Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail (UPAT - 1250 miles)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. Askel

    Askel Perma-n00b

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    Da UP, eh.
    :thumb

    Anxiously awaiting the completion of this report so I can share it with all my bicycle dork friends. Hoping to pedal this whole route next summer.
    #81
  2. Pinktoad

    Pinktoad Been here awhile

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    That's just insane Askel!
    #82
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Sorry for the delay. Duck season. I get distracted. :D
    #83
  4. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    The return route from Whitefish Point to M-123 takes in some what can be troubling sand for some. No pictures, but I'm sure you get the idea.
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    M-123 is a nice ride.
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    Popular with motorcyclists.
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    Tahquamenon Falls is along this route.
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    Back onto a county road.
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    The go-around to Rainbow Lodge takes in roads like this.
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    The primary route takes to sandy roads.
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    The route takes to an ATV width ORV trail that runs through a recently logged area.
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    The mouth of the Two Hearted River near Rainbow Lodge. This was once the site of a lifesaving station.
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    On November 4th,1869, the schooner Arnold left Marquette headed to Sault Ste Marie. It had a crew of nine and two passengers on board. Shortly after they started out, a gale kicked in that raged for 24 hours. When the Arnold didn't show at the Sault, people figured it was lost. One problem with wrecks on Lake Superior in those days was the largely desolate shoreline. Over a month later, a mail carrier was traveling along the beach near the Two hearted River when he spotted the hull of a ship. A pack of wolves kept him from getting closer to the wreck to investigate. A search party later discovered the wreck and found some of the crew members encased in ice. The bodies were recovered and buried in the spring.
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    A happy fisherman.
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    #84
  5. OldSilverFox

    OldSilverFox Let's Go!

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    Cannonshot
    Nice to see youv'e posted some additions to the trip. I have enjoyed what you have done so far and appreciate all the hard work involved. A big thanks for your effort. When you hadn't posted in a few days I was worried something had happened but I guess everything is OK. Enjoying your RR and guide.
    Thanks Again.
    #85
  6. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Thanks much. No trouble. Normally this time of year the bikes are put away and I am on the Mississippi hunting, fishing, and trapping. The floods this year led me to delay going to the river and I took this ride instead.
    #86
  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Some ORV trail. There are big bike go-arounds for these segments.
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    Ran into this group making an annual trip to ride trails. Some were very interested in the dual sport route I was documenting as some of them (like many) are transitioning from trails to DS.
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    Back onto some roads.
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    This road gets quite sporty and twisty. A favorite to ride with the DRZ.
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    Fishing boat.
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    This once 50' deep harbor has been neglected since WWII and is filling in. It is now about 25' deep.
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    These jetties were put in back in the logging days in 1896. They were maintained until WWII.
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    This old Coast Guard building was where the last radio transmission from the Edmund Fitzgerald was received before she sank. Whitefish Point was down because of no power as a result of the storm.
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    Once logging was done in this area, the railroad pulled up the tracks and the town shrank from 4,000 to 300 in just a few months. Buildings are from about 1860 to 1910 for the most part. Lake Superior Brewing Company.
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    If someone wants to know about tires, I can't really say. I rode these worn knobbies and was fine. More traction = more sporty in some spots. :D
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    #87
  8. MotoSailorDC

    MotoSailorDC Gnarly Adventurer

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    Great RR! I've never been to the UP, but have spent a lot of summers in the upper LP. I really need to ride up there sometime!
    #88
  9. St. Louis Dave

    St. Louis Dave Adventurer

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    Great RR! I've done most of this trip via snowmobile a few times in my life. It looks a lot different with leaves on the trees and ground and not 4 feet of snow.

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    One note to all. I am a groomer operator for one of the snowmobile clubs in Michigan and spend MANY hours all winter long making these trails super highways for snowmobiles. It's this time of year that clubs all over the state are out brushing and signing these trails to keep them free from blowdowns, low hanging branches, signs to warn you of hazzards and informational signs. We're all volunteers and always looking for another hand to help us keep things up to snuff. If you feel like helping out, just search the net for snowmobile clubs in the area you enjoy ADVing in and help out if you can. I'm all for dual purpose use on the trails, but looking for help to keep them in great shape year round.
    #89
  10. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Thanks. I think you will enjoy a trip to the UP. With 1/3 of Michigan's land mass and only 3% of the population, it seems a little more open for this kind of riding.

    Just so there is no confusion here, let me clarify that this ride principally relies on roads of various sorts and ORV trails. Some of the seasonal and forest roads (and ORV routes) also happen to be snowmobile trails in the winter. It is wonderful when you get on a road that is also a snowmobile trail because the snowmobilers do an excellent job with the signage that would otherwise not be there. Some of that is visible in some of the photos. In some lesser used sections, the ATV/OHM/ORV crowd (many are winter snowmobilers as well) do a great job helping to keep the brush down and the trails unobstructed. This is also true of the loggers, bear hunters, and other sportsmen who use some of the more obscure tracks.

    Like Dave points out, even though we pay license fees via the ORV and snowmobile sticker programs, and even though a portion of those fees support trail maintenance, the work does not get done without people (usually club members) going out to brush, groom, sign, and otherwise maintain the trails. There is formula for compensating clubs for this work from the state sticker funds. This is true for off-highway motorcycles, ATVs, other ORVs, and snowmobiles. The rates paid aren't extravagent and when you get into bridge work the money doesn't go too far.

    This often unseen work is sometimes taken for granted. :D
    #90
  11. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore covers much of the distance from Grand Marais to Munising.
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    Once we leave Grand Marais we take a sporty inland road along the back of the Grand Sable Dunes.
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    Fun on any bike.
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    Back in the old days, old growth trees were harvested in this area. The trees were taken to the nearby shore where they were slid into the lake, rafted up, and floated away for further shipment and processing. We visit the site of a log slide where the logs were slid down a chute into the lake.
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    Looking down the Grand Sable Dunes toward Grand Marais from the log slide.
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    You can see the jetty at the Grand Marais harbor entrance.
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    There were many wrecks along this stretch. This lighthouse was built in 1874, the same year Custer was exploring the Black Hills.
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    Access to this site was by water. In favorable weather the keeper could travel the shore to Grand Marais I suppose. There was a lifesaving boat station in Grand Marais. When signaled, they would row out to rescue people from stranded vessels.
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    I have backpacked along much of the lakeshore in the past. There are several pieces of wrecked ships visible in this area.
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    Top of the slide.
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    A log slide (but not this one).
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    At the bottom.
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    Climb up.
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    These people . . .
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    . . . are down there.
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    #91
  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    At the time of this ride, H-58 was still under construction and part of it was closed. It is open now.
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    We stop at Hurricane River to look around.
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    Some researchers have an antenna stretched across the river to log marked fish as they come upstream from the lake.
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    There are some shipwreck pieces along the beach here.
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    H-58 used to look like this.
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    Now it looks like this. It is a great ride on any bike.
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    The road travels along the shore for a bit.
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    Since the road was not open for through travel, we took a go-around on the next truck trail south.
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    Left over from the old growth logging days.
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    We get off H-58 and run some tracks behind Pictured Rocks and across the Kingston Plains.
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    The Kingston Plains is wicked sandy most of the time. Some might want to take the big bike go-around on H-58 instead.
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    Kingston Plains has the remnants of old growth trees that were logged off. It also has lichens since the soil was sterilized due to forest fires.
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    Tough area.
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    The woods behind Pictured Rocks is a great ride.
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    #92
  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    We visit the site of a lifesaving station at Sand Point on the Munising Bay.
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    The station was put in back in 1933 for a cost of around $12K. This included the two-story quarters, boat house, bulwarks, dredging, etc.
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    The road to the site, 7 miles out of Munising, was put in at a cost of $80K in 1934.
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    Looking back toward Munising.
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    Munising Bay was a place where ships sought refuge in a storm. It now includes the Alger Underwater Preserve. There are 7 nice wrecks here that you can dive on at depths from 15-105 feet. The Bermuda is a 150' schooner that you can swim through the hatches on. The Smith Moore stands with her mast intact and upright in 90 feet of water.
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    This 36' motor lifeboat was built in Maryland. Boats of this type were used from about 1930 until the 1970s.
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    It had a crew of three and could handle about 40 rescued people.
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    I read a book about the US Lifesaving Service (pre-dates the Coast Guard). It was fascinating to read about station life and some of the rescues they undertook.
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    A winch was used to haul the boat into the boathouse.
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    This is the cart for the beach tackle.
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    You run it down the shore near a wreck, shoot a small line out to the wreck, haul out a larger line, and then haul people to shore.
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    Beach tackle.
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    This was one of the drills that was regularly practiced.
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    In addition to the motor launch, they had other boats. Sometimes a boat would be loaded onto a train to be hauled closer to a wreck site. This crew, though stationed on Lake Superior, made a beach rescue to a ship stranded offshore on Lake Michigan. A long trip in those days.
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    Basically these guys busted ass all the time. There were daily training schedules and drills. There were also strict evaluations. Drills included a variety of duties and topics including infantry drills, signals, surfboat operations, 1st aid, etc.
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    The beach drill had to be worked at a minimum distance of 75 yards between the beach anchor and the simulated ship pole.
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    A happy crew.
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    Munising used to have a blast furnace for iron, a paper mill, sawmills, and a factory for wooden ware household goods. In 1940 they had a population of about 4,400. Now it is about 2,400. They see themselves as an industrial town with an unreliable tourist industry. They have a 500 bed supermax prison that employs about 400 people.

    The paper mill makes special paper - the stuff they use to make the brown label on Levi's, Chiquita Banana labels, and Elmer's Glue bottle labels.
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    Here is a problem you don't want to have.
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    I think I would get a roof dog.
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    #93
  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    When leaving Munising, the primary route takes to a sandy trail. The big bike route sticks to more solid forest roads.
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    The sand may be troublesome for some riders.
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    The go-around for this section takes in some scenic and solid forest roads.
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    Eventually the two tracks rejoin.
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    #94
  15. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    Fantastic.
    #95
  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Deerton is a stop along the way. The RR ORV grade here dates back to the 1892 railroad that was put in for logging. Once logged off, some farming moved in. This school of about 40 K-6 students serves the area. Eventually these kids move on to another school that graduates about 35-40 students a year.
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    The go-around takes a scenic and winding two-track that will prove to be entertaining and maybe even a bit challenging for some big bikes.
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    The primary route holds lots of water, but the bottoms are pretty solid with rocks.
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    If it has been really wet lately, you may want to take the go-around to avoid what could be some troubling mud. :D
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    Lots of construction in the National Forests using stimulus money. This was for a project to replace several culverts.
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    KI Sawyer is an old cold war based in the central UP. It was sometimes called "KI Siberia" because of the lake effect snow. It had fighter interceptors, tankers, and B-52s over the years. It closed in 1995.
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    This is right outside of Gwinn (the start of this thing). Someone could base out of the Gwinn/KI Sawyer area and do this ride over a couple of long weekends or do it in a single shot using this loop back as an opportunity to do maintenance at an overnight stop where you vehicle is parked.
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    When there were several bases in the UP, pilots on training flights would work from base to base to fly approaches, etc. One KC-135 fuel tanker was flying practice approaches over at the old Kincheloe AFB in the UP. After the training they were on final approach to KI Sawyer (their home base) when they ran out of fuel. The flight crew quickly bailed out but the instructor pilot stayed with the plane. The IP landed the dead plane just short of the runway overrun, bounced it, and rolled to a stop on the runway. The plane was quickly repaired and returned to service. A helpful local farmer returned the crew entry door (lost in the bail out) to the base.

    B-52.
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    Abandoned barracks. Many structures are in use as part of what seems to be a marginal revitalization program.
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    #96
  17. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Rode the western half solo.
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    Since I was down to about 12 hours of daylight, I would leave early in the morning. Cut into my picture taking.
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    View from Mount Mesnard.
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    In the 1960s a Canadian ore ship tried to take on a load of taconite in Marquette, MI. The dock workers refused to load the ship. The issue was that the Canadian government subsidized some of the costs of building these ships and that the Canadian crews worked for less money. This allowed the Canadian companies to undercut US shipping rates on the Great Lakes.

    The US workers dynamited the train tracks that led from the mines to the ore docks in two places so that there would not be enough ore on the dock to load the Canadian ship. The Canadian ship never was able to dock and ended up drifting just outside the Marquette harbor for a while. It was reported that the ship was fired on by workers in the woods with deer rifles while it drifted there.

    Looking over the Marquette harbor.
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    Remnants of an ore dock are visible.
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    There used to be train tracks that ran out to the top of this thing. The trains would dump taconite into bins near the top.
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    Ships would pull along side the dock and chutes would be lowered to empty taconite into the ships' holds. Minor shifting of the ship forward and backward would enable taconite to be loaded in a manner to achieve the right front-rear angle on the ship.
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    The local maritime museum has an interesting exhibit about a couple of subs that had some yoopers on the crew.
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    "Under McClintock's command, the Darter and Dace formed a two-sub "wolf pack" patrol at two approaches into Leyte Gulf. Picking up radio reports of MacArthur's landing, McClintock correctly guessed where his patrol might intercept Japanese naval forces coming from Singapore. The Darter made radar contact with three large Japanese warships, but couldn't catch up to torpedo them. During the ensuing rendezvous with the Dace, radar contact indicated that they had intercepted the Japanese Imperial Second Fleet: five battleships, a dozen cruisers, and 15 destroyers. Its location hadn't been known for a week.

    The Darter tracked down the fleet, and the Darter and Dace fired the first shots in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. They sank three heavy cruisers, including the Vice Admiral's flagship (killing half his communications staff who devised and broke military codes). Another ship was so badly damaged that it headed back to Singapore under escort, taking the Japanese vice-admiral and half of his remaining communications staff with it, out of the action. (It was a mistake to head back, made by the vice-admiral's lack of sleep for days.) The Darter and Dace tracked the crippled Japanese cruiser by day, and by night made an "end-around" maneuver to get ahead of it in order to attack it with their remaining torpedoes. Then the Darter hung up on a shoal. The Dace abandoned the attack to rescue the Darter crew after the crew had destroyed anything on the sub that the Japanese might use. Their efforts to sink the Darter failed.

    The combined crews returned to Australia on the Dace, to be greeted as heroes. A Board of Inquiry hearing determined that the McClintock took a justifiable calculated risk with his "end-around" maneuver and was not at fault for the Darter's loss. A vice-admiral recommended that the Darter crew stay together on a new submarine to be commanded by McClintock. But a navy personnel chief ordered McClintock to be demoted and sent to a Florida mine depot instead. Only a good word from an admiral in a face-to-face Washington brief about the battle kept the McClintock and the Darter crew together on the new sub USS Menhaden, built in nearby Manitowoc. In World War II 20% of sub crew members were lost in combat."
    http://hunts-upguide.com/marquette.html

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    The movie Anatomy of a Murder was filmed in this area. The courtroom scenes were done in this court house.
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    The movie was based on a book written by a local lawyer about a case he had in nearby Big Bay.
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    <OBJECT width=640 height=390>
    &ampampampampampampampampampampnbsp
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    An interesting bit of trivia about the guy that played the judge. He was a real attorney, in fact he was the head attorney for the Army during the Army-McCarthy hearings. (Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin was investigating the Army for communists.) When he was dealing with McCarthy he went head to head, cut him off a few times, and caused the gallery to break into applause for him for his sparring with the persecuting Senator. He said he took the role as the judge in this movie because it looked like his only chance of ever being a judge. He played an incredibly entertaining character for not really being a career actor. He graduated from Harvard Law School with the second highest GPA in his graduating class.
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    I think we should offer continuing education credits for this ride. :lol3 </EMBED>
    #97
  18. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    It's great. :lurk
    #98
  19. Pinktoad

    Pinktoad Been here awhile

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    West Central Indiana
    Love you Dad.

    Sincerely,
    Some
    #99
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Thank you.

    Hope you enjoy the report stuff on the western loop as much as you enjoyed your in-person tour of the east.

    Thank you. Missing this stuff?