University was over, early summer upon us, and a road trip north seemed mighty intriguing. What better time to… freeze for an entire week in the beautiful Upper Peninsula?
To be fair, the trip was not my idea but came from my new homies Sverre and Martin whom I met at Michigan State University (MSU).
The first part of the trip went to Tahquamenon Falls, past Mackinaw City and over Mackinac Bridge that separates Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
We set up camp and hiked upstream to find the legendary, yet unpronounceable falls:
From here, the road trip went onwards to Munising and Pictured Rocks situated next to Lake Superior. Simply stunning with its dark pastel tone palette, mirrored in the crisp cold freshwater.
We walked barefoot East along the waterside from Mosquito Beach, after crossing Mosquito River… cold… and slippery. The caves at the end were well worth it!
The rock here is quite special: it resembles the butter dough that goes into a croissant – tons of razor-thin layers – except the butter is petrified sand that crumbles easily if applying medium pressure. Here are three images at various distances:
After a couple of days of camping, and a moment of unknown influence where I decided to check out how cold the waters of Lake Superior really were (with my entire body) we got back on the road. Yes, images exist. No, they will never reach this blog.
Next stop: Marquette, the westernmost city we got to visit. Due to its location next to Lake Superior, the fog can set in very quickly. We heard stories of people disappearing… so we decided to stay on land – or molo (breakwater), while enjoying the thick mist. Here at Presque Isle Harbor Breakwater Light looking towards Lsi Dock:
We found back to land – now floating in the mist as a conjured mirage
Some days later, at Kitch-iti-kipi:
My memory is sadly failing me, even with the help of Google Maps. Safe to say we camped by a lake… (it might have been Big Knob State Forest Campground ?!)
Upper Peninsula has a bad reputation for its nasty black flies. Luckily for us, the cold weather had delayed the “hatching season” to accommodate our travel plans. However, everything didn’t go as planned; on the last day they hatched. My freaking God if they hatched. We had to run away from an old farm after waking up a dark-looking cloud, taken straight out of LOST.
Anyway, let me leave you with a peaceful and quiet moment of Lake Michigan.
Alexander, Sverre, Gergo, Hannah and I decided to pay Chicago a visit some weeks ago. We borrowed a car and bought doughnuts & coffee for the road trip! The drive was 3-4 hours and certainly different from what I’m used to in boring AF Scandinavia. Large billboards literally follow you the entire way; half of them tell you to put your faith in God and the rest appeals to the hungry traveller. Somehow the best steak in the state is always located at the next food exit. Yes, food exit, that is what (some of) the highway exits are called.. lulz.. The typical food exit consists of a cluster of different fast-food chains and the like. A spot on the map of extreme caloric density with an event horizon i.e. the point of no return, where/when you spot that juicy, delicious burger on a billboard.. lolol, here’s a picture of us (three backseat physicists):
The designated driver for the occasion was Alex, given that flat terrain is one of his Danish specialities lololol. Sverre and his phone can be seen also to the right, making sure we are on the right track. #NeverTrustAWindowsPhoneEverAgainLOL
For those of you wondering how far – or perhaps, where the third most populous city in U.S. is situated, here, have a look at the map:
The nickname “The Windy City” is certainly a good fit, for a lot of reasons, mainly – its so damned windy. Luckily for us, the temperature was also freezing! The place we stayed at was somewhat cheap, but more importantly, right in the hearth of Gotham, I mean the metropolis.
After arriving quite late, we decided to grab a beer – and if it hadn’t been for mr. Treider here, almost ruining it by “oh man we gotta go check this out” and “must.. photograph… over… there..” we would have had more than 14 seconds to pick a “flavour”. It turned out the store was “right around the corner” all along. However, neither me nor Alex will acknowledge that someone went around the entire block. Because, that would be… absurd.
Due to the coffee (singular), I couldn’t sleep all night. So, next morning I decided to step up my game, and get that caffeine tolerance up up UP. This has proven more difficult than imagined.
After breakfast, we went out to find Cloud Gate, i.e. The Bean the perhaps most well known tourist attraction in the city(?) – at least the most photographed one. It is best described as a mirror, bent in three dimensions to look like a bean, hence the nickname. We first had to walk there – and here are some shots taken on the way:
(Sorry, no points for recognizing Lincoln).
Finally, zeh Bean: (click here for a version in color)
As you probably noticed earlier; Chicago is located by Lake Michigan, down south. The fresh water has a special green/turquoise tint to it.
The city is also known for the excellent Field Museum, the home of SUE; the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found. That’s “her” below:
I also found these absolutely hysterical statuettes, which I decided to caption appropriately (you must know your internetz):
We continued our expedition towards the planetarium. (Don’t mind the pointing, it’s the complete opposite direction)
We found it (and decided to come back later) along with a gorgeous view of the city skyline and the lake. We also found our dark caped guardian – not the hero we deserve, but the hero we need. *Sigh*, I need to stop with these quotes.
Me, appreciating a little sun for a change:
After having some food, we joined Alex in his quest of finding Saint Mary of the Angels. If you got he reference of him holding a doughnut and a cup of coffee in front of SUE, you probably get this one too (I most certainly don’t lol). Since we live in 2016, finding the church took about 1.5 seconds + whatever time it took to google it. We grabbed an über and arrived shortly after.
Signs. Weird ones. Blue ones. Chicago hosts a diverse collection… Remember to keep a ruler in your car so that you can check if parking is legal or not during winter times. Will there be more snow? Will the magical 2 inches be reached? Playing with fire, are we? Or how about a 500 dollar fine for feeding the pigeons?
Pizza, delicious and fat. One metric tonne of cheese. Very yummy, much taste, such wow. Sverre looks ecstatic at the sheer sight of food after a long day (as we all were, of course).
I wanted to go back to the pier for a long exposure shot of the city in the dark, over the water. Somehow I managed to convince the others to accompany me! Safe to say, we were not alone out there. There were a certain very recognizable smell in the air.
This blog post would be incomplete without a photo of the famous Chicago “L” (short for elevated) that transports people into, around and out of the city.
…and here is a cute little turtle from Shedd Aquarium:
To this day, I don’t know why it says “A BEST”. GAWD, IT MAKES NO SENSE. Anyway, this is the entrance of the Art Institute of Chicago. A place definitely worth a visit.
This exhibition appealed to me of course! /physicslessonstart/ What we’ve got here is the classic potato battery, taken to the extreme. After some googling, I found out that you can get a little over 1 V per potato. A rough estimate of 500 potatoes gives us something like 500 V to play around with. Wait. Am I sure that they are all connected in series? Nope. Could you do anything fun with it? Not really, the current is probably too low bad. Is it still awesome? YES! /physicslessonend/
Also, we got this intensely interesting triple-square thingy going on. If that doesn’t get your hearth pumping, I don’t know what will.
The last great adventure was climbing up the 92-or-so floors of the John Hancock Center. There we got to try out Tilt, which is best described with some photos. This evening was the night of the Super Bowl, so we had the entire floor to ourselves; 360 degree of pure panoramic view. What followed was quite a spectacular sunset, I must say.
Here is a timelapse from my phone of the sunset. Due to “bad” auto-exposure there is some flickering… Anyways.
Then, after some food from a great kind-of-market-place-but-not-really, we found the car and started driving home. Since Chicago/Illinois is an hour behind Michigan, we got back a little later than anticipated. But, who cares? Awesome trip!