Toivo Sightings:
A Yooper North American tour.
Late in the winter of 2002-2003, Toivo from Toivola hit the road with his old beater, bound for the west coast.  For Valentine's Day he had given a roll of duct tape to Eino's sister Tina  from the state of Washington, and she invited him out for a visit.

By the time he reached the west coast, Toivo had a childhood dream rekindled: to complete a 50 state tour.  Along the way, his journey touched Mexico and led through Canada. 
This is a summary of the trip.

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Most recent days listed first...scroll to the bottom to follow from Day 1
Day 86-90

Spent some time in the L.P.  Traverse City and Petoskey have grown alot since last time I was here.  Crossed the big bridge and kissed the ground at St. Ignace. Didn't realize how much I missed the U.P.
Worked my way back to the Copper Country, trip on hold for now.


A mighty big province to cross. Radio said to avoid Toronto. Eventually made it to Niagra Falls.  How come I never seen Tim Horton's in the states?  Be nice if they carried Pasty Central pasties.  Crossover the Bluewater Bridge, finally get to visit the L.P.

Day 83-85

Day 80-82

Workin my way down the St. Lawrence River makes me feel like a pioneer fur trader, like the license plate says "Just me and my souvenirs". Lots of Frenchies out here, but we won't hold that against them. Some lakes just like back in the U.P., only no black flies.


The Appalacian Mountains stretch all the way from here to Alabama. Mt. Carleton is highest peak in 'Atlantic Canada', as they call it. Lots of pines and parks, Irish and Scottish. Bay of Fundy reminded me of Pictured Rocks near Munising.

Day 78-79

Day 76-77

The most expedient route to this Maritime province is a 6 hour ferry ride.  Instead of Yooper jokes out here, they pick on "Newfies". 
Q: How many Newfies does it take to ice fish?  A: Four. One to cut the hole in the ice and three to push the boat through.


Can't believe I'm actually traveling the road to Avonlea!.  Such a big place you forget it's an island.  This is where Canada began.  A rugged population here in the north Atlantic. Reminds me a lot of my neighbors back along the Superior shore.

Day 74-75

Day 72-73

A long road ahead, from Atlantic to Pacific. Crossed New Brunswick to this peninsula/island. Interesting stay here in the land of the "Bluenosers".  Thursday on the ferry to PEI, found out where name comes from. brrrr! I'm a Yooperbluenoser.


Seventy days on the road!  Celebrated with some lobster in a floating restaurant on the ocean, before heading on up to Bangor. They call Maine "The Pine Tree State", easy to see why.  A guy like me from the U.P. could feel right at home. Stayed an extra day.

Day 70-71

Day 69

Spent time in Manchester, largest city in Northern New England (caught up on makin' license plates). A pleasant drive north through the Granite State. Still some snow up on Mount Washington. Wonder if snow's all gone back in the U.P.?


After west through Mass, north through VT, a beautiful drive. Just had to see Montpelier (another capitol) and tour Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream factory near Waterbury.  Hey! Pasty Central should have these kind of tours in Calumet! (with free samples of pasty)

Day 68

Day 67

Saw Plymouth Rock. What's with all of these 'rotaries'? (and I don't mean the club).  Instead of 4-way stops they send you in a circle. Got stuck in one 'til the old beater ran out of gas.  Then on to Boston (or bass'-tin, as they say). Maybe yoopers sound just as strange to them.


Funny sounding spots like "Woonsocket" and "Pawtucket", where I had some johnnycake in a diner.  When you visit Providence, be sure to allow some time to see the zoo. 
Tell 'em Toivo from Toivolasocket sent you.

Day 66

Day 65

Stayed near the places where Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe used to live.  Being a traveler, I climbed the Traveler's Tower, also in Hartford.  Could see as far as on Mount Bohemia back home - - only more buildings, less trees.


Big Apple made me dizzy. Had to see Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge. Long Island traffic bad as any I seen yet. Made a jaunt upstate to greener pastures, where some of the sights were as peaceful as the U.P. Like difference between Detroit and Toivola.

Day 63-64

Day 62

Turnpike is one giant dragstrip aimed at New York. Wandered down to Atlantic City.  They told me it was my lucky day. It's always somebody's lucky day, and I think his name is "House". Shoot me if I ever go near Kewaydin passing through Baraga or Christmas.
Statue of Liberty trip a much wiser and less expensive visit.


What did Delaware boys? Of course, she wore a New Jersey. Used to sing this around the campfire in the U.P.  Seriously - - a fine, though small state with great ocean views and, apparently, favorable corporate environment.  Reminiscent of Delaware Mine back home.

Day 61

Day 60

Gettysburg, Valley Forge, Philadelphia and the Liberty Bell. On the road 2 months now, and it could have been spent exploring here alone.  Nickname "Keystone State" reminds me of Keystone Bay, where I used to camp in the Kewenaw.


Over to Chesapeake Bay and another state capitol (Annapolis), on up to Baltimore, Inner Harbor. Ever notice how people talk different wherever you go? (Bawda-more). Shurly we dont soundat funny in da U.P., do ya tink, eh?

Day 59

Day 58

Arlington National Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, The White House, Capitol Building, Supreme Court, Smithsonian, Starbucks - - er, uh- lots of famous sights. Seems like more traffic in a few square miles than the entire U.P.


One place I've wanted to see is Mount Vernon, home of  George Washington. This state oozes with history - - colonial, Civil War, even the birth of the Internet - - Virginia is where much of it happened.
About 800 miles from the U.P. as the crow flies (one tired crow).

Day 57

Day 56

Ventured into the Tar Heel State.  From Blue Ridge Parkway to the Outer Banks, so much to see. Ever notice how many towns in North Carolina have ordered Pasty Central pasties? Must be a few re-located Yoopers around here!


Tina flew in to Columbia for a visit with her grandma, and to see if absence really does make the heart grow fonder.  Maybe stick around a couple of days?  More Civil War history to see, maybe shoot a round of golf or two.  Wonder if Keweenaw Mountain Lodge has opened yet back home?

Day 53-55

Day 52

Wish I could have spent more time exploring the caverns under Atlanta.  Stone Mountain as impresive as Mt. Rushmore. Had hoped to meet up with a Yooper search party headed by a guy named Alex, with roots in Mohawk.  Maybe next time, guys.


Thought I could spend a few days in Sunshine State, maybe tan this pasty Yooper skin. (That one IS pronounced pay'-stee).  Wanted to see Disney World, but found out Tina would fly into South Carolina on Wenesday, had to leave early. Lots of U.P. snowbirds in Florida.

Day 51

Day 50

Did some sight-seeing in historic Montgomery.  Nice Zoo, too. Way down south in the land of cotton. Had an earthquake while I was here. Back to Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico. 
Seems a world away from the Soo Locks. 


Bopped on up to Jackson, capitol city.  Several museums on Sunday afternoon, including Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum.  Yes, they even make wood in the South.
Thought I saw a sign for Keweenaw, turned out to be Kewanee.

Day 49

Day 47-48

Blew the radiator in Baton Rouge, had to buy a rebuilt one, my Louisiana Purchase.  Stayed an extra day, didn't want to miss Cajun cuisine (parrish the thought). Brushed up on my French in New Orleans. le souhait I était dans l'U.P.


Run into some of the worst weather of the trip.  Found the place where Sam Walton cooked up Wal-Mart, which seems to have spread to every other part of the country, even the U.P.
Also found a much-needed laundromat (first since Washington St.)

Day 46

Day 45

Country Music Hall of Fame, lots of pre-Civil War history.  Thought I spotted Elvis over near Memphis.  Traveled the Albert Gore Highway (so this is where the Internet was invented!) Lots of Pasty Cam watchers live in the Volunteer State


Somehow the grass doesn't look all that blue to me - - big state when you travel it east to west, then north to south. Kentucky Derby celebrations in full swing, first race a week from Saturday.  KY exports fried chicken to the U.P. - - we send 'em back pasties.

Day 44

Day 43

Doesn't seem to be a level place to stand in this whole state.  On some of the side roads you'll meet yourself coming back around the curves.  Charleston an impressive capitol city.
WV is state number 26 since leaving the U.P. Over the hump!.


Time out on Sunday for visit with cousin's family near Dayton.  Not a good day for Easter egg hunt, though they had hail almost that big.  Storm cleared, headed for Columbus. I like the lighthouse on the plate.  Ohio has Erie, UP has Superior. You can guess which I prefer.

Day 42

Day 41

What's the difference between a Hoosier and a Yooper? About 300 miles and a big mitten. Hoosiers have their Amish, Yoopers have their Apostolics.  Circled left around Indy to head for the Buckeye State. Anybody know why they call it the Brickyard?


Welcome to the Land of Lincoln. Been to Chicago before, but didn't realize so much flat farmland through the mid-section. They should call this the Land of Silos.  Saw Ronald Reagan's boyhood home.  Tempted to turn north to the U.P., but continued on to IN.

Day 40

Day 39

Exploring the Hawkeye State: Logan, Des Moines, Iowa City, Davenport.  Would like to come back when the Living History Farms are in full operation. Similar to Greefield Village in Michigan, with role players, like Fort Wilkins in the U.P. 

4/15 - 4/16

After mailing taxes, excursion across S.D. to Keystone. Seein' the big heads, couldn't help thinking of Bishop Baraga looking down on Keweenaw Bay. Miss the big Lake. But life is still interesting on the road for a while.

Day 37 - 38

Day 36

Cozy little place to stay in Blair, NE, "Tree City USA", while finishing up tax return. (Can I depreciate chain saw used commercially for making wood?) DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge opens tomorrow. But has Spring finally arrived back home in da U.P.?


Welcome to Missouri, the gateway to Kansas.  Actually they call it the "show-me" state. Although I never realized the Kansas City Royals were from Missouri, not Kansas. (wah) Royals winning streak ended today, and your road-worn Toivola Traveler ended the day outside of St. Joseph.

Day 35

Day 34

Sailed the old beater like a prairie schooner across Kansas, till I got stuck in a line of traffic around Wichita. Now I know what it's like to be a Wichita Lineman.

Wonder if Dorothy ever made it to the U.P.? Better than OZ.


This state is really OK.  Friendly people. Tried to tell one couple where I was from by pointing to my hands. They probably thought I was crazy.

This is one of my favorite plates.  Thanks, RT.

Day 33

Day 31-32
4/9-10   - - needed an extra day just to cross the corner - -

Covered just a fraction of the Lone Star State.  Amarillo, Lubbock, Abilene - - on to Forth Worth and Dallas. Wonder how many Upper Michigan's you could fit in Texas??  So much drivin I'm plumb tuckered out, pardner.  One the road one whole month, wah!


Not far from Albuquerque - - the world's longest aerial tramway lift. Makes me dizzy, like it feels up on Brockway back home in Keweenaw.  They say lots of U.P. snowbirds also flock here in winter.  Any pasty shops around here?

Day 30

Day 29

The Mile High city, Pike's Peak, Garden of the Gods - - You drive and drive and drive and the mountains are still there.  Did a lot of coasting on the downgrades. They say a lot of MTU grads out here.
Bet that crescent moon would look great over Lake Superior.

Back in the colder climates.  Makes a Michigan boy feel right at home. Rodeo Park, Laramie, Cheyenne - - I'm a regular Interstate Buckaroo.
Took up wearing longjohns again.
Day 28

Day 26 - 27
4/4 - 5

First car trouble in a long time. Dropped my muffler. Ran over it. Broke jack changing tire. (Not hurt, Mom). Hitched a ride, thanks to nice folks in Provo, with friends in Iron Mountain.
Are we having fun yet?

 From the Grand Canyon to the Grand Hotel in Las Vegas (Lost Wages), with a stopover at Hoover Dam - - all in one day. 

I hear it's snowin back home again.

Day 25

Day 23 - 24
4/1 - 2

Wah! Is the desert hot! Lots of U.P. snowbirds spending the non-July months down here.  Found out I'd have to drive a day just to get up to the Grand Canyon. They shoulda put it closer to Phoenix.

 3/28 - 31

Took many days to cross the state.  Spent half that time on LA freeway.  Always wanted to see Golden Gate Bridge, still like Mighty Mac best.  Disneyland fun, but miss snowmobiling.  Pacific has big waves, but Superior is much cleaner.  Gave up wearing longjohns.

Day 19 - 22

Day 17-18
3/26 - 27

Followed the Ocean South.  Cheese Factory at Tillamook.  No snow in the banana belt.  Lots of Finns out here, though.

Started doing reports on weekday Pasty Cam.


Arrived in Washington, stayed for 10 days.  Spokane - Seattle - Aberdeen - Hoquiam.  Nice visit with Tina, realized a lot of states left to see before thought of settling down.  Have seen over 10% of the USA so far, why stop now?

Day 7- 16

Day 6

Late evening check-in at Couer d'Alene. Reminded me of L'Anse.  Not the towns, just their name (d'Alene - L'Anse -  ya'Right)

Woke up on St. Urho's Day.  Not a grasshopper in sight.


Some serious mountains, but I'm missin Lake Superior.  Historic Lewis and Clark Trail makes me feel like a pioneer.

Almost bought a cowboy hat.

Day 5

Day 4

Stayed over in Mandan.  Reminds me of Mandan in Keweenaw, (not the town, just the name).  Not a buffalo in sight.

Finally got connected with Pasty.USA dial-in


Picked up a 'refurbished' laptop in Twin Cities. Modem didn't work. My luck with cars and computers. Traffic thick as smelt.

Made it to Fargo, where Aunt Minnie put me up over night.

Day 3

Day 2

Spent the night in Ladysmith.  Name of this town reminds me of my Great Aunt Lempe who used to shoe the horses back on the farm.

Nice state.  Pretty flat.  Guess they keep it level for the cows.


Told Charlie I was leavin last Friday.  I lied.  Still in da U.P. with car troubles.  Time over the weekend in my garage, listenin to Calumet Copper Kings win the State Hockey Championship.  They came home Sunday, I left Monday.

Day 1

License plates courtesy R.T.'s Blank Plates
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