The first town we arrived in was Crystal Falls, a sleepy little village sitting on top of a steep little hill and looking very much unchanged since let's say about 1925. Everything seemed shuttered and there was very little movement on the streets. It seemed like one of those towns you read about in a Steven King novel where you don't realize that something's not right until its too late. Something like "Village of the damned", or "They only come out at night", anyway, you get the jist of it.
|So ancient. We saw the man come and open this shop. Probably been doing it a loooong time. The thought of sitting in that shop for years and years just sends shivers....|
We headed out of town and drove by sleepy little roadside gas stations and jiffymarts and continued on until we hit the larger towns of Escanaba and Gladstone.
This part of Michigan was once dominated by iron mining but has since taken an economic downturn as the mines dried up. Many of the businesses have fallen on hard times and much of the economy now depends on outdoor recreation. There are always a handful of businesses that take full advantage of these trends and combine two or three different concepts into one to take full advantage of the tourist dollar.
|I don't know about you, but when I want to find a place to spend the night I always try to do it as close to a bait shop as possible.|
We drove on towards Indian Lake State Park, another fifteen or twenty miles down the road. It seemed to have camping spaces, but when we arrived it was just another darkly treed campground and held little appeal for us so we continued onwards putting all of our eggs in the basket labeled "Straits State Park" which was located in the town of St. Ignace on the northern end of the Makinac bridge which spans the narrow (relative term when faced with "GREAT LAKES") gap between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.