Unearthing Hidden Gems on an 1,800 Mile Eastern Upper Peninsula Ride

Car, Horse, Motorcycle or ORV – No matter what your preferred method of transportation, guest blogger Bryan Much shares his tips for taking the road less traveled on an Eastern Upper Peninsula ride.  

Eastern UP you say?  Yeah, been through there many times. Nice place!”  That was me before I took the time to dig in and really explore the history, scenery, and attractions of the area.  I always thought the eastern UP was “nice”, but now I’m in awe of all that I’ve missed over the years.

I like to do my exploring on an adventure motorcycle, but a car – or even a horse (as I learned along the way) – will take you to treasure.  With motorcycle riding upon us, it’s a good time to share some opportunities for the curious to explore and enjoy.

Rolling along to take in hundreds of points of interest, I covered about 1,800 miles of Pure Michigan goodness.  My goal went beyond the entertainment of taking my own trip.  I wanted to share some information that would make it easier for others to plan a trip of their own. On my trip, I toured counter-clockwise generally along the lakeshores with loops deep into the interior.  I crossed and re-crossed the bridge, ferried to Drummond Island, and rode the highways and back roads that took me where I wanted to go.

EUP 0002-XL

My favorites points of interest usually involve history.  Visiting places and exploring what once was in the past is a very rich experience for me – especially when you add in some interpretive displays or stories from books.  We are still making history today, so the modern and new are equally fascinating.  The thrill of watching a giant ore ship navigate a narrow channel leaves an impression not easily forgotten.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

It’s not just the places.  The people you meet and the stories they share make for a memorable trip.  Slowing down and taking a moment to chat often brings great reward.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

The end of the day brings the time to reflect while relaxing on a beach listening to lapping waves while watching the sun slowly sink below the horizon.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Waterfalls, mom-and-pop restaurants, fishing villages, wildlife, and history new and old are all part of the fare.  The pictures and stories from my own trip can be viewed here.  Hopefully, it will help a few people sort out some places they’d like to explore on a trip of their own.

So take a look, make some plans, and go hunting for some treasure of your own!  See you in the eastern UP!

Bryan Much retired from the military after having advanced from Private to Colonel. He now spends much of his time advocating for off-highway motorcyclists and exploring and recording paths for them to ride and enjoy.  He serves on two councils relating to trails and is a member of many organizations related to this recreational interest.

Five Reasons to Bundle Up for a Round of Golf on Top of Frozen Lake Huron

Grab your flannel, fleece and golf clubs… Yes, you read it right! You don’t have to leave the Midwest this winter to enjoy a mind-blowing round of golf. St. Ignace Visitors Bureau shares five reasons you can’t miss the one-of-a-kind U.P. Ice Golf Scramble.

Photo Courtesy of The St. Ignace News

Dying to get back on the links for a round of golf? Want to keep your swing in shape but don’t have the budget to search for warm weather? The U.P. Ice Golf Scramble, Feb. 27-28, will reunite you with your favorite pastime – complete with five St. Ignace twists.

1. The Next Best Thing to Fireflies
Remember the fun of chasing fireflies on a summer night? Combine that memory teeing off after sunset and you’ve got the Glow Ball Challenge. Participants will spend Friday evening trying to land their glow-in-the-dark ball closest to the pin for special bragging rights and the chance to win an exclusive tour of the Mackinac Bridge towers. They’ll also enjoy beer tasting and live music. Definitely more fun than fireflies.

2. Our Greens are White
Forget about those pesky sand traps. Let St. Ignace introduce you to a new course and a new twist on your favorite pastime. Anyone can say they shot the back nine, but how many of your friends can say they played on 12 plus inches of Great Lakes ice?

Ice Golf Scramble 13. A Fun and Level Playing Field
Literally and figuratively – this outing offers a level playing field. Literally – because the lake surface is as level as Mother Nature can make it. Figuratively, because we’ve constructed an event that places the emphasis on fun. Saturday’s outing is a two-person, best-ball scramble, which is our way of saying that even if you’ve never golfed in your life, partner up and take a swing at a winter adventure. No handicaps. No pros. Just fun.

Ice Golf Scramble 4. Go to the Extreme
Golf is traditionally a quiet, relaxed sport. But in this age of amped-up activities, bucket lists, and thrill-seeking, what could be more extreme than playing through atop 20 fathoms of icy cold waters? St. Ignace has a long history of using the frozen Great Lakes as a playground – from snowmobiling to pond hockey championships – but if you haven’t golfed Huron, you haven’t taken full advantage of the state’s winter wonderland,

5. Fashion turns to Flannel and Fleece
Ice golfers can forget about the preppy polo shirt or the golf knickers. Pack your thermal underwear, your fleece and anything else that can provide layers of warmth. Make sure you have a touk (a knitted winter hat) or a Stormy Kromer (a stylish wool cap made in the Upper Peninsula) and remember your sun glasses because St. Ignace is known for beautiful winter sunshine!

What could be more thrilling! Are you brave enough to golf on a frozen Great Lake? Learn more and register for the U.P. Ice Golf Scramble at www.stignace.com or call (800) 338-6660.

This Musical Journey Through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Will Leave You Mesmerized, Guaranteed!

Do you have five minutes? Trust us. You’ll be blown away by this new music video produced by Marquette, Michigan based visual artist Shawn Malone. 

“As the World Falls Away” is set to the new music of North American Ambient Electronic recording artist David Helpling, and features captivating scenes of Michigan landscape and night sky, interwoven with NASA ISS flyover scenes, courtesy the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center.

This wonderful juxtaposition of spectacular scenes from Earth and Space take the viewer on an immersive audio and visual journey from the edge of the Earth to the depths of the sea and leaving the viewer completely mesmerized.

Check out the video filmed entirely in Michigan. Then, see where it all took place with Shawn’s notes on the video and scene-by-scene breakdown below!

As The World Falls Away – David Helpling from LakeSuperiorPhoto on Vimeo.

Notes on video from visual artist Shawn Malone:

Living on the south shore of Lake Superior, summer is very special as both sunrise and sunset occur right over the lake. With this past harsh winter, the cold water of the lake produced surreal opportunities with fog, one of those scenes with the massive fog bank completely blotting out the sunset made the cut.

Upper Michigan has amazing dark skies, and is a high enough latitude to catch the aurora every now and then. Simply living here provides endless inspiration for the the subject matter of my art, beautiful country. As a matter of fact, about 15 years ago, with no jobs lined up we made the move from a very urban metropolitan area and chose to live in the Upper Peninsula, in awe of the beauty and solitude of the Lake Superior region.

My video approach actually starts with the music, something that is inspiring and will fit with whatever content I am producing. I then work to tie similar visual elements found in completely different scenes together through sequence order and sometimes the use of color while creating a visual flow that reflects what is happening in the music at the time, with a final result having emotion and impact. I first learned of David Helpling’s music when working on “North Country Dreamland,” another time-lapse video that exclusively features the night sky of Upper Michigan. I had approached the team of David Helpling and Jon Jenkins and asked if they would agree to let me use a gorgeous track from their trilogy, and they agreed. That video went on to win a Smithsonian video award in 2013 and now has over 250k views on Vimeo.

Scene Sequence:

- Morning dew on beach grass, Lake Superior, Marquette
- Lake Superior summer sunsets from the south shore of Lake Superior, Marquette
- Crescent moon rises through pastel colored sky and smoky waves from western forest fires
- Multicolored storm cloud sequences(one pink, one with golden mammatus clouds from the same storm)
- Sunsets from the south shore of Lake Superior
- Marquette
- Grand Island blue ice curtains, filmed under a bright moon while frozen Lake Superior creaked and rumbled under foot

Photo courtesy of Lake Superior Photo

Photo courtesy of Lake Superior Photo

International Space Station fly over scenes:
- Milky Way and red aurora
- Full moon setting behind earth
- A large bright comet rising
- From North to South America in 15 seconds
- Intense isolated lightning storm over Lake Superior Marquette
- Aurora Borealis over Lake Superior Marquette
- Aurora substorm reflecting in Tobin Harbor, Isle Royale, late September 2014
- Winter aurora over frozen Lake Superior with green, red, purple curtains, bright moon illuminating the snow
- ISS fly over of auroras with similar colors as seen from space
- Grand Island shipwreck of 1870, the Bermuda- rays of light shining down on the wreck

- The great auroras from Oct 2011, photographed in Marquette, this scene constructed from a few random stills in the sequence they were photographed, sequence showing light of the aurora forming what look to be angels descending and ascending
- One of those rare sunsets after an intense thunderstorm, lighting still going off behind me, rainbows to my right, and this massively epic sunset to the left. Pink cloud scene immediately following is from same storm
- Subtle auroras over ice mounds of Lake Superior showing how versatile in color the aurora can be, this time magenta and yellowish green hues
- Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse with it’s lantern room pointing directly to Polaris the north star, as the constellations rotate around it- lighthouse illuminated from the light of Munising (it was a very dark moonless night)
- The Milky Way sweeping over the foundation of the company store, Fayette ghost town
- Milky Way reflecting off an inland lake in the central Upper Peninsula
- Very strong fog bank sweeping in off Lake Superior completely blocking out the sunset as it passed
- All sky view of the most colorful aurora I’ve ever seen, as viewed from the south shore of Lake Superior,  with a red arc ending the video straight through the center of the frame

What did you think of the video? 

David Helpling is on the Spotted Peccary label and his music is available on CD and available for download. Follow David Helpling on Facebook.

Shawn Malone is a visual artist based in Marquette, Michigan a and runs a photography gallery at 211 S. Front St. in downtown Marquette of her landscape photography work. Her art is available for purchase and can be contacted there also for time-lapse/video projects. Follow LakeSuperiorPhoto on Facebook.