If you are in Alpena, Cheboygan, or over the Mighty Mack in ALL of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, you have to the unique opportunity to generally live live free of large city problems, urban issues, and breathe clean air. The upper peninsula is commonly referred to as “God’s Country” by those of us “trolls,” who when given an opportunity to vacation, and travel and be there, will do so, and quickly.
My family has vacationed in the UP since 1970 when my parents bought a cabin in Rapid River. We still have the cabin, and as my brothers and I continue to make use of it, we recognize the high cost of getting there. In fact this year, I may only be able to go to close it for the season.
When the family made the most use of the cabin, was in the early 70s, prior to oil embargos, and other problems like those in the auto industry. Our journey, originally began in Bay City, traveling north, and eventually the departure point became Okemos. We would travel the 5-6 hour treks (sometimes 6-7.. with 5 boys..) and make a few stops along the way.
We had our favorites. One of them was a little store and cabin rental on a bluff along US 2 just this side of the Cut River bridge. Eventually, tradition became the stop, candy-up, beg the parents for fireworks, and even once, we adopted a cat there. We made the stop on the way going to, and then returning from our summer of activity. It was a kid’s holy grail.
That little store had a small sign out front which was adorned with incandescent bulbs, that almost always had ONE of them out. As the 70s wore on, and when oil prices rose, the bulbs in the sign almost seemed to be the gage of life left for the small mom and pop grocery / general store that we so dearly loved. Each time we passed there seemed to be one more of the bulbs extinguished, until about 1981 they were out permanently. Now, it is merely an an empty bluff.
The UP is like that. It is a very big place, and it takes time and a bit of gas to get anywhere. When Gas prices rise as they have in the recent years, it puts the hurts on travel to and from God’s Country, and for those who live and earn a living there, it can be an incredible dent in the ability to raise a family, maintain a business, buy food etc. Add to this a few less mineral mining operations, and limited replacement industries, employment does not exactly come easy.
The UP has, in times of cheap gas, and easy travel been economically prosperous. Visitors spending vacation dollars, summer and winter sports attracting a variety of people from within and outside of the state keeps a comfortable state of equilibrium with quality of life, and standard of living for the UP. Many of our closest friends in the UP do well enough, and for the most part yoopers are a resilient lot, however this latest “crisis” in oil and gasoline might find more issues for them than they have seen before. Somebody needs to pay attention.
Recently, the US congress recessed in the face of an opportunity to provide relief to those affected by high gas prices. While talk of conservation methods is all well and fine in the debate over our continued use of hydrocarbons, it is the reality of inflationary results of INACTION on sound energy policy which is the driving force of high prices. Allowing drilling in areas WHERE OIL EXISTS is a priority our representatives should see, and should pursue it well beyond the chains of the Democrat party elite.
I have never really had great issue with Mr. Stupak, as he has championed some causes I support even in the face of great tragedy, and he seems to hold core principles. However, as we continue to see the negative impact of “climate change” becoming less apparent, he might start looking to the general welfare of the population he serves in the largest representative district this side of the Mississippi. Stupak should rejoin those who have stayed back in Washington, and send a message to the house leader that he too wants the healing to begin.