Wanderings along Hwy 2, Michigan U.P to Idaho

McZippie

Walmart Adventure Camper
Trees around St Mary are very bad.
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Talked to Park Ranger after posting the above. He said the St. Mary area tree damage was caused by fire and other scattered tree damage in the Park was caused by insects. He had no knowledge about insects having a second generation because of extended number of warm days.
 
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McZippie

Walmart Adventure Camper
Day 6 Glacier NP

Had a fun day at the Park, lots of driving and hiking.
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Noticed that fashion accessories for the Smart Casual Dressed tourist has changed since our last visit to Glacier;
The Fanny Pack is out.
The gift shop Wooden Walking Stick is in.
Big Floppy Hats are in.
Japanese with big cameras are out.
Japanese with small cameras are In.
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Below is our GPS/Mapping set-up in the Jeep JKU. I use the same netbook running Delorme software in the Motor Home.
I have been using Delorme mapping software on Laptops since 1995, there may be better software, but I have so much experience with it, that I can operate it while driving with hardly a glance. IMHO the Jeep in dash unit is next to worthless for back-roads traveling. I set the Jeep unit at max zoom and do everything else with the netbook. Of course paper maps are always at hand too.
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McZippie

Walmart Adventure Camper
Day 7 Montana, Hungry Horse Recreational Area

Spent the day exploring the Hungry Horse Recreational Area.
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The Hungry Horse Dam backs up a 50 mile long deep canyon reservoir, bordered by the Great Bear Wilderness, Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Flathead National Forest.
The Lake has many picturesque camp grounds, many sites next to the crystal clear blue water.
The southwest side of the Lake, which borders the National Forest has a number of Jeep roads, that climb along the streams that feed into the Reservoir.
We did two National Forest Roads with the Jeep.
Both roads are about 6 miles long and ended near the peaks of Hash and Doris Mountains.
They both start out well maintained and progressively get narrower and rougher near the top.
Any stock higher clearance, mid-sized vehicle would have no problems reaching the top.
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Found this memorial on the way up National Forest Road (895b) to Hash Mountain. Couldn't find any information of the Web about Kay Bay De Nais???
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McZippie

Walmart Adventure Camper
Days 8,9,10

Spent most of Day 8 resupplying, site-seeing, finding a campsite and driving to Lolo Motorway.
Day 9 and 10 drove all 100+ miles of the Lolo Motorway. The drive along Hwy 12 that runs adjacent, in the river valley to the Lolo Motorway is very scenic too.
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Found this 1918 Expo Trailer Queen in the parking lot of the National Buffalo Reserve.
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Shovel, Check... Hatchet, Check... Pick, Check... Water Can, Check... Gas Can, Check... Axe, Damn forgot to bring an Axe.
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Of the all the Lewis and Clark roadside crap we stop for along the Voyage of Discovery route, this is by far the best!
I was so excited to see this sign I forgot to focus the Camera, it reads "Latrine Location"
At Travelers Rest, Archaeologists found the real thing; Lewis and Clark and Boyz crapped here.
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Below are a few pictures from the Lolo Motorway. Most can be done in 2wd with 4wd low used to keep speed down on descents.
It's averages out to about 10mph. A lot of up and down switch back driving.
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McZippie

Walmart Adventure Camper
Days 11, 12, 13, 14

Taking our time driving back-roads on our return to Wisconsin. Camped at Theodore Roosevelt NP. Nice park, very scenic Bad Lands.
Next week we will be traveling Hwy 2 again, heading east in Michigan UP.
Critter photos were taken by wife with much time and effort expended, rest our more of my point and shoot roadside hacks.
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Note Stop sign and our Rig in backgrounds, these figures are gimongous!
Talked to the builder, he said takes about 5 years to complete one. Seven figures in all, been at it since 1980s.
He built them to save his small town from turning into another North Dakota Ghost Town.
Figures are spaced along a 32 mile highway.
http://www.enchantedhighway.net/
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Theodore Roosevelt NP.
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Sitting Bull's rifle in Montana Historical Museum, Helena... For me this is top of line, to find unexpected in a small Museum.
Best small town find was years ago, in a very small town Dakota Museum; A Plains Indian scalp stick with Red, Blond, Grey and Brown scalps.
Some were clearly from European/American females. Sent shivers down the spine while looking at it.
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McZippie

Walmart Adventure Camper
Day 15 & 16

Time was running short for this vacation and needed to hightail it back home to Wisconsin.
Jumped on the Interstate in eastern North Dakota and cranked the speeds up to 85mph.
The diesel Limo Bus even while towing the Jeep still handles and rides great at high speeds.
After two weeks of bumping along on back-roads, it's amazing how much territory can be covered in a relatively short time by driving fast on good roads.
Average fuel mileage took a big hit driving fast, dropped from 13.8 to 10.4.
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Next week we are free again to wander and are heading to Michigan's UP for, four days of the Upper Peninsula Overland Challenge.

http://www.upoverland.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1814&sid=819843a7278159490a02c70979399038
 
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McZippie

Walmart Adventure Camper
Day 1 - Upper Peninsula Overland Challenge 2012

Link to more pictures at Michigan UP Overland Challenge Forum:
http://www.upoverland.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1881

Did you ever watch an old movie like "Vacation" with the Griswold Family, Lucy and Desi in "The Long Long Trailer" or "It's A Mad Mad Mad World" and hope to have adventures like those depicted by the movie's everyday characters, that are caught up in a chain of non-stop unusual circumstances?
The Michigan Upper Peninsula Overland Challenge 2012 had elements of all those movies, plus a very entertaining cast of characters.... excuse me, I mean participants. It was four days of action packed, non stop drama and fun!

Due to of the growing popularity of the annual Overland Challenge the organizers were receiving some flak from Michigan's DNR about group camping limits.
In order to comply with the DNR they had to limit the number of participants or come up with a way to accommodate larger numbers.
Thankfully they chose the latter.
Previous years had a Leader and the partipants followed along in their Rigs.
This worked OK for the first few years but the growing popularly made the longer line of vehicles cumbersome to manage.
So this year the rules were changed to the following format, to address the group camping and number of vehicle issues.

Copy of official rules in blue:
What: The annual UP Overland trip has evolved for 2012. Instead of a long caravan of vehicles following single file across the UP backcountry, it will now be a self navigational team challenge! Teams will be made up of no more than 5 vehicles per team (numbers of occupants in vehicles irrelevant) and will be tasked with accumulating points by discovering specific points of interests, performing activities, and finding signs of nature.

Each morning the teams will be handed the day's task sheet from which they will devise a route, a plan of attack, and use teamwork to accrue as many points as possible. The goal of the tasks is to let participants see much more of the UP, at their own pace, and custom cater their daily itineraries to suit their personal interests.

More Details: Think of the UP Overland Challenge as a cross between a family friendly mini Camel Trohpy and an offroad scavenger hunt. The concept is to allow more people to attend the event and keep folks with a wide variety of interests, driving speeds, and vehicle types to self discover some of the hidden gems of the UP.

Breaking into teams allows us to see more of the UP while reducing the impact of vehicles on trails and in dispersed camping sites. With 5 vehicle teams, teamwork will be key to making a successful bid for the UPO 2012 Cup. On Sunday, we will do the final tabulation of points at UP Autotech in Munising and award the top three teams.

The Route: While there is no exact planned route (that is up for the teams to figure out) there is an announced start point and finish point. August 16 we will meet at 9am at the Whitefish Point Museum Parking area. August 19th teams must arrive by 4pm to UP Autotech http://upautotech.com/(east of Munising on M28) for final point tabulations and awards.

How Do the Points Work?: Each team will need to bring a designated digital camera for the purpose of documenting items on the list to find. The team, minus the photographer must all be in each shot to show they are together for each item, there is no splitting up. We realize it isn't practical for EVERY shot to have the whole team in it, but as much as possible is acceptable. Each morning, at the predetermined meeting location, the team captain will come forth with the previous day's findings and points will be awarded. A daily ranking will be kept so teams will know where they stand.

An example of the types of things that will be on the daily task sheets….. photos of specific animal tracks, Crisp Point Light House, a Blue Heron, Mouth of the Two Hearted River, picking up trash found along the route, a vehicle articulating, the team swimming in Lake Superior, sunset shot, sunrise shot, picture showing the team supporting the local economy in some way, etc, etc The daily task sheets will have a wide variety of ways to accrue points and will allow for creativity in route finding as well as activities as well. You will have to get out of the vehicles for a lot of these!

As with most authentic overland experiences, you have to fly by the seat of the pants a bit and put together your daily itinerary using maps, gps, and local knowledge each morning after you receive the daily task sheet.



Since this was our first year, I can't comment on the 'fun' factor of previous years vs this year with the new rules.
For us, the new rules were the main reason we decided to partipate in the Challenge.

Each morning we'd drive to a group meeting place and receive a daily point list and few vague tips about course options.
One of my wife's minorly irritating quirks from past 'road trips' happen to be very beneficial in our Team accumulation of points.
A little back ground is in needed to understand the above statement.
During the winter months, I'd plan and plot the general direction of a theme back-roads trip to some part of North America.
My wife would have little interest in helping with this task.
But once on the road she'd now became the self appointed Tour Guide. She'd insisted we had to stop at each new area's Visitor Information Center, where she'd accumulate arm loads of Travel Brochures. As we motored along 'my' general route, she would be reading the Travel Brochures. She'd find some 'wonderful' must-see attraction, that would usually require a detour of hundreds of miles from 'my' obscure route.
Shortly thereafter a discussion like this would begin;
She'd proclaim that we had to stop at the Norwegian Rose-Mauling Museum.
I would reply, we'd then miss the World's Largest Ball of Rubber Bands, to complete my photo documentation of the World's Largest Ball of String, Twine, Cancelled Stamps and Paper Clips. I'm powerless against her will in such matters....
OK Dear, rose-mauling it is, as I secretly plotted a new course over the most remote back-roads possible.

It's was those pesky travel brochures that she picked-up as we crossed into Michigan and had been reading the day before the event, that made the big difference for our Team accumulating the most overall points.
After reading the daily points sheet, she'd dig around in her box of brochures and pulled out the ones that had many of the daily point items listed. She'd then get out a paper map and with the aid of the brochures, circle the point locations on the map. I'd look at her map and plot the locations on the Net-book running Delorme software and create routes using both the shortest distance and main roads options.
Compare the two routes and adjust the route for estimated travel time between types of roads and off we'd go.

Another of Kathie's passions is to spot wild animals and photograph them. Since most points were rewarded for animals, she decided to focus a lot of our efforts there.

After completing each day's events, it was very obvious that a lot of effort and local knowledge was put into making the Challenge a very rewarding experience.
The Organizers did a fantastic job of hitting the area's main, minor and unique attractions.
The Michigan UP Overland Challenge is the Everyman's Adventure Expo!

And of course all the Participates were some of the greatest, friendly and fun people to hang with.

The following cell phone pictures taken to document our daily points, can only begin to show the beauty of Michigan's UP and fun we had.

Pictures from Day 1:


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Note that items with more that one check mark were only counted once in daily total.
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bpfamily

rove around
Great first day pictures. Please keep them coming. Your setup sure beat my roadside travel map and boyscout compass.
Cheers,
Brad (Montero)
 

JTY

New member
She'd insisted we had to stop at each new area's Visitor Information Center, where she'd accumulate arm loads of Travel Brochures. As we motored along 'my' general route, she would be reading the Travel Brochures.

And of course all the Participates were the greatest, friendly and fun people to hang with.
Hehee, I am a info-nut, my wife hates it. We were up in Munising & Grand Marais, not as official trip participants, but to tag along with one of teams on Fri & Sat to "get our feet wet" to overlanding (although we didn't camp out, not ready for that quite yet...). It took every fiber of my being to resist stopping at the visitor center in Munising, my wife was proud of me... :D

And you are right, the people are awesome, what a welcoming group. I finally met a few that I had only known thru the UPO forum & Facebook, plus a few others, good times.

That last photo in post #24 is awesome. Looking forward to the remaining days of your report!
 

McZippie

Walmart Adventure Camper
Hehee, I am a info-nut, my wife hates it. We were up in Munising & Grand Marais, not as official trip participants, but to tag along with one of teams on Fri & Sat to "get our feet wet" to overlanding (although we didn't camp out, not ready for that quite yet...). It took every fiber of my being to resist stopping at the visitor center in Munising, my wife was proud of me... :D

And you are right, the people are awesome, what a welcoming group. I finally met a few that I had only known thru the UPO forum & Facebook, plus a few others, good times.

That last photo in post #24 is awesome. Looking forward to the remaining days of your report!
Now that would be interesting, you and my wife on the same team next year with boxes of travel brochures!

The photo was taken on a very remote, very hilly, very deep sand trail, on our way to score points for finding an abandoned camp ground along Lake Superior. We were alone, so one mistake and we would have of been stuck and digging our way out of the sand. No worries though we were well equipted to handle most any problem.

We didn't camp out in tents either, stay in our small Limo Bus at a really nice camp ground on the shore of Lake Superior.

 
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Rattler

Thornton Melon's Kid
We should have talked McZippie. I could have pointed you towards some great ghost town stuff! I was kept pretty busy though most the time with the boy when we were stopped to set up camp. Nice pics! Hope you had fun!
 

McZippie

Walmart Adventure Camper
We should have talked McZippie. I could have pointed you towards some great ghost town stuff! I was kept pretty busy though most the time with the boy when we were stopped to set up camp. Nice pics! Hope you had fun!
That would of been great.

I'm always in search of the most elusive quarry, for my works-in-progress Coffee Table Book.
Titled: "America's Forgotten Abode, The Tar Paper Shack"

Most everyone loves the Log Cabin and many famous ones have been restored, but far more famous Americans from humble backgrounds were actually raised in Tar Paper Shacks. No one seems to care that they are mostly gone now.

Cheap Mobile Homes, Government Subsidized Housing, Building Codes and the dreaded Tyvek Building Wrap make it almost impossible to find a Tar Paper Shack in America today.

There are museums with Log Cabins, Sod Houses, Hillside/Rockside Dugouts, Clapboard Houses and even houses made from Railroad Cars, but only one Museum that I could find, had the foresight to save and restore a Tar Paper Shack.

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Rattler

Thornton Melon's Kid
You would love Fiborn Quarry! Rockport down by Alpena in the LP is cool too but not to the extent of Fiborn.
 
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