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volume 1                                October 1990                            number 8
More of Michigan's Jewels 

Your editors spent one month in Michigan's Upper Peninsula while waiting for the Flath reunion. Besides Grand Marais which we covered in last month's issue, we camped in Munising, Ontonagon, Iron Mountain and Manistique. Here are a few of the highlights. 

Porcupine Mountains State Park in Ontonogon is located on the very western edge of the Upper Peninsula (UP) is 58,000 acres of picturesque wilderness. The campground is very modern with nice bath houses and the best showers in the whole state park system. The many trails through the park are unimproved and make for challenging hikes. A back packer can hike for a whole week here without reaching civilization. It did give one a perspective of how Michigan looked to the early settlers. 

Iron Mountain, Lake Antoine County Park. This campground was only 1.5 miles from town and it was fun to be close to shopping etc. There are two fantastic museums in town. The Menominee Range Historical Foundation Museum is housed in the old Carnegie Public Library which was built in 1901. We spent two enjoyable hours there examining the detailed exhibits of early life in this area. There was a replica of a trapper's cabin, trading post and much more. The other museum (you can visit both for one low price) less than one mile away was primarily a mining museum. The star attraction there was the Cornish Pump which was built in the late 1800's. It is the largest pump in the Northern Hemisphere. We were amazed at its size. Also at the mining museum was an exhibit on Henry Ford and the glider factory he built in neighboring Kingsford during World War II. Part of this display was a half hour video of old newsreel films that pertained to Ford and �tooling up for the war.� Nostalgic, even for the part where the reporter seems amazed that women are able to do a �man's job� in the factory. We women already knew (even then) that we can do anything we want to do. 

Manistique, Indian Lake State Park. This is a beautiful state park and we were lucky enough to have a spot right on the lake. While at this park (over labor Day weekend), we drove a short 20 miles to Fayette State Park which is the site of a once bustling industrial community that manufactured charcoal pig iron between 187 and 1891. It is an enchanting ghost town that has been skillfully restored. One could almost hear the people who once lived there. Another side trip was to Big Springs Palm Brook State Park. There a wide pool of eerily clear green water, 45 feet deep is fed by a cluster of springs flowing at a rate of 16,000 gallons per minute. Water here never freezes in winter or warms up in summer-it is always 45 degrees F. One is able to view the bubbling spring from holes in a raft that one can manually move across the pond and back by means of a cable. 

Fun Facts!!
Michigan's Upper Peninsula is as big as Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts combined. 

Lake Superior is the second largest natural lake in the world, surpassed in size only by the Caspian Sea. 


by Ron

I don't care much about crossing the Mackinaw Bridge in a motorhome. It's best not to look down. That rail seems awfully low. 

Pasties are overrated. They are really nothing more than a meat pie. If they have rutabagas in them, they are better. 

In our year and one half on the road, we have found that the Iron Mountain Elks Club has the best Friday night fish fry. Their cajun broiled perch is absolutely gourmet. 

Run down house trailers and junk cars in beautiful scenic areas such as Michigan's upper peninsula annoy me. 

So far the least cooperative post office (and there are many) can be found in Iron Mountain Michigan. One hundred miles east at Manistique, they can't do enough for you. 

It seems to me that the chicken dinners in Frankenmuth Michigan aren't what they used to be. No red cabbage or cranberries and instant mashed potatoes --- Spare me!!! 

We both wonder why we didn't take up tennis years ago. We love it. Kids shouldn't have all the fun. 

Barb's golf game is a real concern to me. If she keep improving, she will be more competition than I can handle. 

Final report on the motorhome. The gas tank has been taken off and flushed. We have been informed that the station in California that sold us bad gas is out of business. Good riddance. 

This 'N That
by Barb
This is my new column/page. It may become a regular feature depending on how much of this kind of news there is. 

We attended the 11th annual Renaissance Festival at the Shire of Holly (between Pontiac and Flint in Michigan). We had been going every year until we went on the road. We missed last year and I can't believe how it has grown. Although it was a cool and yukky day, we had fun. I was disappointed that Mr. Snead , the undertaker wasn't there. He is my very favorite scary person. I got to be a pawn in a live game of chess but I got killed. 

We camped next to a Newell Coach at a Coast to Coast campground in Gaylord. These coaches sell for well over $400,000 and we even see 10 year old ones advertised for $200,000. These people had been full-timing for 11 years and do not tow a car. I asked them how they get shopping done and how they visit tourist spots (you don't drive that 40 foot coach to the grocery store). When they get to an area and need to get around, they simply rent a car. 

While we were in Gaylord, we drove to the Hartwick Pines State Park where the only stand of virgin white pines in the state of Michigan are preserved. We were impressed at the size of these trees. It was awesome to think that once the whole state of Michigan was covered with these majestic trees. I felt bad that our neighbors in the Newell coach didn't get to see them. 

We are into a new exercise routine now that we are in coast to coast parks. In the morning we walk two to four miles (15 minute miles) then play tennis for at least 30 minutes. The last park we were at, we added a game of golf on top of that. I hope our bodies appreciate all of this. 

Ron may be worrying about his golf game, but he really plays a mean game of tennis. He sure keeps me running -- then he gets to rest while I fetch the balls I miss. I wonder if that is why he thinks it is a fun? 

Did I tell you that I got to see the videos of my high school reunion that we missed this summer? Boy!!! Everyone looked too old to have graduated with me. 

While waiting for Jim and Sue to arrive for the reunion, we invited Mark, Ana, Glenda, Pekka, Liisa and Robert so spend some time with us at Smoke Rise (our home Coast to Coast park). They stayed in one of the log cabins and had fun. The first night they stayed up until four in the morning just talking. Mark with  a tiny bit of help from Glenda fixed a breakfast of crepes and hash browns (his own terrific recipe) both mornings. I didn't know he could cook. Good job, Mark, Then I hassled them because they hadn't submitted recipes for the Weld family cookbook. 

While at the cabin, we spent an afternoon frolicking in the pool. Fun!!! Liisa and I played tennis too. She is fun to play with. She hits the ball like a nice normal person should. 

One step better than having all one's children together is having the grandchildren too. I have a nice picture of me with Kristopher and Liisa. Sadly Kristopher will probably be three when next we meet. They live in England. 

Everyone tried their hand at fishing while at the cabin. I never did see any fish come home though. 

Speaking of fishing, Ron got to spend a whole afternoon all by himself in a boat while we were at Indian Lake State Park. He said he caught lots of fish but threw them all back. I heard him once tell one of the fish he was throwing back to "get his father." Guess he wanted bigger, older, more mature fish. 

We are getting excited about our volunteer work in the National Park at Hot Springs, Arkansas. I was hoping to have some advance information to pass on to you in this newsletter, but it didn't arrive yet. 

One of the things I miss when we leave Michigan is WJR---especially the mornings with J. P McCarthy. I used to just listen to music stations when away but now I am searching our morning programs on other AM stations and there is good stuff out there. Just this morning we caught KMOX from St. Louis. 

My kids and close friends know how excited I get at Halloween time. I miss being able to fix up a haunted house in my garage for trick or treat time. So I will print a picture of a haunted house and send you a ..... BOO!!!! 


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