When you live in Detroit, as I did for many of my growing up years, going Up North is a dream. Up North the trees and lakes outnumber the people. You can fish in the many lakes and see real, live deer and other wildlife. You can enjoy peace and quiet -- at least until hunting season. Going Up North is getting away.
Michigan’s Lower Peninsula resembles a mitten. A Michigan native turns the back of her left hand toward you and points to a spot on it to show you where she's from. Anywhere above the knuckles is Up North.
Even further up is the U.P., the Upper Peninsula. It is bounded by Lake Superior and Lake Huron on the south and Lake Superior on the north. The Mackinac (MACK in naw) Bridge connects it to the mitten. The U.P. is way Up North.
With its lengthy, harsh winters, the U.P. is the place to practice and enjoy skiing and snowmobiling. My 2008 foray into the land up north occurred while I was en route to the Women on Wheels International Ride-In. Our destination was Boyne Mountain Resort, located right about the first joint of your ring finger.
Leaving from Oregon and California, motorcycle buddies Laurie and Virginia and I rode north to the Canadian Rockies and then headed east on the Trans-Canada Highway. We dropped down into the U.S. into Wisconsin and continued east across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I hadn’t been on the U.P. in forty years.
The views of the Great Lakes from astride our motorcycles showed us the beauty and vastness of these famed bodies of water. We swerved with the winding rural roads that took us to the Mackinac Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere at 8,614 feet. Like all suspension bridges, it is designed to move to accommodate changes in the wind, temperature, and weight. The height of the roadway at mid-span is approximately 200 feet above water level, which is pretty scary when you’re riding along and can look through the grate to see the water unrolling in front of you.
|Photo from Boyne Mountain website|
Switching into its summer mode, Boyne Mountain Resort offered an indoor water park and scenic chairlift rides and became a convenient base for our explorations into nearby towns. The people of Boyne City showed us a good time, Up North style. One evening, near the waterfront, they put on an ice cream social for all the motorcyclists.
When the Ride-In was over, I hung around Up North for a few more days, visiting friends Susan and Lois in tiny Bitely, Michigan. Fresh air, their lake-front cottage, the abundance of trees, living in the midst of nature and the lack of traffic are compelling attributes of their relaxed lifestyle. They love watching the birds, deer, and visiting squirrels that seem to return each season, particularly the red-taled squirrel they’ve named Reba.
like-minded neighbors who live around the lake or in the area, Up North is a
perfect place for Lois and Susan. What a great get-away from the hectic, everyday city life.
|Photo by Lois|
~ xoA ~