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, September 12, 2011

Door County

We started our day on Wednesday by catching up on laundry, washing the truck, and stopping at the farmstand at the Mobil in Sturgeon Bay. They had the most scrumptious little yellow tomatoes! While driving around Sturgeon Bay we admired the "Sturgeon Around the Bay". This is the 11th year that artists have created these sturgeon that are auctioned during their annual Harvest Festival & Harvest Moon Celebration.

Our next stop was the Door County Coffee & Tea Company in Carlsville. I bought an assortment of their Decaf coffee one-pot packets, some artichoke pesto, a piece of pecan pie for me and some chocolate cream pie for Wayne. I've never had a better piece of pecan pie except at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I had to force myself not to go back for more the next day. Wood Orchard Market was our next stop where I sampled pumpkin butter, jams, apples, peaches, cherry strudel, raspberry & cherry salsas and apple cider donuts. I bought everything but the salsas, and went back the next day for some cherry cider which was also fantastic.

After all that sampling I wasn't hungry, but Wayne was, so we stopped at the Gibralter Grille in Fish Creek. I got the Door County salad, which was chock full of dried cranberries and walnuts and had an incredible raspberry vinegrette, and Wayne got a burger with a side of their pasta salad which he said was very unique.

We walked up and down the docks at the marinas in Ephraim and in Sister Bay admiring all the boats to help walk off all our snacking.

On Thursday we went to the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay. We thought that the Maritime Museum in Sault Ste Marie and the Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point were both more informative and more worth the admission price. However, we did enjoy our optional tour of the John Purves tug boat which was given by the namesake's son.

We also walked on one of the lift bridges in Sturgeon Bay and enjoyed our view.

We left Door County on Friday and had our first RV mishap just north of Manitowoc. We didn't have our 4-way tire iron with us, but luckily were only a mile from a rest area where we met two other RV'ers who were helpful in getting us on our way.

After that was taken care of we used our handy GPS to find a Fleet Farm in Manitowoc and stopped in to replace our spare. While waiting we browsed in Fleet Farm and found a tandem kayak on sale! Next time we want to kayak we don't have to worry about rentals and can go for as long or as short a trip as we want!

Now we're home and devising ways to put the kayak to use before it's too cold. As soon as we have two coordinating consecutive days off we'll be able to take it out, probably on the Pecatonica River so we can stop at Irma's Kitchen in Argyle for some of her unbeatable pie!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Munising to Sturgeon Bay

The weather was quite cold and windy on Sunday and Monday in Munising, so we ended up not doing too much. We even missed the Rubber Ducky race because it was raining and the wind was at 30 mph! Thanks to the weather we never ended up taking that kayak ride, so I guess we'll have to do it another time. We did get a shot of Alger Falls while running errands when the rain cleared. The falls are right by the side of the road on M-28.

We also stopped at Horseshoe Falls to try to have a look, but they are privately owned and they wanted $3.75 each to view them so we moved on.

On Tuesday morning we packed everything up a few days early and moved on down the road. We stopped for breakfast in Escanaba, Michigan at Drifters Restaurant. We had eaten there when we did our Lake Michigan Circle Tour and found the food to be good and reasonably priced.

We continued on to Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. This is a new WI state park for us, and we found it to be a pleasant surprise. It is very heavily wooded and we saw deer, squirrels, birds and even a rabbit while driving in our first night. The roads into the campground are a bit tight with our 37 foot fifth wheel, but we took our time and it was fine. We reserved site 41 in advance, and while it was a tight squeeze backing in, there is plenty of room in the site itself. While driving around we also found that sites 16, 22, 28 and 71 would have worked for our sized RV as well. The campground also rents bikes and canoes, but we will not be able to take advantage of this because the camp store is closed during the week after Labor Day weekend and we will be leaving on Friday morning.

 We had dinner at The Mill Supper Club because it advertised a fish boil, but they did not do the boil over with the kerosene and you could taste the difference in the food. Back at the campground we both sat outside and enjoyed the fire with a drink before going in for the night.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Seney National Wildlife Refuge

One thing we've noticed while in the U.P. is the lack of wildlife. The occasional squirrel or chipmunk, a grouse, and on Grand Island I saw a few of the predatory birds, but that is all we've seen. For all our walks in the woods and walks along the shore we sure haven't seen what you'd expect. I see more wildlife in our subdivision back home, I think! We only saw deer once, and haven't even seen hoofprints very often. So, today we headed out to Seney National Wildlife Refuge so I could see a little nature in action.

The refuge had a nice visitor center with a spotting scope that was pointing at an osprey nest, and they even had binoculars to loan out at no charge! So we grabbed a pair and got in the truck to take the 7 mile loop tour. I stopped on the first mile to take some photos, and in that first mile or two we saw dragonflies, hummingbirds, chipmunks, a woodpecker, canada geese and Wayne even watched a bald eagle catching a fish! On the next segment we spotted a couple of muskrats, some wood ducks, a loon (very far away!), a few scoters, eastern kingbirds and trumpeter swans. We were out on the loop a total of 2.5 hours, which apparently isn't common because the ranger was surprised how long we had been gone when we returned our binoculars. The wildlife was a bit spotty except for the trumpeter swans, but it was probably the wrong time of year. It was almost an hour drive to get there from Munising, but worth the trip!

We came home and Wayne fried up some bluegill from the freezer and I used the blackberries I bought at the farmer's market on Tuesday to make a blackberry apple crisp. The blackberries were bitter, so I thought that might fix the problem. It turned out okay. For those making the trip, the farmer's market here was pretty scarce on the "farm", which was a disappointment.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Somebody Find Me a Subject to Shoot!

So today while our daughter adjusts to this year's new dorm room and our son is king of our vacated castle, we spent another day in our home on the road in Munising. We started the day with rain in the forecast, so we knew we better not dilly-dally if wanted to get in any hiking and photography today and decided to revisit the Marsh Trail to see if we could catch a beaver by surprise.

 But, alas, still no sign of beavers, so while Wayne went back to the truck I took a short detour down the Lakeshore Trail to see if there was anything going on down that way that I could take photos of...

Nothing going on down there, so I rejoined Wayne and instead of hopping back in the truck, we checked out the beach at Sand Point. The sky was threatening rain, but we took off our shoes and waded down toward the east channel to see what might be down that way.

It turns out there was something down that way! Just behind the Coast Guard station we found a boat wreck onshore, which made for a few interesting photos, even though better light would have been nice.

We stopped at Grand Island Ferry service to inquire about renting kayaks, but didn't reserve one yet because Wayne is having some back spasms today. The rain finally moved in for a little while and we watched about half an hour of "Mars Needs Moms" (boring), then most of "Paul" (also boring) and eventually we moved on to "Rango" which had much better animation and storyline. We took another long walk on the beach, and made it back to the RV in time for a truly beautiful sunset! We're here until Tuesday morning because we decided to leave a few days early to go to Potawatomi State Park in Door County to get some elusive cherry pie and a Door County fish boil.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Like Sunsets and Long Walks on the Beach

I'd like to take a moment to let Judy know why I haven't been responding to her comments in the comments section. For some reason blogspot isn't letting me do that, even though it's letting me load up photos (slowly!) and new posts! So, to answer one of your previous questions, I lost 60 pounds a few years ago and since then I like to keep pretty active except when I'm watching TV or on the computer. I feel like I sit alot more than I want to while at home/work, so when we're out in the RV I like to go, go, go! Today, however, was a lazy day. We drove to Grand Marais and back again (nothing to see there, it turns out!) and after fixing lunch we went for an hour and a half walk along the beach. I was happily surprised when Wayne suggested it, and even more surprised when it lasted so long!

After we came back I watched some TV while Wayne enjoyed the fresh air outside, and the next thing I knew it was time to watch the sunset! We still haven't had one come close to that first one, but this one was pretty good, and I even talked Wayne into modeling for a silhouette shot with me. It was a relaxing day, and I'm hoping the predicted thunderstorms move through quickly tomorrow so we can get out some more again. We still have that kayak ride to tackle!

A Reason to Run

 It was a chore day yesterday, so we cleaned house, went to the laundromat, dumped the tanks and went to the IGA. We also stopped at the local bakery which is called Sweet Dreams, and I picked up a turtle brownie and a raspberry white chocolate scone. When Wayne fell asleep while watching "Stranger Than Fiction" after lunch, I savored that brownie without judging eyes. It was the best brownie I've ever had, so 2 big thumbs up for Sweet Dreams! As the afternoon wore on and we continued to laze around, I started feeling a little guilty about that calorie splurge so I laced up my sneakers and went for my first run since the morning we left home. 

About .2 mile down the road toward Au Train  I saw a little dead end road that looked promising and broke into my run. It was perfect for running, quiet and isolated, with lots of native wildflowers to look at. I enjoyed the simple freedom of running down the middle of the sand-packed road all alone and can't wait to do it again!