Long day. We left our Houghton hotel at 9:00 AM and 68 degrees and drove down to the city center to look around a bit more before heading north to see the rest of the Keweenaw Peninsula. After some starts and stops, trying to forge a plan, we drove across the bridge and headed north. The drive was a very pleasant one through small towns, harbors and villages and up narrow roads tight with trees that formed a canopy over the road, creating a tunnel for cars to pass through. I kept my eyes peeled into the woods looking for animals, but did not see any. I remember encountering a bear once or twice in our travels and was hoping to see one today, but it didn't happen.
The road went through Keweenaw County, through Calumet, through Minetonka and through Copper Harbor before coming to a dead end at land’s end. On the way back south on route 26, that hugs the lake for many miles on the west side of the peninsula, we found several wonderful lookouts where we took many photos of the lake and the beaches and the colorful lighthouses. One stop was called Fanny Hooe and another Eagle’s Harbor.
I was surprised that this area was not teeming with tourists. It is the first day of August and, with all of the state parks and campgrounds in this area, I thought there would be more traffic, more people relaxing in this wonderful place. But that didn’t seem to be the case. At least, not this summer.
We learned that this peninsula was once active in the mining of copper. And we saw evidence of many copper mines and the old Quincy Mine and Hoist along the main highway. See the photo.
As we headed back south and westward along the southern shore of Superior, I felt like we were driving the Road Less Traveled, for there was not a lot of traffic and the southern coast was mainly one quaint town after another, many looking the worst for wear, as most of the businesses were closed and abandoned. We wondered why people were still living in these areas, or why the businesses had not succeeded.
Things came to life when we hit Superior, MI, a harbor bustling with activity. We saw freighters waiting to be loaded with grain from the many grain elevators along the way and industries we could not identify. And then we crossed the bridge passing into Duluth, MN, seemingly a twin city of Superior, across the river. There is a lot of construction in this area and finding our hotel was more than the average challenge, for the roads have changed and the GPS could not find them. Our hotel clerk told us not to use the hotel address but that of the neighboring Kohle’s. Interesting.
We gained an hour this afternoon, so the clock really doesn’t register the time that our bodies are feeling right now. After getting settled in, we spent some time shoring up several more reservation for future days on the road, having dinner and calling it a day. Tomorrow, back to Canada and to Winnipeg, Manitoba.