In last week’s article, Angela covered the drive from Lower Michigan to Houghton, Michigan. As a student from Minnesota who has made the journey back and forth close to 45 times, I would like to offer some insight on the drive up to Michigan Tech from the other side of Lake Michigan.
From Minnesota and Central Wisconsin
Starting from my hometown of Forest Lake, Minnesota near the Twin Cities, there are actually two routes that compare both in mileage and driving time.
For those of us who prefer straightforward, cruise-control driving, Interstate 35 provides a direct route from the Twin Cities north to the city of Duluth. Located at the westernmost tip of Lake Superior, this once-booming port town still remains active, with over 1,000 ocean-going and Great Lakes freighters annually (meaning there is a good chance you may see one or more during your stay). The hillside descent into the city offers panoramic views of the lake and harbor. With numerous restaurants and abundant parks along the waterfront, this is a nice place to stop and take a travel break. From Duluth, the drive heads east, cutting across the top of Wisconsin on US-2, the same highway Angela mentioned in her previous article. If you have time, the town of Bayfield is a short 30 minute drive and is said to be the “Gateway to the Apostle Islands.” Another good place to stop is the small town of Ashland, Wisconsin, which is approximately the half-way point between the Twin Cities and Michigan Tech. Here you will find plenty of places to eat and fill up your gas tank, but the main attraction again is the great view of Lake Superior. Just as you cross over the border between Wisconsin and Michigan, the old iron mining towns of Ironwood, Bessemer, and Wakefield greet you with a nice small-town feel. This area has often been called “Big Snow Country” and prominently flaunts its three main ski resorts. I encourage all of you who ski to try out at least one of these ski areas sometime. In addition, at the intersection of US-2 and M-28 in downtown Wakefield, the road wraps around Sunday Lake and past Eddy Park, an old-fashioned shady park with a pavilion and swimming beach.
For those of you who prefer an often more scenic route or those traveling from central Wisconsin, taking US-8 straight east will first lead you through rolling farm lands and then scattered wooded areas. Upon reaching the city of Rhinelander, the drive switches to a more northern route that will lead you through the heart of Wisconsin’s north woods. Resort towns like Eagle River, Wisconsin are surrounded by beautiful lakes and rivers, and typically have twice as many tourist gift shops as gas stations. Just north of the Wisconsin/Michigan border in the town of Paulding, Michigan, a backwoods phenomenon known as The Paulding Light might be an attraction to add to your list. A bit farther north on M-26, the Twin Lakes State Park is a family-friendly place to stop. The park is located right next to the road, and features shady picnic areas and great swimming in Lake Roland.
The drive to Michigan Tech is filled with scenic views and historic towns. Make a point to stop and check out some of these unique places, whatever route you take. As one final note, please remember that Michigan Tech is in the Eastern Time Zone, so there is an hour difference while driving to and from campus if you are traveling from the Minnesota or Wisconsin areas.
I’ve enjoyed the experience to share my insight with you. If you would like to know more about any of the places I mentioned or for more information on traveling to campus from “the other side” of the UP, please feel free to contact me.
As always, please feel free to email Angela with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have! Don’t forget to check back for next week’s article in which Angela will be writing about Orientation.