Monday, August 15, 2011

"400 miles north of everywhere"

"400 miles north of everywhere" is how Lilian Jackson Braun described the setting for her series of "Cat Who": books. We were sad to hear that she recently passed away at the age of 97 after writing 29 books and 3 short stories. The location was never formally stated but we believe it has to be somewhere on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The books describe the obsession with pasties and man they are everywhere. Also mentioned are the sand dunes which you have to see to believe. When there are signs to watch for sand on the road the state of Michigan is probably not the first state that comes to mind but there are some of the nicest sandy beaches you will find anywhere.

Lighthouses are also part of the stories and Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state. A resort island is the setting for a couple of the books and you have Mackinac Island among others. Winter weather and large amounts of snow figured in the plots of a number of books and you have the city of Hancock which the Weather Channel recently dubbed the 3rd snowiest town in America. Hancock is also the northernmost 'town' in Michigan with only villages and townships above Hancock on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

There are a few other things that we have noticed that we are "north of everywhere":

- cell towers are not to be seen
- 55 mph speed limits because there are no Interstates until you get to the eastern part of the UP and I-75 goes from St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie
- very small non-commercial towns everywhere
- signs for snowmobile routes and no snowmobiles on sidewalk
- Little League dominates local sports, there even was a multi-part news story about a turf battle between two towns and where the Little League boundary was
- have to know that it is north of everywhere when a common navigation tip is the only working stoplight in town
- gets dark real late, this picture taken at 9p

It may or may not be the setting for the "Cat Who" books but the Upper Peninsula is sure a great place to visit.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo


  1. I have always enjoyed the "Cat Who books", and am saddened that there won't be anyo more. You could very well be right about the location of Koko and Yumyum. :)

  2. Sounds like a lot of evidence that you are in the right area:)