___________ May 31, 2015 ___________

Vacation Time!

((day five: down the rabbit hole))

Well, after two days of being in Munising, it was time to move on.  We got up, packed, ate, loaded up, and took off thru Munising (stopping at their LIGHTHOUSE!) on M-28… which was only a very short jog from our actual destination.

IMG_6047 (555x402)But we had to head north – you can’t get that close and not go to Christmas, Michigan.  And I’d never been.  Always joked about it – I told my sister I was going to live in Christmas when I grew up, and marry a guy named Nicholas Claus, so he could be St. Nick and I could be Anna Claus.  Yeah... but I thought it was more cute than lame at the time.

IMG_6051 (416x555)Christmas, Michigan is pretty much a junk store – and I mean junk – a gas station, and a rather large casino.  Santa and slots?  Who knew?  Christmas also has a lighthouse (LIGHTHOUSE!!), but it’s really weird.  It’s a long way from the water, doesn’t have anything more than a tower, and is completely lost in the trees.  There’s a little drive to it, and then you back out after snapping the picture.  Whatever.  (((O_0)))  Crazy lighthouse lady don’t care, lol.

IMG_6053 (499x555)The Christmas Lighthouse.  Could that be considered a ‘North Pole’?
And shouldn’t it be red and white?  ((I’m seriously digressing…))

IMG_6061 (555x233)The Christmas Casino.  In case you need holiday cash.
((Time to stop, now…))

Our second destination was just beyond Christmas.  Across from a roadside park on the water, on the side of the road furthest from Superior is Scott Falls.  So we stopped there, and I have to say that after SEVEN miles of hiking, the day before?  We were VERY glad to just cross the road and visit the falls.  So much easier.  And very pretty.

IMG_6059 (416x555)And on our way back to Munising, on the side of the road, you’ll never believe it, but two sand hill cranes!  Standing four foot tall and having a wingspan of six foot, Sandhill Cranes hold the record as the oldest living bird species.  But they were eight feet from the car, and just hanging out!  So beautiful!!

IMG_6057 (555x356)So were the next hike-to falls.  We took M-94 toward Chatham, and at Au Sable Road, we veered north for not even a quarter mile, and saw the Au Sable Falls.  It was a tiny hike down a driveway to the falls, and that was it.   (NoTe:  There’s a trail behind the power plant going down river.  Don’t bother… there’s nothing down there.  Except bugs.)  Did I mention that while the day before it was SNOWING and blowing and high waves on the lake, today was in the sixties and sunny with no wind… and the bugs were absolutely insane.  I had no idea that snow was such a blessing!  LoL!!

IMG_6107 (555x405)Au Sable Falls.  Short walk down a drive, viewed from a bridge.

Then we reached Chatham.  If you go north thru Chatham and keep going on that road, it’ll take you to Rock River Falls… which I have to tell you, I’ve never been, but it’s my FAVORITE of the falls we’ve seen, this trip.  I included the webpage for the falls, because without this guy’s very precise directions, you will NEVER find these ones, and they are SO worth it.  The picture doesn’t do them justice (the two falls are next to each other… or maybe the smaller one is only a springtime thing?  Not sure).  Maybe it’s my favorite because it was ROUGH (driving and hiking) to get to these, and it makes the treasure at the end all that much sweeter?  That may be the case, because I felt the same way about Mosquito Falls, the day before, and that was KILLER hiking.  It was my favorite, until this.  And that was more dangerous than this one, with trails on the edges of cliffs… which is why this one won out over it as my favorite.  It was about 2 miles of hiking, round-trip.

Rock River Falls.  Hard to find, hard to reach… worth it all.

After a picnic lunch (there’s just not much for food, out this far), we continued on.  Just a few miles further was Laughing Whitefish Falls, which I’ve been to at least three dozen times as a kid.  It was my mom’s go-to waterfall, so we were constantly going there, year-round.  We’d never gone to Rock River, but this one I had LOTS of stories about… so the kids were geeked about it.  Like the time my mom dropped rock-colored jelly beans and ‘found’ edible stones for us as we hiked back from the falls.  It’s only 1.2 miles round trip, and the falls are a 100 foot cascade with caves and rock formations.  Very kewl, too.

IMG_6066 (555x494)At the top of the falls

IMG_6069 (416x555)When I was a kid, we used to climb the side of these falls…

IMG_6076 (416x555)Lots of rock overhangs.  We used to climb down in these, too…

Then we took US-41 to Marquette.  Where I worked, went to college, grew up, went to church… I started getting apprehensive when we hit Harvey (which used to be pretty much nothing) and saw strip malls and fast-food joints.  HomiGOSH, nothing was familiar!  Okay, Kathy’s house was familiar… and I told my story about her dogs (my first shocking experience with Great Pyrenees).  But everything else was CR-azy built up and nothing like I remembered.  And likely Kathy’s family doesn’t live there, anymore…

Then we hit downtown Marquette.  The shops were different, but the buildings were the same.  We headed down to the Ore Dock, then to the lighthouse (and now I know why I’d never seen it – it’s all ‘keep out’ Coast Guard BS.  Gag.).

IMG_6151 (555x416)
IMG_6126 (524x555)Then I took the family up Lakeshore Drive.  We took their picture with the ‘Yooper Dome’ – the world’s largest wooden dome, where my friend Gregg and I used to run together every week in the winter.   I took them to NMU (which is… holy wha, SOOO much different and more built up with fancy huge buildings than when I went there!).  The music building was closed for the night, so I couldn’t take them back to the practice rooms I always told them about.  Maybe tomorrow, on our way to SugarLoaf Mountain.

And we went on to Presque Isle and went rock collecting and climbing on the rocks out the back of the park.  The kids loved it.

IMG_6129 (555x316)Presque Isle.  It was far more beautiful than I remembered.IMG_6138 (482x555)Look how clear the water is?!

IMG_6141 (416x555)And all of the ROCK.  I forgot how much ROCK is in the U.P.
I spent the whole week just touching the rock…

IMG_6143 (555x278)Speaking of… my kids are stone collectors.  When they saw this…?!
They want to move to Marquette.  Or Munising.  Basically, the U.P., period.

We then drove Washington Street west, so Brian could get an idea of how big Marquette is.  To be honest, *I* was surprised by how much bigger Marquette is!  I recognized some, but wOw.  So different!  So HUGE.   We went looking for a hotel, and landed the most beautiful room we’ve had yet – with the most space: three queen size beds and a pull out queen sofa.  My kids were just in awe.  I was pretty amazed and happy, too!

IMG_6154 (555x299)That bank wasn’t there, before… where’d that come from?!

Then we went to the Hardee’s where I used to work for supper, and I’ll admit it – I ate bacon and was unclean for an hour and a half.  Willfully… but… Frisco burger, hello…!   Lord, smite me if you want, but…  Nevermind.  We won’t go any further with that.  We ate in what used to be the ball pit, and I told the kids stories about accidentally slipping and sending an orange pop out the drive-thru window, and the kid who liked to use the mop as a microphone and serenade the diners, and the old hippie who came thru for a free coffee (black) at 11pm every Wednesday who taught me to count in Japanese, and the elderly piano teacher who came at 10pm on Thursdays for a hot fudge (no nuts, extra fudge) and always asked for a piece of bacon for her poodle, which waiting in the car… the midnight trip to Escanaba with my co-worker chick and two guy pals to get donuts (both of whom I later dated, at different times), and then hurry back to SugarLoaf to watch the sun rise, and end up back at Hardee’s for breakfast…

I know, I know… nostalgia…!!

Then we went back to the hotel to pretend we weren’t in this surreal version of a place I once knew.  Because it felt a lot like being down the rabbit hole, that night…

day oneday twoday threeday four
day fiveday six aday six bday sevenday eight

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1 Comment

  1. That’s a…casino??! It looks like an Outback Steakhouse. 😛 Yeesh, puny thing. I have fond memories of the old Hardees. I say old because the food just doesn’t taste the same as I remember, and it’s nearly extinct in this state anymore. But iirc they had some of the best pickles.

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