East of the Rockies, west of the Porkies III

The Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park (The Porkies), Michigan’s largest and best, extends into two time zones, the CST and EST, but while you are here, glancing at your watch is a wasted metaphor.  

Our first hike into the interior, shortly before dusk, found us on a 300 foot precipice overlooking the legendary Lake of the Clouds.  Formed by a glacial crater, 1 1/2 miles long, it is serene, breathtaking, remarkably still, and protected from the harsh winds off neighboring Lake Superior, within the enclosed bosom of the Porkies.

The vista, an unspoiled cleavage, encompassed by old growth forest, is free of human presence.  Never victimized by a corporate mastectomy, the panorama is the same sight seen by an Ojibwa Indian in 1809, or legendary naturalist, P.J. Hoffmaster, in 1909, or by us this very evening, 2009.  May it survive until 2109.  The awe is mesmerizing; an internal pause for reflection is self-induced, gratifying beyond simple words.


A tinge of autumn at sunset on the distant horizon

Two restful, open air, crisp nights in this peaceful park huddled within the ‘new’ Avion has prepared us for the return eastward on an early Sunday morning.  We stop in a small burg, Palmer, MI, and pause to attend a long since abandoned Methodist Church, I hum a favorite hymn, Sweet Beulah Land, then slip two bucks into the crack of the locked front door….. planning to return in a year to see if anyone took up a collection.


Lynn and Jack, after “services” at the church of the painful truth

In an area considered to be devoid of humor, the Yooper Tourist Trap in Ishpeming, MI, shatters the myth.


One manpower lawnboy  dscn1513.JPG

Deer portajohn, prior to hunting season


Big Ernie


Heading toward St. Ignace for an overnight, prior to our traditional Labor Day walk across the Mackinac Bridge, we pass through another small town on Highway 2, Rapid River, MI, home of noted sculptor Ritch Branstrom, and The AdHoc Work Shop. Featured in magazines and travel brochures, the recycling genius is also a funny guy.


Below his design of a popular transportation mode, assembled without the use of a single motorcycle part (look closely).dscn3979.JPGLook, Ma, it’s a Hardly.  Let’s go get a hooter tattoo

Although you would rarely consider re-bar and a newly discovered giant avian species in the same breath, feast on this:


Name this bird (inspiration: note the VW Beetle hood breastplate) and win a grand prize

* see details below

Our virgin trip in the Avion is coming to a close.  It performed flawlessly and even prompted several inquiries from bystanders.

‘Wow, those are big tires’

‘What are all those little doors along the bottom ?’

‘Isn’t avion the French word for air ?’

The answers simple.

(a) Goodyear Marathons, 7.25/75R15

(b)entry foyers for visiting ant colonies

(c) Oui

Our schedule requires us to return to the DeTour cabin soon anticipating the arrival of important internationally renowned guests.  Privacy prevents me from revealing their real first names, Barack and Michelle, so I won’t.  As best friends we only know them as Rocky and Shell anyhow.

For those of you who have advanced this far, I can cut the tension, palpable as it may be, by revealing the grand prize to the bird naming contest: *an all-expense trip on Labor Day, September 2010 to accompany Lynn and myself as we walk the Mackinac Bridge.

Multiple entries are allowed, there may indeed be multiple winners, and the judging will be arbitrary, capricious, with a bias toward poor taste.  Good luck.


  1. Mrs. Superior says

    Honey, I was on this vacation with you and this was what going on in your mind? You amaze me. Thank you for a wonderful trip. I love you, Lynn