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!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Now and Then Falls

I drove over to Amnicon Falls State Park while in Superior to have a look around.  There is a nice little trail system alongside the falls, but it was Now and Then Falls that caught my eye.  As I was heading back to the car I saw the small sign and arrow under a tree.  Had the place to myself, just the way I like it!

Well, me, the mosquitoes and these guys.

The area used to be owned by the railroad, and lumberjacks felled trees which then tumbled down the Amnicon River to Lake Superior where they were taken to sawmills and used to build the villages of Duluth and Superior in the mid 1800's.  They quarried sandstone in the area here too, I'll talk a bit about that tomorrow!

My daughter is sitting behind me watching a documentary on Showtime called "Virgin Tales" which is about Evangelical Christians calling out for a second sexual revolution: chastity.  She's only 9 minutes into the movie and her comment was, "Who needs horror movies when you can watch stuff like this?" 

What does that have to do with anything, you ask?  Well, she got that job offer in Marinette and will probably be moving next week.  I'm going to miss moments like that, it's going to be very quiet around here pretty soon! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Douglas County Courthouse, Superior

There was major road construction going on at the intersection of the courthouse in Superior, but I parked across the street and made my way over to see what was inside the Douglas County Courthouse.

Of the Classical Revival style and made of limestone and brick in 1918 according to Wikipedia.

Pavanazza marble graces the interior.

Pretty, right? I found a link to a webpage with all the courthouses in Wisconsin and apparently the Kenosha County Courthouse is famous for its murals. Guess I'll stop in next time I run errands in Kenosha!  Probably won't be today because it's clean and pack the RV day today.  We leave on Saturday morning for Blue Mounds State Park in Minnesota!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bischel Meat Market

Chippewa Falls had a few murals, including this attempt at rejuvenating local history.

Not much info to be found on the internet, I should have stopped inside. All I could find was that the building was erected in 1907.  Nice attempt on the part of the supporters of local art to bring back advertising murals which is kind of a trend these days in Wisconsin.

I'm linking to Monday Murals as usual, check some out!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Little Manitou Falls

The Black River starts its journey to Pattison State Park on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border and drops 31 feet at Little Manitou Falls before forming Interfalls Lake and then going over Big Manitou Falls.  Big Manitou is a big show, but I found Little Manitou Falls to be more accessible and that's what it's all about for me.  What fun is just looking at a falls from behind a fence?

You can take the trail system to Little Manitou (bring your bug repellant!) or drive to the parking lot, which is what I did.  I went in the morning and checked out the trail a little bit, then came back in the evening for  some softer light to take pictures of the falls. There are a couple of spurs which lead to the area around the top of the falls from the main trail.

It didn't take long hopping around the top of the falls for me to christen my new trail runners that I bought in OshKosh on our way up.  They got nice and wet.

Notice the little tree across the top of the falls in the above photo?  Made me crazy, so I climbed onto a neighboring rock and tried to snag it with another branch.  That didn't work so I found another branch.  Flat on my stomach and hanging off a big rock, I finally snagged it and moved it enough to be able to climb down to my original spot and pull it out of the way. It's our secret, don't tell my physical therapist.

Of course the falls is at low flow this time of year, but that's what made it so much fun to explore!

Near the falls, the trail is like a garden.

Of course all the water and plants attracts the dragonflies.

I found this giant moth dead on the trailside.  I've never seen such a beautiful moth, anyone know what kind it is?  It made me think of fairies.  You can see where those old tales get started.

As I've said before, I didn't spend a lot of time on the trail because the mosquitoes were outrageous, but I did stop and set up the tripod for a shot along the Black River. I wonder what it looks like in the fall?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pattison State Park

Time to talk about something outsdoorsy.

Pattison State Park has the highest waterfall in the state of Wisconsin at 165 feet along with 59 campsites, 18 of them electric.  The electric sites are in the inner loop and more closely spaced together than the non-electric ones. The area originally was home to the Ojibwa, also called Chippewa, native american tribe, and in the tumbling waters of the Big Manitou Falls they believed they could hear the voice of the Great Spirit, Gitchi Monido.

Near the base of the falls they quarried sedimentary rock called conglomerate.  They removed fist sized balls of quartz and flaked them into knives, spear points and other tools.

The area reminded me of places we've been in Michigan, with more mosquitoes.  Michigan is the best place in the midwest to escape the plague, in our experience.  Pattison was so bad that even during the day with natural bug repellant on I was swatting like a lunatic and got driven off the trails a few times.  The campground itself is strangely bug free and I'm not sure if that's because it's a little farther from the water or if they have been spraying.

I spent more time than usual hanging out at my site reading "The Dome" by Stephen King.  He has a new book coming out in September that is a follow-up to The Shining. Can't wait to find out what Danny Torrance has been up to!  Sites are mostly a curved pull-through style, showers were clean and hot.

More on the other set of falls in Pattison and my adventures in Duluth and Superior in the next few posts!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Architecture of Chippewa Falls and Other Stuff Too

When Katrina and I trudged across the central part of Wisconsin to get back to the Eau Claire area I wanted to stay at a new state park so we camped for one night at Brunet Island State Park.  We got lucky and were able to occupy "the point" which caught a good breeze right on the water.  Makes a big difference when the temperatures are in the 90's!

It didn't take long to discover that I had left my tent poles back in Oconto.  Luckily it didn't rain because I also left my tent fly back home in the garage.  I don't seem to be very organized lately, must be a side effect of the shoulder surgery because I'm positive it has nothing to do with getting older...right?

Mosquitoes here weren't too bad, but there were some.  The electric loop was pretty crowded and trees were sparse which is highly unusual in a WSP.  The non-electric loop sites were much larger and better spaced.  The park would be great for kayaking and had a few short hiking trails that would be nice for families with small children, but even though the view was great I don't think I'll be back.  Not much to the park itself and absolutely nothing in the area to do, including little in the way of access to food you don't bring along with you.  If I'm in the area again I'd definitely choose Lake Wissota over Brunet Island.

The morning of Day 3 we had a little time to kill so I made Katrina hang around downtown Chippewa Falls for a short while on our way to drop her off in Eau Claire.  There was some sweet architecture, and even a few murals which I'll save for later.

No mural in the post office in this town, but the building itself was different than other ones I've seen in the state.

After we got back home Katrina found out that there had been a boa constrictor that escaped through its owner's window and was on the loose in Chippewa Falls the day we were there.  Thank goodness she didn't hear that while we were in the area, she has a serious snake phobia.  She'll probably never set foot in that town again!

When we got to Eau Claire Katrina had me swing down Water Street to look at the sculptures that are on display for the summer.  I won't spoil it for everyone else, I'll just show you my favorite.

That poor fish is in need of a home, but I don't have a fish bowl big enough.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Morning in Marinette

Day 2 of my latest escapade entailed a little reconnaissance mission in Marinette.  Katrina had a skype job interview set up and wanted to eye the town and its apartment possibilities.  The main place to get an apartment is in the Dunlap Square Block, just a short walk from where Katrina could conceivably end up working.  The collection of buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places and have been renovated into shops, apartments and some business offices as well.  Some of the original marble and decorative molding remains throughout the main apartment building which used to be Lauerman Brothers Department Store. The store was built in 1904 and remained in business until the 1970's.  There is a book out on the store and its role in the community, but not a kindle version so I put in a reserve at the library for the book which is on order at this time.

I also stumbled across a fellow blogger who had a post about postcards from Marinette including this one of the department store.  He has some lovely memories of the store that he shared in the post.

Marinette is home to the Marinette County Courthouse which was of Art Deco influence.  Not quite in the league of Sheboygan's Courthouse, but I did like the Egyptian styled panels on the front of the building. Research is so awesome, I might never have caught that Art Deco had Egyptian nuances if not for my diligent digging!

I originally intended to slip over the border into Michigan for lunch but we decided to head to the far side of the state to the Eau Claire area after seeing the apartment building.  Katrina got a call that it's between her and another person for the job so it's looking pretty likely I'll have plenty of opportunity to explore Marinette again soon and have an excuse to go to the U.P. before the snow sets in.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Overnight in Oconto

Last week Katrina and I drove from Twin Lakes to Marinette up by the Michigan border one day, then from Marinette to Eau Claire by the Minnesota border the next day, and on the third day I drove straight north to the twin ports of Superior and Duluth on Lake Superior.  I am tired of driving, let me tell ya!  1300 miles in five days, not something I'm eager to repeat any time soon.  However, we did see some nice sights in some new Wisconsin towns and our first stop was just south of Marinette in the small town of Oconto on Green Bay.

Isn't that a great clock?  Now that I know what the story is with the big clocks, I appreciate them even more.  Thank goodness not all things get torn down in the name of progress.

When we got there we had two city parks to choose from, one with electric that was suitable for RV's, and one right on the bay that was primitive and completely empty.  There was a beach across the street with a flush toilet and and running water for the morning, so I choose the solitude.  Quite a bargain at $10 a night, in my opinion!

Sunset on Green Bay

 I was up early in the morning and hustled across the street with all my camera gear to catch the sunrise.

I was standing in one spot on the beach for so long that the kildeer got used to me and when I turned around I was startled at how close they were.

There was a little more wildlife around, including frogs galore.  When I walked over for sunset the night before there were so many tiny frogs on the sand that I scattered a handful of them with every step.  They were hiding a little better at sunrise, but I knew they were there and looked hard until I found one who cooperated.

Oconto also has a great restaurant called Wayne's Family Restaurant that serves award winning pies.

Their breakfast was delicious, service prompt and friendly, and prices fair.  Oh, and their cherry pie was so good I almost forgot to chew it!  Door County is just across the bay from Oconto, but you don't need to take that detour for fantastic cherry pie it's not on your itinerary.  Take the Oconto exit if you're driving on Hwy 41 to the U.P. and get some pie, I know I will every time we pass there from now on.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Riverboat Mural, La Crosse

We only found one building mural in La Crosse when we were there in May.  It depicts the War Eagle, a steamboat which caught fire and sank in May of 1870.  We didn't make it to the Riverside Museum,  but they have an exhibit featuring hundreds of rescued artifacts from the tragedy and if we make it to La Crosse again we'll stop in to check it out.

This post is dedicated to Wayne's patience when I start shouting for him to slam on the brakes so I can shoot murals.  How he puts up with me I'll never know!

Not only is he sweet enough to put up with my photographic escapades, he points out cool stuff for me to shoot like this sidewalk art.  Isn't he romantic?

Of course now I realize I should have tried to shoot us facing each other opposite the footprints. Probably wouldn't have been able to maneuver it anyway.  Check out the other mural fans' finds on Monday Mural!

Friday, July 19, 2013

That's Pogonia, not Begonia

I'm almost caught up on my blogging!  Just this last post about my weekend in Kettle Moraine.  Today I am hard at work in the Superior Public Library in Superior, Wisconsin.  I drove by the old Carnegie Library here this morning...but we'll get to that next week, right?

I woke up to a wet morning after my first night at Pinewoods Campground a few weeks ago and decided that since I was going to be wet no matter what I did it was a good time to revisit Beulah Bog.   Remember those great peacock emblazoned boots I bought? Forgot to pack 'em.  Luckily the hikers I packed were my old ill-fitting ones though.  First I had to hike through this:

Beautiful, but within 2 minutes I was soaked to the hips from the wet plants hanging over the trail.  I did remember my rain coat though, and that kept the mosquitoes off me.  Can't have a bog without those stinkers in the summer time.  I kept my camera under my coat when not in use, and eventually I made it to what remains of the walkway.  It's slowly losing the battle to stay above the bog.  All the rain we got in June hasn't helped much.

But, on the other side of the squelchy, tottery path lies pink pogonias at this time of year.  They're teeny-tiny orchids that made me smile. Perhaps Judy can weigh in with some info on the subject of pogonias.  I had a hard time finding out anything besides mind numbing facts on the internet.

But the main reason I came, as always, was to see some pitcher plants.  They always make me think of Newfoundland.  It's kind of like going home without leaving Wisconsin.  I'll be quiet now and let you enjoy the images.  Don't forget that you have to imagine standing there all by yourself with only the sounds of the rain falling for company.  It was wonderful.

Pogonias chumming it up with pitcher plants

Lotus flower in the rain

Don't turn your back on me, young lady!

Anyone thirsty? Insects drink at your own risk!

Is this my good side?

Maybe I'm cuter seen from above?

I know Judy talked about those little plants that look like aliens in the above photo and that they are carnivorous but can't remember what they were called.  First time I noticed them out in the wild and probably because she photographed them and talked about them on her blog.  Judy has lots of great photos and stories, you should head over and check them out.  She's in Minnesota now living it up in tick heaven.  For once I'm not too jealous!

Selfie with submerged foot visible.

When I made it back to the car, this is what kind of a soggy mess I was.  Luckily I had extra clothes in the car to change into before I drove in to East Troy.  The pants were tucked into my socks to deter ticks, and I'm pleased to announce I found not a single passenger with legs, just lots of weed seeds.

Wandrin Lloyd recently sent me a photo entitled "what Newfies do with their old rubber boots".  What kind of Newfie am I that I don't even remember to pack mine?  Shockin'!