Honeymoon: From Big John to the Big Spring

As soon as we made it up Bayfield's relatively steep hill we put the gear in the car and I put the bikes back on the rack. 

I don't think our car is meant to have a bike rack like this. The hatchback window is bolted into steel, but you're actually tethering the bike rack to the glass. Every time I heard a creaking noise along the highway I was nerve-wracked.



We headed back on the road towards our next destination Mackinac Island.

We started snacking right away.

Once we entered Michigan a few honest-to-goodness mountains sprouted up. Of course that means skiing. Had it been winter, we would've had to stop.


Our little Honda Insight cruised along the empty highway. Every truck in sight along the Ottawa National Forest were loaded with timber. We drove past the old growth piled like pickup sticks.
We were ready for lunch so we took a break in Iron something.

Iron River.

This was the first of many chances to eat Pasties. A pastry of sorts native to iron country. Instead we stopped at Scott's Subs.


On our way again and past the other Iron city (Iron Mountain) we stopped at Big John. I remember coming here as a kid when my family did an Upper Michigan vacation.




I filled my water bottle with water "From Old Faceful." It was good. I just can't imagine it really being mine water. Wouldn't it be full of mineral deposits?

We decided to skip the tour after seeing the admission price. Scott tried to convince me that there would be better mine tours later on. I wasn't convinced they'd be better than this one.

We still looked around the gift shop.
And took photo ops.

Across the street we found more giant figures.



Escanaba and the daylight. (Blake points out that it would be Ecanaba in da Daylight.)

Once we reached Escanaba we decided to get out and stretch our legs with a bike ride.

In Minnesota we have the phrase "Minnesota Nice." After being in Escanaba for 10 minutes we were happily greeted by everyone we passed. I think Michigan should take over that phrase.

And Minnesota should change theirs to "Minnesota Passive-Aggressive."

The bike trail we rode along took us onto an island that had beaches on one side and a bay on the other.



I checked out the water and exclaimed that it was warmer than Madeline Island. I then insisted we go for a dip.


I had to agree that Lake Michigan was a lot warmer than Superior.

The wind and the waves enticed me into the lake. We dove into the waves like we were at Noah's Ark.


The sun was getting low and we needed to find a place to stay for the night.

It was time to head on. This would be a brief, but brilliant memory.



We ended up at the Flowing Well National Forest Campground. We quickly set up camp before it got too dark and then ventured out in hopes of finding dinner. We ended up finding nothing and ate peanut butter rice cakes instead.

Day 6


We woke up early and enjoyed the scenery that we missed out on the night before.

The Sturgeon River was right behind our campsite.

We brushed along its banks.

Since we had no wood we headed to Manistique in search of breakfast. We found a quaint diner downtown, Floyd's Family Restaurant.

I hadn't slept well the past two nights and was in much need of coffee. When the owner sat us down he asked if we wanted any. I responded "YES!" quickly. He jokingly said, Whoa she's crabby today. Our waitress said, You know why she's crabby? Because men are dumb.

I was dumb and ate some delicious flapjacks. Who's dumb now Mrs. Hashbrowns and Toast?



While reading through our Michigan travel guide  I read about the Fayette Historic State Park. Its an abandoned ghost town located just south of Manistique on a peninsula that mirrors Door County.

A history of the park:
"Fayette was once one of the Upper Peninsula's most productive iron-smelting operations. Fayette grew up around two blast furnaces, a large dock and several charcoal kilns after the Civil War. Nearly 500 residents—many immigrating from Canada, the British Isles, and northern Europe—lived in and near the town that existed to make pig iron. During 24 years of operation Fayette's blast furnaces produced a total of 229,288 tons of iron, using local hardwood forests for fuel and quarrying limestone from the bluffs to purify the iron ore. When the charcoal iron market began to decline, the Jackson Iron Company closed its Fayette smelting operations in 1891." 


Some buildings were just shells while others you could still walk into.


So, Brooke walked...

...into to the woods...

...up a set of stairs...


...and just plain admired them.
They are still working on preserving many of the buildings. I hope to go back again in 5 years to see what else had been done.


They had some cute, if a bit easy, puzzles that the kids may have played with in one home.

The small town even had live entertainment.


The furnace was definitely the centerpiece of the settlement.


Brooke and I both thought so and took the same picture.




To think all these buildings stood vacant and overgrown by trees for more than 50 years before it was turned into a park.

They also had a hotel.

In fact the hotel was one of the last places to close before the town become a state park in 1956.



The folks at the restaurant also recommended we go to the Big Springs (Kitch-iti-kipi) at Palms Book State Park. We spent more time than we thought we would at Fayette and we needed to get to Mackinac Island. We debated about skipping this since it wasn't really on the way, but I'm glad we didn't.

The spring is 40 feet of clear water. You can see everything. I would have loved to swim in here but it stays at 40 degrees even in the summer.

I had to instagram this place.


It's a huge drop off so the park built a raft for viewers to take across with a hole in the middle for seeing the bottom.



You could photograph the place all day. So many unique colors and textures.

I snuck a few pics on the shore with my underwater camera. Had it been sunny out it would have been clearer.


While Brooke took a bathroom break I eyed up the rubber band guns.

 
Then we raced to St. Ignace to catch our ferry.
We were 5 minutes too late. 

 I was worried since our Bed and Breakfast said we had to check in by 6.

We'd either make it to our Mackinac Island B&B or sleep in the wild. 

Comments

emma said…
I remember that big red pole.

Fayette is really neat. My dad and I camped nearby once. I met a kid and gave him a rock, near the water.

Big Spring is really cool, too.

I'm reliving my childhood. Thanks.
Blake Romenesko said…
I think you meant Escanaba in da daylight.

Also you can come up and tour the Soudan mine in Soudan, MN.
Katrina said…
Fayette and the springs look really neat. I should have gotten a travel book when Dennis and I went on our honeymoon. I hope you made it to Mackinac Island in time to check into your b&b.

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