Skip to main content

Great Lakes Road Trip Day 6 Part 1; US 41 to Copper Harbor and Isle Royale National Park

I started the 22nd out leaving Houghton early in the morning to reach Copper Harbor.  I had a ticket on the ferry out of Copper Harbor to Isle Royale National Park which was one of three National Parks I had not been to in the Continental United States until this trip.  The drive was a little rough given it was foggy and dark out, but thankfully there was no encounters with an deer.  I arrived shortly before 7 AM at the junction of M-26 and US 41.   This junction would have been the original north terminus of US 41 when it was plotted out in the 1920s.







By 1930 the junction of US 41 had been moved east of Copper Harbor by two miles to Fort Wilkins State Park.  Oddly US 41 doesn't end at the boundary of Fort Wilkins State Park but just beyond it at a dirt road.  There is no "end" placard indicating US 41 has ended but rather a monument to the route.




The first southbound reassurance shield along US 41.  I can assure you the southern terminus in Miami 1,990 miles to the south is very different.




I picked Copper Harbor to head to Isle Royale given that it is only located 55 miles to the south.  That may not seem like much of a distance but the ferry ride on the Isle Royale Queen IV takes anywhere from 3 to 4 hours to cross Lake Superior.  There was no way I could have done this trip from Houghton unless I took a seaplane and Grand Portage in Minnesota seemed a little out of reach.


The weather was calm in the morning but a storm from the previous night had just rolled out and cooler air was moving in.  That meant that the waves wouldn't be so bad going up to Isle Royale but would be possibly up to 8 feet high coming back to Copper Harbor.  The parking lot attendant was actually offering refunds to people who didn't they could handle the boat ride.  Given I came way too far through 44 National Parks there was no turning back for me, I don't get sea sick regardless.


A lot of people think Lake Superior is relatively calm like Lake Michigan.  I've found the water to always be much colder and far more turbulent given the more northern climate.  It took close to four hours to reach Rock Harbor on Isle Royale which meant I was going to have to hike fas








Isle Royale is approximately 207 Square Miles and I believe the is the second largest in the Great Lakes.  Isle Royale was ceded to the United States in the 1840s and was very quickly opened to copper mining exploitation.  The mining never really reached a large scale but Isle Royale became an attractive resort location until it was designated a National Park in 1940.  I hiked the Stoll Trail (really I mean trail running since I hate to walk slowly alone) and a couple smaller trails near Rock Harbor.  The island is pretty nice and was worth finally knocking off my list, too bad it took almost four decades to get to a place like this in my home state. 




















On the way back to Copper Harbor the winds picked to 20 MPH and a storm started to approach.  The waves picked up to a good 5-8 feet and it got me into port about 40 minutes late as the storm was about to hit.








By the time I hit the junction of M-26 the US 41 the rain was about to hit.  I decided to take M-26 back to Houghton since I wanted to clinch the route. 







Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been

This past week I decided to take a small scale road trip on California State Route 190 from CA 99 east to the unbuilt section over the Sierra Nevada Range.  While I was in for what turned out to be a fun drive following the course of the Tule River watershed what I found researching the back story of CA 190 was one of the most complex and unusual stories of any California State Highway.  Given that I had a ton of older photos of the eastern segment of CA 190 in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I thought it was time to put something together for the entire route. The simplified story of CA 190 is that it is a 231 mile state highway that has a 43 mile unbuilt gap in the Sierra Nevada Range.  CA 190 is an east/west State Highway running from CA 99 in Tulare County at Tipton east to CA 127 located in Death Valley Junction near the Nevada State Line in rural Inyo County.  The routing CA 190 was adopted into the State Highway system as Legislative Route 127 which was adopted in 1933 acc

I-73/I-74 and NC Future Interstates, Year in Review 2022

Another year over, already? 2022 turned out to be quite the year if you are a fan of new interstate routes, and it wasn't bad for some long standing favorites. As per the tradition, I will review what happened with I-73 and I-74, and then the other new and future interstate routes in North Carolina... Work continued on the one segment of I-73 under construction, the I-73/I-74 Rockingham Bypass. As of the beginning of December, work was getting close to being 2/3 complete at 60.1%. Progress could be seen from US 74 on constructing of the future interchange at the Bypass's southern end. Here's a look from US 74 East in September from Google Maps Street View: Here's a photo from US 74 West taken last week by David Gallo: Work is now scheduled to be completed in October 2025, though the road itself could open earlier that year.  Progress on I-74 earned more publicity in 2022 with the opening of 7.5 more miles of the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway from US 311 (Exit 49) to NC

Interstate 605

Interstate 605 is a 27.4-mile freeway located in the Los Angeles Metropolitain Area.  Interstate 605 begins at Interstate 210 near Duarte and terminates at the Interstate 405/California State Route 22 junction to the south near the boundary to the city of Long Beach.  Interstate 605 is known as the San Gabriel River Freeway and has three unconstructed miles which would extend it south to California State Route 1 near Seal Beach.  Much of the corridor of Interstate 605 was built up from what was the original California State Route 35.  The blog cover photo is taken from the July/August 1964 California Highways & Public Works which featured the initial segment of Interstate 605 to open between Whittier Boulevard and Peck Road  Part 1; the history of the San Gabriel River Freeway and Interstate 605 The origin of what is now Interstate 605 begins during 1933 with the addition of Legislative Route Number 170 (LRN 170) to the State Highway System.  The original definition of LRN 170 was