For the last week we have been associating with Yoopers.  Voluntarily!  Seems that residents of Michigan’s U.P., or Upper Peninsula, are called Yoopers.  And very nice ‘ers they are.  We’ve enjoyed their beautiful environment.


Sand Point Lighthouse

Construction was started on Sand Point Lighthouse in 1864.  John Terry was appointed to be the light keeper, but he died just before the lighthouse was finished.  His wife, Mary, lit the lamp for the first time on May 13, 1868. (Happy Bday Lori!)  She ended up serving as the light keeper until 1886 when she died in a “mysterious fire” in the lighthouse.  Was it an accident?  Or was she murdered, the lighthouse robbed, and fire set to cover the deed? It was never discovered what really happened…

The lighthouse was shut down in 1939 when a new light was installed in the harbor.


The harbor at Sand Point was very peaceful.




Sunrise from our bedroom window:



Mackinac Island

This beautiful island is named for the reaction my Dad would have had here:
Mac – in – awe.  Sometimes it is spelled with a “w” as the last letter, most of the time with a “c”.  Usually the pronunciation is blamed on the Indians who lived here, but I think it more likely the French influence.  They seem to love lots of letters that they don’t bother to pronounce.

The trip to the island starts with loading our bikes onto a ferry, at a very nice terminal.

The ferry takes only about 15 minutes, and gives a nice view of the Mackinac Bridge.  Some of the ferries throw up a big “rooster tail” of water, looking to me like the most inefficiently trimmed jet boat ever.  I asked the captain of our ferry about that… He said they have a third diesel engine just to pump water up and out the back like that – just for show.  Make the kiddies happy!  They are powered with two diesels running huge props.



The most prestigious lodging on the island is the Grand Hotel:


The island is unique in that no cars are allowed.  Transportation is by bicycle or horse drawn carriages.  Or of course, you can use your feet.  The architecture is elegant, the scenery gorgeous… just watch out on the street for all the exhaust from the horse drawn vehicles!

There must be 500 shops selling fudge!



The bike trails are plentiful and plenty pretty.  Sometimes a bit challenging to avoid horse exhaust…


A stone arch makes for a nice framed ocean view:


Sugar Loaf Rock stands all alone it its clearing, much larger than it appears in the photo:


From the lookout you can see it rising far above the treeline.


While at the lookout, a pair of Bald Eagles flew right by us!  Magnificent!



The main fort on the island is Fort Mackinac (Who’d have guessed?) which is NOT pictured here.  This is Fort Holmes, up above the much larger fort, and on the highest point of the island.  This is a re-creation, but very interesting to note construction techniques and a great place to eat lunch!




We have a photo (somewhere) of both of our lovely daughters on this cannon, taken many years ago.  Sorry they couldn’t be here this time!


Here’s the Arch Rock from sea level:



Everything is so well manicured, it’s hard to tell the golf courses from the hotel lawns.



Three Churches

The first is the evangelical protestant Mission Church.  Built in 1829, it hosted very simple worship services, in a very modest interior with enclosed pews.




In marked contrast to the Mission Church is the Saint Anne’s Church.  This Catholic congregation got started on the island in 1670.  It later moved to the mainland in St. Ignace, and later again moved to what is now Mackinac City.  The first church dedicated to Saint Anne was built in 1742.  In 1780 the building was moved across the ice to the island, near the fort, and then later moved to this site.  This church structure was built in 1874.  I can’t believe all the moving!!  And you will notice this is far more ornate, with fancy woodwork and impressive stained glass windows.IMG_1860


The third church I’m featuring here is the “Little Stone” Church.  It was built by the Union Congregational Church in 1904, and 10 years later they added hand painted stained glass windows.  These have almost photo-like images for the faces, and the scenes depict the progress of the protestant movement on the island.





The Grand Hotel

If you are privileged to stay at the Grand, you must arrive in a classy carriage.


These two seemed dressed appropriately, (I’m pretty sure they worked there) but the fascination with the cell phones somewhat ruined the effect.



There were hundreds of butterflies in the flower gardens… so I shot a few.



Before we left, we had to get something at what is billed as America’s Oldest Grocery Store.  I’m not sure how they have decided this.  Maybe they sell the oldest groceries??



Ste. Anne’s from the water:



A little lighthouse guarding the harbor entrance:




Back home



In a park Gladstone, MI, is this interesting collection of concrete figures, made around 1910, to honor the Indians who were there first.  They are life sized, and remarkably colorful.


The park in Gladstone



We’ve heard many times that Lake Michigan is very high right now.  We’ve seen docks either underwater, or floating way off kilter, but this playground was the most striking evidence we’ve seen so far!



Another sign (literally) is this rock.  “Chi-Sin” or “Big Rock” sits near the shore as a water level indicator.  I include this sign here to show how it is usually far out of the water…


And here it is today… the one on the left.  Under a fair bit of water.




McGulpin Point Lighthouse

… was closed.  So you don’t have to read a lot of history about it.




So now we have moved our home to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.  Talk about funny pronunciations… “Sault” is pronounced “Sioux”.  Does that help?  Or “Sue” if you’re not French. Or “Sue” if you’re a lawyer.

Anyway, “Sault” means “Rapids”, so the name is really “Saint Mary’s Rapids”.  The rapids have been augmented by a series of locks, so the resulting channel is a huge shipping route from Lake Superior to Lake Huron, and eventually out to the Atlantic.  [The locks are called the “Soo Locks”, just to further complicate things!]

The St. Mary’s river forms the border between the USA and Canada.  A walk along the Canadian shore in the evening was fascinating, both in the beautiful colors present and the interesting swirling of the water coming from the locks.





More Door County

Wagon Trail Campground


Our Secluded Campsite



Wagon Trail has Yurt campsites – really cute!  I read through the yurt’s guest book, and loved this kid’s entry…



They also have cabins…




A “Sister Resort” to the campground is Rowley’s Bay Resort.  In their lobby is an old pump organ that reminded me of my Grandmother, and the organ they shipped to Peru in 1913.  And it turns out this one was carried across Green Bay- by horses and a sleigh over the ice on the winter of 1920!




I know this may sound like a paid commercial, (it’s not!), but we have really enjoyed this place!

Bike Ride to Europe

We rode our bikes through the woods all the way to Europe!  Europe Bay.  Super beautiful and it didn’t involve trying to pedal over the ocean.




While traipsing through the woods, I picked up some cute hitchhikers- This plant had nice little flowers, and interesting baskets of seeds waiting to get out and travel!




Peninsula State Park





Blossomburg cemetery is in the middle of the State Park – a pretty area with some very old stones.



Here’s a guy who didn’t take many notes… and Charlie is pretty scarce on details too.



Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

Opened in 1868, this lighthouse and others in the area are where virtually all lighthouse keepers in the country were trained in those days.





The grounds are surrounded by these berries – and we can’t verify what they are!  Maybe Autumn Olive Berries?  Please feel free to enlighten us!



Cana Island County Park

This is the only island I’ve been to where we were pulled through the water by a Deere.  The road ends on the sand, with a sign saying “No parking beyond this point”.  The sign is somewhat pointless itself, because there is only water past the sign.  Then a John Deere tractor arrives from the island, pulling a wagon over a narrow spit of land, covered with 2-3 feet of water.  Then it’s our turn, and off we go into the bay and to the island. It’s a unique experience!



Down the stairs and up into the Fresnel lens:






A quaint little town, with an interesting history.  Originally founded near what is now Green Bay, by a Moravian preacher, to give those of his faith a wholesome place to live.  He turned out to be a bit more of a shady land developer than a preacher, however.  He was buying property from the government and reselling it to the locals at a great markup, and not even producing legal deeds.  When he was found out, he left town, and so did everyone else.  They started a new town, same name, same goals, well up on Door Peninsula.  The religious foundation of the area is perhaps the reason why this community is so peaceful… and was the last “Dry City” in Wisconsin… only voting to allow sales of alcohol in 2016, thus ending a 163-year ban on beer and wine sales!






Met a cutie while shopping…





Washington Island








This fascinating building looks like it might have been designed by Darth Vader, but it really is modeled after medieval Norwegian chapels.  A “Stav” is a pole, or mast.  This chapel has 12 center staves, and is built with joinery like a Viking ship.

A replica of a sailing ship from the early 1800’s hangs from the nave, and a tool belt hangs in a corner as a memorial to one of the builders who died before the chapel’s completion.


Schoolhouse Beach

This beach claims to be one of very few with such rounded rocks.  Seems we’ve seen them elsewhere, but whatever… it’s very pretty!


Jackson Harbor




Washington Island Farm Museum








Jacobsen Museum

Jens Jacobsen built his cabin in the Norwegian style, with vertical logs instead of horizontal logs like Abe Lincoln would have done.  Leaving the bark on, the vertical logs were supposed to shed water quickly and be preserved longer.



In his museum, we met 11 cousins there for a reunion… some of which had never met each other previously.  The one on the stairs works at the museum.









Ellison Bay / Death’s Door Maritime museum





I was fascinated by these old Kahlenberg diesel engines.  Very interesting early 1900’s technology.







Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant

A Door County must is this beautiful restaurant in Sister Bay.  It’s easy to find… the only place with goats on the roof!  The sod roof is home to a number of goats, and has been a landmark for decades.  But it’s the Swedish Pancakes that make it worth the trip!


Here’s a little video of how they make these Swedish Pancakes…

Evening in Sister Bay:






Opening Door County

Becky’s Birthday

We gave our daughter a surprise birthday party in our “home”.  It was fun because our grandkids helped decorate and did a pretty good job of not letting the cat out of the bag…

At least Becky acted surprised!

Nothing better than a good bowl of Melting Ice Cream Birthday Cake!


Omro Wisconsin

We had a great time for about two weeks at their house, and then it was time to move on.     We were headed for Door County, Wisconsin.  We are trying to have short driving days, to help us remember we’re retired and don’t have to do 9 hour marathon driving days.  So we stopped at a campground in Omro.  No frills, just long level sites and electrical hookups.  Water and dump station near the office.  But only $15.  A great place if you are just passing through.



Door County

A small peninsula cuts from eastern Wisconsin into Lake Michigan, and creates Green Bay on its western shore.  A couple of miles north of the tip of this promontory is Washington Island.  The small stretch of water between the peninsula and the island looks fairly safe, but storms can arise almost instantly out of nowhere and turn it into a very treacherous channel.  When French trappers arrived here in the early 1600’s, the local Indians told about how many lives had been lost in making that crossing.  They gave the channel the attractive name “Porte des Morts”, or “Door of Death”.  Over the years the peninsula was called the Door of Death Peninsula, and then just Door Peninsula, and now is officially Door County.  We haven’t yet braved crossing the Door of Death, but we sure are impressed with how beautiful everything is here!  We had loosely planned to stay maybe five days… but have extended our reservation to ten days.

It has rained a lot since we’ve arrived, but we still love it here.  We’ve spent a little time riding bikes through the forest, looking at nice beaches, checking out quaint towns, shopping at huge produce markets, and eating very well!  (We have made some awesome scones, and some terrific home made bread in our convection oven.  Our first baking in the convection oven has turned out very well, and we are encouraged!  Some have said you can’t bake in convection… WRONG!)  

Last night was our 43rd anniversary! (Congrats to us!)  We went out to dinner and then to an interesting theatrical venue.  The Peninsula Players have been doing professional Summer Stock productions for 84 years on the shore of Green Bay!  They are the longest running professional summer theater in the country.

The play was called “George Washington’s Teeth”, and I thought as part of my ongoing professional continuing education I really should see it. 😉  It was well done and fun, but the coolest part was the beautiful grounds and facility.  Right on the bay, they have a lot of chairs in a lightly wooded area, and a large bonfire.  I’ve never sat on a log by a lakeshore 5 minutes before curtain time before!  I didn’t take any pictures there, but here is a promo of the company you might enjoy.  If you don’t like it, I didn’t make it, so fine…


We are staying at the Wagon Trail Campground near the northern tip of Door County.  They claim to “Specialize in Quiet Nights and Secluded Sites”.  Our spot is both quiet and secluded, and absolutely gorgeous.





Many trails lead from the campsite off into the forest.  Our bikes really aren’t mountain bikes, but managed these trails adequately.  Absolutely beautiful!






The water is high now, so lots of docks are low in the water or under water.  We’ve had a lot of rain, and sometimes a lot of wind as well.





The little towns are adorable.  I plan on shooting architecture photos next week,  but here’s a cute house on the highway.



We took a Trolley Tour from Egg Harbor up through the Peninsula State Park and around the old town of Ephraim.  The driver/tour guide was a lot of fun, and described almost everything as the “Best in the country” or “Best in the world”.  Who knows? Maybe he’s right!



State Fair!

Minnesota State Fair

I’ll admit it… I thought it was super crowded at the International Pathfinder Camporee at Oshkosh.  Close to 60,000 people, close to each other… close enough for me.  Well, the Minnesota State Fair has roughly 225,000 people EVERY DAY!  And even more the day we went! (I’m sure they didn’t count us).

It was great fun, and greatly tiring!  Exhibits, Dock Jumping Dog Shows, Lumberjack and Lumberjill Shows, Lots of Carnival Rides, Tons of “Eat only at State Fair Food”, uncountable Animals, and PEOPLE!  I’m sure we saw about 5% of what was available, and that took most of the day!

I was told that you are almost required (by tradition) to buy a bucket of cookies from Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar.  This Sweetie has three locations on the fairgrounds where you can buy a cup or a bucket of chocolate chip cookies (what other types are there?). Some folks waited 45 mins or more in line to get their cookies!  We got our bucket miles from the entrance and spent only 5 mins in line…  They make well over 2 million cookies per day!! That’s 200,000 per hour! In the 12 days of the State Fair, they go through 54 tons of chocolate chips and 62 tons of flour!  Huge trays come out of the ovens, and while you watch, the workers scoop them into buckets, overflowing the top to dangerous levels!  If you do the math, it seems like everyone attending the fair must eat 10 cookies… As you might guess, I tried to do my share.  Awesome cookies, straight out of the oven…

Here is my attempt to document our day at the fair:


The next day we decided to watch Rogers & Hammerstein’s movie “State Fair”.  You’ve got to love the lyrics of the theme song:

“Our State Fair is a great State Fair – don’t miss it, don’t even be late.
It’s Dollars to Doughnuts that our State Fair is the best State Fair in our State”


Fun with Less People

A little time bike riding (Some with wheels on feet) took us to a nice park, playground, and a small lake.




Home Projects

I had the privilege of helping Kevin with an exciting home project… I’ll show you more when it is finished!  We got to use plenty of wood working tools and feel very manly! 😉

I also am working on a couple projects for our Fudge Ripple Home on Wheels.  A few weeks ago I installed a water softener, which provides nice soft water regardless of what the water is like where we stop.  At the same time I got a water De-ionizer, and a small pressure washer, for cleaning the coach.  It removes EVERYTHING from the water (except the water itself).  When you wash or at least rinse with De-I water, it dries without any spotting.  A great way to keep the coach looking new!  The hard part is finding a place to install it!  I wanted to use empty space under the hood (in front of the motorhome) and not take up valuable storage space in the basement.  I’ve had to move the airhorns, and the windshield washer fluid reservoir, and some other small parts, to make room.  So now the pump and tanks are installed, and ALL I have left to do is get water and power to the whole thing.




And so ends another long week…