Friday, July 11 – Iron Mountain, Michigan — We left Peninsula State Park and enjoyed a beautiful, leisurely drive back down the Door County peninsula, around Green Bay, and then headed straight north in Wisconsin ’til we arrived in Iron Mountain, just across the Wisconsin border and into the U.P. [Upper Peninsula] of Michigan. Arriving around dinnertime, I looked online for restaurant reviews, hoping to find a fish fry on this Friday evening. It seemed like The White House Tavern & Grill would fit the bill, so we parked Charley and Toad across the street in an empty funeral home lot and headed inside. [We’re getting better at spotting parking spots where we don’t need to back up because we can’t while towing Toad.]
We were pleasantly surprised that there was a band playing, and upon ordering Friday night beverages, we realized this threesome was playing “our kind of music” – Neil Young, Marshall Tucker Band, etc. – the good stuff! As Friday night tradition would have it around here, we ordered the fish specials – me the walleye; Fred the white fish – and then sat back and listened to some more of the music. The trio sang of fishing, saunas, the U.P., Green Bay, Lake Superior, polkas… wait, what? Yep, the beginning of the second set was the band’s own music – Conga Se Menne – or some of them anyway. Their website describes their music best: …while the lyrics are geared for fun, the quality of their sound is no laughing matter. [Lead guitar/lead vocals] Syria’s original songs carry the flavor of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in lyrical silliness and the spirit of it’s hearty residence in musical excellence. Conga Se Menne live and work along the chilly, invigorating banks of Lake Superior, and their mastery of melodic syncopation is second to none. The musical of Conga Se Menne is impossible to pigeon hole, running the gamut of Blues, Funk, Latin, Reggae, Rock, Caribbean beats and ethnic Finnish sounds. You all know me, the music aficionado… I was IN HEAVEN! This band rocked, rolled and reggae’d us into ordering another and another just so we could hear them keep playing!
We ended up spending the entire evening here at The White House. We requested, and they played, America, Norah Jones, and a plethora of other melodies we and the other patrons of the restaurant thoroughly enjoyed. As we walked out almost three hours after we walked in, we commented to one another that we couldn’t have planned a better evening if we tried!
And as if the night couldn’t get any better, we experienced a first on the road — our first overnight in a Walmart parking lot! I, the CLO [Chief Logistics Officer] had planned this as the price is right – free! – and because we were merely passing through this town en route to our destination of the Keweenaw Peninsula further north the following day. As instructed by the store manager, with whom we confirmed our ability to spend the night here, we parked by the Home & Garden section of this particular Walmart. [Some Walmarts don’t allow overnight parking; primarily the ones in tourist-destination places such as Florida.]
Although we felt perfectly safe, we pulled in near an 18-wheeler, and we saw another big RV/bus overnighting there, too, so with that we turned out the lights, got into bed, and proceeded to have a decent night of sleep – in a Walmart parking lot!
We are truly chalking this night up as one of the best nights so far being Out There……….