TRAVELS WITH GREASE AND PADDLE
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Up dere in da UP, eh?
I enjoy loitering at historic hotels. Tonight the Road Trip has landed at a fine one. The Landmark in Marquette, MI, formerly known as the Northland, is a classic place on the shore of Lake Superior. Jim Harrison has written about it and is apparently frequent guest, and the Rolling Stones gathered here recently on their way to a funeral. I just climbed up to the top of the fire escape to eat ice cream and check out the moon on the lake, and now I've decamped to the lobby for the wireless and ambience, putting off, for a bit, a late night run to Wisconsin.
I crossed back into the US yesterday at Sault Ste. Marie, after a last-minute bit of paranoia had me covering the "powered by vegetable oil" slogans with electrical tape for the border. The customs guy looked at the tank and only asked how much gas costs in AK.
Late afternoon in Musining, I popped into the visitors center for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and on a whim picked up a backcountry permit, threw together a pack and hiked in eight miles atop sandstone cliffs to a place called Chapel Beach. What a place! Crashing lake surf on Moab-like cliff formations topped with a beautiful deciduous forest. And no people. I had the camp to myself, and made a tasty sunset dinner on a fluffy white sand beach in a cove that seemed more like Thailand than Michigan. Sunrise was wonderful too, with a perfect arch of rainbow lighting up the sky before a downpour drove me back into the tent to make a pot of cowboy coffee and curl up with the New Yorker. These are good times. I made a loop out of the hike past a couple waterfalls, returned to the van, grabbed an obligatory pasty and arrived at the University of Northern Michigan with time to spare.