The approach to Houghton, MI., along the Portage Lake Channel is attractive, not breathtaking. However, the anticipation of a week on the shore of the Keweenaw peninsula is pure oxygen.
HQ of the copper boom lasting a century from 1845-1945, it is now home to the famed engineering Michigan Technical University (formerly Mi. School of Mines) with a noted alumnus, Julie Estep PhD, the prominent rhetorician. Ms. Estep quietly manages to avoid the public limelight in Chico, CA., along with her husband, Gary, and four dogs.
Add Norman Rautiola, now living in splendor, Montecito, CA, inventor of patented keyless entry into automobiles. He also developed the electromagnetic field which senses your approach and opens/closes doors and windows. Being the nation’s electronic valet became profitable, which Mr. Rautiola generously shares, in addition to his time and business savvy, with MTU.
In the future, sooner than imaginable, we’ll be traveling in driverless vehicles. Rest assured, his Nartron Corp. will own the patent.
Native copper ore, barely oxidized, MTU mineral museum
Unlike California, the planetary prune, which continues the unsustainable siphoning of the Colorado River, the Keweenaw is surrounded on three sides by Lake Superior, the deepest and largest supply of fresh water in the hemisphere.
Add these pluses:
- birthplace of professional hockey
- more Finns than a suburb of Helsinki
- four times the annual snowfall of Buffalo, NY
- pure water, clean air, no traffic
- nearest interstate ramp 264 miles;Duluth,MN
- Scandanavian indelicacy, lutefisk
Quoting* Garrison Keillor ” the purgatory of lutefisk, a repulsive gelatinous fishlike dish that tasted of soap and gave off an odor that would gag a goat….not edible by normal people. It is reminiscent of the afterbirth of a dog or the world’s largest chunk of phlegm”.
Lutefisk may have been solely responsible for the noticeable Lutheran inbreeding of Swedes and Finns. Who knows? What is important is that humans are all hybrids, just like our dogs, and you have to wonder…why can’t we get along?
Tribal battles flourish. In northern Iraq, the Sunnis slaughter the Kurds. In northern Michigan, factions of the Chippewa, Sault, Ojibwa tribes engage in turf battles for casino revenues. Everybody is a loser….prisons prosper; substance abuse and depression become the fast track industries. A solution might be to have warring factions spend a winter together, sharing firewood, skis, lutefisk, and ice fishing huts.
Population growth here remains at zero. No surprise when most activity, in or out of doors, revolves around ice. Californians may be proud of their tan lines, being on a first name basis with cosmetic surgeons, or thankful their homes have not been incinerated in a wildfire or on a mudslide headed for the beach.
No such problem in Houghton, as the natives have an unlimited supply of water to wash and wax the snowmobile in anticipation of another birth controlled winter. We, thankfully, plan a perfect summer week in the community owned waterfront RV park. The array of local activities has us mouthing at the frost.
Don’t change the dial………
* Pontoon, Aug 2008 Penguin Books®