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!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Born From Iron - Iron Mountain Weekend

From Eagle River it's less than an hour and a half to Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and a beautiful drive through National Forest the whole way!

We stayed at Summer Breeze Campground, not very outdoorsy, but one of our neighbors had an Airstream with Rosie the Riveter on the side and that was pretty awesome! Michigan campgrounds tend to be set up oddly wherever we have been, with no rhyme or reason to where the water or electric are located and nothing but grass parking whether it is a state park or private campground.  And closer quarters than what we are used to in Wisconsin, but livable.

My appointments were done for the area before Wayne even arrived with the RV in tow, so we had lots of time to do the tourist thing.  The city park in Iron Mountain was actually really nice with everything from tennis courts, disc golf and hiking paths to a deer enclosure.  We settled for a stroll around the deer enclosure and inspecting a little bit of the disc golf course which was partially in the woods.

While looking for Fumee Lake Natural Area we found a replica of what appears to be the Mackinac Bridge complete with cars and a man on top.

Needing more exercise than Wayne did I explored nearby ATV/snowmobile trails on foot, and even picked a handful of early blackberries.  I looked all over for blueberries, but no luck!

Located right off the main highway in town is Fumee Falls, easily accessed from a wayside parking area.  The lower falls is pictured above, the upper falls is pictured below.

Iron Mountain went from an iron ore mining site with only handful of tents in 1879 to a boom town with a population well over 5000 by 1888 and by 1900 stood at 9,242 citizens.

Kingsford was the head of Henry Ford's operation, and the
neighboring Village of Kingsford is named for him.

Iron Mountain was also prized for its lumber, and Henry Ford even built a hydroelectic plant to process wood for his automobile parts here in the 1920's.  The population was up to 11,000 by 1930, but soon after that the area was hit hard by the Depression.

If you're looking for something to do outdoors, I recommend heading over to Piers Gorge, though you do have to pay $9 day use fee if you don't have the Michigan State Park sticker.

The Menominee River goes over a series of short drops and a walking path goes along the river with views all along the way.  We even got to watch a rafting group go over them.

It didn't look too bad as they dropped over the little ledge into the choppy water.

But everybody got pretty wet!

And then they bounced off the rock wall before heading on down the river.

One of the things we've noticed when we've visited the UP is that it is hard to get information on things to do in the area on the fly.  My advice is to plan ahead if you're passing through and want to make the most of things.  I can recommend eating meals at Holiday Kitchen, it doesn't look like much but the soup and bread were homemade and delicious.  And of course the Bakery Shoppe right in downtown has amazing treats!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Eagle River - Dancing with Eagles

Wayne followed me up to Eagle River last week, where we stayed at the Chain O Lakes Campground. The campground is mostly seasonal sites, but not bad for that kind of place.  I'm still just a state park kind of girl and of course I grumble constantly when we stay at these kind of places.  Poor Wayne has to put up with a lot from me, don't be fooled by my easygoing appearance!

I forgot to take a picture of the campground, but I did get one of the lake.  Wayne was impressed with the lakes themselves, and spent his time daydreaming about spending a summer up there boating and fishing.  By himself, I assume, since I would lose my mind from boredom!

Between appointments in Eagle River and Minocqua I stopped at Awassa Trails in St. Germain for a 2 mile walk in the woods that did a lot to improve my mood.

Art always improves my mood, and I even got to enjoy some in the Marshfield Clinic in Minocqua while waiting to talk to a potential customer. The painting is titled Nanabozhoo Dancing with Eagles and was created by Rabbett Before Horses Strickland.

Stories about Nanabozho (spelling varies by region) vary considerably from community to community. Nanabozho is usually said to be the son of either the West Wind or the Sun, and since his mother died when he was a baby, Nanabozho was raised by his grandmother Nokomis. In some tribal traditions Nanabozho is an only child, but in others he has a twin brother or is the eldest of four brothers. The most important of Nanabozho's brother figures is Chibiabos or Moqwaio, Nanabozho's inseparable companion (often portrayed as a wolf) variously said to be his twin brother, younger brother, or adopted brother. Nanabozho is associated with rabbits and is sometimes referred to as the Great Hare (Misabooz), although he is rarely depicted as taking the physical form of a rabbit. Nanabozho is a trickster figure and can be a bit of a rascal, but unlike trickster figures in some tribes, he does not model immoral and seriously inappropriate behavior-- Nanabozho is a virtuous hero and a dedicated friend and teacher of humanity. Though he may behave in mischievous, foolish, and humorous ways in the course of his teaching, Nanabozho never commits crimes or disrespects Native culture and is viewed with great respect and affection by Anishinabe people.  Here is a link to some of the stories and where I found this information.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Weekend in Wausau

We found a campground called Lake DuBay Shores near Wausau to call home when I had work that took me to north-central Wisconsin.  It wasn't the outdoor haven that we experienced at Kettle Moraine, those private parks in Wisconsin are little more than parking lots under the pines, but we made do because the state parks are hard to get into on the weekends without a reservation. There was a nice trail that circled the rear of the campground away from all the commotion where we took our kittens for their daily walks.

We stayed just a few nights, took a few drives around the area, and visited the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.

FREE admission was a welcome surprise, though of course we donated some money on our way out.  There is art on display inside, but mostly we enjoyed the outdoor stroll around the cozy little sculpture garden.

The Dance 

The site specific sculpture featuring sandhill cranes was of course our favorite.  It was made from tree saplings, tie-wraps, and plastic bags and what better subject to represent birds in Wisconsin?

Another great find in Wausau was a restaurant called Thrive which I was introduced to by a fellow frame salesperson and couldn't wait to share with Wayne.

Their decor is very hip, my favorite being their logo which features the shape of Wisconsin carved into the bathroom sink!

Wayne wasn't as impressed with their thick french fries as I am, but he did like the chef who greeted us.

Needing to get outside after the rain I directed him to Dells of the Eau Claire Park where we saw our first Indian Pipe of the season coming up.

A short walk in the woods did much to lift our mood, but other folks were more adventurous, including some young folks jumping off the rocks into a deep pool.

As Murtaugh would say, "I'm too old for that sh*#t!".  But it was fun to watch!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Calling Kettle Moraine Home

Wayne has been off work most of the summer due to some issues with his back.  He finally got in for some minor surgery that will hopefully solve the problem.  He has bone spurs in his vertebrae that are impinging on nerves and the procedure basically shaved those down to open up the channel for the nerves that pass through.

His doctor is a partner in practice with the doctor who is the innovator of this minimally invasive procedure.  Ironically the result is similar to the carpal tunnel surgery I had last fall, though in a much more dangerous location where they are cutting bone instead of ligament!

Anyway, after already being home for weeks before the surgery Wayne was stir crazy post surgery.  A short hour down the road is the Ottawa Lake campground in Kettle Moraine State Forest so he decided to convalesce somewhere a little more scenic.

That worked for me, I just called it home too and had a shorter drive to all my work appointments for the most part.  It was also easy to dart home to do laundry and check on things there.

Of course at the state park 2 weeks is all you get before you have to move on.  When I got back from "work" every day we did a lot of nothing except go to the grocery store and walk around the campground with the kittens.

Recovery is going well, mostly light walking and ice and good judgment.  Surgery was outpatient with only a band-aid but there is still healing to be done where we can't see it.  Physical therapy starts in a week and then he gets re-evaluated a few weeks later to determine readiness for work.

We're not calling Kettle Moraine home anymore, but after a few days at home he moved on again to another location that was convenient for my work schedule.  Stay tuned to find out where!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pam and Elaine Take to the Road

I'm not the only one tearing up the highways of Wisconsin with eyeglass frames in the back of my vehicle.  My company has two of us covering the territory with the large amount of frame lines that we represent.

I think my glasses are cuter than the ones the elephant is wearing

Just 5 months ago I was the new girl being trained, but now I'm training a new partner in crime and we've hit the road together a couple of times to get her feet wet.  Of course we had to stop for a picture at the Pink Elephant in DeForest.

 And while we were near Madison I was so shocked to discover she hadn't ever visited the Capitol that we had to make a quick side trip to do that as well.

 She is excused from knowing about all these places because she is really an Illinois gal who hasn't been in our fair state long.  Once upon a time (well, 27 years ago...) that was my story as well and now look how well I know Wisconsin!

"The Genius of Wisconsin" one of my favorite sculptures!

I'm sure I haven't discovered all of her secrets yet, but as I bounce around over the next few years with my job I doubt there will be much undiscovered by the time I'm ready to retire my sample bags.

My favorite new discovery is a restaurant in Slinger called Skinny Vic's Diner.  Just two minutes from Highway 41 and a hop, skip and a jump from Menomonee Falls the diner features great breakfast items, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and coffee drinks.  I had the chicken salad with a super fresh mixed greens salad and a vanilla latte to go. Yum!  I couldn't wait to do my part to spread the word, fresh delicious food is something that is hard to find on the road and I want to help everyone find this gem!


Another gem is the Bakery Shoppe in Iron Mountain, Michigan, no salads there just great cookies and donuts and brownies.  Bring your pants with the elastic waist if you plan to visit!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Historic Ironwood

While in Ironwood, Michigan I stopped at Depot Park where I could stretch my legs between appointments while learning a little bit of history.

The museum was closed, but an information marquee informed me that the depot was built of Lake Superior sandstone back in 1893 and brought travelers and prospective miners to the booming town.
By 1891 there were 6 mines operating in the area, and by 1920 the population had doubled.

Ironwood was an immigrant town, with over 90% of the population having at least one parent born outside the country.  Most were from Finland, Sweden, Poland and England.  By the 1930's the iron boom began its decline for a number of reasons and each decade saw the population decrease.  From its peak of more than 15,000 residents it has now dwindled down to a third of that and now draws visitors for its outdoor sports.

I didn't get a look inside the Ironwood Theatre but hope to on my next visit, and can you believe I missed a mural that pays tribute to the miners also?  You never see it all, even in the small towns!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

All About the Boat

I've been looking for an excuse to post some old boat photos, and I finally found a connection!  On Father's Day we took the pontoon boat out for a ride on the lake.

Katrina and Cory with their father

Katrina and her boyfriend, Charlie, joined us as did my parents.

Katrina and Charlie

My father's name is Charlie too, which hasn't been as confusing as we first thought it might be.  I didn't get a picture of my parents when we went out on the boat, but here is one that is a little less up to date...I'm guessing 35 years ago perhaps?

Margaret and Charlie

Or how about one that's even older featuring me and my Dad?  Check out that Gilligan look he was sporting!

He's up in his home state of Minnesota right now, out on his fishing boat as a matter of fact like he does every August.

Freshwater, Newfoundland

And those Newfies (like my husband) are no strangers to boats either.  Here's a picture from the mid 1970's with me sitting on my Grandad's boat.  There he is in the background watering something in his straw hat.  Notice all the clothes on the line in the yards, they used to hang them outside even in the winter and my Nan used to take them in off the line frozen.

Now I'm rambling, that's enough for today.  Boat pictures finally posted!!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Min-Aqua Bats Mural

This is how far behind I am with blogging, I'm back to Minocqua where I took the picture below.

When last I passed through for work some forgotten time ago I was fortunate enough to catch the artist at work....

I always get a kick out of seeing the work in progress, and who knows what else I will see when I am in town tomorrow for an appointment?

Wayne is with me and we have the RV and the kittens in tow, but I doubt we'll be taking in any water ski-ing shows.  I'll try to catch things up a bit here on the blog, expect the posts to be short and sweet as is the new normal since I had to start devoting all my time to work instead of play!