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|
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 &|
|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.
|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.
|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;