Sunday, July 28, 2013

We’re in Marquette, Michigan


July 28, 2013                                                                                                                       Lorraine’s report

Hello everyone from the Ojibwa parking lot casino in Marquette, MI.  We were lucky and got into a site-(only 7 sites) for this casino. The first night it was raining really hard and we couldn't get into anything here.  We  called a place down the road and they had one sight, 30 amp,  no water or sewer and it cost $30 a night. So, as hard as it was raining we decided to spend the night in the  parking lot and hoped for a place in the morning.  Sure enough one opened up first thing in the morning and we moved over to this spot.  I can't say too much, the casino gives us $5 cash and two tickets for playing Black Jack.  So far, I've won on the two nights we have stayed here. But you know, this area surely does need some better and lots more parking places for RV's. What they do have is not great and they want a fortune to park your rig in here. 

So as I said, it is raining, and this area reminds me of home, (the underbrush, the  trees and just the general area). I had to put on long pants when we came last week.   It dropped from the mid 80's to the 60's, way to cold for me.  I’ve had to put on a sweatshirt and a jacket; it's not the Southwest area again.

So last Sunday, we traveled into Cloquet, MN.  We set up, toured the town and ended up at the Black Bear Casino for dinner.  They had prime rib buffet and it was good. 

The next day Larry R came by to see us.  We talked about our travels and he started us thinking about going over to Niagara Falls in New York.  After he left, we talked some more and we decided that since we are 2/3 of the way across the nation that maybe this would be a good year to see that area-the upper part of the North East.  We have wanted to see the leaves turning color in the fall; that is on the bucket list.  So I think we should do this, we are only 1000 miles from the east coast, to come so far and not see the leaves as they turn really doesn't make much sense to me.  So that is what we are going to do.

On Tuesday, Dave and Sandy came by and we went to the North Shore Drive of Lake Superior- a very nice road trip.   What a great drive for all of us.  The winds were calm and the water was really pretty.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time with them.  And we got to eat at the Angry Fish restaurant and Betty's Pie later on. Both were really good!  We will not see them now until they get their rig in January.  Thanks you guys for a good day!

Wednesday we left and went in Wisconsin.  We stay at Ashland, WI., a small city owned park. The park was very nice and Chuck found me a place to have my hair done.  It turned out great, but it sure is iffy when the gals start out.   We had dinner and enjoyed a nice quiet evening home.

Thursday went to a tourist trap, Bayside, WI.  I wasn't impressed with what shops they had there, so we went to the Legendary Waters Casino.  We played a bit, both  ended up for the day. We came home and I made dinner. 

Friday found us moving again into Marquette, WI.  Yesterday we went to Pictured Rock and enjoyed the area.  But as I said it is really like back home, with all the underbrush, the trees etc. 

And today it is raining and wet and cold.  Is summer really over?  Sure hope not!  But Sandy said it would be a lot cooler here and she was right.

So that is it for me...I want to wish my sister, Thelma, a Very Happy Birthday next Sunday. 

Hugs to all,





7/28/13                                                                                                                                     Chuck’s report

Well, we finally left Minnesota and are continuing our trek East, seeing parts of the country we haven’t been to before.  In fact, Michigan is a new state for us, the motor home hasn’t spent a night in the state until Friday.  We have made some very preliminary plans for the rest of the summer but more on that later in this report.

Last Sunday was a travel day for us, we left Deer River and headed into the city run park and campground in Cloquet, MN.  We were pleased to get a spot in our first choice here, this park is on an island in the St. Louis River and in a very nice setting and an added plus is the campground hosts were extremely nice and helpful.  We were planning on staying for at least two days as we wanted to do some exploring of the area.  After we got set up, we made a quick run into town mostly to get a lay of the land. 

As we were making our tour, we saw where there was a casino, Black Bear, just a few miles down the road and we decided to check out it’s food venues.  We decided to try their buffet, that ended up to be a good decision as they had good food and plenty of it.  We then tried our luck on the slots and both of us won a little while there.

Last week Dave and Sandy told us they would drive up and join us on our trip along the North Shore of Lake Superior, the day would be dependent on the weather forecast.  It looked like Monday was still iffy so they said they would be up at 9:00 on Tuesday.  That left Monday with no plans for us, a common occurrence to be sure. 

The park we were staying didn’t have sewer hookups at each site, just a common dump at the exit of the park.  Lorraine decided that it would be a good idea to do the laundry in town as our next planned stops were to be minimal hookups.  So off to town we headed to find the laundry the campground hosts had told us about.  We found it with no problem and it was a good one, clean with plenty of machines that worked.  In just a couple of hours the laundry was finished we made a quick trip into Duluth, MN. to get some dog food for Misty. 

 After we got back to the coach, our friend from Lewis and Clark Chapter stopped by for a visit.  He as been in the area for a couple of weeks and will remain at his brother-in-law’s place until after his high school reunion in August.  It was good to talk with Larry, we had a good visit and learned a few things from him.  He spends a lot of time at 1000 Trails campgrounds and has traveled to the states we haven’t made it too yet.  So we took this opportunity to pick his brain too.  Thanks for stopping by Larry, come on back anytime for another visit whenever we happen to be in the same area!

Tuesday we were up and ready by the time Dave and Sandy got to our rig, they had a 2 1/2 hour drive so they had been up for awhile already.  Within a few minutes we loaded up our car, even had Misty with us as we were planning on being gone for quite awhile, and with Dave driving we headed out for our day trip. 

Our first stop was in Duluth, Dave had ordered some motorcycle clothes from an outfit in town and it was ready for pickup.  From there it was up the North Shore and some really nice scenery along the lake and through the woods.  We stopped by a state park that Dave knew had a waterfall, another nice stop with lots of pictures.  We saw a lighthouse along the way but decided not to pay the price they wanted to tour it as we’ve been through lots of lighthouses before and wanted to use our time to explore the area.

Our next stop was at Artist’s Point, a place along the route that I probably wouldn’t have stopped at but luckily Dave and Sandy knew about it so we stopped there for a visit.  I had never seen the like, the rocks are piled up from the wave and tide action into little piles.  Some of them are as high a four foot tall, most are more in the range of two feet.  Some look very solid, others like the next wave will knock it over.  I can’t imagine how the waves work to do that but check the pictures following for some examples. 

Our next stop was in Grand Marais, a nice tourist trap type town.  We stopped at the Angry Trout for lunch, someone had recommended it to us but we couldn’t remember who, it was a nice place too.  It is located right on the shore of Lake Superior with a boat harbor just to the South of it.  We drove around to a park just beyond it and it was pretty nice too. 

By the way, I imagine most of you have heard of the poem by Henry Longfellow, Hiawatha, or the Gordon Lightfoot song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and have heard of Gitche Gumee.  I didn’t know that it refers to Lake Superior, in fact the Ojibwe Indians call it Lake Gichigami, meaning “Big Water”. 

For those who may not remember, here is the first two lines of Hiawatha, at least it’s how I remember it all these years later. 

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.

After we toured a bit through Grand Marais, we headed back to our place.  We had a couple of stops along the way, one was at a roadside park right next to a waterfall.  The other was at Betty’s Pies restaurant, recommended by Larry when he stopped by the other day.  Everyone had a good lunch but made room for a large piece of pie. 

The rest of the trip was just more looking out the windows at all the scenery.  I told Dave I would send him my doctor’s bill for treatment of my sore neck from all the “rubbernecking” I was doing.  By the time we got back, it was getting late and they still had a long drive back to their place so we just got everything unloaded and put in the coach or their car and said our byes.  We still hope to see Dave and Sandy this winter back in the warm, dry, Arizona sunshine.  Thanks for coming up and spending the day with us and special thanks to Dave for driving, I an not used to doing so much sightseeing as usually I drive, see you two down South. 

Wednesday morning we got everything set up for traveling and headed out.  We had to stop by the dump station to empty our holding tanks then on the road again.  We headed East towards Duluth then over the bridge into Wisconsin.  We have been in this state before but down South, our first trip to the Northern part. 

Once again we were planning on staying at a city park in Ashland, WI., this one right on the shore of the Lake Superior.  As luck would have it, they had some openings so we disconnected and backed right in.  When we went to pay we were surprised to learn they had increased the price to $30/day, not the $20 their web site shows and this was for 30 or 50 amp power and water only.  But we were only planning on staying for two days and it was right on the lake, a nice place. 

After we got set up, we did our normal run through town and found a hair dresser in town where Lorraine could get her hair done.  We had to make a quick trip back to the coach to get her “receipt” for them then I dropped her off and came back to the coach.  I spent most of the time working on our travel plans then ran back and picked her up.  As we drove through town we noticed a lot of the buildings had murals painted on them, very nice ones at that.  Of course, we took pictures of them and I will probably include some of them in the picture section too.

When we got back to the coach the first thing I noticed was our generator was running.  We have an auto start for our generator, it will start either if the air conditioner/heater thermostat asks for power or the batteries drop below a given set point and there isn’t any shore power available.  So with the generator running I knew we had lost shore power.  I checked it out and found the breaker had tripped at the power pole, not a problem, I just reset the breaker. 

Next day we wanted to make a day trip up the shore to the town Bayfield.  Neither of us was impressed with Bayfield, not what we expected but it is a nice town on the shore.  We were going to continue on and make the full loop but decided to check out the big casino up there, Legendary Waters.  I think Lorraine was a winner while I was about even there.

When we got back to the rig I noticed our generator was running again.  And once again, the breaker was tripped at the pole.  This time I walked over to the host to let them know about it.  By their reaction you would have thought I burned the whole place down.  Later the guy came over and said it had to be something on our coach causing it, he said we must have a “bad relay”.  I told him that the breaker was running hot and we were only pulling about 35 amps so my suggestion was he get an electrician to check it out as it was either a bad breaker or had loose wires.  Of course, there was no one available until the next day so I told him we would live with it for the night and leave the next morning.  I wonder if he actually had anyone check it out or just marked it up as a “bad relay” on that guy’s rig. 

But we only tripped it twice more that night and things cooled off real well as we had a thunder storm that evening.  We had lots of rain, some wind and the temperatures dropped at least 15F.  I think that helped with breaker getting hot plus we didn’t run the air conditioners either. 

Friday morning we got set up for traveling again, headed out for Marquette, Michigan this time.  Our plans were to stay at a RV park at a casino just outside of town, Ojibwa Casino.  They only have 7 sites with power only but as luck would have it, all of them were taken.  We went into the casino and they informed us that they had 20 amp power hookups at some of the light standards in the parking lot and we could hook into one of them for the night if we wanted.  But there were too many cars in the lot and we couldn’t get near one of the light standards so we decided to just boondock in the parking lot for one night and run our generator as needed. 

We went back to the casino to tell them we were going to stay in their parking lot and they said that worked, they would still give us our money.  We didn’t know exactly what she meant but she told us they would give us both $5 per day and $10 in table match play for every night we stayed at their place.  Now that’s an unusual deal, they pay us $15 each to stay, what a deal. 

We made a trip into town, as usual, and checked it out.  Marquette is the largest town in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan and is a pretty good sized town.  We had a couple of stops to make then returned back to our place. 

After Lorraine fixed dinner and we ate, we went into the casino to check it out, we had only walked in to the customers desk before, play a few slots and use our match play on the black jack table.  We both had good luck there, Lorraine won more than I did so I let her sit at the table and play all 4 hands of black jack.  Her first had she was dealt a Blackjack and she won two of the next three so we left there with more of their money, well, I guess it was ours now. 

Saturday morning we hung around to see if someone was leaving their sites at the small Park here.  Just before we were getting ready to head out on our tour, I noticed someone putting things away and looking like they were planning on leaving.  I walked over and talked with him and sure enough, they were going to be leaving in 10 minutes or so.  We got stuff put up, enough to pull in our slides and moved over to the empty site.  The sites only have electric power but at least it’s 50 amp so we can keep the coach cool or warm as needed without running the generator or diesel burner.  Once again, we walked into the casino to sign up for the night and once again they gave us $5 and $10 match play each, they paid us $30/day to stay here. 

After we got moved and after breakfast, we headed out to tour more of the coastline of Lake Superior.  We’ve been somewhere along the coast for all week now and still haven’t finished with the American side of it.  This time we both remarked the coastline looked more like the ocean coastline in the Northwest.  We drove through a town called Christmas, Lorraine made me promise we would stop there on our way back, and up to the Pictured Rocks area of the shoreline.  This is an area where the cliffs and bluffs are multi-colored layers of rock, best seen from a boat off shore.  We didn’t make the boat tour as it was too cloudy and windy but talked about maybe taking it on Monday when the weather was forecasted to be better. 

We made a few stops along to way, in one sandy beach area Lorraine got her foot in the waters of Gitche Gumee or Lake Superior again.  Of course we had to stop by the Christmas store in the town of Christmas too.  After we got back to the coach, we had dinner then walked over to the casino to play our match play.  This time I didn’t even play the slots, just walked around and “people watched”.  Lorraine had a very good day at the slots, she found three of them that really like her and paid off well.  Plus we won at the black jack table again, I’m really starting to like this place. 

So here it is, Sunday morning and once again time for our blog.  We will get it written and posted then head into town, I want to stop by the visitor’s center and see more of the residential area.  We haven’t been to the casino today yet to sign up for our stay tonight but will do that later. 

The weather has certainly been cooler, it’s more like we are used to back in Washington in October so not only the shore line but the weather is like the NW.  The highs are only getting to the lower 60s and its getting cold enough to need a heater at night.  We had a good thunderstorm our last evening in Ashland and we drove through rain most of the way here from there on Friday.  Yesterday was mostly cloudy with periods of rain and so far this morning it’s been cloudy and rainy all morning.  And we both have given in and are wearing long pants vs shorts and tee shirts.  I sort of expected cooler temperatures but not this cold.  I heard on the weather report this is normal temps for the middle of Oct., not late July. 

As I mentioned earlier, we have been discussing our travel plans for the remainder of the summer.  We have decided to continue on with our plans for the UP then cut over thru Canada to Buffalo,NY., seeing Niagara Falls for the first time.  We then are considering heading on up and hanging around to see the trees change colors this fall in the Northeast.  If we do that, we will try to tour the area as much as we can, get some lobster for Lorraine and not plan on returning in two/three years as we had talked about.  But there is so much to see and do, I’m sure we will have to return someday but we’ll plan that later. 

Ok, now to go through our pictures and pick out which ones to post here.  I’m sure with all the drives we’ve made along the coast that I will probably add lots but then again, we’ve taken lots of them this week.  Anyway, hope you enjoy them too.

Our last time over the Mississippi River in MN. 

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That gas station on the right was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. 

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The bridge in Duluth to Wisconsin. 

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Lake Superior looks like an ocean without waves. 

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Lorraine putting her foot in the waters of Gitche Gumee

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Sandy and Dave on the left, Misty checking out the water on the right. 

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Dave, Lorraine and Sandy. 


Two tunnels along the way. 

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At the water falls. 

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Split Rock Lighthouse. 

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Grand Marais.

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Notice the stacked rocks along the shore. 

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A big fish through the Beaver House. 

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Notice the spelling of Minnesota, more like they pronounce it Up North. 


Another water fall, notice the color of the water is dark from chemicals leached from the rocks and such. 

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Murals on the buildings in Ashland. 

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Lorraine took this picture of a sunset while we were in Ashland. 


They have big fish up here!

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Our first view of the casino and it’s been raining most of the time since. 

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A bit of a view of Pictured Rocks from the shore. 

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A bunch of trees all growing out of one trunk.  Another view from a different angle. 

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Christmas shop in Christmas, WI. 

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One of the stops along the shoreline of Lake Superior.  Looks a bit like the ocean in Oregon we think. 

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We spotted these birds along the road, I think they are Sand Hill Cranes. 

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We drove through this place, someone has put up over 80 different sculptures in this park.  If you click on the picture the will expand for a better view. 

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The sign for the one on the left says bowling balls only grow on the North side of the trees. 

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And now I’ll get this posted.


Thanks   Chuck