Sep 03-01

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2001: September: Sep 03-01
The Purest, Most Vitalizing Air sign.    ...scroll down to share comments
photo courtesy Paul and Betty Kaiser

Charlie at Pasty Central on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 08:20 am:

In the summer of '65 I was a seventh grader on a big yellow bus which had travelled some 600 miles from downstate. Mr. Mack had driven all night while his passengers, our church youth group and a few adults, had managed some sleep on pillows jostled by the ride... destination: Gitche Gumee in Eagle River. It was early afternoon by the time we rolled into the "Copper Country", a brand new experience for me.

I had seen signs all across the U.P. about some kind of funny donuts, and I wondered out loud what "PASTE-eez" were? Or maybe they just didn't know how to spell pastry? I was quickly corrected by the high school girls who said it was pronounced "PAST-eez", and it was a meat pie, and the other things were something worn by strippers, and I should watch my language. (whew!) As they were still laughing, we rolled past the sign between Chassell and Houghton, just like the one above, and I was stunned to think I was now breathing air which was VITALIZING... I really DID feel more alive (that's what vitalizing means, right?)... or maybe the flush in my cheeks was just from being embarrassed by the girls.

Thirty six years later, I'm typing these words from Eagle River, listening to the washing of the waves along the rocks and dunes below our home. A gentle breeze off the Lake is delivering a constant supply of that pure, vitalizing air. Looks like rain might be moving into the peninsula, too.

Last Friday we completed 3-1/2 years - 42 months - of daily pictures here on the Pasty Cam, with the Copper Country as our most frequent subject. Today we will restore online ordering of pasties, having been suspended because of the big order to the Minnesota State Fair, which concludes today. (Can you picture 12,000 pasties, all made by hand?)

A note of thanks to Paul and Bette Kaiser for finding this old postcard from the "Copper Country Vacationist League" which, by the way is still active after all these years. But that's another story...

By Doug Smith, Wixom MI on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 10:35 am:

One of my fondest memories as a kid is when mom and dad took us up to Brockway to see the stars one evening. Never had I saw so many stars before.
Being from way down near Detroit, there are always too many streetlights to see good stars. Read those big signs up there by flashlight too. Till this day, every time I get the chance to look up in the dark night sky and see the stars, I think of that night.

By Susie B., FL on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 12:29 pm:

Where is/was this sign? I definitely miss that pure, vitalizing air!!

By Alice, Ventura, CA on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 03:43 pm:

That reminded me of a night when I was sitting outside a logcabin in Ontonagon. Tall, tall trees all around except for the clearing in front of the house. I was still a kid also. My dad, sister and I were playing our musical instruments...2 cornets and a clarinet. The sound through the night air was spectacular. Then all of a sudden the sky was lit up with wavy white bands of light. We were seeing the Northern Lights for the first time. What an experience! Felt like our music created the lights.

By Candy Goulette, CA on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 04:29 pm:

While this sign between Chassell and Broemer's Dairy signified entering what was then The Copper Country (now, Keweenaw, which extends down to L'Anse), the same sentiment could be found on the wall of the old Union building at Michigan Tech. This was, of course, before the renovation that turned the classic Tech cafeteria and lounge building into one that could be found on any campus in the United States, but that's another story, too...

After living in California for 9 months, I can attest that the breeze off of Lake Superior is indeed the purest, most vitalizing air to be found. It's just one of the things I miss about home...

By RCW Bootjack on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 04:52 pm:

There was a copy of that sign also at the entrance to the Houghton Co Airport.

By DMac/Lake Linden on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 06:48 pm:

I just got home from my annual agate picking excursion with several friends, up on the north shores of Lake Superior in Keweenaw County! The wind was awesome and the rocks just swallowed the whitecaps that were just pounding on them! What a glorious day it has been. I know I will sleep so good tonight! We are SO BLESSED to live here! :)

By YWB/ Richmond. on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 07:33 pm:

I am so jealous. I live way down in troll land. I've been back home since Aug 11. I sure miss the upper and all it's beauty. I can just feel the brisk wind, and hear the waves from mighty Superior crash on those rocks. Thank you for sharing. You are BLESSED.

By Dave, St. Louis on Monday, September 3, 2001 - 10:02 pm:

Very, very well said.

By MDK Santa Rosa on Tuesday, September 4, 2001 - 11:48 am:

Whenever I saw that sign it was announcing to me, "hey, you're almost home!" And yes, that air off of the Lake is wonderful. Far better than the Atlantic or the Pacific.

By PJK--Michigan on Tuesday, September 4, 2001 - 03:58 pm:

Bette aned I were happy to have been able to furnish this Post Card to Pasty-Cam. The Post Card was framed by our daughter Catey as a gift to my Mother and Dad (Bill and Bess Kaiser) I have a shot somewhere of an Explorer Scout standing next to the sign at the entrance to the Houghton County Memorial Airport

By Lisa Walters, Ypsilanti on Tuesday, September 4, 2001 - 05:24 pm:

I used to send this post card to my friends downstate when I was visiting relatives in Lake Linden, every summer of my childhood. Is anyone still producing this card, by any chance??

I have never been in the Keweenaw outside of June or July, but am planning a trip this January! Should be fun!

By Kevin Sarkki on Tuesday, September 4, 2001 - 07:19 pm:

This past August I had the great pleasure of
escaping California for a few days of R&R in
the Keweenaw. The days soared above 90
degrees but relief was found on the great
sandy beach at Bete Gris. What a treasure!
So when one mentions the vitalizing air UP
there, I recall the invigorating waters of the Big
Lake too.

By Linda Bond Gillett on Friday, September 7, 2001 - 09:55 am:

This past August I too had the pleasure of escaping California for the U.P. and enjoyed the beutiful beach of Rabbit Bay.There is nothing that can beat a Big Lake swim.

By brant on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 02:42 pm:


A minority opinion, apparently, but I think the sign is cool.

By Ron Musil- Chicago on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 07:55 pm:

AS a Michigan Tech student of 40 years ago,this site brings back memories that are priceless.

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