Saturday, July 26, 2014

Exploring More of Yooperland: Grand Marais

The UP (upper peninsula) of Michigan has 300,000+ residents and they are known as Yoopers. Residents of mainland Michigan are known as trolls. We have met some trolls up here in Yooperland as well as a few Yoopers. They are all very nice people and we are enjoying our stay :)

We left Baraga and our casino campground last Tuesday and travelled east to Grand Marais.

Grand Marais

We settled into Woodland Park Campground, a city owned park. This park is a little tight, very popular and right on the shores of Lake Superior. I can deal with a little tightness to see that beautiful water :) This park offers water and electric sites with cable TV and a dump station. They have a weekly rate which gives you one day free.

Woodland Park

Grand Marais is the eastern boundary of Painted Rocks National Lakeshore. There are numerous places to hike and explore along the 42 miles of shore it encompasses, ending in Munising. There are huge sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, sand dunes, light houses, primitive campgrounds and hiking trails galore!

Sable Falls was our first stop on the Lakeshore this week. After a short walk from the parking area, we found ourselves descending several flights of stairs down to the base of Sable Falls. Beautiful!

Sable Falls

We ended up on the beach at the base of Grand Sable Dunes.

Grand Sable Dunes

Then realization set in. What came down, must go back up!


169 steps later, we were on level ground again :) It didn’t seem to be a difficult climb but I can tell you that my legs were sore for more than a day!

Another area we encountered was Log Slide. Once upon a time, the loggers slid logs into Lake Superior to be hauled away for processing. The slide chute is no longer there but some of the equipment used to move the logs remained. How about the size of those wheels?

Log Slide

The view of Grand Sable Dunes from Log Slide was amazing!


The actual Picture Rocks of Picture Rock National Lakeshore is closer to the west end of the Lakeshore and they are spectacular.


The various minerals in the water create the different color streaks on the weathered rock.


We had great views from Miner’s Castle


I think the thing that amazed me the most, though, was the color of the water. It was just as turquoise as the Caribbean…unfortunately much, much colder :)


Picture Rock National Lakeshore was a great place to be this week. We finished off the week with a great fish fry and a couple of craft beers at the Lake Superior Brewing Company in Grand Marais.


Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Yooperland Jamboree and Big Eric’s Falls

Don’t have a heart attack! This is my 3rd post this week!! I promise. It won’t last :)

We took off on Saturday heading to Aura MI for the 38th Annual Aura Jamboree, a celebration of musicians from all over the country. It’s one big Jam-fest and it continues to grow annually.


We enjoyed listening to the musicians as we wandered the area. Everyone was having a very nice time. We should have brought our chairs :)

Aura Jamboree

Of course, we wanted to support the local community, so we each had a beer, a brat and an ice cream; then we left them to their celebration :)


We have driven by a memorial site in L’Anse MI called the Bishop Baraga Shrine (pronounced bear-uh-guh) several times. I was curious, (We are staying in Baraga) so I looked him up. Bishop Baraga left Slovenia for the upper Great Lakes and was known as the “snowshoe bishop”. He would trek miles and miles in the north country on snowshoes ministering to the Ojibwa (a branch of the Chippewa) Indians.20140719_142656

You can find more info about this interesting man here.


There are many, many waterfalls in the UP. No one seems to agree on just how many, however :)

One site said there were more than 150; another site site, 87.

On Monday, while we were out exploring, we found Big Eric’s Falls. It’s one of the smallest waterfalls around, but quite pretty, nonetheless.


We had directions from L’Anse but the further we drove, the more apparent it became that we were right in the middle of nowhere :) No cell signal, no GPS signal, heavy woods on both sides.


Finally the road came to an end and we turned right per our directions. We found the Falls a mile or so down the road under the bridge on the Huron River and right by Big Eric’s Campground, a primitive park and part of the Michigan State Park system.



The Falls are tiered going down the Huron River. Very pretty.

As it turned out, we were wrong about being out in the middle of nowhere :) That didn’t happen until we crossed the bridge over the river. Civilization basically stopped. The road became a logging trail, no signage and wilderness all around. Rick looked at me and said “This is why we have a Jeep!”


After 5-6 miles of this with no way of knowing what was down the road, he ended up turning around. I was not disappointed in that decision. It would have been a very bad place to break down or have a flat tire :)

Tomorrow is travel day. We are headed a little further east. Thanks for stopping by. Turtle


Friday, July 18, 2014

Crossing Into Michigan

On Tuesday, July 15, we left our family in Wisconsin and headed north towards Michigan. We didn’t go far. 43 miles later, we stopped at the charming city park in Dorchester, WI to enjoy 50 amp FHU and catch up on laundry :) As lovely as our site was during our family time, it was only 30 amp with no water and no dump station. We had to be very careful we didn’t overfill our tanks. There is no dump station (where we would fit) anywhere close.

On Thursday, July 17, we left Dorchester and drove 4 hours to Baraga, MI on the Copper Coast and the Keweenaw Bay area.


Our first choice was the city park in Houghton, MI but they were booked through the weekend. We ended up staying at the Ojibwa Casino in Baraga, about 30 miles south of Houghton, a first for us.


The casino park has no ambiance because it’s on the fringe of the parking lot :) BUT, it has 50 amp FHU, 90+ channels of Cable TV and blazing fast Wi-Fi. It was a no brainer for $20/night.

Friday we took off for Houghton to see what we missed by not being able to stay in their city park. It was a beautiful area. Each site had their own covered patio and all were waterfront.


The view was pretty nice too. If we come back to this area, I’ll reserve far in advance to get one of these sites.



We walked the boardwalk from the park to downtown where we picked up a couple things and stopped at 5th and Elm Coffeehouse for their Friday lunch special, fish tacos and chips. 20140718_130015

Unfortunately, I have to say they were just “OK”, nothing special :( The fish was supposed to be whitefish, but it was reminiscent of catfish to me, not one of my favorites.

Tomorrow we plan to find the Aura Jamboree in Aura, MI. It’s supposed to be THE big thing in this area each year. Musicians from all over congregate and make it one big Jamb. There’s supposed to be several different kinds of music represented but our next door neighbor here at the casino plays the banjo and says a lot of it is Bluegrass. He traveled here from Florida to participate. We’re looking forward to joining in the fun :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Family Time In Wisconsin

*WARNING* many pictures of my awesome family! :)

We just completed a wonderful week with family in Wisconsin. Rick and I arrived last Tuesday and parked Lucy close to the cabin our kids/grandkids had rented for the week.


It wasn’t long before our kids showed up and it grew from there Smile The property has a private pond for paddle boating, fishing and swimming. The kids loved it!  Pictured below are our 4 grandkids and my sister’s 4 grandkids getting reacquainted. They hadn’t seen each other in 6 years! They got along fabulously all week. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Sunset Pines

The cousins visited the cousins at their home in Wisconsin Rapids one day and the adults took that opportunity to go out to dinner at an adult establishment :) In Wisconsin, that’s a tavern :) I didn’t take many pictures of that excursion but the one I did try to take got photo bombed by my cousin Jane! Haha!


She and her husband and son had stopped by for a quick bite to eat. I convinced them to pose for a real picture after her photo bomb attempt :) We had a great time that night and I had the BEST steak sandwich I’ve ever eaten… at Behind Barr’s in Greenwood, Wisconsin! Seriously awesome!


On Saturday, we had a family reunion at sister Sheila’s house. There were only 3 children in my family, but those 3 had a total of 7 children (not counting 3 awesome step children who were not able to attend) producing 12 grandchildren. They all attended except for the eldest grandson Matt, who had to work. The day was cloudy and rainy but we made the best of it and celebrated in their huge garage most of the day :)

201407 Wisconsin1

We celebrated 2 birthdays also.

Landon turned 6


and “The Golden Child” turned 62 :)


Both cakes were created by my very talented niece-in-law, Kathy. She is amazing! She taught herself how to do cakes like this on Pinterest! P1030983

It was wonderful having everyone together and the event created many photo ops :)

Here’s my 2 girls, Nicole and Carrie


My mom and her 3 kids


Mom with her 3 kids and their spouses


Mom with her great-grandkids


Mom with her grandkids and great-grandkids


Not bad for only 3 kids, right?? :)

We had three 4 generation shots

Mom, me, my daughter Carrie and the great-grandkids Lily, Patrick, Maggie & Sabrina


Mom, brother Randy with sons Levi and Randy, great-grandkids Dominic, Zachary, Kari and Emma


Mom, sister Sheila with daughter, Jennifer and great-grandchildren Ethan, Katja, Mya and Landon.


Mom with her daughter-in-law, Ree.


And last but not least, the Outlaws :) Rick, sister-in-law, Ree and Brother-in-law Vern


We had a fantastic week and miss everyone already!

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Little Small Town Fun

What a fun week we’ve had!

We spent last week in Champaign, IL at D&W Lake Camping and RV Park. This is a nice little park with it’s own lake, out in the countryside, but only 3 miles from all the shopping and restaurants you could want :)

D&W Campground

It was a nice place to chill for awhile and meet up with our friends, Mike and Terri. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, we spent little time with each other that week. (Mike and Terri addressed that in their blog if you’re interested :) )

That changed this week, however :) We are currently at Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park in Lena, IL. We connected with Mike and Terri on Tuesday and have been next door neighbors all week. Mike and Terri grew up in this area and graciously agreed to be our tour guides while we were here and what fun we’ve had! :)

First off, they took us to their hometown of Freeport, IL. Mike has a favorite local potato chip that he loves and tries to stock up on while they are here.


He bought a big ole box, which we also got to enjoy later on during Happy Hour :)

From there, we went to Union Dairy, an old fashioned ice cream parlor that dreams are made of…seriously. This place was amazing. The ice cream was amazing. It’s a good thing I don’t live here :)

Union Dairy

After stuffing ourselves, we headed to Krape Park to walk it off :) What a beautiful and large city park! They have something for everyone.

Two of my favorite views.

Krape Park

The next day, we headed for Monroe, WI. Ever since Mike and Terri posted a blog about Monroe, Wisconsin last year, I’ve wanted to experience this little town. I was not disappointed.

We arrived in the town square to have lunch at Baumgartner’s, a local favorite. This is a quaint little restaurant with a lot of character!

Baumgartner's Signs

I ordered the Reuben sandwich and I must say, it was the first time I’ve ever had it where it was not grilled. The ingredients were warm but the bread was plain seeded rye. Surprising to me, it was very good just plain :)


Our waitress was ready to photo-bomb a shot of our food so we gave her center stage :) She did a great job for us!

Once we ate our share, we wondered the town square where we enjoyed lots of local street art.

Milk cans galore!

Milk Can Art

Animals on every block.

Monroe Animal Street Art

We even found a mermaid that Rick took a liking to :)


All in all, Monroe, WI gets a thumbs up from me! What a great example of small town America!

We celebrated the 4th of July with a traditional Midwest Friday Fish Fry :) I grew up in an area that sported Friday Fish Fry’s everywhere. It’s difficult to find this anywhere else. Mike and Terri found an awesome place for a FFF…Logan’s Bar and Grill in Freeport, IL. All you can eat Cod with French Fries, Cole Slaw and Garlic Bread!


Sure wish I had remembered to take a picture of all that wonderful fish! :) Needless to say, none of us left hungry :)

Today, we headed to New Glarus, WI, a quaint Swiss Village in the middle of southern Wisconsin.

New Glarus WI

We started our day at the New Glarus Brewery.

New Glarus Brewery outside

Because it was a weekend, we had to do a self-tour. It would have been nice if things had been labeled a bit better, but we muddled through just fine :)

New Glarus Brewery Tour

Once we completed our self-tour, it was time for a tasting. The lines were long! Who knew everyone in southern Wisconsin/Northern Illinois would be at the New Glarus Brewery this afternoon???!!

New Glarus Brewery Crowds

We did, eventually, get our sampling and we all thought the Back 40 Bock to be the winner.

We stopped at the New Glarus Hotel for Linner before heading home. The food was good, the company better and we’d do it all over again! :)

New Glarus Hotel

The end!


Thanks for stopping by. Turtle