We've been to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan before. It's one of those end of the road places like the Northern Kingdom in Vermont, which tends to attract the kinds of folks that could never live in a suburban subdivision or hold down 9 - 5 jobs. They proudly call themselves Yoopers and the people in the rest of Michigan tell the kinds of stories about them that used to be called Polack jokes. This area was rich in minerals - copper and iron especially - so many experienced miners from Europe settled here. The Cornish miners brought their pastie tradition with them. The first time we came to the UP and I saw many signs advertising pasties for sale, I wondered whether there was an unusual number of strippers in the tiny UP towns. Come to learn that pasties are half moon shaped meat pies. The miner's wives baked them the night before and they were easy to carry down into the mines and provided a hearty meal. There are also a lot of Finnish names, distinctive with their unpronounceable assortment of vowels punctuated by "k's.
As we drove north enjoying very summery temperatures, we were surprised to see fall colors here and there. The maples are already turning red and the green color in other deciduous trees is receding and revealing the yellow hues of fall. Oh, no! I'm not ready for the best season of the year to be over already. We also came somewhat west, entering the Eastern Time Zone, which only makes sense politically. It''s after 9pm before the sun sets.
I sent many talented students to Michigan Tech here in Houghton, which provides a wonderful education in engineering and other high tech subjects. When my students and I would look at the map to see exactly where Houghton is, we would see the names of many other towns that were familiar to us for having ridiculously low temperatures in the winter. Unless you are into ice fishing or hockey, you could get a lot of studying done in the dark of winter around here. A fellow camper told us that the state park where we are going next had snow on the ground there until the end of June one year.
We would like to stay in this campground for a few days. We're overlooking Portage Lake which bisects the claw shaped Keweenaw Peninsula where Copper Harbor sits on the northern end. The campground has great internet and utilities, but a gathering of Wisconsin Newmar RV's exactly like ours is filling the place up tomorrow. People talk to us thinking we are part of their rally, until they notice our IL plates. So it's on a state park just a few miles down the road, after a few loads of laundry and many downloaded apps, magazines, and podcasts.