Lake Trip 2000
by Mike Cobb
(Continued from last month.)
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Breakfast and a half hour ferry trip brought us to the island. Wow! Talk about tourists. It seemed odd that we had spent so much time avoiding well traveled roads and traffic only to embark onto a car-free island of fudge shoppes, T-shirt stores, bicycles and masses of humanity. We walked up to the top of the hill and the fort that the British and later the Americans used to guard the straits for so many years. The fort is restored to the late 1800’s and provides a commanding view of the passage. This is about the best there is on the island and worth the hour or two it takes to see. The really big attraction on the island is, of course, The Grand Hotel. This is the largest wooden structure still standing in the US as I recall. It is quite the place! The problem for your intrepid MG pilots was that we were not dressed well enough to pass as guests and they do try to keep the commoners in their place. “Excuse me sir, are you a guest? I am sorry sir but if you are not a guest and want to walk the grounds there will be a $10 charge.” Oops! Now maybe if we were driving Jags? There are signs up and down the main walk that advise, “After 6 PM, gentlemen are required to wear a coat and tie and ladies will wear appropriate evening dresses.” Now we were really out of place! The grounds are spectacular and if you can get a room it is probably worth the experience.
We wandered down to the town and found a good pub for lunch. More fudge shoppes and T-shirt emporiums greeted us as we walked back to the dock and the next ferry back to the mainland. Yup! I bought a T-shirt to remember the trip and Jeff bought some fudge. It was a well spent afternoon but I think we were all looking forward to the quiet of the campground and a few less tourists.
We found a great little Italian restaurant for dinner and then hurried back to the campground in the quickening darkness. We had a plan for night travel too, as these cars don’t match the brilliance of modern automotive lighting. The TD’s headlights are the best so I went first and Jeff’s TC’s has extra taillights, so he went last sandwiching Don in the remaining TC between us in a convoy. Seems to work pretty well but we did not have too far to go. A campfire, some cold beer and billions and billions of stars were all we needed to finish the day in style.
We charged up at a big breakfast buffet and headed for the bridge. As frequently was the case, the cars drew questions from the local residents in the parking lot. We always seemed to meet nice people who enjoyed the cars and marveled that three guys would take such a trip in these old cars. There was usually someone in every group who had “owned one of them when I was in college”. “Wish I had it now!”
As it turned out, they were painting the bridge and traffic was forced to slow to about 25-30 MPH. They must start in the spring, paint all summer only to start again the next spring. It seems like a job that will never be completed as it is a really big bridge. That was fine with us as it gave us longer to enjoy the view and the experience of looking down through the bridge. As you already know, you are pretty close to the road in a T type and looking out and down through the bridge grating to the water below was quite an experience. It was a warm sunny day and the trip across the straits was very pleasant. I can only imagine the same trip on a February morning with the wind wiping down along Lake Superior and wind chill in the minus unimaginable range! We were sure glad it was August!
We stopped to pay the toll on the far side and the attendant wondered if we could squeeze her in. We continued north for a couple of miles traveling the only expressway on the entire trip. First chance and we were off onto a two lane and our first experience of the Upper Peninsula. We quickly met our first log truck. Stay out of the way, I’m coming through! Fortunately the shoulders were paved and there wasn’t any traffic. He waved and was gone!
We wanted to see Lake Superior, so we headed towards Whitefish Point. This would be the farthest north we would get on this trip. But to get to Whitefish Point you have to go through Paradise. Paradise, Michigan that is. That’s where we found the Yukon Bar. Now the Yukon bar is a knotty pine log cabin bar built in 1936-37. It has not changed much since either. Everything is knotty pine even the furniture with its years of patina and countless carved initials. This was our definition of a good restaurant as the cars looked better here than most of the places we stopped. The burgers were great and the people were welcoming and loved the cars. It became one of our more memorable stops. Yukon’s plumbing was an art form for the resourceful. Copper pipe, lead pipe, brass fittings, PVC pipe and a bucket made for a unique pit stop, truly a handyman’s dream.
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