Monday, August 5—Driving to Copper Harbor, Michigan

After a quick light breakfast, we pulled in the slides, lifted the stabilizer jacks, unhooked the satellite cable, and unplugged the 50 amp electricity—we were ready to depart. Up the street at a wide place in the road, we hooked up the Honda, and the Brake Buddy, and were off, driving west on Wisconsin Highway 22. Just a short distance up the road the Brake Buddy failed again; that’s it for this trip! A quick stop along side the road allowed unhooking it, and we continued the short westwardly drive to US Highway 141 north. A steady rain began, and after not many miles, the terrain began to change to a more wooded one, and there was practically no traffic. The roads were rough until we crossed into Michigan, where the best roads of the trip welcomed us and we shifted to Eastern Daylight Savings Time. The short 238 mile drive was uninterrupted only by a stop for gasoline and groceries a couple of hours south of the day’s destination of Coppery Harbor, Michigan. We drove through Houghton, Michigan, and found it to be an interesting small city, with lots of old buildings, narrow streets and various changes in elevation. It is home to two colleges—Michigan Technological University and Finlandia University (since 1890). We expected a small town on a flat expanse of ground. At Houghton, the rain abated. From there north, the narrow peninsula of Upper Peninsula of Michigan was sparsely populated and the roads were narrow with a canopy of trees in the boreal forest. I din’t know what to expect but this wasn’t it. We finally pulled into Copper Harbor about 1:30 PM, and it is a very small village on the point of the peninsula. There were lots of bicycles, and we later found out that the Tour da UP, a charity ride of about 200 miles, was ongoing.

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Kay checked us into the west campground (50 amp electricity, no water, no sewer) at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, we found our site (150), and set up, including satellite TV. We were pleasantly surprised by the view out our front window, Lake Fanny Hooe. After a Healthy Choice lunch, the bicycles came off the car, the chains were oiled, and we headed into town. Again, there is not much there, including no cell service and no internet.

We rode back through the campgrounds, and to Fort Wilkins. Fort Wilkins is well-preserved, partially reconstructed US Army post. It was built in 1844 to keep peace in Michigan’s copper country, and abandoned two years later, only to be regarrisoned in the late 1860s for a short time. One can only imagine the long, hard winters! The re-enactors had left for the day, but we walked around the grounds and peered into some of the buildings. Our bicycles took us back to the campground where Kay prepared “poor man’s jambalaya”, a combination of rice, onion, Rotel tomatoes, cabbage, hamburger, and smoked sausage. 130805 WIMI E 005 fter dinner, we walked back to Fort Wilkins for the evening’s interpretive program presented by the captain of the Isle Royale Queen IV, one of several ferries to Isle Royale National Park. He talked about things to do on Isle Royale, the wolf-moose relationship, and had lots of pretty photos. The route from Copper Harbor to Isle Royale is the quickest available, but takes 3 hours each way and costs $110 roundtrip per person, plus $60 for kayak or canoe—no wheeled vehicles are allowed on Isle Royale. Consequently, unless a person plans on spending a night or two at a rate of $250 night, the 3-hour passage to Isle Royale, 3 hours on the island, and the 3-hour passage back is not worth either the time nor money to us.

A recorded TV program finished our long day. Tomorrow, we will drive to Eagle River and Eagle Harbor, and perhaps do some more cycling.

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