Finding Up North
Have you ever noticed how “up north” is relevant to perspective? Many years ago some friends moved from Peoria, Illinois to our dot on the map in lower Michigan. Their friends in Peoria teased them about moving to the edge of civilization. For JB and I, up north is somewhere north of Claire – about half way from here to the Mackinaw Bridge. Going to the edge of civilization is going to the Upper Peninsula, even though we have been to the upper shores of Lake Superior, in Canada, and found the people up there to be very civilized. Yup, it’s relevant to perspective.
JB and I took a little, two-night getaway to “up north” last week and I think I can explain how you get there – at least in Michigan. JB was the navigator; that is his 50 year old book of Michigan county maps that he frequently referred to.
Are you ready for directions to “up north” on the Lake Michigan shoreline? Pay attention because I don’t think I will be able to repeat them.
First you stop for breakfast because you can’t get an early start if you eat breakfast at home. After going north for a few miles, you turn west (unless you want to go to Lake Huron, then you turn east) on a state highway. Turn north again on a state road, then west, then north, past fields of corn and soy beans and newly sprouted winter wheat until you begin to see the landscape change to more pines and pastureland and less crops.
Turn west, then north, when the road ends go east for just a little while until you find a road going north again. If you miss your turn you can either turn around or catch the next road north. You can’t go fast so you have lots of time to look for those first signs of fall color.
When you begin to feel hungry, find a small county park with a boat launch to a small inland lake. Bring out the cheese and crackers, fresh orchard picked apples and pears, yogurt, soft Amish-baked molasses cookies and your favorite drink. You don’t have to slow yourself down with a deep breath because the whole morning has been kind of slow.
Just enjoy the cool breeze, warm sun, and sparkle on the water. There will probably be a pit toilet in pretty good shape if you need it (strongly suggested because we hadn’t seen a fast food place all morning).
Back on the road, go north until the paved county road ends. Here it turns to a dirt road going north, dirt going east and dirt going west. It really doesn’t matter which way you go because they will all take you there eventually.
We chose the dirt road going north and were glad we did because JB spotted this fun photo op.
Don’t worry about getting lost because if you just keep going mostly north and some west you will get there. It took us about 9 hours. Or you can take the interstate due north and then turn west – that takes about 5 hours but you miss the fun of the drive.