Holy Crap, I’m doing 1,000 Things in the U.P.!

You’ve probably heard some version of this:

The UP, hey!?  Someone remarks curiously, “So what do you do up there?”

My brain usually locks up at that point. And it does that for two reasons:

  1. There are so many things to do
  2. I haven’t even scratched the surface

Don’t me wrong; I’m no stranger to travel. My passport has been stamped a few times, if you know what I mean… I just haven’t seen much of my homeland.

It really hit me one night in Australia.

Ayers Rock, Australia

Ayers Rock, Australia

A group of my friends and I were camping in the Outback. It was campfire/story/beer time and this Irish guy asked one of the American guys to tell him about where he was from.

Well, Barry (the American guy) was from North Carolina, and he proceeded (proudly) to spin the cultural history of his state in such a way that made me suddenly really interested in North Carolina (whodofthunkit?) and, well… ashamed.

I was a little bummed that I didn’t know more about where I came from.

Yes, I knew the U.P. was populated mostly by a booming mining industry which then gave way to the logging industry. I knew we had some sort of Finish heritage thing going on. And I knew there were a lot of Italian people in Iron Mountain. And we’ve got the great lakes. And the bridge. And Mackinac Island. And the Porkies. But…

My knowledge of the U.P. was (and still is) a little more disparate and not as deep as I’d like. I’d really like to be able to spin the tale of the U.P. like Barry did for North Carolina, God knows we’ve got plenty to tell.

And I also want to be able to show people what it’s like up here. I want to be able to give them a really good answer the next time someone utters…

“So what do you do up there?”

“Man…” I’ll say, “Have I got a web site for you.”

And so with “things to do in the U.P.” I’m off to do 1,000 things… all in the UP.

So, what kind of things?

Well, I’ll be checking out Pictured Rocks, Tahquamenon Falls and the Porcupine Mountains just like everyone else. But I’m also going to slow down a little and take the time to hit the tattered tourist traps and small town museums chocked full of history.

Some of it might be boring, yeah, but I’m betting the scale will be tipped much further in the direction of “cool stuff I didn’t know existed.”

What am I going to do when I reach the 1,000 things?

I’ll throw a HUGE PARTY of course. I’m thinking we’ll call it something super original like… oh…  how about the “1,000 Things Party.” And you’re all invited!

No, really. All of you! And the best part…

FREE BEER!

Okay, okay… and a piñata.

So please get connected by signing up for my email list, or just checking back here regularly to see what’s new.

Oh, and you should follow me on Twitter here.

See you in the U.P.!

Jesse

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3 Responses to Holy Crap, I’m doing 1,000 Things in the U.P.!

  1. Cindi September 22, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    I came to your site because I thought you had mentioned something about the bat cave in Iron Mountain, but it doesn’t seem to be posted here. Anyway, I like this post. We knew a guy who said he’d been camping in the U.P. but, “There are only so many games of horse shoe you can play!” I was stunned at that response. I went ahead and filled him in on the kinds of things we do. We try to expand every year we come up (I’m embarrassed that this was only the fourth year we’ve come up out of 14 living in MI). I still have a HUGE list of places I want to go and things I want to see. I love the stuff you are posting!

  2. Cindi September 22, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    P.S. One of the coolest things we’ve done in the historical category (besides visiting several great museums) was reading the book “A Face in the Rock: The Tale of a Grand Island Chippewa,” this past August at night in our tent and then visiting some of the places mentioned in the book. The Face in the Rock is across from Scott Falls near AuTrain. Much of the book talks about Grand Island history, so we visited the island and did the bus tour (which sadly does NOT talk about Chippewa history at all). We also drove down Indiantown road east of Munising. We still want to do the boat tour around the island and maybe do a backpacking trip there.

  3. Jesse September 23, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Thanks Cindy! Glad you like what I’ve been posting! I hadn’t heard about the Face in the Rock so I’ll definitely add that to my list!

    And the bat cave post is coming soon! I’ve been trying to get some decent photos of them but the weather hasn’t bee cooperating with me on the days I’m able to get there. I hope to have a post on the Millie Hill bat cave up this week!

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