Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Home Again!

There are no pictures today as it was not a great day for them. 

We got up and had our last day of Pat's great coffee and had breakfast of leftovers.  And-yes it was pouring outside!  We packed up the rest of the car and loaded the bikes while getting drenched.  We left around 9:30 or so and headed back to the same coffee shop for a latte for the road.

We drove through rain pretty much all the way home, but it did stop long enough for us to unpack and clean out the car.  Pat packed up her bike and we will take it to the UPS store tomorrow morning.  Rebecca made us a wonderful salad for supper and it will be good to sleep in our own beds------------Pat gets to do that tomorrow night!  We will trade vehicles with Deb in the late morning and then I will take Pat to the airport.  Her flight is not until 6:00, but she hopes to fly stand-by and get on an earlier flight.

It was a wonderful vacation and we have already started to talk about the next one--probably in 2016.  The next one might include B&B's along with hotels and we will skip the camping.  And--we sure hope Deb will join us!

Total Miles--251.5 Miles

Tuesday in Minocqua--Four Strikes!

We started out the day heading into Minocqua looking for a coffee shop so I could update the blog and we all wanted to enjoy a latte!  The one place in downtown was closed on Tuesday, so I asked for another recommendation.  There was one two blocks away, so we walked there.  It too was closed-Tuesday and Wednesday.  So, we asked for another recommendation at the store next door.  There is a new shop a few blocks away, so we headed to the car to find it.  We drove around the area where it was to be--twice--and none of us could see it.  So--we headed north of Woodruff, about 5 miles away, to a place we had seen before and hoped was open.  Bingo!  We each enjoyed a latte and I updated the blog. We then drove back to Minocqua and walked into the shops for about an hour.  We also stopped for ice cream and asked for recommendations for a Supper Club for our dinner meal.  We got three names!

On the way back to the cabin, we had to stop at the Hallman-Lindsay paint store. There happen to be some interesting animals that really needed a photo op.

Back at the cabin, Rebecca and I decided to find a place to go swimming on Squirrel Lake.  We were not sure where the public access was or if there was a beach, but we were going to find out.  We drove a few miles and found the public access for boats.  The water was quite cold and I tried to go in, but got as far as my knees, so I sat on the pier with my feet in the water.  But, Rebecca loves lake water and usually shows off her water ballet skills!
The Shark

 The Clam

Leg Spins 

Ta Da!
While we were swimming or dipping, Pat rode her bike around Squirrel Lake--or the majority of it that was paved.  After showers, we decided to pack as much as of car as we could as were to be hard rains overnight and into the next morning.  That was a good idea!
We then headed out for dinner at Norwood Supper Club.  We drove in and there were lots of trucks and boat trailers.  As we walked up to the door, we noticed a half-barrel of beer with cups--with a sign that said--Closed for a Private Party.  Strike three, if you are counting...............  We then drove to our second choice--The Four Seasons.  Tuesday is German night and we thought that sounds interesting.  The drive was about 7 miles and as we drove in...................  yes, you guessed--Closed!  Strike Four on places closed.  It is after Labor Day and many places up north have limited days open.  So, our third choice was Mama's, but it was mainly Italian and we would rather not do that.  So, we stopped at a place on the corner of highways 70 and 51 that looked crowded--The Plantation.  Yes, it was open and the food was great!  We even had a fourth night of cocktail glasses provided by Pat!
Final night at the cabin--tomorrow we head home!
Pat's Ride--11 Miles

Total Miles--251.5 Miles
Not as many miles as 2012, but a great vacation was had by all!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sunday and Monday in Minocqua

Sunday, we loaded up the car of all of the camping supplies and headed east and then south toward Minocqua.  We stopped for a hearty breakfast in Ashland and then drove south.  I dropped Rebecca and Pat off about 25 miles away from the cabin so they could ride the back roads to the house. And, yes, the football came out for day....  well they are not sure, but think it is day 7!


I drove on and got to the house to get things unloaded.  The garage is along the road and the house is about 200 yards in the woods.  I think I took 10-11 trips back and forth to the car and back to the house to bring everything in.

The log cabin sure is pretty--three levels of living space and is totally in the woods.  It does not show up well in the picture, but all of the leaves on the ground are due to the same storm we had in Ashland on Wednesday night.  They had huge winds and lots of hail, which pelted the leaves to the ground.  Many smaller branches were down too.  There is a fire pit to the left of the wood pile, but we probably will not use it.

Pat and Rebecca rolled in an hour or so later--after I showered and had the second load of clothes in the washer.  The washer would get a work out as I think we did five loads between the three of us!  The pictures below are Sunday Lake--taken on Sunday. Yes, there was a bit of a "Who's on First" routine when these got emailed to me..............

Supper was individual pizzas.  We were planning to make them in pudgy pies, but we used the stove instead.  We fried the tortillas, then added peperoni slices, onions, cheese and put them under the broiler.  Yummy!  Followed that with a rousing game of Rummy-Kub!
Day Seven Ride--26 Miles
Total Miles--212.5 Miles
It sure felt good to roll out of a real bed this morning!  Breakfast at the house and of course, the football came out before we left the cabin.
We drove into Minocqua.
I dropped Pat and Rebecca off a mile or so east of town.  This is day 8 and they were planning to ride roads (County J)for about 11 miles, until they got on the paved trail at St. Germaine. 

They road north through Sayner and ended up at Crystal Lake.  It is a beautiful lake that does not allow motors.  You can see sand beaches pretty much all around the lake.  They did see one interesting sight along the way....................

There was one photo taken by Pat with Rebecca by the sign, but since she is the youngest of the three, I thought better of posting it.....................
I met them at Crystal Lake and we had not even got out of the park before it started to rain.  Good Timing!
We stopped for groceries on the way home and Rebecca cooked a great supper!  WE also had another "cocktail treat"--so we enjoyed a bottle of homemade wine that Linda gave us-Pinot Grigio.  Very Tasty!
Tomorrow, Tuesday, is the last full day of vacation.  We plan to go into Minocqua in the morning for a bit, find a coffee shop for a latte as well as internet to update the past few days. There is no internet at the cabin and very limited cell coverage--a true "up north" place!  We plan to get the tandem out for a ride around Squirrel Lake, which is right by the cabin. We plan to eat out tonight at a local supper club called Mama's.  I will report on that when we get home. 
We leave Wednesday morning to head home!  Will unload the car and maybe meet Deb someplace in the evening to exchange vehicles.  Deb had hoped to be able to work things out to meet us here at the cabin, but it did not happed.  Pat will need to pack up her bike so we can take it to the UPS store to ship back to Colorado.  Her flight out is Thursday late afternoon, so we have all day to get that done, and recover!

Day Seven Ride--27 Miles
Total Miles--240.5 Miles



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday at Madeline Island

Today was the day all three of us rode bikes.  We loaded the bikes onto the Suburban and drove to Bayfield. 


Yes, you do see a football that Rebecca throws any chance she gets someone to play catch with her.

We loaded just ourselves and the bikes on the ferry to Madeline Island.
The ferry holds about 20 cars, plus motorcycles and bikes, along with people just going over to the island.  It is a relatively smooth trip.................  some of you may remember reading about Rebecca's very unpleasant ferry ride home across Lake Michigan from the 2012 trip.  It is well documented here.
When docking at Madeline Island, the ferry has to turn 180 degrees in a relatively small area in order to let the cars drive off forward--quite amazing.
This is the day six ride with Pat and Rebecca posing by the tandem and Pat's bike on the ferry.
Rebecca and I at the dock, just before heading out for a ride around the island.
The ride was a nice loop on a road with a bike lane most of the way.  We met a few other bikes and there was very little car traffic.  After the ride, we walked around a few shops and Pat decided she wanted to cancel the order for the new table at their new house to purchase this one.  The owner would even deliver--I guess a $100,000 price tag even gets delivery to Colorado!
We ate lunch at the Beach House and then headed back to the ferry.

Yes, Rebecca does have a skirt on over her bike shorts.  I started calling her Alice, after Dr. Claussen, after a professor I had in college.  At that time, the women Physical Education teachers would not be seen outside of the gym with their shorts on-they always had some sort of a skirt to cover them up. My, how times have changed!   She also does not look too happy as she is more than ready to get off of the ferry!
As we get back to shore, Pat decides she is going to ride her bike back to camp.  Rebecca and I would take car back with the tandem on the back and when we got back to camp, then Rebecca would ride out and meet Pat.  That was the plan...................  until I realized I did not have my sunglass case that had my regular glasses in them!  They had been in the zipper pocket in the back of Rebecca's bike shirt, but now, nowhere to be found.  They had to be on the island at the place we ate or one of the shops, as I may have had the case in my hand and set it down.  I called the restaurant, but they had not seen it.  I had to go back over to look for myself..............................
Rebecca and I headed back to the dock and a ferry was just about to leave.  I told the girl in the ticket booth what happened and asked it we or at least if I could go back over and not have to pay.  She gave me a free roundtrip ticket and Rebecca was happy to wait!  So, off I went, again on the Madeline ferry over to the island.  I even asked the people n the ferry if they saw a case as it was the same one we came back on.  When I got back to the island, I headed straight for the restaurant and asked again.  No luck.  I walked to the shop with the table Pat envied--again no.  Third stop was a gallery we had visited and I asked there.  Yes--they had them and left them on a stump out front as they knew for sure someone would be back for them.  YAY!!!!  I hurried back to the ferry and it had not left yet.  Luckily it was packed of cars and riders, so it took a bit longer to load.  So--back to Bayfield again..................  A few pictures along the way.

We stopped at the grocery store to get some fresh fish (lake trout and whitefish) to go with the corn on the cob Bec and Pat picked up yesterday.  Dinner will be around the campfire as this is our last night of camping.  Tomorrow we head to Minocqua to stay in a cabin for the last three days.  So that also means the last time sleeping on an air mattress.  YAY!!!!!!

Day Six Ride--12 Miles Barb and Rebecca, 25 for Pat
Total Miles--186.5 Miles

Thursday and Friday Rides

This is a backtrack of Thursday and Friday.  I will also recap Saturday with another post yet today.

Thursday morning we were in the Ashland hotel, waiting until it stopped pouring, before heading out.  It was still raining, but not as hard when we hit the road about 10:00.  We went to the Ashland Visitors Center--which is called the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center. It is an awesome place, with many exhibits and a five story observation tower, staffed by many Forest Service people, with a wealth of information.  We did not take a picture, but this is from their site.

 Rebecca, along the railing, at the top of the center.

We then drove to Washburn, WI, to pick out a campsite at Memorial Park.  It had stopped raining and the sun was trying to come out.  We found a nice site, under the trees and hoped the sun would dry up some of the wet spots in the grass. 

Pat and Rebecca hopped on their bikes and rode north towards Cornucopia.  It was a nice ride and as usual, they found a point of interest along the way.

Rebecca really wanted to go over by the large chicken to have her photo op, but she settled for a selfie with Pat.
They got back to the camp with time to shower and for all three of us head to a local bar/restaurant to watch the Packer football game.  We found a place called Patsy's and decided with a name like that, it had to be perfect.  It is also listed on the Packers Everywhere website as the place for Packer fans in Washburn.   We got there early to get a good seat, had a few beverages, ate a couple of wonderful appetizers, followed by great burgers and watched the game.   We do not need to go into the details of the outcome, but in full disclosure, we did not stay for the entire game...........
Day Four Ride--29 Miles
Total Miles--137.5 Miles
Friday--We brought along Pickleball rackets and even a net, so, they did need to be used--or they would not be included on a future list of items needed!  So, we walked a couple of blocks to play an hour or so of semi-vigorous Pickleball.  Two on one and even a few mini-singles games on half of a tennis court.  Good Fun!
We then walked mile to a local bakery with some great food.  We stopped the day before to get a loaf of bread and had about 15 kinds to chose from.  Late breakfast-early lunch was enjoyed. We also stopped at a local shop and I had to test out the bikes outside.

Rebecca and Pat hopped on the bikes and road to Bayfield, where I drove to meet them.  We walked around town a bit and enjoyed an ice cream cone.  We also had to model some hats we found in a shop.

Pat and Rebecca got back on their bikes to head back to camp and I too started to drive back.  I followed a sign for blueberries and spent about a half hour picking some great berries.  It sure seemed late to be picking blueberries, but they said it was coming to an end--maybe another few days.  They were very good berries and we will have some for the next few days.
We thought about going to a show at Big Top Chautauqua, but decided to get a fish fry at Patsy's.  It must be good as the place was more crowded for the fish fry then even for the game the night before.  We had a great campfire--the best one yet and enjoyed the beautiful sunset from our campground.

Day Five Ride--24 Miles
Total Miles--161.5 Miles

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tuesday and Wednesday Recap ~ 33 miles

I am checking in this morning from the AmericaInn in Ashland.  If you are checking back at the first post for this year's ride, you are right--Ashland was not one of the planned stops.  However, the weather yesterday was also not part of our plans.....................  Heavy rains, hail the size of golf balls in the area, thunder, lightning--you get the picture.  It would not have been a pretty picture to be at a campground during all of this, so we opted for a second night in a hotel.  We also have revised our next few nights.  We are not planning to drive into Michigan to camp for two nights.  We are staying in the Bayfield-Washburn-Ashland area for three nights camping. There is a campground on Lake Superior in Washburn that does not take reservations, so we will head there this afternoon--Thursday--and stay three nights.  We also need to find a place to watch the Packer game tonight.  But--that is the future.....................  and I need to fill you all in on the past two days.

The last entry was from Labor Day Monday, our last night at the campground in Minnesota.  And--it did rain that night and seemed to come out of nowhere--none of us thought it was going to rain.  But, it was so quiet in the campground that we also heard coyotes or wolves along with whippoorwills in the distance.  That was in addition to the short storm that rolled through too.  So, Tuesday morning we packed up the wet tents and other things that were also left out overnight. 

We drove north and stopped in a park in Two Harbors for lunch.  Rebecca had a conference call for work while Pat and I pulled out the tents to lay out in the grass to dry. We were parked along an old dock and this tugboat.


We drove to Tofte to stay at a hotel for a night and also meet up with two of Pat's friends who live in Ely.  They drove down to meet us for supper at Bluefin Bay and we had a fantastic meal.  Thanks Lynn and Erik for a nice evening!

Pat, some fisherman who wanted to get into the picture, Lynn and Erik
It was great to sleep in a bed and take a real shower!  However, the weather for the next day or so does not look good for camping or biking or hiking or anything outdoors, so we will regroup in the morning to see what we think!
Wednesday Morning
We had breakfast in the hotel and decided the weather for Wednesday night was going to be too wet to camp.  So--we chose to get a hotel for the evening and we driving to Ashland, WI.  We also decided to then cancel the reservation in Michigan to save a long drive there and add an extra day at a site in Wisconsin.  It sure is nice to set up and take down the campsites less often than 2012 and even one less time now.
Pat took these pictures of a bear and moose, in the lobby of our hotel in Tofte. She is sure we/she is going to see one or both and wanted to be sure that she had evidence in case one was not spotted in the wild!

But, Pat and Rebecca did go on a ride as the weather was good in the morning and was to get more dicey later in the day.  I drove them north of Grand Marais to a spot on the Gunflint Trail.  This is a paved road that is mainly downhill to the town, so we stopped at a spot about 32 miles up. 
Yes, the roads are wet and it is a bit cool--temps in the low 60's.  They are ready for the ride down!

There was no shoulder, but very little traffic on the road.  Many downhill spots and a few times going up a bit.  It was a smooth ride and enjoyable! 
I drove down about 15 miles to wait for them to make sure all was OK as there was no cell service in the area at all.  All was well, so I headed off to Grand Marais to check out the tourist shops!  About an hour and half later it started raining pretty good and I hope they were close.  I got a text they were in town and we met to load the bikes.  We walked about town for a bit--long enough for Pat to get some fudge and real maple syrup while I got some coffee for our next mornings in camp.
We headed south and stopped at Split Rock Lighthouse.  This is a famous place that is shown on many pictures representing Minnesota.
We walked to the top of the lighthouse and enjoyed the views.

I took this photo of a picture they have on display to show what a layout looks like. 

This was completed in 1910 and all of the materials were brought up by hand and a up a pulley system.  We walked down to the bottom by Lake Superior and it was a few steps--177 to be exact!
We sat along the rocks for a bit and contemplated life. 

It looks like someone has enjoyed stacking rocks along the shore.

We also have noticed these strange looking pine trees.  The bottom has no needles, but the top is alive with what looks to be a small Christmas Tree!

We stopped again in Two Harbors and had supper at a great place called Carmody 61.  It had an Irish-American menu and the food was very good.  We continued south through Duluth and I even drove over the huge bridge into Wisconsin...................  I do not like bridges at all-but I did it!  As we got into Wisconsin, the rains came and it poured all the way to the hotel in Ashland.  Just south of here, by Spooner, they got a the worst of the storm and golf-ball sized hail was reported.  We are very glad to be in four solid walls--and not a tent!
We are not sure what is in the plans for Thursday as another storm is to come through in the morning.  Maybe a bike loop, maybe Pickleball or...................  not sure.  But, we will head to Washburn to set up camp to stay until Sunday. And--find a TV for the big game tonight--Go Pack Go!
Day Three Ride--33 Miles
Total Miles--108.5 Miles