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Your 2017 WBCCI International will be held in Escanaba, MI, July 22-29. It will be a sellout. Currently, water and electric sites have a standby list, but solar and generator are still available and will have water and pump outs.

Here is some helpful information for those new to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Let’s start with the basics. We call the Upper Peninsula the UP, pronounced YOU PEE. (Really!) And we call ourselves YOOPERS. (Really!)

Escanaba, the site of the Upper Peninsula State Fairground, is pronounced - ES KA NAH’ BAH, emphasis is on the NAH. Escanaba translates loosely to mean “Flat Rock.” Escanaba is the third largest city in the UP and a significant Lake Michigan port.

Getting Around the UP. Since the UP is bordered on the North by Lake Superior and the South by Lake Michigan, there are not too many ways to enter and leave! From the West, US 2 and US 41 are the major highways from Wisconsin. From the South, the lower peninsula of Michigan, I-75 crosses the Mackinac Bridge. (“Mackinac” is pronounced MACK-IN-AW, by the way.) Coming from
the North, Ontario, Canadians can cross the international bridge at Sault Ste. Marie, pronounced SOO SAINT MARIE. The full name of the town (on both sides of the border) is Sault Sainte Marie, but for some reason the abbreviation Ste. is almost always used on maps. The French name translates into English as “the rapids of Saint Marie.” When they built the locks around the rapids for Great Lakes shipping, they just called them the Soo Locks!

The UP is quite long in the East-West direction. Believe it or not, Detroit is closer to New York City than it is to Copper Harbor at the northwest end of the UP. This leads to a slight additional complication: the UP crosses two time zones. The west end of the UP, which overlaps Wisconsin, is in the Central time zone. The rest of the UP - including Escanaba - is in the Eastern time zone.
All events at the Escanaba International will be scheduled on the EASTERN TIME ZONE.

Conversely, the UP is pretty short in the North-South direction. From Escanaba it’s only 60 - 70 miles to Marquette and Munising on the Lake Superior shore. Both cities have lots of things to see - waterfalls, Pictured Rocks boat tour, lighthouses, museums, etc.  Marquette is the largest city in the UP.

There are five Great Lakes. Maybe you have seen each of them. The five Great Lakes are Superior, Michigan, Erie, Huron and Ontario. (But some of us who live in Marquette say “Four Great Lakes and One Superior!”)

You will be driving right by Lake Michigan as you arrive in Escanaba from either the south or the east. Escanaba is located between two of Lake Michigan’s bays, the Little Bay de Noc and Big Bay de Noc. The names come from the Nocquet tribe of Native Americans who lived here. The “Bay of the Nocquet” has been shortened to “Bay de Noc.” The Bays de Noc offer many recreational possibilities. They are known for excellent Walleye fishing, and guides and charter boats are available. The Bays are also known for SCUBA diving, with unusually clear water and lots of shipwrecks to explore. On the East side of the Big Bay de Noc is Fayette Historic State Park, a restored 19th Century iron smelter and its surrounding town.

Lake Michigan’s name possibly derived from the word Mishigami, meaning Great Water in the Ojibwa language. The Algonquian (spelled lots of ways) explanation is that the word is Misschiganin, meaning Big Lake or Large Body of Water. (Incidentally, various places you will hear that the UP is inhabited by the Chippewa, Ojibwe, Ojibiwa and Anishinabe Indians - all English names for the same nation.)

While you are in Escanaba, make sure to drive to the end of Ludington Street to view the water, see Ludington Park, and check out the marina. It is a pretty drive and easy to find.

Whew. That’s enough to learn for now. Next month, let’s talk about play!

Article by:
Jane Carmichael, #3230 and John Sellers, #1587

Category: 2017 Escanaba, MI