Marquette, Michigan

On Friday September 2, we went to the dump station, hooked up Thor and left Saxon Harbor Campground at 10:15.  Acey’s mileage 93,781.3 and Thor’s 105,776. At 10:40, we crossed the state line into Michigan where we will spend the rest of September.

We crossed into the Eastern Time Zone and soon we passed thru Ishpeming where Linda’s grandma grew up – her father (Linda’s great grandpa) worked in an iron ore mine there.

We arrived at Chocolay River RV Park near Marquette around 2pm and got settled in – we’ll be here a full week; the longest stay we’ve had for quite some time! During the caravan to Alaska, we had a lot of 1- and 2-night stops, and that got tedious; it will be wonderful to stay put for a change – and we have full hookups with 50-amp service.

On Sunday morning, we were unable to Zoom with our Sunday School Class, but worshipped with Stephens Valley Church, watching the service of August 14. (bulletin) In the sermon, The Cosmic Choir, Pastor Jim read Psalm 96 – saying the universe – all of creation praises God like a cosmic choir. We sure experienced that with the beauty of His creation as we wandered thru Canada and Alaska – so many sights we have seen, sunsets, mountains, glaciers, fields, lakes and forests – the animals we have seen and places we have gone – such beauty and diversity! All of His creation speaks to his power and glory!

After lunch, we went for a bike ride on the North Country Scenic Trail (also called the Iron Ore Heritage Trail) Much of the trail is a snowmobile trail in the winter and was a railway route at one time. It is a crushed gravel surface until we got close to downtown Marquette where it is asphalt.

The trail ran close to the shore of Lake Superior.

We could see downtown Marquette and one of the ore docks.

There were some mile markers with iron ore miners on the top – initials IOHT for the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.

We stopped to look at the “beehive” – a kiln that was used in the process of making iron.

John Burt, son of William Austin Burt, had a big hand in growing Michigan’s iron ore industry.

A little further down the bike path, we came to the decommissioned ore dock.

It was a great afternoon for a ride; we rode 17 miles! Later, we drove back into Marquette and stopped at Blackrocks Brewery for some craft brew.

Though we didn’t have a reservation, we stopped by Steinhaus – a highly rated German Restaurant – and were able to get a table! The dinner was delicious – we were delighted that it worked out that we could dine there!

On Monday, Jim changed all the water filters, Linda worked on the blog, and after lunch, we visited Presque Isle Park in Marquette. There was a freighter – the Hon. James L. Oberstar – ready to take on some taconite at the active ore dock. The sun was not our friend – it’s hard to make out the ship, the ore dock or the train cars atop the ore dock.

Built in 1959, the ship is 246 meters long (807 feet)

We walked around the park and wanted to go out to the lighthouse, but the access was closed.

The rocky cliffs were pretty – but pale in comparison to the Pictured Rocks further to the east. (We saw them in 2020.)

Coming back to the ore dock, we saw (and heard!) the freighter being loaded. The photos did not come out well – the sun was right behind the dock! Thanks to the internet, here’s a photo of the train cars above the ore dock. The train dumps its load into a pocket behind the chute. Each of the 200 pockets can hold up to 250 tons of ore.

The freighter docks and the cargo hatches are opened. The chutes are lowered, a door at the bottom of the pocket opens, and the taconite pellets run down the chute into the cargo hatch, loading about 20 tons with each drop. And it is LOUD! We stopped in at Ore Dock Brewing. Their logo pictures some chutes from the ore dock filling a freighter.

We headed back to Acey and made dinner. Later in the evening, Linda posted the “Back in the USA” blog.

Tuesday morning, we ran a bunch of errands. After lunch, we went for a walk behind the campground to see if we could see the Chocolay River.

The river doesn’t appear to be very deep.

After dinner, we drove back into Marquette to see the sunset. We went past the bike trail and saw the ore dock again.

The train cars above the dock can be clearly seen.

We drove into Presque Isle Park to Sunset Point, arriving just in time to see the sun set.

After “the show” was over, we left the park, and the moon was shining over the marina by the ore dock!

On our way back to Acey, we stopped at Jean Kay’s Pasties for tomorrow’s dinner.

Wednesday, we left early for a bike ride on the same trail we rode on Sunday.

The evidence was obvious that this was a rail-trail!

WE rode 16 1/2 miles. After lunch, Linda worked on the blog and Jim worked on removing the 3M shield on the front of Acey. When the film was installed, they used a razor knife to cut it and cut into the paint! The edges are moldy, and it looks terrible; we’ll need to get a paint job or something to fix it right.

Linda’s friend Nancy came for a visit, and we had the pasties from Jean Kay’s for dinner.

We found out a week later they announced that Jean Kay’s will be closing their doors for good – the owner is retiring Dec 31, 2022.

After dinner, we drove out to see Lakenenland Sculpture Park not far from our campground with where Tom Lakenen displays lots of his Junkyard Art creations. We visited last year, but Nancy had not seen it yet. And of course, her trusty companion Jack went along for the tour. Nancy loves to travel and has had several projects – probably her most ambitious one was in 2012 – her Expedition 56 took her to all 56 US states and territories. This year she is visiting all 83 counties in Michigan, her home state.

There are well over 200 quirky sculptures in the park, this one for the Marquette County Sheriff – a relative of Nancy’s.

If you want to see more of Lakenenland, check out the Marquette blog from August 2021.

Thursday was our last day in Marquette, and with full hookups, we took advantage of that! We washed the sheets, the bedspread and did more laundry; about 5 loads in our small washer/dryer unit. (We didn’t realize the bedspread/quilted blanket would fit in the washer but were happy to find that it did!) We won’t have sewer at our next stop, so it was good to get caught up. Jim worked some more on removing 3M shield and Linda worked on the blog. In the afternoon, we headed out to see the Iron Industry Museum; we had seen signs for it along the highway.

This was some interesting history!

According to Wikipedia, ONE board foot equals the volume of a one-foot length of a board, one foot wide and one inch thick. Wood was used for the floorboard, the frame, the seats and the roof… hard to picture how 250 board feet of wood was used, but that’s what the sign said…. Here’s a photo of the “exploded Model T” we took when we visited the Henry Ford last September.

And one from the internet, showing the other side …6466(2)

Did you know FORD made a Jeep?

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula had 3 ranges of iron ore deposits – as well as copper!

The site of Carp River Forge was located behind the museum.

The Menominee Range 1873-1978 Total Production: 320 million tons.
The Geobic Range 1883-1967 Total Production: 255 million tons.

Here’s a link to an article about the solar compass

We found this display to be VERY interesting!

There was a display of how mining has changed over the years. The old way – in an underground mine.

Today – lots of heavy equipment is involved.

The iron-bearing ore is crushed into very small pieces by rock crushing machines and milled until it is as fine as powder. Using magnetism, the iron ore is separated out and the waste rock is dumped into tailings basins. The iron is then mixed with clay and rolled into marble-sized balls which are then heated until they are white-hot. The balls harden as they cool and are now taconite pellets, ready to be shipped off to make steel.

Behind the museum, there is a boardwalk that overlooks the Carp River and the site of the first iron forge in the Lake Superior region. It was a nice day, and we walked along the boardwalk. There are no signs of the old forge today. On our way back to Acey, we stopped at Drifa Brewing.

We got back to Acey, made dinner and got ready for our move in the morning. We packed a lot into our week in Marquette!


4 thoughts on “Marquette, Michigan”

  1. Hello Michigan!
    Amazing to discover Nancy lives in Marquette. I liked the historic pictures of the Soo Locks/1870 and the blow-up schematic of the Model T. Thanks for posting your adventures. Always something to take away.

    1. Nancy was just passing thru Marquette in her way home in Charlevoix.
      We are finding out all sorts of interesting stuff as we travel – and learning more history along the way too!
      Hoping folks are learning as they peruse the blog! 🙂

  2. The sunset pictures are beautiful. Always wondered who exactly from our family worked in the mines up there. That (he) must be where our good work ethic came from . What did you think of Gene kays house ketchup sauce? On a side note, how did,”cousin Randy” become, “a friend of Chuck’s” in your last blog, re telling the story of the size of the mountains and the lake?? Lol

    1. Growing up, I had thought it was a copper mine that Papa Bill worked at, but last year when we were in Ish, we discovered it was iron ore that was mined in the area. Nana said her grandfather (William Sr) worked in the mines and later in the dry house – where the miners changed. Papa Bill (William Jr) worked in the mine in Ish and also in North Lake, and Grampa Ted worked in the mines in the summer to pay his college tuition; he got a job at a law firm in Chicago and went to Kent School of Law
      We took the pasties home for dinner the next night – didn’t get the ketchup sauce from Jean Kay’s…
      And I gotta fix that last blog!

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