We awoke on Friday morning in Minnesota to temperatures around 60 and a light rain – two things we would not be seeing for a the rest of the trip and well into our return to Texas. It was hard to leave such a beautiful and tranquil location, but the Year Long Adventure must always move forward. We left Little Sands Lake and started heading east toward Lake Superior. In Akeley, Minnesota, we had a close encounter with Paul Bunyan.
Our stop for the night was Ashland, Wisconsin, along the banks of Lake Superior. Reservations had been made at the AmercInn there because of the promise of really cool waterslides at the pool. We arrived in the late afternoon, checked in, performed the nightly luggage haul, and set out to check out the hotel amenities. The kids got the chance to play a game of checkers on a giant checker board before we went down to dip our toes into a Great Lake.
We then headed to quaint downtown Ashland to get a bite to eat at Deep Water Grille & South Shore Brewery, where a good meal was brought down by a bad waitress. As we drove around, we Texans could not help but wonder what this place looks like in February. We headed back to our hotel and spent the evening watersliding before heading off to bed.
Ashland was just a brief stopover before our intended destination of Munising, Michigan. We drove for over five hours across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and still found ourselves along the shore of Lake Superior. Now that is a GREAT LAKE. In Munising, we learned that residents of the Upper Peninsula (the U.P.) refer to themselves as “Yoopers”.
The AmericInn in Munising did not have a giant checkerboard, but the hotel did boast a set of giant Adirondack chairs as well as a waterslide. Can you guess how we spent our evening?
The next morning we arrived at the Shipwreck Tour Company for the 10:30 am Shipwreck Tour on Lake Superior and boarded the ship Miss Munising in search of downed vessels. The ship is outfitted with glass sections in the bottom of the ship to allow visitors to get great views of these wrecks resting only a few feet below the surface. Our tour took us to see three different shipwrecks during the two hours on the lake.
Upon departure, the passengers were split into two groups that took turns on the lower level so that everyone would have a good view. The boat would slowly glide back and forth over the wreck site, while our guide described what we were seeing and told the story of how each ship sank, as well as other interesting facts about life in the area at the time and in the present day. Lake Superior was and still is a major transportation route for goods, a fact that was unknown to us.
The water was so clear that we were even able to see the ships from the upper deck of the tour ship. The first ship we visited sank in a storm back in the late 1800s, and the second ship wrecked around 1920 when it ran into shallow ground. One of the ships sank with a full cargo hold of iron ore so valuable that a salvage company spent many months recovering it a few years later.
We found the tour very interesting and would highly recommend it. The boat and crew were both great, and the views cruising around Lake Superior were pretty “superior”.
Outside snacks and drinks are permitted and photos are encouraged. Don’t forget your sunscreen AND a light jacket – we needed both at various times during our tour.
After the tour, we experienced a local delicacy for lunch at Muldoon’s Pasties. Pasties (PASS-TEES) are a cross between a calzone and a pot pie, a pastry crust filled with a meat and veggie mixture with gravy on the side for dipping.
The YLA gives pasties mixed reviews, but they are definitely quite filling. We were fortified for our long drive across the Mackinac Bridge and deep into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.