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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Keweenaw Peninsula


I left Presque Isle and headed up the back roads to Lake in the Clouds at the summit of the Porcupine Mountains. Sublime. I continued along the lake drive and stopped often to walk over the dunes to the lake. At Ontonagon I turned off to replenish Propane and hammock supplies at a True Value. Lucky I did. Both tanks were empty. I was forced on to the interior rout up to Houghton where I gassed the car and went shopping for three days. An easy nine-mile ride up 203 to McLain SP where I’ve parked for three days. I’ve gone swimming three times my first day. Another fabulous beach. Lots of kids. About six boys made a huge raft from all the logs on the beach. The place looks like Rialto Beach in Washington State. Lots of damage to the shoreline over the years. The park camping has been altered radically by erosion. The western fires have caused the hazy sunsets here. Nature is a power we keep trying to harness and then bang, she shows us who’s boss.
Monday was a fine day. Went swimming and took a hike and then another swim. After dinner I headed to Houghton to check out the KBC brewery there.  Heard of another one called The Library, which I would do tomorrow night. A glorious evening and a late night swim. Took a great bike ride into Calumet, MI on Tuesday morning. Toured the cute little lake town and discovered a brewery and a laundromat. After the ride and a swim or bath in this case, I bagged up all the laundry and headed back to Calumet to do the laundry, write fifteen postcards and then have lunch at the brewery, Red Jacket Brewery. They had two good offerings and a great chili. Took a long nap when I got home. After dinner I went back to Houghton to check out the Library. They had a great Rye Ale, which I took home in a growler. Another stellar evening and moon and fire.  A light rain woke me and I stayed in bed. Got up at ten. A slow morning and I decided to go to MTU to see if two of my old friends still taught there. They didn’t and had moved on to OSU. I decided to have lunch at the Library only to find it had gone out of business that very morning. I’ve closed a few bars in my day, but never like this. I was stunned. So will thousands of students from MTU. So I decided to return to Red Jacket only find it closed on Wednesday. No luck today. Went to a neat little café called Rosetta and had a light lunch and did some Internet. Came home and continued with Willie Nelson’s new tale, It’s a Long Story. Rain on and off all day.
Wild Wednesday night, sky and moon and swimming. Packed up and left early Thursday morning for Copper Harbor. Took 41 North and at Phoenix took 26 N to Copper Harbor. Followed the lake through Eagle River, Eagle Harbor along a sweet ride up and down along the lake. A perfect bike road. I saw the Brockway Mountain Drive and considered taking it but decided against it. Good call. Took it in the jeep only when it was suggested I might try it on my bike. I didn’t like it in the Jeep, never on my road bike. Copper Harbor is where Houghton discovered copper in these parts and started a boon. The main street through town, Gratiot Street provided motels, restaurants, Post office, Community Center, shops and The Brickside Brewery just as I drove up a hill to Ft Wilkins SP. Took site 115, a pretty site on a hill, perfect for this fool. After setting camp, I took a swim in the lake behind the campsite, Fannie Ho Lake, which also serves the fort next door. After a shower I headed to the brewery. I discovered there was a huge bike festival here this weekend. Swell!! It is the Trails Festival of Labor Day in Copper Harbor. One of the top five trail bike events of the year. My trail riding days are over, strictly road biker now. I’m sorry I didn’t bring the Rock Hopper though. I found solace in my bike rides back to Eagle Harbor along 26 and Lake Superior. Back at camp, I enjoyed some new beer from Brickside. Eating lots of smoked lake trout and whitefish as well as fresh lake trout.
I woke to a glorious day, had a good breakfast and took a bike ride back on 26 to Eagle Harbor. After bike ride, I realized I needed stuff: groceries and wood. Nothing here. I drove back to Calumet to shop at major grocery store, get wood at McClain SP(best deal), and revisit Red Jacket Brewery in Calumet, MI. Took same route along 26 to Copper Harbor and this time went up the mountain trail. Thinking this might be good bike ride. Rough road and not good for road bike. Again I was sorry I forgot the Rock Hopper. Stopped at Brickside before getting to camp.
Took nap, had cocktail hour, read a chapter of Nelson’s Tale, had dinner, made fire, and looked at sky.
Saturday was very busy and noisy as the trail bikers were everywhere. I toured the fort, did some writing, had a swim, went to the brewery, and decided to do the sunset tour and Copper Harbor Lighthouse tour that night. As it turned out it was the last cruise for the season. Both the fort and the lighthouse were amazingly refitted and were good tours and finds. Another good evening at the campfire.
After Sunday breakfast and a little read, I took another ride along the lake. Took a swim in bike clothes and then a shower and rested amid all the activity of the racing.
Labor Day started with a good rain and the camp emptied out. I took another bike ride, swim, and rest or reading and writing. A final trip the Brickside. I liked all of their brew and bought quite a bit for folks at home. Hope it makes it home. Left Copper Harbor just as it was raining and arrived at Baraga SP as it stopped.

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