three guide books and a GPS. Well, I guess we never were officially lost, but we didn't get to see the waterfalls I wanted us to. And no, I don't imagine we will ever get back up there. Oh well. I hear they are pretty. Along our crazy drive I made Clayton stop when I could see Lake Superior.
Here is the view just a few feet away from the car.
Look! I'm at Lake Superior! It's mega-cold water!
P.S. Both of these shots were taken at the same time, one with a flash and one without. Weird.
Back at the hotel we got to relax again. By the time we got back to St. Ignace we were starving. I went and spent a goodly sum on treats at a local gas station and also procured some dreamy McDonald's for our nearly midnight snack. (I'm kidding, you know. McD's is never dreamy.) Winston eats the same thing for every meal, so he was happy.
You may remember this shot from my hair cutting post, but here is our sweetie boy again. I love his dimple. This is the next day as we were packing up.
We checked out and went exploring the little coastal area right out our hotel front door. Eleanor fed the birds our left over french fries. Winston enjoyed the fresh air and walking around. This is the view of Lake Huron looking South-East.
Eleanor enjoyed sitting on several different rocks. This may be because a week or two earlier we took family pictures in which we tried to convince her that sitting on rocks was the coolest thing ever. She didn't buy it then (lots of running away) but maybe she's had a change of heart. That wont help our family photos but, eh, what are you going to do?
Clayton and Eleanor.
Very touching.
And here is the view looking North-West.
Hello bubbles.
We crossed the bridge and stopped at the park on the Mackinaw City side. Eleanor immediately got out her "binoculars" to enjoy the sights. Thank you Dora the Explorer.
Ok, so I guess Mackinac Bridge is pretty long.
Our family!
The boys!
This is an action shot of a robbery in progress. Notice Winston's little bare foot and what is in Eleanor's right hand? I love how she is running, laughing and looking back to get their reactions. Winston, as always, was pretty chill about it all. He's used to her taking his stuff.
My sweeties. (Socks recovered, back on.)
Me and Winston, smooshing my glasses around my face. He is making the funniest face here too. I suppose he was over the tourist bit.
On the drive home we took Highway 119 along the western side of Michigan, the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. (Does that make sense?) There is a stretch between Cross Village and Harbor Springs that is called the Tunnel of Trees. It was very pretty, but I didn't get any truly great pictures, but if you are up in that area, I would say it is worth the drive. Twisty and slow, but very lovely. Here is one shot.
And that concludes our trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It was a nice get away even if my lofty plans all came to nothing. The leaves were changing and so most of the driving had insanely gorgeous views the entire time. Michigan is so pretty, but Clayton and I grew up in Washington State, Idaho and Utah. I would rank those as a few of the more spectacularly pretty states as well, so it's hard to "wow" us. Still, I'm glad we took the time to check out more of Michigan while we are still here!

* Afore mentioned boring story: For years and years I was terrified to walk over grates. You know, like drainage grates, subway grates... they are everywhere in big cities. Why? When I was 16 and at a Youth City Council camp at Cedar City's college campus my friends and I got to attend a dance at the Institute building. High school girls at a college dance? Hello! I had on shorts so I had to change for dress code. I ran back to the dorms where we were staying, as it was less than half a mile on a small campus I went by myself. It was dark, but I was anxious to get back to the possibilities of cute college boys. As I was running back (and I was booking it) I saw a shortcut though an open garage. I ran quickly though it and noticed too late that the entire floor was a giant grate, with openings big enough for your leg to fall through, but small enough for a car to drive on. I got about two steps from the other side before my leg fell through. No serious injuries, just a lot of bruising a scraping, but it started a phobia that I can't quite shake. Rationally I know that almost any grate is structurally sound to walk on, but it still gives me the heebie-jeebies. Maybe poor Eleanor inherited it. Sorry E. Now when we go to the local library she always stops once we enter- as the foyer has a weird floor pattern that looks like decking. Every time I have to stomp on it and show her that it's safe to walk on. Poor little cutie.


Ann said...

I know you told me that story before but I'm still sorry that Cedar had to be a part of a life ling fear. ha.

Ruth said...

I love your commentary, you tell the best stories.

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