So far we have traveled through six states; Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. We are presently in Michigan at Lake Gogebic State Park on Lake Gogebic.
Friday we drove through northern Wisconsin on our way east towards Michigan. Traveling along Hwy 2 in Wisconsin were very small, rural towns. We did a u-turn for a small antique store and once again, we entered the store with no staff to greet us; the music was on but we were alone. I love the trusting people!
Towards the end of the day, we crossed the border into Michigan and found our camp within the hour. It was Friday and from a childhood visit to my Lindskold grandparents in Illinois long ago, I remember Friday night is fish fry night. I told Dale we had to find a fish fry!
It is unfortunate the older I am, the more faulty I become at recalling dates. I was in elementary school when my family camped our way east to Illinois, the state my parents grew up in and where my relatives still lived. We visited my maternal grandparents who lived on a farm outside of Poplar Grove, near the Wisconsin state line.
The farm fascinated my younger brothers and I, a real farm with a two story farm house and a real barn, something we read about in books. The outside of the house was painted white, just like the pictures in the books and best of all, the farm house had stairs, a novelty for us who lived in a single story house in southern California. My brothers and I would bump down the steps on our bottoms and laugh and laugh and climb back up the stairs to do it all over again!
The barn didn’t house any animals; my grandparents leased out their land so the cows were out in the fields and I don’t think we ever saw them. But the barn was huge to us little people and it smelled of musty hay and dirt. The empty barn was cavernous, cool and dark inside.
We were visiting over a Friday because I remember all of us going to a fish fry. My aunt says that my grandparents went to one in Clinton, WI, not too far from their farm house. What I remember is a crowded, hot restaurant; there were enough of us that we needed two booths. For some reason, I think my great-grandmother, Baba, came along, too, but like I said my memory is becoming faulty. The Friday night fish fry brought the little community together and the noise of greeting and chatter was loud and boisterous; funny what a child remembers.
So after inquiring with the camp host, she recommended the lodge up the street. It was the most “inexpensive” and with a dinner comes an all you can eat salad bar.
We enter the little restaurant and bar and it is hot and smells like a deep fry. The older community folk are gathering at the bar and warmly, and sometimes loudly, greet one another. This appears to be an every Friday event.
It is seat yourself and since it was still early, we chose the table by the window to have an unobstructed view of Lake Gogebic.
The cute little waitress came out and I asked her what local beers they had on tap and it was noisy enough that all I heard was an Oktoberfest so I ordered it. We ordered our fish fry dinner and I chose the walleye, a fish native to this area. Also, one of the side choices was potato pancake. I had to order that because long ago I tried to make potato pancakes for my young family and either I didn’t make them right or they really didn’t like them!
And speaking of local, either the folks here have an accent or we have an accent. The mid-west, near the Canadian border drawl is very distinct, I can’t even begin to explain it. There are some long “o”s and some long “a”s and a sometimes I hear a sharpness with consonants, but it is not like the north eastern sharpness. Well, anyway . . . I am sure they hear my “accent”, too.
Lake Gogebic State Park, MI
The day was certainly a blustery day, it was actually windy and the leaves are blowing all over the place; off the trees onto the grass and into the water. The campground was large enough for us to get in a pretty good walk with the dogs.
As we were walking, we met a couple from Peoria, IL, Dick and Gay. They are avid campers traveling in a cab over camper like ours. Dick and Gay enthusiastically shared with us their past camping trips, one of them traveling the United States for seven months straight! I thought our six weeks was pretty good! They even traveled the Alaska Marine Hwy. That trip sounded interesting but it must be traveled in the summer and we aren’t ready to give up our summers in Montana! Our summers are so short and we love the recreation centered around lake activities; there is simply too much to do in a short amount of time!
Later that day, the predicted rain blew in so we settled down in the camper. I read my book and Dale looked over our trip using the internet for reference and ideas.
All in all, it was a great, quiet and relaxing time and our stay came to an end. Onward we travel, now south to Cheboygan. Cheboygan State Park will our home base as we explore the surrounding area including Mackinaw Island on Tuesday. We can hardly wait!