Day Seven: Munising and driving back to the Lower Peninsula

We (the kids and I) slept in and had a leisurely morning, but also knew we wanted to be on the road by 10:00am. And on the road with the RV which meant we needed to prepare for departure. This was the first morning at Manistique where the wind was pretty much gone and wow what a difference it makes. We could actually enjoy some outside time and the weather felt lovely.

The weather was so nice we could take pictures outside without being wind blown

Today we had Plan B in effect from the previous day when our pontoon boat rental was cancelled due to weather. We made the 50 minute drive to Munising, Michigan (pretty much a straight line above where we were) where we could board the Pictured Rock Cruise. Munising is on Lake Superior and was a much bigger town than Manistique with more options. When we arrived, Will parked the RV and held office hours for a bit while the kids and I went to get lunch. Ever since we arrived to this area we have wanted to try a pasty. It’s pronounced like nasty, not tasty. I had read of a few places to try them in Munising so we went to Miners.

It was an adorable little shop and they only make a few kinds a day. Betsie chose Breakfast (sausage, eggs, cheese, potatoes and onion); Eli and AC had Chicken (potatoes, onions, carrots, chicken and rutabaga); Will had Yooper (beef, pork, onion, potatoes, carrots and rutabaga) and I tried the Vegan (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and rutabaga). The outcome was three to two. Eli, AC and I loved them and Betsie and Will did not. Wills isn’t a “stew” guy and said he felt like it was stew in bread. I loved the chicken the best and my vegan breading wasn’t like everyone else’s making the breading part not as tasty.

Here is a little history about the pasty: Few meals have roots as deep as the Cornish pasty, a hand-held meat-and-vegetable pie developed as a lunch for workers in the ancient English tin mining region of Cornwall. With its characteristic semicircular shape and an insulating crust that does double-duty as a handle, the humble pasty—which, perhaps unfortunately, rhymes with “nasty” rather than “tasty”—today receives special designation, along with Champagne and Parma ham, as a protected regional food by the European Union. In Michigan, where 19th-century Cornish immigrants brought the pasty into the iron mines of the Upper Peninsula, the pasty has been celebrated with local festivals and statewide proclamations.

The Cornish pasty arrived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) in the 1840s, just a few years after Michigan’s present-day boundaries were carved out of the former Northwest Territory. Adventurers crossed the Straits of Mackinac to the isolated U.P. to prospect for minerals, discovering significant iron and copper deposits beneath the northern forests. Experienced miners from Cornwall immigrated to help develop the mines, bringing pasty-making with them. Although Cornish migration was soon supplanted by much larger waves of Finns and Italians, the pasty took hold as a traditional miners’ food. After the 1957 Mackinac Bridge opened the Upper Peninsula for tourism from southern Michigan, the pasty shifted from being a food mainly cooked at home by U.P. locals (known as “Yoopers”) to one sold at restaurants to visitors from southern Michigan and beyond (playfully derided as “Fudgies” for their preferred dessert). In a moment of Yooper-Fudgie unity, Gov. George Romney declared May 24, 1968 to be the first statewide Michigan Pasty Day.

After our bellies were full we walked to the City Dock to board The Grand Island (she was one of two boats going out at 1:00pm). I should stop here a make a big note. Yesterday we were canceled due to rain and rough waters. While our drive was cloudy to Munising you can imagine my surprise when we pulled in and there was thick fog. I couldn’t believe it! Ever since we planned this trip, going to Pictured Rocks was one of the top things I wanted to do and see. Especially since the best view is by water and this was something we could all be a part of and enjoy the same way.

Before we boarded the cruise they made an announcement saying the first boat that went out had to turn around as they could not see anything once they hit Miner’s Castle. If the same happens to us we would turn around and get a full refund. If we can see Miner’s Castle and go further but can’t see anything else we would have half a refund back. If we wanted to back out and not take the chance we would get a full refund. Everyone standing in line took the chance.

The other boat going out with us
The start of the trip
Don’t know how this is going to end!?!?

Have you seen posts on Instagram or Facebook where they have a picture of an expectation and then another of reality; that was our cruise experience.

Expectation of Miner’s Castle….
Reality of Miner’s Castle
Expectation of Pictured Rocks….

Well, we made it to Miner’s Castle and could barely see it. Good news, we got a full refund. Bad news, we couldn’t see Pictured Rocks. We did learn some interesting facts from our captain though: The Grand Island was the name of our vessel and we traveled at a rate of 13 mph. Lake Superior is the largest, roughest, coldest, deepest (1300 feet).
Miner’s Castle is 75 feet and is the best viewing point if you did the scenic drives in Pictured Rocks National Park. On the way back we stopped by the East Channel Lighthouse on Grand Island. It is no longer a working lighthouse. Grand Island is four times the size of Mackinac Island and is the same size as Manhattan. Look how the weather cleared up closer to the mainland, but not out further! It would have been so nice if it looked like this when we got to Pictured Rocks.

East Channel Lighthouse. Look at the weather difference
They used the ride as nap time

I was incredibly bummed that we were not able to see Pictured Rocks. However, we have enjoyed Michigan so much we know we will be back. We also learned that this weather right now is not common this time of year….lucky us!

Since it was so foggy driving the scenic route within Pictured Rocks National Park would not even help us to see them. Due to this we decided to end our time in the UP and to head to our next destination.

Going back over the Mackinac Bridge

The ride to Petoskey was just under three hours. It ended up being a little extra long as Will needed to take a conference call in an area where he had good cell coverage.

Conference call time

Driving into the town of Petoskey was like leaving the country and driving into a big town. Petoskey even feels bigger than Traverse City. Our RV park, Petoskey RV Resort is right past the Bay Harbor part of Petoskey. The park is gated and lovely! We have another waterfront view; however it’s not the same as Manistique .

See us?!?
Clubhouse right behind us

We arrived a little before 7:00pm and within an hour we were all hooked up and eating dinner. I had prepped taco meat before we left Richmond and froze it. I’m so glad I did as it made getting dinner ready easy last night! It was taco night! And did I mention I love my always pan! It really is one of the only pans I use at home and it seems it’s my new favorite cooking tool on the RV too.

It’s taco time

After dinner we went to get frozen yogurt in town at one of the only places open late and it reminded us of Sweet Frog. Once back Will started a fire as it was a great evening outside while I got Anna Cate ready for bed. She didn’t want to come outside but chose to watch a movie. I think she was smart as finding much needed alone time on the RV is hard. Remember last summer we all said that was the one thing we wish we had…well we are all trying to find minutes where we can this trip.

I was the first to turn in with AC (around 11:30pm) but I don’t think it wasn’t much later that everyone else was going to bed too. While the weather is warmer in Petoskey it is still cloudy. Hoping for some blue sky in the future, but we shall see.

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