After a successful and adventurous stop at Lake Huron in St. Ignace, Michigan, it was time to move on. Before entering the Upper Peninsula, we had determined that we wanted to spend some time on each of the three Great Lakes surrounding it. One down, two to go.
Our next stop: Lake Michigan. When we booked a campground in Gladstone (near Escanaba), we knew we’d be near the water. What we didn’t know was how wonderful the scenery would be. From the satellite view on Google Maps, it looked like we’d be able to see the water from an angle because of a campsite in front of ours.
We arrived on a Saturday. The rig blocking our view left on Sunday. A couple of other neighbors came and went during our time there, but we didn’t mind. For their short-term stays, they deserved the wonderful view we got to enjoy for the whole week.
When your home overlooks an expansive lake, you can’t help but be thankful. Every day there, we woke up in awe of the beauty outside our windows and door. The blue body of water stretched as far east and west as we could see, providing a welcome respite to a busy work week.
A Tale of 2 Gullivers
Our journey to Gladstone took us through the little town of Gulliver, Michigan, population between 600 and 700, depending on the source. Of course, we had to stop, for Gulliver’s sake.
Gulliver enjoyed a nice rest at Gulliver’s Crossroads — a fuel station with a roomy parking lot and raved-about food made to order — while Bob finished a Project Management Professional (PMP) call. He facilitates a study group to help up and coming PMPs pass the Project Management Institute exam and was recognized as the April Volunteer of the Month.
We couldn’t leave the small town without purchasing sweatshirts in honor of our hard-working truck.
After fueling both Gulliver and us, we traveled along Lake Michigan about an hour to reach our campsite right on the lake. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the week. We enjoyed walking along the lake every day — except for the midge flies.
We had planned our visit to the UP early to avoid mosquitoes and black flies, and we succeeded. But we didn’t know about midge flies. They’re little black flies about the size of mosquitoes that don’t bite, thankfully. But they do swarm, and they do get in your nose and mouth. They like humans for our carbon dioxide, and they can be found near water. Surrounded by water, the UP is host to many such flies.
On our drive to Gladstone, we hit a swarm of the pests, and the rush of them hitting our windshield sounded like rain. Needless to say, dead bodies collected on Gulliver and Tagalong, making quite a mess and necessitating a trip to a car wash to give Gulliver a much-needed scrub-down. Bob scrubbed them off Tagalong as well.
Another thing that can be found near water is lighthouses. They’re all over the place in the UP — so much so that they’re easy to take for granted. You can get up close and personal to a lighthouse in almost every town along any of the three lakes.
Interestingly enough, the only working lighthouse on northern Lake Michigan, Seul Choix Pointe, is in the town of Gulliver. We didn’t see that one (it doesn’t open until Memorial Day), but we did visit one in St. Ignace, rode our bikes to one in Gladstone, and walked to one near Lake Superior.
Christmas in May
After a rather uneventful but much appreciated stay on Lake Michigan, we reluctantly packed up to move on to Lake Superior. Wow! The biggest of the Great Lakes, this one is truly massive and actually contains 10% of the earth’s fresh water, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
We journeyed to the little town of Christmas, Michigan (near Munising), population around 400, where a 35-foot Santa Claus greeted us. The town got its start in the 1930s, thanks to a man opening a factory to make holiday gifts. Although the factory no longer exists, the theme of Christmas lingers, with roads named St. Nicholas Street, Santa Lane, Mrs Claus Lane, Mistletoe Lane, Jingle Bell Lane, Holly Drive, and Sleigh Way, among others.
Each of the three Great Lakes in Michigan’s UP is freckled with small towns offering lots of things to do and loads of sights to see. We’ve been gratefully basking in the beauty of our surroundings and exploring as much as we can.
This is the travel blog of Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong. We live on the road full time, enjoying all the adventures that come our way.