The drive to Tahquamenon Falls, our 16th campsite, was a scenic fall color tour. We arrived early and the ranger made us wait in the day use parking lot until 3pm. The lot was very full on that Friday afternoon, but we managed to find a spot for the RV, where we could wait and have a quick lunch. We were happy to see our large, pretty campsite, when we could finally enter the campground. We felt like we had our own space, though the park was 100% booked and many other campsites were packed more closely together.
Taquamenon Falls State Park typically has 500,000 visitors per year. By August that was up 4% over last year. The park ranger told us this was their busiest fall season ever, with campgrounds fully booked through October.
On Saturday we drove to Whitefish Point, thinking that most tourists would be at the falls. We arrived to find the parking and overflow parking were completely full. People were parked on the road. It was too crowded to see the museum and enjoying the beach view did not feel peaceful or remote at all. We drove back to the park, only to find there was a long line-up of cars waiting to enter the camping/ lower falls area.
During our three days there, our routine was to visit the falls in the morning and late afternoon, to avoid the crowds. We could walk to the lower falls and find parking at the upper falls. We spent mid-days hiking the park’s trails, including a stretch of the North Country Trail. It was another great way to avoid the crowds. We enjoyed a microbrew on the large patio at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub. We decided not to eat in the restaurant, but learned they had run out of whitefish, anyway. Dave’s consolation was some smoked brisket from the food truck.
The falls were beautiful, especially with the fall colors. We are glad to have spent so much time seeing them, but will not return anytime soon. The park is just too busy for us, especially during the pandemic.
Our schedule after Tahquamenon had been open. We had hoped to drive back to Munising for a few days, but the forcast was changing for the worse, so we booked a night in St Ignace. Our plan was to have dinner on the patio at Jose’s cantina, where they have amazing tacos. By the time we arrived in St Ignace, the forcast was rain all day and all night there, too. Also, we realized Jose’s was closed on Mondays. It was an uneventful stay at Straits State Park, except for a great pizza and nice view of the bridge in the morning. Our next stop was our home away from home at our Northern Outpost in Frankfort, MI.
We were disappointed many times on the trip, that so many people were crowding into the UP. We even know many people here who went, after not going in many years or ever. Of course, we were there too, but we planned most of the trip before COVID. We did make the most of our trip and had fun, while staying safe.
I’m writing this final post of the trip from home. The last couple of days have been like being at a spa or luxury hotel. We have easily spent 41 days on the road, in the RV and then 2 more off-grid on our property, but are really enjoying the comforts of home – long showers, no limit on water for any use, heat, king-size bed, wifi, cell service, internet and television (antenna, Roku and Hulu). Our house feels enormous…. We’ve been cooking food that we missed on the road and I started running again (my foot seems to have finally healed). Most important of all, we immediately started working on completing plans for our 3-month winter trip to the Florida panhandle and the southern Atlantic coast. We are still hopeful that we will return to Maui for a stay in our condo in December. We are also starting plans for a trip out west next August.
This trip was everything we had hoped it would be. It was a great adventure including many new places, new campgrounds and lots of fun. It was so awesome to be outdoors every day in such beautiful places, hiking, exploring and mountain biking. We learned a lot about our rig, about being on the road and how much we love it. It further confirmed what we already knew – that we both love travel, the outdoors and being together. We can’t wait for the next big adventure.