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

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