Glorious Fall-chasing colours and on the road again!Part 2-Back to the USA
Definition: Lover of roads, or better, love of travel.
The Trans Canada Highway is a transcontinental federal-provincial highway system that travels through all ten provinces of Canada from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. The main route spans 7,821 kilometres (4,860 mi) across the country, one of the longest routes of its type in the world, isn’t that special!…and the views. We were lucky with a few sunny breaks as we crossed rivers and drove past still lakes as we made our way West to the Sault. and then South…
I’d found a State Park, Brimley, near Sault Saint Marie on the Michigan side right on Lake Superior, it said it was open so we were excited to be away from the road and closer to the wilds once again. Groot and Gamora were not pleased with the last campground, between the roar of traffic and cars they were not very happy on their short walks, no more running wild around the lake:(
Borders, why do they always cause that sense of dread. Officious Customs and Immigration, weird and odd questions, even if you are guilty of nothing you feel guilty of something;) hahahahaha! Ok, so I’m a bit of a seasoned smuggler, food that is, cat food, in the freezer, and fruit, sometimes a hidden apple can lead to dire consequences;) the website isn’t all that clear on what you can and can’t bring in so I always just go with what we have, only offer what is asked. The US seems convinced Mike is going to take work from some poor struggling American so we are always quite clear to tell them we are “visiting” heading to “Mexico” and not a prolonged stay…that seems to keep them happy…this trip we ran into a very nice woman, while struggling to keep the cats from jumping out the drivers window she was kind and sympathetic while her colleague watched the cats antics laughing, a nice change from the prison guards who work the San Ysidro border;) Welcome to UP Michigan, upper peninsula, small and friendly border:)
It was a short drive South on the US 75 and a few miles East brought us to the Brimley State Park, no one to be seen, self registration which I’d done online, we pulled in to an amazing spot under glorious coloured Maple trees. By Sunday afternoon all the weekend campers and squealing children on bikes (the cats liken them to some sort of dangerous alien) were gone, we were one of 4 campers left in this 237 site park…talk about camping perfection! The cats were ecstatic, running through the leaves and up and down the small banks near the beach and paths out to the lake, like the small squealing children:) Brings joy to your heart watching that kind of play, even Beezil went out and had a gallop around the trailer chasing falling leaves, a great feat for a 17-year-old kitty!
The variety of leaf colours was simply astounding and that perfect sand beach. We were told it is packed in the summer, so obviously this is the time to come!
I had read about some waterfalls near here, well, sort of, an hour away. I felt bad making Mike drive for another day but it was forecast to rain later in the day so I got him going early and we headed to Tahquamenon Falls State Park, North and West of us.
These are the largest Falls in Michigan, and you even get to drive through Paradise to get there. We went into a grocery store, the grocery store in Paradise. The produce section included a ripe bunch of bananas, two rotting tomatoes, some potatoes and onions and a few odd apples. I think I’ll skip paradise and keep heading West;)
We went to the lower falls first, the clouds were closing in and it looked like rain. The mists from the Falls settled over you from the closest overlook. As you first walked in you caught a glimpse of several Falls in the lower section.
The Tahquamenon River, this is the land of Longfellow’s Hiawatha “by the rushing Tahquamenaw” Hiawatha built his canoe. Long before the European man set eyes on the river, the abundance of fish in its waters and animals along its shores attracted the Chippewa Indians, who camped, farmed, fished and trapped along its banks. In the late 1800’s came the lumber barons and the river carried their logs by the millions to the mills. You drive through the Hiawatha National Forest, no old growth here, everything was cut down many many years ago.
The Upper Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, has a drop of nearly 50 feet, more than 200 feet across. You can access the upper falls by a series of steep stairs that go down to a boardwalk along the sides of the river for a series of beautiful views and roaring water. Sadly there is nowhere to get off the boardwalk, which makes photography tricky, especially long exposures. The people plodding by bounce the boardwalk…but I found a small quiet overlook for a few 30 sec. shots:) with the Fall colours it was breathtaking! There is also a viewpoint right beside the Falls as well.
I could have spent several more hours here but stomaches were grumbling so we tried the brew pub up by the upper Falls parking lot, soso, beer was undrinkable, really, and I’ll drink most anything;) but the whitefish sandwich was fine pub grub, truly sad about the beer though:( We headed back to Brimley State Park, should have checked out the camping at the lower Falls but rain was on the way and we wanted to get back before it started to pour. I do love waterfalls, can you tell? Is there an app for that? Oh dear, Mike is cringing! hahahaha:) Such a wonderful man! Now where are the next set of waterfalls to photograph?
When we left Brimley, we were the only campers there. We had to sweep the mounds of fallen maple leaves off of the slides before we left! Piles of them! One last walk on the beach for Groot and we headed South on the 41 towards the next small County park we could find open!
We just had to find it, both our phone and truck GPS took us in the wrong direction once we were getting close to Oconto, Wisconsin, and we missed the small sign on US 41, so asking directions from an older gentleman sitting on his porch was the way to go as he stared out at Lake Michigan. It was a quick fix and a turn in the other direction, a bit of mayhem but a sigh of relief as we pulled into Bay Shore County Park right on the lake and pulled around to our reserved site, one other camper here, it was lovely. More grand maples in reds and yellows and a view of the lake through the trees, and quiet! The best thing we could ask for. Electrical and water, until today, they turned it off, the water that is, but we were not missing anything the fellow said, it smells like sulphur. I’d read that and we came with what we needed. Temperatures will be falling to freezing tonight and the wind is howling. Time for a rest and tomorrow we head West towards Sparta, Wisconsin, Greece would have been warmer I think;) We’d hoped to get a new set of tires for the truck, ugh, 6 of them, but Discount Tire in Green Bay couldn’t get them in so we’ll wait for Sioux City and wear them out a little bit more.
We’ll keep you posted from the road as we head West. Today we bought some groceries at an Amish Country Store and read a pamphlet on the evils of Halloween, I made sure we had our Día de los Muertos shopping bag with us…we were dressed modestly (I told Mike, NO sparkly spandex!) as the sign on the door directed us to do so by 1 Timothy 2:9…yikes…the garage where we had our propane tank filled was going to make garages “great again”…reasons we are heading West to heathens and pagans of the Pacific coast;)
Saludos Amigos, hasta pronto:) may the force be with us all;)
What a great tale of a wonderful start to your road trip south. Absolutely fabulous photos, too. As I said before, it makes me want to hit the road again.
It has been an amazing trip of colour so far! Thanks so much!
Thanks for sharing such beautiful photographs!