Saturday was a rare day trip for us – we haven’t often ventured so far that we need to ask someone to let the dogs out midday. We left the house at 6:30 a.m. and got back around 8:30 p.m.
The goal was mostly leaf peeping in Upper Michigan, with an added “bonus” of our first snowfall sighting of the season.
Fortunately, it was a sunny day and we saw no flakes in the air, just on the ground just north of the Wisconsin-Michigan border.
But part of the joy for me was fulfilling a long-held desire to see the beginning (or end, as it were) of U.S. Highway 41, the blue-collar workhorse of the old highway system preserved in folklore (the Allmans’ “Ramblin’ Man” was born on a bus rolling down it) that still exists – much of it converted to interstate highway now – carrying travelers and cargo from the shore of Lake Superior in Copper Harbor, Michigan, to Miami, a distance of just less than 2,000 miles.
The last few miles before our destination was a beautiful winding and hilly stroll through mostly unspoiled forest that was awash with the yellows and oranges and reds of this particularly vivid autumn. Rewarding us at point zero was a sign denoting The Beginning of U.S. 41, built by a man named Byron Muljo, described as a “plow driver, sign foreman, maintenance foreman and road commissioner” for Keweenaw County, which is one of the most lovely corners of the universe I’ve ever been.
Why did I have to see the beginning of U.S. 41? I like origin stories – I’m fascinated by beginnings and the contrast between quiet starts in gorgeous countryside and the huge industrial workhorses they become. There’s a power in such places – a power in quiet beginnings – maybe that’s why I like to start the day sitting and reflecting in this chair.