The Gay Bar is a real bar and grill, located in Gay, Michigan (on the Keweenaw Peninsula, several miles northeast of Houghton and Hancock, on the road to nowhere). It is not a gay bar, it’s simply the Gay Bar. The hamlet of Gay is one of many small settlements in the Upper Peninsula clinging to the map since the region’s mining industry evaporated, and I think the bar is the only business left. It does sell a selection of t-shirts and such, as tourist mementos, some of which are funnier than others.

The state parks, national lakeshores, and the cabin in the woods were all good parts of this trip, but the main event was Isle Royale National Park. It’s the biggest island in Lake Superior, with no roads and no year-round human habitation. It’s the only national park that shuts down entirely for the winter, because it’s so inaccessible. And it gets fewer visitors in a year than Yellowstone gets in a day. It’s great! I’ve been there a few times so far… Jay just once.

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