Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh Michigan!

I haven't posted much lately because I've been trying to catch up on everything else since returning from a little jaunt to Michigan. (And I need to start planning a trip to Hawaii too.)

It will be awhile before I finish cleaning up my text, let alone finish editing all the photos (even with some marginal weather, I still have a LOT of pictures). However, as I get sections done, I'll put a link to them here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The U. P.

Previous Post: We're Off Again

When we awaken, the sky is still a leaden gray. However, the lake is calm and it isn't actually raining. If the weather doesn't get worse than this, it will be ok.

As we head toward Michigan, there are still fall colors: First pale yellow tamaracks and then brilliant golden poplars laced through the dark evergreens. They call out for attention, but in this light, it is a muted call.

We have a long day ahead of us if we want to reach the Mackinaw Bridge before dark, so we don't plan to make a lot of stops, however, I do want to stop at Agate Falls on the Ontonagon River.

The sky is brightening even as we park. Maybe the weather is taking a turn for the better!

The path to the waterfall overlook is cool and shady, still dripping with moisture from last night's rain.

The dominant feature here (besides the trees) is an old railroad bridge - the Ontonagon River Middle Branch Bridge, a state historic civil engineering landmark that is now part of a regional bike trail. (That's for you, Brian! :-)

It's a great bridge.

The waterfall, on the other hand, is a bit disappointing. The river is barely visible through the trees until we reach the viewing platform, but even here it is hard to really see the falls and the shore looks inaccessible. It's a pretty enough place, but not particularly special. . . of course, it might be more impressive on a sunny day.

We continue on through the UP, passing through Marquette without stopping.

After a couple false starts in our search for lunch (we miss the turn for one spot and another is closed for remodeling), we end up at the Brownstone Inn near Munising. The food is fine, but what pleases me most are the picturesque little cabins that surround the restaurant.

On the road again, the sun is finally beginning to really show itself.

It is going to be a beautiful afternoon, but we have a lot of territory to cover. Not much time to stop and enjoy the scenery. Dang.

Although, I can't resist the pull-off at the Cut Creek Bridge, where the parking area boasts a lovely view of Lake Michigan.

The bridge itself is best viewed from the bottom of an impressive set of 231 stairs.

But not today. While it is now a beautiful day, we don't have either the time or energy for the trek back up if we do go down, so we admire the bridge from only slightly below grade.

I am christening this "Bridge Day." I have already seen two cool bridges and next will be one of the grandest - the Mackinac, which connects Michigan's Upper Peninsula to the rest of the state.

It's just a glimpse, but it's an enticing glimpse.

I am determined to get a good picture, so I make Lane stop at a couple of overlook areas. The first aren't great, but a little gravel road along the shore takes us to a better spot.

The bridge is quite elegant, but I'm a under-whelmed. Maybe the promo was too much: At five miles long and 55 stories high, it's billed as the "longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere". I was expecting something more dramatic.

Actually crossing the bridge is pretty cool though and, thanks to a construction project, traffic is backed up enough that I can shoot through the windshield as we cross. Excellent!

Next Post: Heading South

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We're Off Again

I ran into Peggy and Brian on my way out of the office, giving them both a cheery "Good bye! See you next week!" as I step into the elevator.

As the door closes, I can hear Peggy ask "Where is she going. . . Wasn't she just on vacation?"

So, in answer to Peggy's questions:
  • I am going to Michigan, and,
  • That was such a short trip it shouldn't even count as a vacation.
To be precise, we will be attending an Inuit art collector's meeting in Traverse City this weekend.

This event seemed like a reasonable excuse for a fall driving tour, so now we are in Duluth.

Lane has spent the better part of the day hanging around Canal Park (in the rain and wind) waiting for me to finish a series of meetings. Don't feel too sorry for him though, as mostly he has been hanging out in Sivertson's, the Duluth Pack store, Hell's Kitchen, and Amazing Grace bakery. It could be worse.

Now, my meetings successfully concluded, we are off, through the rain, toward Ashland, Wisconsin.

Our plan had been to drive to Ashland via Bayfield in order to celebrate Lane's birthday (belatedly) at Wild Rice. However, this afternoon Lane discovered that my information was old and that the restaurant in now closed on Tuesdays. Dang.

I guess we'll get to Ashland a earlier than we had planned.

This would be a lovely drive if I could see it a little more clearly through the rainy haze. There is a lot of yellow mixed in with the pines, but the colors are dulled by this weather. Oh well. Perhaps I'll finally have time to catch up on my reading during this trip. . .

Next Post: The U.P.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

North Shore Colors

Although my neighbor's ash tree has turned a brilliant shade of yellow, from my perch here on the front porch it is very hard to believe that it is fall. It sure doesn't feel like fall. . .

But fall IS arriving, even here, and I heard on the radio that this should be the peak weekend for fall colors up along the North Shore. It's hard to believe that it will be even more beautiful up there this weekend than it was two weeks ago -- so perhaps they are wrong. You can decide for yourself:

At Ken & Hazel's (September 22)

Out Amidst the Trees (September 23)

Good-Bye Duluth (September 24)
Gooseberry Falls
Along the Way

A Scenic Drive (September 25)
Along the Brule

Peak Experiences (September 26)
Blueberry Hill
Gunflint Lodge
Happy Anniversary!

Morning on Gunflint Lake
(September 27)
Honeymoon Bluff
The Two Harbors Lighthouse
At the Rainbow's End

The Details