A number of folks said, "Let's do this next year," but only two actually followed through. They are our crazy friends Jan and Mike C. This trip was much the same as was reported on our blog last year (check June 28, 2013), with a few fun change-ups.
We took separate cars up due to schedule variations, but both arrived on Thursday, June 26. WE left at 9:25am. Temp was at 72 degrees at departure in Kalamazoo.
It is always hard to tell what to pack when traveling Up North. We opted for lighter attire with optional layers. We are talking above the 46th parallel, with Canada just across the St. Mary's River. On June 13th there were still small ice flows floating around Lake Superior per the newspaper, so we were not sure what to expect weather wise.
We had great driving weather as it was overcast with only a scant scattering of showers. No windshield glare. Stopped for lunch in Higgins Lake, MI at the Silver Dollar Saloon. Clean, diverse menu, up northy log cabin. We'd recommend it. I had a veggie quesadilla gooey with cheese and Mike had a perfectly cooked burger. And they pour a mean Meyer's Cuba libre. We were both satisfied when we left. On the big screen we watched some of the World Soccer match with USA vs Germany. We learned later the score that day was 0-1 Germany.
One goal on this trip was to find the elk herd observation areas advertised along the way. We had seen the markers a number of times on other trips and often wondered about their habitat in Michigan. We followed the signs into Gaylord and again into Indian River. The signs led us off the freeway, but once we got into the towns we hit a dead end. No signs to follow. It was disappointing, but we will get better directions next time we head that way.
We got into the Soo about 3:50pm. The temp was 81 degrees. Yay! Elevation 602. (Kalamazoo is 784 at its highest). We wandered the park along the locks, the ship viewing area, the locks museum, the tourist and fudge shops. Through the park side of the security fence, we see the Herbert Jackson passing through the locks.
We caught up with J & M at Moloney's Alley Irish Pub across the street from the Ramada Ojibway (an historic hotel), where we were all bunking. We had a few adult beverages there, strolled a bit more long the locks, and ended up at the Saloon Palace for a great Mexican meal. The drink special of the evening was red-white-blue margaritas. They looked cool and creative and tasted wonderful.
We took a last lap around the area to walk off some of that heavy (but great) Mexi food. Then because it had been a long driving day for us all, we turned in at 10:30pm.