Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cool weather, waterfalls, and a farmers market

As promised here is an entry on a great day we had in the Munising area with cool weather, waterfalls and a farmers market. On the way to breakfast we took a picture of Alger Falls which you can see from the highway. There is a small pullout area where you will usually see somebody stopping and taking a picture, today it was us.

After a great breakfast at The Navigator we just had to take a picture of this Bank sign. For those that know us breakfast for us is later than most and about the time most are thinking of an early lunch.

First on our waterfalls tour was Memorial Falls and Tannery Falls in the city of Munising. Of all the waterfalls in the area this had the worst sign indicating the location of the trail and the most undeveloped trail. We almost drove by the trail, in fact we did but Bob saw the sign between two cars in the rearview mirror. Memorial Falls trail takes you first to the top of the falls and then across and down to the base. The undeveloped trail is sloped downhill of course with only the steepest areas having a railing. The really cool thing is that the trail takes you underneath the falls and past the falls for some incredible shots. The trail past the falls took us to what may be Tannery Falls but since this is a spring time only falls we were not sure if what we saw was Tannery Falls. Here is Jo underneath Memorial Falls. Our photo album on has pictures of the trail and many more of the falls from all angles.

Next up was Horseshoe Falls which is the only falls in the area privately owned. The area around the falls includes other trails and a botanical garden and a trout pond, plus they have ice cream in the gift shop so we decided to pay the admission and we are glad that we did. We walked on well groomed trails and saw flowers and trees that had signs that told you what you were looking at. But the reason for going is Horseshoe Falls, named for the horseshoe shaped 2nd level of the falls. Over 1 million gallons of water flows over the falls each day fed by an underground spring.

For those that remember the fun we had with the GPS on our arrival to Munising Wagner Falls is near where we pulled over and called the park for directions. A well groomed trail and a wooden landing with stairs near the falls is just a short walk away.

Being so much further north the season for fresh fruit is noticeably later than we are used to. Strawberries were late and were just in a couple of weeks ago. Raspberries are just now coming in as are wild blueberries. Blueberries and cherries in the UP are a week or so away but are available from the lower peninsula or what the Yoopers call Da' Mitt. We have had great blueberries from roadside markets and from super markets making sure that they are from Michigan. We ended the day at a Farmer's and Artisan Market near the marina. We bought the best raspberries either one of us have ever had. Jo said she didn't know that fresh raspberries tasted the way that they did. We also got some farm fresh eggs and are hoping that blueberries and cherries come in soon.

As we were driving back to the park we passed the same bank sign and took another picture to show the evening temperature. Another great day in the UP!!!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, July 29, 2011

We are now in Rapid River Michigan

We left this morning from Munising and headed to Rapid River. This was also a very short trip of 50 miles or so which allowed us to get a slightly later start of 10:55a. We went through some small towns and there was the obligatory road construction so the trip ended up taking about 60 minutes. We are now on the Lake Michigan side of the UP so we will see how things are on this side. We plan to see a couple of lighthouses and explore the shoreline of Lake Michigan

We got here and setup and then had lunch in the RV. We have heard that the Swallow Inn has a very good fish fry on Friday nights and that they serve perch so we are going to give that a whirl for supper.

Munising had great scenery in the immediate vicinity and great restaurants like the Dogpatch, Sydneys and Navigator.The Greek Skillet and sweet potato fries at Sydneys and the northwood skillet at Navigator and the burgers at Dogpatch were the highlights. Main Street Pizza also serves a great pizza and this was the first pizza for Jo since her dental surgery. We do have one more day of sightseeing to blog about so expect that soon.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Scenic Tour east of Munising

Next we took the scenic tour east of Munising. Our first stop was Munising Falls where an easy trail takes you to the falls.

Great beaches was not something that we expected in the UP. We knew about the lighthouses, waterfalls, and Pictured Rocks but we never expected to find one of the top beaches in America per the Weather Channel, Sand Point Beach. The sand is so fine here it is unbelievable. With more time in the area on our next visit we plan to bring our chairs and a picnic lunch and just enjoy the view.

Miner's Falls was a little more challenging than Munising Falls. There was almost a mile long trail that leads you to a platform where you can get a glimpse of the falls. To fully appreciate the falls though there are wooden steps, 77 in total, that take you to a better viewing area.

With all the great scenery that we have had until now the best was yet to come. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has to be one of the most scenic areas that we have visited. After Miner's Falls we drove to the Miner's Castle overlook. Miner's Castle is not a castle but an interesting rock formation in the Pictured Rocks area. What amazed us was the many shades of colors in the water and rocks and how clear the water was. It looked like an artist ran a brush with blues, greens, and other colors across the water. Pictures just do not do justice to the beauty that we saw.

We are doing more hiking this week than we have done in a very long time. A trail leads from the overlook to just above Miner's Castle. We took this photo at the platform directly above. The shades of blue and green are amazing in this photo.

This is an area we will visit again for the scenery and the good food. We wanted to do a cruise where you can get a better view of the Pictured Rocks from the water but the wind kicked up and it started to rain on the day we had planned so we will do that and revisit some of the scenic areas again on our next visit.

Many more very scenic pictures have been uploaded to the Munising set on

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Scenic Tour west of Munising

We got a great book at the Interagency Visitor Center in Munising which detailed a day trip either east or west of Munising. We chose west for this adventure. We did not have to go far as the Munising Harbor Range Lights are right in downtown Munising. There are also Range Lights in nearby Christmas, yeah that's the name of the town. 

After the Range Lights in Munising and in Christmas we drove by a great sand beach. One thing that surprised us on the Upper Peninsula is how nice the beaches are on Lake Superior. We have plans to see a beach that is regularly listed as one of the top beaches in America.

We then drove to a scenic overlook of Lake Autrain and had plans to walk on a songbird birdwatching trail but it turned a little hot so we decided to save something for next visit to the area. It was back to the sand beach for a picnic lunch with a lake breeze and scenic views.

Next on our scenic tour was the Bay Furnace Historic Site where we walked a trail that circles around the recently stabilized ruins of a Blast Furnace where iron was made between 1870 and 1877. One of the last remaining structures of its kind in the U.P., it is also a good place to view Lake Superior and Grand Island. Interpretive Signs show how the furnace operated and explain its unique history, including its construction, damage by fire, and partial preservation. Melted iron flowed out the arched area in channels to cool. There were branches off of the channel where iron cooled into bars. It looked like piglets suckling on a sow so the bars became known as 'pig iron'.

A scenic view, one of many, from the Bay Furnace Historic Site.looking across to the Pictured Rocks.

Pictures from another great day on he U.P. have been uploaded to the Munising set on

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Finally a cool day!

We spent yesterday getting acclimated to the Munising area. Looks like the bad heat wave has broke here, when Jo was talking with her brother just before lunch it was 64 degrees here but already 94 in Kansas City.

After lunch we went to the Interagency Welcome Center which covers Hiawatha National Forest, Pictured Rocks and Grand Island. There was a short film about the area that was neat. We then went to a City Park right on Lake Superior and we know we will get no sympathy but it was too cold with the breeze coming in off of the lake so we sat in the truck and just watched the water.

We parked near a very nice Veterans Memorial. We did not have our act together so Bob took these pictures with his new Droid 3. Other pictures are in the Munising set on

We also realized there was some photos on an old phone from a trip to Marquette and the scenic overlook at a City Park there. A few other photos of this overlook have been added to the Ishpeming set on

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, July 22, 2011

We are now in Munising Michigan

We left this morning from Ishpeming and headed to Munising, some day we may visit Manistique, didn't know that we would be on a pronunciation tour this summer. This was a very short trip of 60 miles or so which allowed us to get a slightly later start of 10:30a. We went through some small towns and there was the obligatory road construction so the trip ended up taking about 90 minutes.

This is one trip where the GPS caused us some fits. We have the truckers model from Garmin so we were pleased when the route taken was bypassing Marquette and other cities including our destination of Munising. That being said we always are comforted when we see a big Semi on the same road, especially when it is a back road. But when we were about 10 miles from our location we get the following eerie message, 'PREPARE TO GO OFF ROAD". Well you can believe we did not go off road but we should have known there were bigger problems when Jill, that is what we call our GPS, really didn't object to our route and not going off road. But when we got further down the road our next right turn would have been straight into the forest. By this time we decided to pull over and call the campground. By then Jill had another option and that was to turn left at the upcoming intersection. Luckily we got a hold of the campground and we were told to take a right and guided the rest of the way to the park.

We got here and setup and then went out to lunch. The motto of Munising is that it is the UP's best kept secret and we have to say we like this town. After lunch we drove around and saw a city park right on Lake Superior, a marina where we can take a cruise and tour the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. On the drive here we actually saw signs indicating where the waterfalls are, unlike Marquette County where you rarely if ever saw a sign. We have a jam packed week with lighthouses, waterfalls, Pictured Rocks, and just relaxing by the lake.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Waterfalls, Lighthouse and scenic view

We went with our friends Jim and Sharon on a whirlwind sightseeing tour. Ishpeming is in Marquette County and there are a dozen waterfalls in the area. There may be a dozen but they sure don't make it easy to find them. The map that we got had horrible directions and there was rarely any road signs to help. To top it off the very first one we tried to find the access road to it was closed. So our tally for the day was 1 closed, 2 we found and 4 we could not find. Of the two we found though the Yellow Dog River 510 Falls was the best. There was a group there in helmets that were riding the falls down. We took our shoes off and walked into the water and it sure was cold.

Luckily we had more to see than waterfalls that day. We climbed to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain which was an adventure in itself. We took the 'moderate' trail and it still involved numerous, too many to count, wooden stairways. Although it is supposed to be about 1/2 mile it seems that it is all uphill. There were benches along the way which helped but this is one of those been there, done that, no desire to repeat it kind of deals. Well we all made it and the view was tremendous from the decks built up there. From the summit looking north and east is Lake Superior, looking south is the city of Marquette with its steeples and the green forests beyond.

It just wouldn't be a sightseeing day in Michigan if you did not see a Lighthouse since Michigan has more Lighthouses than any other state. We drove to Big Bay and saw the Big Bay Lighthouse which is now a B&B with tours only a couple of days a week and of course it was not one of those days. We were still able to walk on the grounds and get some great photos.

Although the difficulty in finding the waterfalls was disappointing all in all it was still a great day in the UP.

Photos have been added to the Ishpeming set on

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, July 16, 2011

We are now in Ishpeming Michigan

Our next leg of our Upper Peninsula tour was a short 90 miles from Houghton to Ishpeming which is just west of Marquette. Our friends Jim and Sharon arrived the day before we did and are parked right next to us. They will be here for a few days before they head back to the heat of the Kansas City area. We plan to tour this part of Michigan from waterfalls to lighthouses to places in Marquette.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Keweenaw Peninsula scenic drive

The Keweenaw Peninsula is the northernmost part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and therefore of all of Michigan. Houghton is about half way up the Peninsula and where we started our tour northward. The hosts at the City of Houghton RV Park have a sheet with a suggested tour and we used that with great success. There is so much to see and once is just not enough to see it all. We will be back to this area and we will do this tour again.

We stopped in Lake Linden for some ice cream and then continued on to the Keweenaw Peninsula snow gauge which has documented snowfall for the last 50+ years. The record low is 161.1 inches in one winter, the average is 240.8 inches per winter and the record high is 390.4 inches in the winter of 1978-1979. Here we are in front of the gauge and the snowfall totals per month for that record.

We arrived in Copper Harbor about lunch time so we tried to find the Harbor Haus which Bob had read great things about. Our GPS was useless and we drove around a little, stopped at the Marina for directions and finally found it only to find out it was closed. The Harbor Haus used to be open all day and then Michigan passed a minimum wage law and now is only open for supper. Nearby was the Tamarick Inn where we had the best whitefish we have had since we hit Lake Superior.

Leaving Copper Harbor we took Brockway Mountain Drive towards Eagle Harbor. This is a must for scenic views of Lake Superior and the mountains nearby.

In Eagle Harbor we visited the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse which was built in 1871 replacing the old lighthouse. The Fresnel lens has been replaced by an aviation beacon that rotates so the tower was closed to visitors. The lighthouse grounds, maritime museum and keeper quarters were well worth the visit.

After the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse we drove through a sand dune area. The sand dunes here are not as large as the dunes near Pictured Rock National Lakeshore which we will be visiting in a couple of weeks but it was cool to see a beach similar to what you might see in California.

Just after the sand dunes was Eagle River and the Jampot, a bakery run by the Monks of the Society of St. John. Best known for their many jams and jellies they also have bread, fruitcake, muffins and candy. Right next door to Jampot is Jacob Falls.

Another great day in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Many more photos of this scenic drive have been added to the Houghton set on

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Houghton Waterfront Trail

The City of Houghton RV Park sits at one end of the Houghton Waterfront Trail, a 4 and 1/2 mile paved trail which runs along the waterfront. The trail, which is paved and barrier free, accommodates walkers, joggers and bikers. Along with the RV Park at our end of the trail lies the Waterfront Recreation area that includes a beach and "chutes and ladders", a climbing and sliding playground. At the other end you will find the Nara Nature Park. In between you will find the smaller Princess Point Beach area, as well as numerous picnic areas, a dock and boat launch, and seating areas throughout the trail. Downtown Houghton is also accessible from the trail.

Along the way you cannot miss the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, officially the Houghton-Hancock Bridge, which connects the two cities across the Portage River. As its name states, the bridge is a lift bridge with the middle section capable of being lifted from its low point of four feet clearance over the water to a clearance of 100 feet to allow the Great Lakes freighters to pass underneath. The Bridge is the world's heaviest and widest double-decked vertical lift bridge. Big ships can travel across the Keweenaw Peninsula saving 100 miles if the peninsula was circumnavigated.

We spent the day walking the trail and just watching the boats in the river from the many seating areas. We walked to downtown Houghton and got lunch to go and walked back and had it on our picnic table at our camp site. We then spent the afternoon reading and if truth be told a little nap too. A great day full-timing with a temperature of 68 degrees!

Photos of the trail along with a trip we took to Calumet for pasties have been uploaded to the Houghton folder on

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, July 9, 2011

We finally made it to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

A year in the making we arrived in the Upper Peninsula (UP) yesterday. We originally planned on arriving last year but medical issues delayed us a year. The wait was worth it, we have a great site right on the Portage River that runs from Lake Superior to Portage Lake. We have a permanent grin on our face right now and Jo said now that she has seen this site she understands why people like RV'ng  : - )

Here is the view from our back window.

Here is our outdoor area which is the nicest that we have had to date.

Bob already has a big list to see while here so we will not lack for things to do. While in the UP we are temporary "Yoopers" which is what residents of the UP are called. We plan to be Yoopers for a month or so until we cross the Mackinac Bridge (Da Bridge per the Yoopers) to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

It was a relatively short trip of 168 miles so we got up and left a little later than usual. We were a little shocked when the GPS arrival time was an hour later than we thought it would be. Turns out we crossed over into the Eastern Time Zone. We knew we would eventually it was just a little sooner than we thought.

Except for three work areas where we had to stop for a one lane road the drive was nice. After spending all of our towing time on Interstates driving through small towns has been kinda neat. With a posted speed limit of 55 mph and going through towns it certainly is a slower pace than the interstate. We had cell reception all the way but don't ever recall seeing a cell tower. How is that possible?

We have updated our 'Current Location', 'States Visited' and 'Current Trip' gadgets on the blog.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bayfield Wisconsin

We have to say that we love this little town, it is what we imagine the smaller towns of Maine will look like when we get there. We were surprised when we saw that Bayfield has a population of only 611 but we are really liking the small town feel. Ashland is the big town in the area since it has a Super Wal-Mart but at a little over 8000 it is still real small in comparison to some of the places we have been.

What really gets us about this town though is just driving through offers great scenic views of Lake Superior.

Here is a picture of the Church with the lake in the background we went to and the view we get when leaving Mass.

When you drive anywhere it does not take long and you are on a two lane road with forest on both sides. We took a drive to Cornucopia which is the northernmost community in Wisconsin and hardly saw anybody else on the road and there was an occasional really small town like Finnsville population 2 but usually just a scenic drive through the trees with a glance now and then at Lake Superior.

For such a small town you would not expect the high quality eating establishments but the Egg Toss Cafe for breakfast and Maggies for lunch and the Portside at the Port Superior Marina for supper are all good. We had our first Whitefish Livers and we were very pleasantly surprised at how good they were so give them a try if in the area. Also give the Gourmet Garage a try as they make incredible pie and the best pasties we have had to date.

Walking around downtown and all the neat shops is also a treat. Be sure and get some ice cream at the Candy Shoppe and smell what they are baking. We are getting a Croatian Wine Bread before we leave because it smells so good. Being in a place where there are no chain stores or restaurants and everything is locally owned was kind of refreshing. We have already blogged about how we liked just walking by the Pier, Marina and East Dock Park.

We highly recommend the Bayfield area to anybody that wants to come here in an RV or a car.We are already talking about how long we will stay the next time.

Photos have been uploaded to and added to the Bayfield 2011 set.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ashland Waterfront Trail at Bayview Park

We had a great day in Ashland Wisconsin which is near Bayfield where we are staying. In these parts Ashland is the big city with slightly over 8,000 in population. But big enough for a Wal-Mart Supercenter which was the reason for our trip.

It may be only 20 miles to Ashland but we decided to make a day of it since we had seen a couple of really nice parks by the lake when we were here earlier in our stay. We first had lunch at the Breakwater which is a really good place to eat and the prices are very reasonable. Their bread pudding is very good.

Right across the street from the Breakwater is Bayview Park so we headed there after lunch with our books. One thing we really like to do is just sit and look at the water and read our books. When our backsides got sore we went for a walk, then we read some more. We did not realize it but there is a trail that goes for a 10 mile loop along Lake Superior called the Waterfront Trail that runs through Bayview Park and through about 6 more parks and beaches in Ashland. We spent a few hours just relaxing reading our books and walking the trail.

Here is the Ashland Breakwater Lighthouse which you can see from Bayview Park.

After Bayview Park we headed to Wal-Mart for some shopping and then headed back to Bayfield. We really enjoyed our time in Ashland and would visit there even if there wasn't a Wal-Mart.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th at Bayfield East Dock Park

July 4th was the hottest day we have seen while in Bayfield at 86 degrees in the park. There have been a couple of warmer 'official' days for Bayfield but the closeness to the lake helped moderate our temperatures. We are really roughing it here in the park as this is our first stay with 30 amp electrical service which means we can only run one air conditioner at a time. Our site is situated where the morning sun to afternoon sun just beats down on us so eventually the one air conditioner has trouble keeping up.

So we went to have lunch, actually breakfast, at the Egg Toss Cafe in Bayfield, which is a great place to eat. After our meal we decided to walk down to the water to see if it was cooler there and yes it was. We spent the afternoon near the marina and in the East Dock Park. We found a great place to sit which was benches in a gazebo but the entire base of the gazebo was a swing. Two benches on a 8' by 8' platform opposite each other and the whole thing swung back and forth, one of the weirdest things we have seen and definitely interesting when you stood up to walk off the swing. The gazebo was in the shade and the cool lake breeze kept us quite comfortable.

We can sit and look at water and hear it lapping against the rocks all day but we were in for a treat today. There were sailboats everywhere and some of them were involved in a race. It was so relaxing to just sit there and enjoy the great scenery.

 We headed back to the park because we had some Brats to grill. We watched the Capitol 4th and the Boston Pops until it was time to head back to the park for fireworks. We took our Strongback Chairs and found a nice spot in the East Town Park in time to see the fireworks at Madeline Island which is about 2.5 miles away. We waited a few minutes after the fireworks at Madeline Island was done and to be honest we were thinking about leaving when the fireworks started. It was a good show and with the exception of a Kansas City Royals game where the fireworks are exploding right above you it was the closest we have been to a professional fireworks show.

It was a great 4th celebrating the 235th anniversary of the reading of the Declaration of Independence to the troops.

Photos have been added to our Bayfield set and uploaded to

Till next time,

Bob and Jo