Zooming along the highway toward Marquette, my eyes pick up what looks like a large dinosaur grasping a big fish. I catch the words Free…Sculpture…Park. We debate the merits of stopping vs heading on. Finally, we decide that this might just be one of those quirky Yooper things that we must see. John expertly u-turns the Firetruck/Fireball in the middle of the highway (not much traffic on a Tuesday morning), and we head back to Lakenenland.Acres of sculpture have been created out of scrap by Tom Lakenen, former Union member (Pipefitters I believe). There’s a winding road one can drive or walk through through to view the 80+ pieces. Many are whimsical (a series of dancing wolves), but many make sharp political statements about corporate greed, labor vs management, and US military international engagement. It’s a kaleidoscope of color and ideas. Here’s my favorite. Jezzy didn’t much care for the alligator.We are happy that we took the time explore this unique Park. Guess that’s what life in the slow lane is all about.
Marquette Tourist Park is our headquarters for the next couple of days. We snag one of the half-dozen spots nestled in the trees. Happy campers! Although we’re camped in a quiet spot, the campground itself is only a quarter mile from the NMU campus. Check out this fabulous bike rack on campus!One of our first orders of business is to find a laundromat. Probably the only one we will ever be inside with this warning on one of the washing machines….Exploring on bikes is our big plan for this leg of the trip. Marquette has done a fabulous job of making itself bike-friendly. A wide walking/bicycling path surrounds the City along the Lake’s edge, and many of the major thoroughfares have bike lanes. Presque Isle, a beautiful park area on the city’s edge, has a quiet path running through it, with turnouts featuring spectacular views of Lake Superior and the many freighters that pass through the area.We even find a home with a T@DA parked in the driveway!John called this the Post Global Warning Fence (what else you gonna do with skis?)
No city exploration would be complete without a brewery stop. We were thwarted at Black Rock Brewery (what kind of college town brewery doesn’t open until 4pm?), so we headed to Ore Dock Brewing instead. They featured a cask-conditioned, barrel aged Porter that will remain in my dreams for a long time.
We detoured down to the fish market, and bought a piece of nearly everything! Fresh salmon for dinner – the Lake Superior salmon is very different than Lake Michigan salmon. It’s very much like the wild Copper River Alaskan salmon we find in the spring. Lovingly grilled, it made a spectacular dinner. For the road, we grabbed smoked trout, smoked salmon, and a smoked whitefish sausage. So far, we’ve eaten only the sausage, which we both gave an unenthusiastic ‘yeah, whatever….’ Oh well.
I’m becoming a Yooper wannabe. It’s easy to see why there is such a fierce loyalty to this amazing area.
PS – I’m posting this from the Brickside Brewery in Copper Harbor, where we’ve spent three great days. Here’s what’s happening.
Really vocal female bar customer on Sunday afternoon: I graduated in 1974….blah, blah…
Bartender: 8th Grade, or High School?
(I nearly fell off my chair). You gotta love this place!