NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Monday, July 24, 2017


Last month when I drove up to a new section of the Upper Peninsula I was greeted by roadsides lined with lupine in bloom.

I mean, who wouldn't love that?  I might not have heard any loons, but you can't have it all.

Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula have been experiencing a wetter than normal summer, to put it mildly.  It has made my vow to get hiking again a little difficult. I've done more road walking than I ever have in my life out of necessity.

I didn't want to be deterred when I stayed overnight at Lake Gogebic State Park not far from Ironwood, and I wasn't.  I was chased by mosquitoes and in spots have to jump from one less-muddy spot to another, but I got a 2 mile hike in the woods accomplished before retiring to my tent.

Umm, after a shower first.

I thought about just jumping into the lake with the birds but they ran away from me.

I found a moose who didn't run away from me.  Of course he wasn't real, but still fun to see.

And a sign on highway 45 pointing to the parking lot for O-Kun-De-Kun Falls and the North Country Trail had me doing a U-Turn to go for a mid-day walk in between appointments.

I won't bore you with more muddy pictures, but be assured that the trail was sloppy.

Apparently there is a suspension bridge nearby over the Baltimore River but since this was just a lucky find I did not get to see it and will have to try to find it next time I go through.

It was nice to rinse off the sweat and enjoy the mosquito free river before heading back to the lot for a roundtrip of about 3 miles.  It's beautiful country up there from Ironwood to Houghton, I can't wait to see it in the fall!

I bought a state park sticker on my trip, but truthfully I would recommend the county park campgrounds up there, they look just as nice for less!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Door County Detour

 Once we got the all clear to hit the road we took that good news and ran with it...all the way to Door County.

It wasn't the U.P., but just as good and closer to home in case we ran into more vehicle trouble.  We stayed at Beantown Campground in Bailey's Harborn for the first time where we had a large grassy site that featured much less of the mosquitoes you will find in the woods up that way.  Wayne and the kitties liked that, and Cory liked the free wifi.

I liked the ability to walks in the woods, as long as I kept moving to keep ahead of the skeeters all was good.  I wasn't able to walk at our campsite in Suring because the mosquitoes were vicious, but Newport State Park was quiet and cool in the shade early in the morning.

wood betony

And staying in Bailey's Harbor meant a quick drive or bike ride down to see the Range Lights.

The Indian Paintbrush was blooming on the beach...

                                  and the boardwalks over the swales are always nice too.

While Wayne didn't do as much walking as I did he can never resist walking out to check out the boats at the marinas.

We even talked Cory into taking the ferry over to Washington Island.

Though we didn't feel it was worth $66 for 3 adults and 1 vehicle to drive around and see not much.

Perhaps we are a bit spoiled, but that ferry over to Islesboro in Maine yielded a lot more to see both on land and sea.

With nothing much to see, do or eat on Washington Island I was happy to get back to Sisters Bay and buy some jam at Seaquist Orchards Farm Market.  Everything is tasty, but I'm partial to their chopped cherry jam and Wayne says it was one of the best apple pies he has had.  (And he's had a lot!)

We also visited the Door County Maritime Museum in Gills Rock.  We have seen a lot that are bigger and better but it was nice for a small one.  I especially enjoyed the sled for sailing on the bay when the ice froze over.

There is always something new to see when in Door County, and one of those things was the pair of bicycle riders with bird houses for heads.  Creepy or cute?  You decide!

We went for a bike ride too.  Here is a picture to prove we don't have bird houses for heads!

And I'll close with a 10 second video of Jewel enjoying the tree at our campsite.  I just can't resist!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Waiting in Wabeno

Continuing on with my story, Cory and I met up with Wayne in Suring for a few days while he took the truck in to have the brakes looked at in Green Bay. The team at Gandrud Chevrolet declared that nothing was wrong with it and let us go without charging us, which I'm sure will never ever happen again!

To pass the time we did interesting things like drive half an hour to find a laundromat.  Or a grocery store.  Or anything at all!  Across from the laundromat in Wabeno we found a Logging Museum that actually was good place to visit.

The Phoenix Log Hauler on display was built in 1901 and was powered by 4 steam engines.  It may not have gone fast, but it good sure pull a lot of logs, 25 sleighs at a time as a matter of fact.

I love the guy sitting on the front and more sitting on the logs in the picture! Must have been good to let the engine do the work after logging them.

More items related to the logging life were on display inside, but my favorite was the maple sugar molds.  Made my mouth water!

And if you need a haircut and your computer repaired where else but Wabeno could you get both done at the same stop?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cops and Doughnuts and Mayan Architecture?

I'm as far behind in my writing as Memorial Day weekend, when Cory and I scooted up to Ontario for a few days to see my grandmother who was there for a brief visit.  We were only there 2 nights and 1 day, and I didn't take any family photos because I was too busy instructing my mother on how to do it with her iphone, but we did wander around Windsor a bit at night and Cory got a couple of Tim Horton's donuts.

Downtown Windsor mural

From there we were off and dashing across the state of Michigan, trying to catch up to Wayne back in Wisconsin for a bit of time off.  I saw a billboard for "World Famous Cops and Doughnuts" in the town of Clare, so I just had to stop and check it out.

I don't know about world famous, but they are obviously Michigan famous as there were folks everywhere inside and out.  The line went quickly though (and believe it or not a cop was behind me in line it was all I could do not to laugh) and we got a sampling including this amazing blueberry filled doughnut that made driving through Michigan something I think I might need to do more of.

Around the corner sat a giant rooster for some reason, taking attention away from what I thought was a great bar sign.

And then the doughnut vans which were amazing.  I know my verdict was "guilty of being delicious" when it comes their offerings so I don't think that doughnut is getting out anytime soon.

 Further down the road we spent the night in Bay City where I got out for a walk around their downtown.  No doughnuts, which was probably a good thing since I already had a few I needed to walk off, but the Sunrise Pedal Trolley was different, they offer a variety of tours where you do the pedaling to mobilize the trolley along with enjoying wine or beer and making stops throughout downtown.

Bay City also had nice areas to walk or picnic along the river, and folks were busy taking pictures in front of the Friendship Fountain.  After more than 33 years, there are discussions to remove the iconic Bay City Ring of Friendship sculpture from the park and potentially move it elsewhere in the city. I hope they leave it where it is, and I'm sure the locals do too.

A few interesting pieces of architecture caught my eye like the State Theatre.  In September 1908 the Bijou vaudeville theatre opened in Downtown Bay City. In August 1920 the theatre's name was changed to the Orpheum. The theater was renovated in 1930 to resemble a Mayan pyramid by renowned architect C. Howard Crane, and made other changes over the decades.  In 2000 it was restored to its Mayan theme.

I couldn't locate any information on the great building below, but it houses an architecture firm and an interior designed which I thought was very appropriate.  My eyes couldn't soak up enough of that red, isn't it great?

In the morning we were off and on our way further north, spending the night in St. Ignace.  It was raining when we arrived, but it did clear up enough for a glimpse of the Mackinac Bridge.

We browsed two or three shops downtown, and took a walk in the woods, but the only moose we saw was on this cribbage board.  

Not too long after I got a call from Wayne saying he thought something might be wrong with his brakes while towing the camper.   Uh-oh!  Our plans were derailed, which seems to happen to us just a little too often.  Instead of a week in the Upper Peninsula I hightailed it across and headed back down into Wisconsin and we made do for a few days where he had already been set up for an ATV trip with his buddies.  More on that next post!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Bee the Change

I've been gone from the world of blogging, but now that I'm just about done helping my old employer get his office closed up I'm hoping to have more time.  Not just for blogging, but for exploring those towns I pass through for work, too.  There has been a lot of change in my professional life, and while it's been a good thing I'm longing for those relaxed meanderings I'd gotten used to over the past few years.

I hadn't been to Kaukauna before and now I've been there twice but haven't had time for a proper look around either time.

Mellen State Bank 

Tuesday I'll be back in the far north for the day, just a ways down the road from tiny towns straight out of the past.  I've never seen an old bank as small as the one in Mellen (population 731) except in old Western movies.  Since the 1920's Mellen's population keeps shrinking and is now less than half of what it was a century ago. But murals have made their way to the tiny towns in the far north, like the one that wrapped around the automotive garage in Butternut.  Butternut's population was 375 at the last census, but they found a way to honor their history and I for one appreciated it.  Not much change in towns like these, and sometimes that's okay, right?


Appleton, on the other hand, continues to grow, as does most of Central Wisconsin.  For a larger city it's crime statistics are pretty low, even by Wisconsin standards.  Perhaps they are adhering to the philosophy on the mural in downtown that urges passersby to "be the change".  I thought they should spell it "bee the change" considering a large bee hovers nearby, but what do I know?


Posts for every day of the week this week, I'm hoping!  Linking up to Monday Mural.