July 21-24 Houghton, Michigan
The 5 hour trip to Houghton, MI was very uneventful, no rain or wind, which we had expected as that is what the weather was saying it would be. When we arrived at our campsite right along Portage Lake in the Keweenaw Peninsula, we could not check in as the electricity was out for approximately 200 miles. This was all caused by the storm that had come thru earlier, they were saying that possibly the winds were 70-75 miles per hour with even a possible tornado had touched down.
We did not see the effects of the storm until we went out and started driving around. The area had numerous trees and electric poles and lines down. That makes us even more glad we have solar, it also helped that temps were in the 70’s.
This area of MI is known as Copper Territory, which has three copper mines on the peninsula, Calumet &Hecla, Quincy and Copper Range.
As we started our trip out into the peninsular we found this wonderful waterfall and bridge, Eagle River Falls and Historic Bridge, that we just had to stop for.
The 47 mile highway is called Copper County Trail National Byway (US Hwy 41) and goes from Houghton out to Copper Harbor (the end of the hwy) and follows the copper lode that lies deep underground.
The beginning of US Highway 41 started in Copper, MI it goes thru 8 states, MI, WI, ILL, IND, KY, TN, GA and ends 1990 miles away in Miami, FL. We found this sign as we were looking for a road out to the lighthouse.
We found this sign to be quite interesting, and now we know we will never have a desire to live any where near this area. The nice thing about us is we can now just pick up and move if we don’t like the weather.
The winter of 1978-79 the record snowfall was a total of 390.4 inches, which is at the top of the red line. This is a record for the east of the Rockies. This sign says that the 54 year average is 2408 inches, the all time low was in 1999-2000 was 16.11 inches. The red arrow shows the snowfall for 2015 at just under 20″.
The drive along the Copper County Trail has many scenic loops thru smelting and stamp mill sites, former mining communities, as well as sandstone.
The forest along the way is very dense with a view of the rugged coast, there are many small lakes, and the largest known lava flow on earth.
We took these pictures on our drive, it looks nice and inviting but when we got out to walk around it was so windy and cold, we didn’t stand out there to long.
While driving along the coast road we were looking for a place to have lunch, well we found one, The Gay Bar, in Gay, MI. We went in but it was way to busy so we decided to leave.
Guy and I decided to visit the Quincy Mine, the copper mines started in the mid 1800’s, many mines sprang up along the peninsula, the mines closed after 100 years of operation. The mine has a self guided tour thru buildings with one building that has a very informative video, we took a tour thru the mine itself on a tram down 7 stories into the workings of the mine. Before we could go down we needed to pick out a fireman jacket and hard hat. It was only 45 degrees, wet and muddy.
There are 10 lighthouses along the coast of the peninsular, we visited 1, Eagle River Lighthouse and then could only view Copper Harbor Lighthouse from across the lake.
The town of Houghton has everything you would ever need, the town still consists of lots of old brick buildings. We found a great place for lunch, Ambassador Restaurant, right on the water, where we could watch the boats and jet skis, zooming up and down the lake, there were also people taking a leisure stroll along the walkway. This was a very old brick building but the inside was so awesome.
We ordered a pizza that was one of the best we have had, thin crust, pineapple, sausage, pepperoni. A little vino and beer and the afternoon turns relaxing! We sit on our deck, Guy plays his banjo, I try to write a blog but there are to many boats on the water to watch, my attention span is short.
We travel with our bikes on the back of our pickup truck, they get beat up so bad with all the weather, sun and rain. I have not been able to shift gears for a few months so it has not been much fun riding. Guy had taken it to an Amish family while we were in Indiana, they oiled and cleaned it and tried to fix the shifting but that did not work. While walking thru Houghton we found a bike shop that could work on it right then, we luckily had the bike with us and within 1/2 hour they were calling to tell us it was done. I haven’t ridden it yet and so not sure how good it works, looking forward to some bike riding soon.
Well our few days in Houghton has come to an end and now we head on over to Two Harbors, Minnesota. We will eventually end up in Minneapolis to visit with Guys work mates. We will be staying at the Mystic Lake Casino at their campground, Dakota Meadows. Who wants to know if we won or lost?
Well come on back to find out who won and check out how much fun we have with our fellow Seagaters!!