Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ashland Wisconsin and the Apostle Islands

August 13 - 16, 2017:

We took a shortcut route from the campground over a narrow bridge across the St Louis River and then zigzagged over several miles of backroads to route 2 east.  This route bypassd both Duluth and Superior saving a few miles, but was a little risky as it wasn’t clearly shown on our map.  The only place that gave me any concern was the bridge underpass with the 12’ 2 clearance sign.  I was pretty sure I had about a foot to spare, if my memory and the clearance sign was correct. 
Route 2 was a good smooth road all the way to our destination in Ashland, Wisconsin.  I limited myself to one stop in Iron River to look around for a few minutes as the Kreher RV park in Ashland is a first come / first served campground and I need to be there fairly early.  As usual Twinkles arrived there about 15 minutes ahead and had a campsite saved.

The Iron River Bank

The sign reads "Party in the Woods"

This is a city operated campground on the shores of Chequamegon Bay on Lake Superior.  Adjacent to the campground was the site of an historic ore loading dock which is totally gone now, but the memories remain and around town you see many references to it and a great mural.  This town is a pleasant surprise as I had not seen any promotional material, I didn’t expect much and it turns out to have one of the nicest downtowns I’ve seen all year.   They claim to be the historic mural capital of Wisconsin and I would agree as they are spectacular and seem to be all done by and 18 impressive historic murals done by a Sue Martinsen. 


The Ashland Ore Docks

Geographic survey vessel at the dock

All that remains of the Ore Docks today

Will always be a nice view

Our first day starts off rainy which I don’t mind as I need some internet time to work on this blog.  I start at the library in Ashland and then switch to a nearby coffee shop  where Twinkles meets me at noon time.  The “Black Cat coffee shop” seems to be the happening place for coffee and food as the couple next to us had great looking nachos.  We then go to the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center with exhibits on about every facet of Lake Superior’s  history, geology, wildlife, industry, etc.

I like this unit of measure

Way too much of this has been lost

This mural went across three sides of the interior with actual
local peoples faces used, also across the top were all
local wild flowers, animals and birds

The rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun broke out in late afternoon enabling me to roam around town checking out the interesting buildings in Ashland.    

The train Depot

Historic Soo Line Railroad steam locomotive

Old theater in need of restoration

Great old brick building with old Pabst Brewery emblem

A german cookie shop all decorated with a Hansel &
Gretel theme

The South Shore Brewery

The Bay Theater

The workingman's friend

Also the incredible murals all around town !

This was a favorite

Early aviation mural

I loved the way they painted the plain end of the building to
interface with the original exposed front

The opposite side of the building was this showing
other historic buildings

Apostle Islands mural

All military figuires

Three waitresses out front

This was a great mural of the Ore Dock with most interesting details involved with
Lake shipping on the lower part

John Simmons who went down with the "Fitz" as in the Edmund Fitzgerald

There are many scenic lakeside towns and sights along the coast heading north towards the Apostle Islands.  We take a day trip to the town of Bayfield and then continue on through Red Cliff, home of the Red Cliff Indian Reservation and on to Myers Beach.  Myers Beach is a canoe or kayak launch site and has access to the lakeshore hiking trail.  We did the hike to the lake caves overlooks area which involved going through the forest for the first 2 1/2 miles over boardwalks with many up and down steps, steep in places until coming out on the edge of cliffs high above the lakeshore.  There are sea caves (large eroded fissures in the rocky cliffs) where the water surges in and out.  You are able to look down into them in places from the cliff edges, best with some healthy caution or fear as these edges can be treacherous.  The Kayak crowd is mainly guided tours following the lakeshore and they are able to see these caves at lake level and even go partially into them.  On the return about 3/4 of the way back, I took a side trail to the lake and walked the narrow beach back to the parking lot.


Don't get to close to the edge !

Kayakers on the lake 

Tree hanging on the edge

The lake is so clear and aqua colored

The beach walk back was special

Bayfield  is a beautiful port city on Lake Superior with a Ferry that takes you or your car to Madeline Island.  It is the largest island in the Apostle Island chain with roads, some development and tourist attractions.  Bayfield has many upscale hotels, B & B’s, restaurants, and fine shopping possibilities, but has managed to do it tastefully without becoming awfully touristy.

Bayfield marina

Ferry boat coming into the Bayfield harbor

A colorful sign on a Inn across from the harbor

Also for other great travel blogs be sure to visit my friends at Hitch up and go.

Our next stop is the F.J. McClain State Park near Hancock, Michigan;
Twinkles and Slick

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