Ontonagon, Michigan (?) - Monday, 7/11/16

This is another one of those We are where? places.  I can tell you for sure that it's in the Eastern Time Zone.  Michigan's Upper Peninsula, "The UP."  On Lake Superior, and not far from Wisconsin.  OK?  That's about the best I can do.

It's also gray.  Clouds come and go, mostly they're here.  They billow over the lake and thunder growls.  Jimmy and I signed up for a night at the township park on the lake.  It was wet everywhere from the morning's storms and heavy rains.  Muggy, too.  Skeeters are hungry, starving obviously, and we have the bites to prove it.  Open the door and they invite themselves in!

We thought the town might have cool activities or places to see, but really, it was basically the lighthouse museum and the lighthouse.  So, we did both.  We were lucky to get to the museum a half hour before the actual lighthouse tour.  Our tour guide, John, was excellent, full of information. 

Looking out from the lighthouse tower.  Ontonagon County is red clay country.  With the recent rains, the boat channel water is RED.  Lake Superior water is properly blue.

Above me is the lighthouse cornerstone:  1866. 

I like this old-fashioned coffee grinder.

 Original oil lamp for Ontonagon Lighthouse Fresnel lens.

The museum was chock-a-block full of artifacts of every description.

A maritime letter in a bottle.  Inside the cork-lined canister would be the ship's cargo manifest and the names of each person on board.  The canister was slipped into a holder on the deck.  If the ship sunk, it would float to the surface and hopefully be found.  All this is according to John.  We can't find any more info on it.  The name atop the lid reads The Upson-Walton Co.

Ironic -- Jimmy hails from Mobile AL, and here we are 1300 miles away!

After the tour, we walked Ontonagon's main street and ended up at an ice cream shop. Eyeing the sky, we checked radar.  To our southwest, all we could see was red/yellow/green, and lots of it.  We made for home.  As severe storms approached the lake, we saw them funnel over the water, mainly missing Ontonagon, but they sure had to be creating havoc below.  Sitting comfortably in Tergel, raindrops peppered us off and on, but nothing to write home about.  That came later.

Come bedtime, from the window at the head of our bed, we watched continual lightning flash in the clouds above the trees out over the lake.  We fell asleep with the window open, listening to soft rain fall. Lightning flared and thunder rumbled. Then the storm moved inland and I closed the window.  I likened it to baking cookies, lots of cookies.  Every 12 minutes or so, a tray of cookies comes out of the oven and a new batch goes in.  That's how the night went.  Wave and wave of pounding rain with brighter lightning and louder thunder kept me awake much of the night.  The lightning never stopped, and a couple of bolts were close.  I've never experienced anything like it.

Well, next morning, dodging mosquitoes and black flies, we got ready to leave soggy Ontonagon, still heading west.  Our friends, Donna and Danny from Ventura in SoCal, are heading east, and we made reservations at Bad River Casino in Odanah, Wisconsin (about 90 miles away from us) for a friendly get-together tomorrow night.  Oh boy, looking forward to that!


  1. Very interesting about the cork-lined bottle. It certainly, makes sense that they would want a record of the passengers, etc. to float in the event of a sinking. My aunt has an old-fashioned grinder like the one you photographed. On our last visit to her house years ago, she asked us to take a whole bunch of stuff off her hands ... including her wedding china, but she wasn't ready to give up the grinder yet.

  2. Oh no! You didn't check out anything in the Porcupine Mountains park? You are killing me. Lake of the Clouds is especially beautiful and the hiking by the Presque Isle River is gorgeous and fairly easy. Next time go! http://nomadicnewfies.blogspot.com/2012/10/preque-isle-river-porcupine-mountains.html


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