Turning lemons into lemonade

Longtime readers know that I was raised in Detroit and attended college in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, earning two engineering degrees from Michigan Tech.

When I left Tech I had the vague idea that I’d like to go back to the U.P. to live someday; it’s gorgeous up there, and exhibits a friendly, open culture you don’t find in the busy-busy-busy career centers, the big cities swarming with … Donald Trump-types.

So my first job was in the western Lower Peninsula, and when the ’82-recession hit I followed the work to Florida — where Disney was the engine sparking a lot of the building that kept civil engineers busy. There, I met and married a Florida girl, and the notion of someday moving back to the U.P. got set aside. In the event, it was 35-years between my 2nd-graduation and a return visit to the Upper Peninsula. Not much has changed in the intervening decades, and the U.P.’s idea of a crowd is laughable to anybody familiar with the Outer Banks or — Heaven Forfend! — Cocoa.

Miserably crowded U.P. beach

Dawn and I have driven back up there 4-5 times since that first trip, and have idly talked about buying a summer retirement place on Lake Superior. This year, of course, the pandemic prevented us from traveling, and more than a few of the Web sites associated with our regular destinations are gone. The pandemic killed tourism, and the lack of tourism killed a lot of seasonal businesses. All of which gave me a grin when I got an email today from one of the U.P.’s tourist bureaus.

Oh, yeah — social distancing is definitely a U.P. thing. I wish them well.

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