Monday, August 12, 2013

From Duluth Minnesota to Marquette Michigan

Since we had decided to forego going up and around Lake Superior through Canada we instead headed east on US Hwy 2  staying inside the USA. This is a beautiful quiet drive through wonderful forested lands passing by many rivers and lakes. We took Hwy 2 to the town of Ironwood, entering the Porcupine Mountains and the Ottawa National Forest. Just past Ironwood, we turned Northeast onto Hwy 28 and continued to Lake Gogebic where we stayed at a superb County Park, (except for the mosquitoes). From there we continued on Michigan Hwy 28 to Ishpemming/Marquette Michigan.  Here's that part of our journey....

This doesn't look like the Interstates! It also has no tolls, or traffic. We can go as slow as we please and no one really cares....well, the kids do to a certain extent....but they enjoyed the scenery and since we don't play the radio or TV while driving we had plenty of time to talk and discuss this beautiful part of the country.

What do you get when you use the roads less traveled? This view is out the windshield of our coach overlooking Lake Gogebic, the largest lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It's located within the 1 million acre Ottawa National Forest and has excellent fishing. (We catch and release) The water was warm and clear. The lake also spans the Central and Eastern time zones, so you can make an hour of  fishing last a long time.

Ishpeming, Michigan during rush hour! Quaint city about 30 miles south of Lake Superior. Lots of shops and touristy stuff, including a WalMart, of course. City Hall, below, built around 1890 and still used today.


Ishpeming has two notable claims to fame...It is recognized as the birthplace of organized skiing in the United States in 1905 and as such is home to the National Ski Hall of Fame; and, was the site of Wisconsin's Green Bay Packers football team's first ever road game, which they won 33-0, on October 19, 1919.

Travel just east of Marquette, Michigan on Hwy 28 at Shotput Lane and you'll find the Junkyard Art outdoor studio of Tom Lakenen, called Lakenenland. Like every park, there has to be a greeter....shake hands? 

Tom has a day job and started creating his art sculptures about 15 yrs ago. Tom quit drinking about then and says he creates things he remembers from his drinking days. He originally created these sculptures for his own satisfaction and placed them in his yard. Eventually, after some harassment from the local townsmen, he rearranged them into a sculpture garden, opened his 37 acre property to the public and invited everyone, except the local government folks, to come view his creations.

Yes, that is a huge log pierced by steel rods holding bowling balls!... Tom is a welder and creator. All of his creations were made from cast off items from the local countryside. Remember, iron ore was mined in this area for years along with logging, so cast away metal items were plentiful.

Tom has developed his land with convenience for his guests. He cut a meandering road through his property and has placed his sculptures at various places along this road. There are over 80 sculptures in place and his work continues. You may stay in your car and drive through the area, or get out and walk the road to get up close and personal with his creations.

These were my personal favorites. A logger with an axe and two sawing a log. Check out the detail! We spent almost three hours visiting this "park".

What does it cost for a family of four to view this piece of American Folk Art, better known as Junkyard Art??? Zip! Zilch! Nada! Nyet! It's absolutely FREE! (but if you make a donation, whether it's a nickel or a dime, you get to ring a very large bell!!! We rang it several times..)

After leaving Lakenenland, we headed back towards Marquette. Along this stretch of Michigan 28 are several awesome parking spots where the clean sandy beaches of Lake Superior beckon you to come wade in it's sparkling waters.

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