Curtis Dahlgren
Why would ANYONE live in the U.P.?; a change of pace (part 2)
By Curtis Dahlgren
May 1, 2012

"If they had built it closer to Chicago, more people could see it." — visitor to the locks at Sault Ste. Marie

AMERICA'S BEST KEPT SECRET. That's the Upper Peninsula. But don't let the word get out. Don't tell anyone, but:

- Much of the U.P. gets less snow than Chicago does, but we have the world's most beautiful beaches (Superior rocks).

- The U.P. has both a National Park and a National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks (and glass-bottomed boats to boot).

- We have the National Ski Hall of Fame and many museums, including a shipwreck museum (with the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald).

- At the Soo's annual open house, you can walk across the lock gates and watch them open and close. And tour a hydroelectric power plant.

- We have dirt roads that look like the 1950s, and fewer miles of Interstate per square mile than any state other than Alaska; and, BTW (someone asked), why does Hawaii have Interstate highways?

- We have highway 41, which I believe is the longest north-south highway in the lower 48, but probably less roadside litter than anywhere between Copper Harbor and Miami.

- Other drivers wave at you without using the wrong finger, and we have less road rage than most regions (at a traffic light, yoopers would rather wait for you to notice that the light changed than even think about hitting the horn). "What? I should hurry?

We have natural resources, everything from timber to iron to copper and zinc to maple syrup. And did I mention silver and gold?

- We have some of the longest summer days in the contiguous states, and we have lots of Scandinavians who love the latitude, closer to the North Pole than the equator.

P.S. That reminds me of a funny story. My dad and I were eating in a diner in a little Wisconsin Norwegian town and chatting with one of the locals. After awhile, he asked us what our name was, and my dad said, "Dahlgren." The guy thought for a moment and said:

"Is that Swede or Norwegian?" And my dad said Swedish. The guy looked at his coffee and thought for awhile, and then said:

"Well, there are a few good Swedes."

We don't get much of that up here in God's country, not even in Norway. Did I mention that the people are friendly?


This is MY country. The 51st state. "Five-star Wilderness." The kind of place, you'd think, that Michelle Obama would want to take her daughters on vacation instead of Mexico or the Mediterrainaen!

Just remember, our "spring break" comes around the 4th of July.

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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