Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yupper-duper day

From the beginning of this trip, Michigan's U.P. or Upper Peninsula has been beckoning us.  It's so far north, and so set apart from most of the world that we knew we needed to see it.  Today we began by crossing the Mackinack Bridge (nearly five miles long) and emerging in St. Ignace.
Castle Rock is a local landmark, and the Curio Shop below it has added a large Bunyan and Babe to lure folks in.  But instead of standing, this Paul is seated--on what might be a block of ice or salt or possibly,  a porcelain throne.  If only he'd talked, like that one in the California redwoods, we might have learned just what he was doing...
Speaking of learning, we did pick up some more info on the peloskey stone (the state rock, you know) from a nice lady in St. Ignace, then discovered yet another Paul (without Babe) in Manistique, which claimed to be "Paul Bunyan's Home."!  We've seen that phrase before in Bangor, Maine and Brainerd, Minnesota, so we're getting a wee bit skeptical.
We lunched at Deb's in Gladstone, with walleye that didn't disappoint, and some pistachio pie, which did.  Not awful, just bland (and weirdly green.)
Then we ran north, to the shores of Lake Superior.  And ran back to the van as quickly as we could, since IT'S COLD.  We sang a few bars of "The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald" and headed on towards Marquette, and a place called Lankenland.  It may not be on your map, but it's showing up big on snowmobilers' charts up here.

Tom Lankenen is a welder who'd never even seen a sculpture park, but that hasn't stopped him from building his own drive-through art yard in the trees.  Over 60 metal pieces of all kinds, some political, some cereberal, some just plain silly are scattered on the path.  Tom couldn't really tell us why he did what he did, because he's on a job in Hawaii.  But his stunt Tom (Gardner) drove up from Escanaba to help us understand why someone would do all this for no charge.  I'm not sure we ever learned "why" but that's OK.   We talked snowmobile smack with Tom2, and shivered happily as we passed dinosaur fisherman, old miners, spaceships, monuments to Marines and a corporate pig excreting on the average American.  Is the sculptor full of himself and all puffed up?  Not at all, Tom2 told us.  In fact, just the opposite.  He comes out with a leaf blower and clears new snow off the art when that's needed.  That's what you call hands-on.  

Music In the Van--Steve Forbert Sings Jimmy Rodgers, Joan Baez new CD, "Combustible" John Mayer
Don's Found $$ count--10 cents

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