Saturday, September 12, 2009

Van Riper State Park, MI UP

On Friday, September 11, 2009 Morty meandered from the South side to the North Side of the Upper Peninsula, about 115 miles. I had expected the roads in this very sparsely populated and remote area of the state with a pretty severe winter climate to be below par. But I am really surprised to report that they are indeed in prime condition – smooth ribbons of asphalt with no potholes or frost damage. In Ohio, even the interstates are not in as good condition. Morty just loves being able to cruise along at 60 MPH with no hassles at all, and he shows it by increasing his gas economy to 9.8 miles per gallon, a pace he has held since departing Cheboygan. I’m thinking he deserves a switch to synthetic oil to encourage this improving performance.



Getting into Van Riper campgrounds had a few difficulties. Seems that someone made a reservation for tomorrow instead of today. Fortunately they still had a couple of open spots when we arrived around 3PM. The ladies at the check-in were no better than I was at reading the tiny on-screen print of this notorious system, which continues to charge a 36 % premium for making a one-night reservation. The grumbling on this point continues.

This park is famous for being in Moose Country. This was the locale of an airlift of entire moose families from Ontario in 1985. They are thriving just a little northwest of the park. I set out on bike to spot some, but ran out of decent biking trail before the moose ran out of habitat.

The reason for the full park this weekend is the celebration of Halloween. Wait, you say, that holiday is still seven weeks off – but we fail to realize that in terms of parties, decorations and developing traditions, this is now our most important holiday of the year. Here at Van Riper, the celebration – including trick-or-treating -- runs for three solid week-ends at the end of September. That’s ideal then for everyone to pull up stakes and take the celebrations home for the month of October – what could be better?

Sunsets were again quite photogenic so several are in the picasa album for you. The lake here is Michigamme. If you, like I, thought that was a football game with the Buckeyes at the end of November, you now have a new piece of knowledge.
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