We pulled the AirStream south to the bottom of the UP and the Kewadin Casino in St. Ignace. This Saint is an old port town on the shores of Lake Huron, another huge, clear freshwater lake that makes its own weather. This casino has a fine view of the lake, if anyone would look. They offered us four free nights with electricity, water, and a dump station.
The Ojibwa museum here says the town was named for a French Jesuit missionary sent to serve the trappers and traders and try to convert the natives. As happened almost everywhere, the Indians soon tired of beads and wanted steel knives and cooking utensils. The traders found a better margin and faster turnover in whiskey, which disrupted village life. Most of the Jesuits took issue with the traders and the governor over the sale of firewater. Not all objected, but those who did not were transferred to the New Orleans diocese, which had fewer Indians and more whiskey.
St. Ignace anchors the north end of the Mackinac Bridge, the USA’s longest suspension bridge. St Ig’s real business is tourism, at least while the weather is good. It is a lovely little burg of 2,500 souls in an incredibly beautiful setting. They have Lake Huron in summer for boating and beach activities, and in winter there are the snowmobiles. The lake freezes early and lasts into March. Snowmobiles run all over it and are the only way to get supplies to Mackinac Island, if anyone actually tries to winter there. There is some commercial fishing, but it’s mostly sport now.
We’ve cooked a bit while here, most recently Citrus Soy Ribs smoked over oak charcoal on a $15 Wal*Mart grill. There’s no rub involved, just baste ‘em with a sauce of orange juice, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and garlic. Top the finished ribs with lemon and orange zest. Serve it up with potato salad and baked beans, and have your photographer take some pix before they’re gone. And how can I forget Brie and Baguette with Wild Raspberries and Toasted Walnuts? The berry bushes are everywhere here, and Kat has no competition for them. We have a free full hookup campsite with raspberries: Kat and I are learning to like casino camping.