Michigan Road Trip, Part 2 (Upper Peninsula, Michigan)

After leaving Frankenmuth, our route took us over the Mackinac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula.  The Upper Peninsula is commonly referred to as the UP and people from that area are Yoopers.  Apparently people who live “under the bridge” (i.e. south of Mackinac Bridge) are “trolls” — too funny!

Our first stop for the night was just outside Munising.  Munising is a popular area since it’s the location of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  The lakeshore attracts about a half million visitors each year and boasts 15 miles of cliffs and 100 miles of hiking trails.   Our evening was pretty low key (aren’t they all!) with dinner at the Duck Pond in Christmas and then a drive through the park to a view point for the Pictured Rocks.  Very pretty drive and very nice lookout spot.

The next morning we headed off to Copper Harbor for two nights.  The last 10 miles into Copper Harbor are a motorcyclist’s dream.  Nice sweeping corners on a well paved tree covered road.  Copper Harbor is located pretty much as far north in Michigan as you can go.  It’s also a stepping off point to Isle Royale National Park which is the furthest north  in Michigan.  Access to Isle Royale is available by foot ferry daily; a 3 to 3.5 hour boat ride each way on Lake Superior.

Sunrise in Copper Harbor
Sunrise in Copper Harbor

We had picked the Bella Vista Motel in Copper Harbor because it had a great view of the water.  We were not disappointed.  Add a comfy bed and we were glad we had made this a two night stay.

Our full day in Copper Harbor started with breakfast at the Tamarack Inn which is known for it’s raspberry fritter French toast…..and for good reason.  Excellent breakfast there.  So good that we even went back the next morning.

Our morning was spent touring the area on Al’s Goldwing.  I like to ride but sometimes I’m quite happy to ride pillion.  Brockway Mountain was our first destination.  It is a nice ride up Brockway Mountain with several lookouts for great views.  Elevation is 726 feet above Lake Superior and 1328 feet above sea level.Al at the top of Brockway Mountain

Al at the top of Brockway Mountain

Next stop was the lighthouse at Eagle Harbor.  We arrived just after the first tour of the day was started.  The volunteer offering the tour was obviously knowledgeable about her topic and happy to share.  She was also very good at keeping to the high points and letting everyone know she was available if we had more questions or wanted more info.  There are four smallish buildings including the lighthouse to tour.  If you’re interested in history, you’ll really enjoy this spot.

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

Between Eagle Harbor and Eagle River are two spots on interest and they are pretty much side by side on the road.  St. Jacob’s Waterfall and the Jam Pot.  The waterfall is easily seen from the roadside so there is no need to do any hiking to get there.  It’s a pretty little waterfall — one of many in the area.  The Jam Pot is a little shop that sells jams, jellies, chocolates and assorted baked goods — all made and sold by the monks of the Society of St. John.  We purchased some jams to take home and bought some Hermit cookies for a snack.  Yummy!

Our tour continued into Eagle River and then back into Copper Harbor via that beautiful stretch of road that I mentioned above.  Back in Copper Harbor we rode out past Fort Wilkins to the end of the road.  We had hoped to be able to ride to the lighthouse but the road ends before you get there.  The only access is via a tour boat which leaves from Copper Harbor.

Our afternoon and evening were spent relaxin on the deck of our motel overlooking Lake Superior.  A bit chilly with the wind blowing off the lake but still very nice and relaxing.

The next morning we headed back to Munising with the intent of taking the sunset cruise to the Pictured Rocks.  Unfortunately, all cruises that day were cancelled due to the windy conditions on Lake Superior.  Pictured Rocks Cruises offers 3 different cruise options; all about 2.5 hours in length.

While in Munising though, I did get an chance to try a pasty.  Pasties are a Michigan local food what I would describe as a tourtierre hand pie.  The one I tried was full of beef and potatoes but a little on the bland side for my liking.  It is possible to get them with gravy and that might just be what is needed to make them the favourite that they are.

The next day was the end of our Michigan road trip as we headed back into Ontario for a night before we spent a week on Lake Kipawa in Quebec.  Stay tuned for my next post which is about our week at an off grid cottage on this lovely lake.

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