We Brake for Brown Signs: Hitting 100 in West Virginia

Our stop in West Virginia included a fun milestone: we visited our 100th National Park Service unit! NPS units include more than just parks — they include historic sites, monuments, battlefields, and more — but in this case our 100th was also America’s newest national park: the New River Gorge. But first, let’s review how … Read more

We Went to Holland (Not That Holland)

For our final stop along the shore of Lake Michigan, we traveled south to the town of Holland, in the middle of a stretch of touristy little beach towns like Saugatuck and Grand Haven. Holland is situated along the shores of Lake Macatawa, an interior lake spanning about 6 miles with an artificial channel out … Read more

Across the Mackinac Straits to Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island

In this part of Michigan, the indigenous Odawa (or Ottawa) and the French fur traders have conspired to turn the spelling of words and the pronunciation of those words into concepts that are loosely related, at best. Trust me when I say that everything is pronounced “MACK-in-awe” and that it’s easier to just say “Mac.” … Read more

Mining and Lake-Looking in Remote Copper Harbor

Before the California Gold Rush, there was the Lake Superior Copper Rush. Elemental copper was so bountiful in places along the southern shores of Lake Superior, especially the Keweenaw Peninsula, that it was widely harvested by the native inhabitants and became part of the trade networks in pre-Columbian North America. Even in prehistoric times, Lake … Read more

Dismal and Delightful Duluth

We arrived in Duluth on a cloudy Friday after a long (350 mile) relocation from Green Bay. Our introduction to the twin ports of Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota involved rolling through poorly maintained streets lined with tired 19th century brick buildings, past mountains of ore and graffiti-covered rail cars, alongside towering industrial port facilities, … Read more