This blog is named after my dog, Dino the wonder dog. Other than that, this blog doesn’t have a lot to do with him, except that some days, when I am just too busy or too tired or have a migraine, I let Dino write my blog for me. On days when he has not taken over the computer, I write about my life – the past, the present and the future - my travels far and near and my home. I would love it if you would follow along.
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
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,
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
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
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
Once again, Dino earned his keep today and gets a well deserved rest.