The lure of the exotic! Adventure awaits!

I was served up an ad that, for once, triggered a deep yearning in me. It was for a Lake Superior circle tour, a collection of 84 museums in various states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario — that ring the big lake up North. Many of them looked like somebody’s old house that is used to show off some local artifact, but still, I am so desperate to get out that the whole thing looked like grand fun. It’s a measure of my need to escape that even this place looked appealing.

I wanna see the largest motorized tricycle “possibly in the world,” the world’s largest working chainsaw, the world’s largest working rifle, and I want to use the “free batrooms”.

Not really. Once I get vaccinated and once my teaching obligations are over, what I really want to do is flee Morris, Minnesota for a while.

Nothing against the Da Yoopers Tourist Trap — I appreciate the honest advertising, at least — but if I hadn’t been cooped up for a year I wouldn’t be ogling that place like it was the Louvre. Although, actually, there are probably more spiders in Da Yoopers than there are in the Louvre…


  1. Bruce Fuentes says

    We drive through the UP all the time to go camping or when we drive to the east coast. It is an interesting place. We have driven by Da Yoopers Tourist Trap(which is associated with the comedic band of the same name) in Ishpeming a few times, but can never bring ourselves to stop. We would like to do the circle tour one day, if Canada ever lets us in again.
    My favorite place in the UP is Bruce Crossing, because it has a great name. It Coop there used to have everything a person could need, but last time we were there it seems they had lost a lot of business to the Dollar General that opened on the edge of town. They no longer a large selection of clothing. I used to get a Bruce Crossing t-shirt every time we went through. Alas, I fear Dollar General is killing small town businesses the same way Wal-Mart killed small city businesses. We can save that conversation for another day.
    The UP is a beautiful place. For lovers of the outdoors and nature it is a must see place. Two of our favorite places at Tahquamenon Falls on the east end of the UP and Porcupine Mountains on the west end.

  2. davidc1 says

    I am Plane crazy ,visited the Bush plane Museum in August 2005 ,didn’t know there were some museums in Thunder bay .
    Earlier in the trip and and further west ,parked up and having a snack ,a Black Bear and cub crossed the road a couple of hundred yards up the road .
    So surprised by the time i had got my camera they had disappeared ,did managed to get a few photos of a Moose before it disappeared back into the forest .Did manage to go for a paddle in Lake Superior .

    In my next life i hope to be born in Canada ,ay .See i can already speak the language .

  3. kathleenzielinski says

    There used to be a satirical museum not far from where I grew up that had exhibits such as high heeled horseshoes for lady horses, the oversized pot that the natives used to boil missionaries, and Balaam’s sword. (You had to know a bit about the Bible to understand the last one; Balaam didn’t actually have a sword, he said he wished he had a sword. If someone pointed this out to the proprietor, the response would be, “Well, this is the sword that he wished he had.”) Also the full length pup tent that Freya wore for her marriage to Odin, and part of the cherry tree cut down by none other than George Washington. Great fun. Unfortunately it closed when the proprietor decided to retire and couldn’t find a buyer.

  4. dean56 says

    Many years ago in one of my trips to Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula I went through a litle “village” (four corners, bar, gas, church, abandoned building, a few houses) and one of the houses had a business sign in the yard. “Mary’s Sewing and Chain Saw Repair.”

    Mary must have been a fascinating woman.

  5. PaulBC says

    Santa Cruz has its Mystery Spot of course. I have seen the sign numerous times, but never went to see.

  6. kestrel says

    You don’t need to go far afield in MN to find entertainment. Especially if you like lawn ornaments. MN natives like lawn ornaments so much that many small towns have their very own great big lawn ornament – like the giant cement pelican in Pelican Rapids, for example, or the giant Viking, Big Ole, in Alexandria. And of course, there is always the thrill of watching the Potato Peeling contest at Potato Days Festival in Barnesville, MN. You just can’t be bored in that state…

  7. drew says

    Batrooms sound like Alex and the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange may be lurking inside. Then again, there might be spiders.

  8. robro says

    PaulBC @ #8 — You can’t see the Mystery Spot because when you get there, it isn’t a mystery anymore. But, I hear it’s just up the road from the Mystery House, which also isn’t a mystery once you get there. In any case, bring money.

    My favorite odd-ball museum is the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. It’s worth one visit, although I think I’ve been there three times in 45 years.

    When I was kid in Florida we went to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Saint Augustine. It was boring, but I was a kid and a bit too young to know much about Ripley’s career.

  9. PaulBC says

    robro@11 I have heard good things about the Rosicrucian museum, but I never went. I have been to the Winchester Mystery House now that we’re on the subject of Bay Area attractions.

  10. rblackadar says

    Batrooms aside, PZ, you might have a professional interest in the following display at the Harrington Arts Center:

    “Learn about the evolution through the chronological history of the accordion family of instruments.”

  11. blf says

    I’ve cycled past the Mystery Spot at least once, but have never been inclined to visit. The Rosicrucian “museum” is interesting in a Mr Noah’s ark kind-of-way (from what I recall now, many many yonks later). Never been inclined to visit the Winchester house.

  12. TGAP Dad says

    I’m an NMU alum, and fell in love with the UP while there. I’ve been to Da Yoopers a couple of times (and by it countless other times). It made my day to see this post!

  13. says

    I REALLY hope “batrooms” is literal. Just a couple rooms full of live bats.
    Tourist: Hi can you show me to the bathroom
    Curator: Bathroom, oh you mean the batroom, it’s over there
    Tourst: OK (opens door)
    Tourist: Don’t need the bathroom anymore
    And scene

  14. JustaTech says

    That makes total sense. One of the better brands of home sewing machines is Husqvarna, a company that also makes chainsaws and dirtbikes.
    Now, why the company makes this specific range of items is a different question.

  15. billseymour says

    This train geek misses riding passenger trains.

    I just found out a couple of days ago that the C&TSRR will be open for business in September; and I already have my fantasy itinerary worked out.  Unfortunately, it depends on the pandemic being basically over with by the summer (so that I have enough time to make plans) and on whether Amtrak will return to decent service by then (to get me to and from Albuquerque).

  16. Jazzlet says

    @ JustaTech, Husqvana make many things, I have an old Husqvarna casserole (Dutch oven?) and I’ve seen ovens and fridges made by them too.

  17. robro says

    I actually spent a night in a “batroom” once, although there were quite a few of them at times. A couple of times in the middle of the night, I woke up with one hovering and fluttering a foot or so above my face picking at bugs on a screen or window near where was I sleeping.

    My wife spent quite a few nights with the bats. She was braver than me.

  18. davidc1 says

    @23 Totally pointless .
    @20 Not really a train person ,but we did go on the Durango to Silverton line on one of our trips .
    Took a load of photos .Fantastic country .
    @22 One time i went home to visit my parents ,they said a few days before when they in bed , a bat came down the chimney .
    Would have loved to have been there to see my mother freak out ,not a great nature lover .
    She used to scream her head off whenever i showed her a critter i had found in the garden .
    Happy days.