I was up early the next morning and went down
to the nearby shore after taking photos of the Mighty Mac from the west
side, I drove east to Lakeside Cemetery and walked into Straits State Park
to take photos from the two scenic lookouts in the park and on over to
the Mackinac Bridge Authority buildings, to take photos where permitted
from the east side. It is rare that I see photos from this vantage point.
The Mighty Mac through the toll booths
The Mackinac Bridge from the Mackinac Bridge Authority plaza
It didn't take long to re-pack and we were soon on the
road, making an obligatory stop at the Cut River Bridge. The 641' World
War 2 era bridge carries US-2 far above the 10' wide Cut River at the bottom
of the gorge. I have been visiting the bridge since the 1950s.
Cut River Bridge
Our major stop of the day was at Oswald's Bear Ranch
near Newberry, about 80 minutes away. They provide a home for rescued bears
from across the US and currently have 41 animals on the 240 acre complex.
They are open to the public and (as we heard a little girl say), "This
is more fun than a zoo!"
Oswald's was built in the early 1990s and opened to the
public in 1997. It sounded like a tourist trap and someplace where animals
might not be well treated, but I have been seeing recommendations and decided
to give them a try. I'm really glad I did. The animals have a lot of room,
look healthy and their behavior looks healthy. Oswald's is providing a
real service. My favorite things were two cubs who were play fighting with
each other, 12-18 month old female bears who begged for apples and the
huge older female bears. Not that am an expert on bear size, but a couple
of them looked to be 400-500 pounds. Oswald's once had "Tyson Bear" who
was certified at 880 pounds and weighed around 1,000 before hibernation,
He died July 2nd, 2000.
We had a nice chat with Dean Oswald who owns the
ranch and was sitting at a table watching all that went on.
Young female bears
Family pictures with a cub for $10
I hadn't eaten in Newberry, Michigan since 1983 and asked
another Oswald's employee about places to eat in town. After warning me
about the downtown speed trap, he recommended Timber Charlies Family
Restaurant and Zellar's Village Inn. Timber Charlie's was the first
one we came to and looked good. We timed it well. Tables were still available,
but there was a long line shortly after we were seated.
We each had Fish Platters, which had a lot of deep fried
fish. Each one had a large, half whitefish and three large perch, plus
French fries and surprisingly good coleslaw. Each platter had enough meat
for two people. These were probably in about the middle of the fish dinners
I had during the trip, but still good and a good value for $22. We put
a lot of the meal in our cooler to enjoy at home.
Timber Charlies Family Restaurant
We headed southwest through the Upper Peninsula and drove
straight through until we crossed into Wisconsin at Marinette. We made
our usual stop at Seguin's House of Cheese and Gifts, just south
of town, where we loaded up on Wisconsin wines and cheeses. I usually get
Laack's 4 year old super sharp cheddar spread, but the price was as good
on the 5 year old cheddar spread and I filled the rest of the cooler with
24 ounce tubs.
Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula wines
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese up to 14 years old
We had supper in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the Hangar Bar
& Grill near the EAA Aviation Museum. They offer fried fish, but
I have been less happy with the fish in Wisconsin when I get into the middle
of the state and we went with the Ribeye sandwich and smothered chicken
(chicken breast, pepperjack cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions).
Linda doesn't like mushrooms and I got to add her mushrooms to my steak
Smothered chicken and ribeye sandwich
We spent the night at Best Western Plus Dubuque Hotel
& Conference Center. More about it tomorrow.