The UP is nothing if not rich in character. I came into Munising not really knowing what to expect. It’s the gateway to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, complete with cruise companies, kayak rentals and speed tours of the cliffs by jet boat. It’s also a small town not really profiting in a visible way from all this. The paper mill seems to be more of a lifeline for the downtown then tourism. Motels in the area tend to be modest, but on this trip I’m not up to modest, I’m cheap. Welcome to Scotty’s!
In keeping with the rest of my experience, I ran into really nice people here like the man at the desk who laughed when I said I wanted simple and cheap (base price under $25) to the guy sitting outside smoking who talked about having lived in Missouri and how coming home to the UP was a relief; about how the usual 200 to 300 inches of snow were simply absent last winter. They got some, he said, but he guessed it was less than 100 inches – must be global warming. I hit the Dogpatch Café, where I had a quick burger and took a tour of the town- all ½ mile of it stretched between a steep hill and the lake. Not much to write about.
The promised rain and cold came early and stayed all night and while I didn’t see it myself, I believe the frost warnings that I saw the next morning. The leaf color had changed drastically over night, and it really looked like fall. Rain spit at me through every small town and beautiful vista and I kept moving until Ironwood, on the WI line. Here I stopped to try the famous UP delicacy, the Pasty, at Joe’s. More nice people. It stopped raining long enough for me to walk around town.
The Wisconsin boarder greeted me with a little more tough weather, complete with National Weather Service warnings on the radio (WRUP, Home of the Ishpeming Hematites!) of quarter sized hail and damaging winds. Looks like another motel night and as I slide into the industrial overload of Superior/Duluth.