The Highway 2 Pilgrimage - Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota

Base of operations
We need some prologue to this Pilgrimage before I start telling you about the Suzuki adventures to get to our journey's commencement. Real quick: Innocent Heroine chose a Seattle job, she defended her thesis, she rode some bikes, and she and Innocent Hero (pshaw, Harvey's far from innocent) decided to pack things into a POD (copyrighted POD) and ship it to Seattle while they meandered along Highway 2 for 10 days in a 1986 Suzuki Samurai (don't worry, pictures and maybe an entire Suzuki blog post to follow).

Highway 2 begins in Northern Michigan at the Mackinac Bridges and extends along the USA's Northern frontiers to... you guessed it, Seattle! How convenient! We chose Highway 2 because (A) the Suzuki (now lovingly referred to as Zuki) can only go about 55 mph with gas pedal to the floor  (B) Glacier National Park is along Highway 2 and (C) we wanted to camp, bike, hike and have some fun. With those things and a trip through the upper peninsula in mind, Harvey and I were sold.


There was even like a sunbeam shining down on our tent 
Classic Michigan UP
We started on Thursday, October 7th from my parents house in Michigan. To be honest, it wasn't all roses and sunshine. In fact, it was steady rain and Harvey and I fought a good chunk of the way of the best way to get to Highway 2 (picture 6 year olds throwing temper tantrums in a small confined space and that's pretty spot on). We made it though, we crossed the Mackinac Bridge, we ate some vegetarian pasties (pronounced pass-tee), and decided to lick our wounds and be happy. We settled on the most remote campsite we could find somewhere near Escanaba, set up our tent in the dark, blew up our air mattress with an foot pump, and passed out (note: it was a warm night) .

We awoke in this magical Fall paradise; seriously, there's nothing like setting up a tent in the dark and waking up to see what's actually around you. Gold and orange leaves lightly fell around us as we packed up the tent and made a jet boil breakfast.

From there, we continued west on Highway 2 through Iron Mountain, Ironwood, and Iron River (we missed out on Iron belt, shucks!). As we passed into Wisconsin, Harvey and I began to notice there were two things that were always consistent along Highway 2:

(1) Dollar Generals

(2) Trump Pence signs

People from Wisconsin (and Harvey) really do love cheese curds  
Really, the Trump-Pence signs are worth the journey. People along Highway 2 were proud of their fearless leader, going as far as to make handcrafted wooden frames for their Trump Pence signs stained to match their wooden fence. Highway 2 folk made their support a form of art - we saw a wooden bear covered in signs, an abandoned semi truck trailer plastered in T-P, and neatly spaced T-P signs along long stretches of the Highway. If you were to predict what the outcome of the 2016 election would be based on Highway 2, it would not be a blue presidency.

Somewhere in WisconsinMichigan
But anyways, back to Highway 2 - Wisconsin. We deviated up North to the Apostle Islands and stumbled upon a festival. Harvey pranced after the cheese curds, anticipating them as an indicator of future Elephant Ears. We strolled along the boardwalk and then left to go find a campsite.

Once again, Fall is a perfect time to do this kind of trip - we were the only ones in our campground (again!). The temperature started to drop this night, and Harvey started regretting his 35 F bag (Lo had a 0 F bag, setting a new precedence of being more prepared than Harvey).

Duluth, MN (no, it really looks like that) 
The next stop along Highway 2 was Duluth, which was the largest city we encountered on our trip. Duluth is a psuedo-perfect place (the psuedo is because the average January temperature is like 6 F). We walked out to the light house, gazed out on Lake Superior, ate some fresh doughnuts,  and then, adding to the magic, went to a coffee shop so Harvey could do some work for a while (#DuluthMagic). We also saw our only Clinton-Kaine signs over the course of the trip in Duluth (...!). We then biked up North Shore drive for a bit (Harvey was flat king) and enjoyed sunset and dinner in Duluth before continuing our Western flee.
Minnesota's pretty spectacular 

Lo binge eating after longer-than-expected bike ride
We stayed at a military engineering campground (???) somewhere in Minnesota outside Duluth. At this point, camping fees became extremely 'optional' (AKA leaving a bag of money under a sign). I think the mindset is something like "if you're crazy enough to want to camp in 35 F weather, we're not determined enough to collect your crazy dollars. " We woke up to the Mississippi River ("wait, where'd that come from?"), a delightful warm shower, and a nice hike in some nearby woods (theme: dark camp, morning hike, coffee, drive, repeat). However, tragedy began to strike in Minnesota... Harvey started to come down with a cold.

After waking up, we headed to Bemidji, MN - a pretty cool outdoorsy down tucked along side Highway 2). We popped out there, set up the bikes, and went for a 60 mile bike ride. I guess I should add that I had requested 40 miles (re: I was angry dying by the end). The Minnesota roads were immaculate and we saw almost no cars (Harvey: "Where are the people?! Did the world end?!")

So here, I'm going to stop Part 1 of the trip. I'll finish up Part 2 in the next few days - the Western states, featuring guest star Erica Dolinar, Harvey getting the flu, mountains, Lo stick shifting, and a whole lot of TP signs. I have to go unpack the POD now :)

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1 comment:

helliott said...

I'd just like to point out that it's "Suzuki" i.e. with a "Z"!

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