LOCATION: Near Calumet, Michigan in western Upper Peninsula (Michigan)
CAMPGROUND: McLain State Park on Lake Superior, at tip of where the lake meets the Portage Lake Entry (the Houghton Canal). Some sites have water views. Electricity at most sites. Central water and dump station. Beautiful, new shower room/bathroom plus clean vault toilets. Fire pit and picnic table. Fairly level site, but short. Woodsy with plenty of privacy. $32/night. So far, the MI State Parks have had similar set-ups….. Campsites share electricity, requiring long cords to the shared electrical post. The fire pits are made for bonfires, not cooking (unless your creative husband makes a grate holder). 4 stars out of 5
WEATHER: Foggy. High 65.
DISTANCE DRIVEN: 15 minutes! Our shortest drive ever between campgrounds!
We awoke to sunshine and a beautiful view out of our bedroom window at the Houghton City RV Park. We would come back here again. I chatted with a camper who spends the entire summer here. The best part is being able to walk to downtown amenities.
Then, we were off! We only had about 11 miles to drive to this state park. We will be here 6 nights. Back in January, when I started booking the Michigan campgrounds, I had a hard time finding a place over the 4th of July week. I was lucky to get this place.
When we left Houghton, it was sunny and 77. As we neared the campground, we could see the fog rolling in from the lake – It reminded us of San Francisco. I watched the truck’s outdoor temperature reading drop to 64.
I think we are in the only cool part of all of North America! My Canadian relatives told me that it was a record-breaking 114 in northern Alberta yesterday. Wow and Ugh!
After getting settled in, we took a hike to one of the peninsula’s lighthouses. Even though we were only about 50 yards from the lighthouse, we couldn’t see it due to the fog! Believe me – it is there behind me.
These Yuppers (Upper Peninsula residents) are very hardy. Even though it was about 64 and the water temperature was probably about 60, they were frolicking in the waves. You really do think you are at the ocean.
After the invigorating hike, we set off for Calumet, about 8 miles away. Our goal: a brew pub, of course! Unfortunately, it was closed today. The town used to be a hopping mining down, with mostly Italian miners and their families. Today it is pretty sad with many derelict buildings and houses, with the surprising exception of a vibrant theater. We checked out this saloon, built in 1890.
The bartender/owner told us about the saloon’s history. It made it through Prohibition with a speakeasy in the basement. He showed us the radiator pipes that someone would rap to warn the drinkers below when a policeman came by. The decor is all original.
Back at the campground, George made a fire and set up the grate so we could cook outside. I don’t like to cook meat, chicken, fish, or seafood inside, so always depend on him to get a campfire going for me.
DINNER: We really liked this dish that I made up: Scallops in a light cream sauce. I sauteed onions, garlic, and the white part of green onions in our iron skillet – using the stovetop in the trailer. When the skillet and fire were good and hot, I transferred the iron skillet over to the fire and added scallops, artichoke hearts, some previously cooked bacon pieces, and butter. After just a few minutes, when the scallops were cooked, I brought the skillet back inside, adding some cream cheese and white wine to make a light cream sauce. For serving, I topped the scallops with the green part of the green onions and capers. Sides were steamed peas, and mushroom risotto. A feast for a king!
Our site is not quite on the lake, but is close. We found a place to sit on the lakefront to watch the sun set. It was spectacular.
This was about 10:00 PM.