Friday, September 9, 2016

Never Lost if You Have a Gazetteer

I meant to post yesterday, but my laptop was having a fit and I wasn’t able to do anything on it. Today is a new day, though, and so far, after rebooting it for the umpteenth time in the middle of last night, the laptop is finally working okay.

Back to our camping trip adventures in the UP.

A few years ago, I read on-line about the ghost town of Mandan, somewhere past Delaware mine. I wanted to explore it, but the last two times we were in the UP, I didn’t take along any directions and my mind just isn’t what it used to be. Just like the search for the elusive Gratiot RiverWaterfall, I apparently needed written directions in hand. Unlike this year’s discovery of those waterfalls, however, these directions weren’t enough.

Four miles past the mine at Delaware, on Highway 41, a sign declared “Mandan”. We drove onto the gravel road and turned to the right, as my directions said. The instructions went on to say that you should now be on Main Street where a few houses still stood and after a few hundred feet you would circle back out to Highway 41.

This did not happen.  We did see a sign for “Mandan Loop Road”, so decided that we at least were on the right track. We drove for maybe a mile, and even though we toyed with the idea of turning around, we decided to just keep going. 

The road eventually circled back around until we were heading east again, and I thought certainly we would come upon the ghost town and its few remaining houses now. We met a few ATVs and other vehicles, so felt that the road had to at least end up somewhere. Every time we saw one of these signs, we thought, that even though the road had deteriorated to an ATV trail, our Chevy Blazer will surely get through. The path was dry, rutted and just wide enough in some places for us to pass. 

Even what appeared to be an ancient snowmobile in a tree didn’t deter us. After all we still had a half a tank of gas and plenty of food and water, along with Dino the Wonder Dog who surely had our backs.

After another hour of driving, we stopped for a potty break in the woods. As we got back in the vehicle, a car, a mini-van and an SUV crawled passed. Even though we had no cell reception, we still had to be near civilization, right?

I finally pulled out the Michigan Gazetteer and traced our path. Yea, we were way off base and just south of Copper Harbor, as the crow flies. 

We came to an intersection, believe it or not. If I was correct, according to the Gazetteer, the road straight ahead would go for another few miles before circling back to come into Copper Harbor from the east. The road to the left would take us there quickly, but my gut feeling was that it was not nearly in as good condition as the road straight ahead. 

As the Hubby and I were mulling it over, the three vehicles from earlier, the silver crossover SUV, red mini-van and blue Mitsubishi with tires about the size of our camper’s, pulled up behind us. The occupants all got out, admitting they were as lost as we were. Their cell phones were telling them where we were, which I felt was erroneous, as I was certain they didn’t have any better reception than we did. 

As we were discussing it, an ATV came along. Ah, ha, surely they will know. They had an ATV trail map, but couldn’t tell us any better where we were.

I was like, seriously, with all us people standing around in the middle of the woods I am the one with any Boy Scout experience?

The guy wearing a Chicago Bears jersey with Cutler emblazoned on the back and driving the crossover SUV with Illinois plates wanted to take over, so he announced we should all take the road to the left. I listened for banjos, but didn’t hear any. 

I really didn’t want to follow them, but since they had kids in one of their cars and I bet I was the only one of us with any medical experience and that we had more food in our Blazer than they had between them, I thought we should give in and follow them out.  I swear, it was only for those two little kids, who by the way, fell in love with Dino. 

The trail was pretty rough and narrow in places, but wasn't horrible. We would have got out in a short period of time, but the guy in the lead – the one wearing the Chicago Bear’s jersey, which Himey felt explained a lot – kept stopping for no one knows what reason. To talk, is all we could figure. And then the little boy in the mini-van did get out to pee once, and they all got out to eat some berries.

We got back to civilization though and once we got back on pavement, I put it all together in my head and we were indeed exactly where I thought we were the whole time. But instead of saying "na-ner-na-ner" to Cutler, we just waved goodbye and took off down the road. It all would have been fun and games if this adventure hadn’t taken the whole entire afternoon. 

Hubby was willing to cut our losses, buy gas and just get back to camp. But I ended up cranky about the whole ordeal. In perspective, I guess it is what it is. I need to remember my Kenyan and forget looking at the clock and worrying about time. We were on vacation. And there was still tomorrow.
Once again, Dino earned his keep today and gets a well deserved rest. 

1 comment:

Denise said...

I think the 4 of us should go on a cross country road trip when we are retired.