Pictures From Jan-Feb 2020 - It's All About Having Fun!!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Saturday 9-29 It's cold!!!!

A cold day

It was cold and overcast all day, most of the day it was in the 30's. 

The rain stopped early in the morning and it wasn't suppose to rain so we decided to go up the coast a bit. They were wrong about the rain.

We drove two lane highways for about 170 miles, in all honesty there is nothing up here but two lane highways. The scenery was beautiful with all the fall colors but whenever we saw the best stands of trees with the most colorful leaves there was never a place to pull over to take a picture. The highway went through a few State Forests and along the coast of Lake Superior. We didn't stop at any of the overlooks to enjoy the scenery because it was too cold and overcast. At times it misted a little. 

While driving down the road Larry saw a sign for a sculpture park and immediately there it was. The name of the park was Lakenenland Sculpture Park, it's located 15 miles east of Marquette, Michigan. The park is a private park open to the public 24-7 free of charge (donations are welcome). You can either drive through or walk. The sculptures are made out of junk metal and displayed very nicely. The artist has a lot of talent and keeps the park well maintained. We had a great time driving through the park.

The Band
Metal Sculpture With a lot of Stuff

When we got to  Munising we stopped and filled the Minnie with gas. Then we stopped at Hardee's for lunch. After both the Minnie and we were fueled up we got back on the road. As we were driving we noticed that it was raining on the other side of Lake Superior. Then we got caught in the rain. We drove quite a few miles in the rain, the weather man missed the forecast.

Our destination for the day was Burt Township at Woodland Park. The park has a lot of rv sites that work on first come first serve basis. There are tent sites with no power, rv sites that are on Lake Superior for $31 and the other sites are $28. Half of the park was shutdown because they were working it. The other area was pretty full. The sites are very close to each other leaving you with very little privacy, other than that it is a very nice park.

Woodland Park Office

After dinner we walked around for an hour or so. I should have worn my gloves, it was about 40 degrees and there was wind. There are three staircases that take you to the shores of Lake Superior. One of the staircases takes you on a hiking trail. Part of the park was donated by a husband and wife team of writers. The wife wrote children stories and the husband wrote a comic strip. The other part was donated by a local company. We walked through the closed section and the tent section. We went down to the recreation area that has tennis courts, basketball court, baseball/softball diamond, horseshoe pits and picnic area. While walking by the baseball/softball diamond we saw a group of young people having fun playing baseball. Then we walked down to the marina to the boat ramp. While there we saw an apple tree so Larry picked an apple. We'll try it tomorrow. Then we walked down to the lake, there was a very nice pier there. We climbed down the stairs that took us to the lake. We walked along the beach for a while, then we walked a path to one of the park's staircases. We had a very nice walk and saw a number of people walking on the beach. We had a very good day. 

Burt Township Marina Area

An apple tree

Lake Superior

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Friday 9-28 Another Dreary Day

Rainy day

Once again it rained a good part of the night and when we woke up the roads were wet. We went over to the bathroom and took showers. Then we waited for an hour or so for the roads to dry a little.

Our destination today was only 40 miles down the road but Larry wanted to drive on up the coast a ways and loop around Houghton and Hancock. The drive was very pretty with all the fall colors, each day we see a little more fall colors. Both towns are very nice and have a lot of old historic buildings. After driving around we drove towards the lift bridge. Larry wanted to see if he could park someplace close to the bridge so I could get a good picture. He found a beautiful park area with docks and a wooden walkway that  goes along the lake shores. The area is owned by the City of Hancock. We walked the dock area and found a great place to see the lift bridge. The only way to drive across the lake is via the lift bridge. When the bridge isn't lifted the height from the water to the bridge is 36', to accommodate tall ships the bridge can be raised to where that distance is 100'. If the bridge is raised cars have to wait until it is lowered again to cross. We were not lucky enough to see the bridge raised for a ship. After looking at the bridge we were back on the road.

The lift bridge

A ship in the harbor

Our destination today was Baraga Michigan. It's a small town located on the Ojibwa reservation. We decided to stay at the local casino which has an RV park. The casino is small and in need of some maintenance but it's a good place to stay for the night. When you check in they give each of you a voucher for $5 to play in the casino and a voucher for 1 free drink. You can also use the pool and spa. The rv sites are first come first serve, when we arrived there were only three available.

I went over and signed up for their players card. The lady who took care of me said if I gave her an e-mail address I could get another $10.00 to play with. I played for three hours with their money and came back with $20.00. While I was gambling it continued to rain off and on. After dinner I went back and gave the $20.00 back to the casino. I had a great time gambling with the casino's money.

When I got back from gambling the rain came back. I've been very lucky getting back to the Minnie before rain came. I had a great day.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday 9-27 Hancock City Park

Camping in Michigan

It rained most of the night and when we woke up the streets were wet. It looked like the wind was blowing harder today then yesterday. The rain clouds were still hanging around. In looking at the weather radar it was still raining where we are headed so we decided to hang around for a little bit.

After an hour or so we were on the road. Our next destination was 70 miles down the road. We drove two lane highways the whole time. The closer we got to our destination the more fall colors we saw. It was a beautiful to drive with fall colors on both side of the road.

Our destination for today was Hancock City Park. The towns of Hancock and Houghton are separated by a lake. We had to cross  the lake via a big lift bridge. Hancock is a small university town. We drove through town to get to the park. We saw beautiful old buildings. It was a very nice town. Hancock City Park is beautiful, some of the rv sites look over the lake and others don't. We took one without a view because it was nearer the bathroom. The day area has a beach, playground, new dock, picnic areas and a bathhouse.

Lift bridge over the lake

Camping at Hancock City Park

The fall colors on the bank of the lake

Hancock Lake

The playground and beach

After setting up the Minnie we walked around the campground and the beach area. We had a nice walk. We spent the rest of the day reading. We had a relaxing day. 

Wednesday 9-26 Lake of the Clouds

Cold and windy day

It rained all night, early this morning it stopped but everything was wet and soggy. The wind blew all day which made is seem cold, actually the temperature only got to about 50 so I guess it really was a bit cold, we certainly didn't see anyone outside that wasn't wearing a jacket or coat. 

Last night I slept for nine hours, I usually sleep about seven. It has been getting down into the low 40's at night so we have been sleeping with the heater on. When I go to bed at night I turn the heat down to 66, Larry gets up before me and turns it up to 72. When I wake up in the morning it's nice and warm.

This morning we drove seven miles to Lakes of the Clouds, one of the day use areas in the park. There are hiking trails, picnic tables, restrooms and magnificent views of the area. We started out by climbing on big boulders to see gorgeous vistas of the area. You can see where the trees are starting to show their fall colors. We had a great view of the lake. We started off on a hike but after a bit we turned around, due to the rain everything was very wet and for some reason we just didn't want to continue. We walked a boardwalk around the area and back to the parking lot.

Porcupine Mountains from observation point 

A view of the lake at Lake of the Clouds

We decided to drive to Ontonagan, a small town about 20 miles from where we were. Larry had read about the city having camping sites. Ontonagan is a quaint little town. If you want to eat out there's not much to chose from, I think I saw one cafe. But there were a couple of city parks to stop at. We stopped at one and had lunch in the Minnie. The historical society offers tours of the local lighthouse so we stopped by, unfortunately they don't do tours on the off season. We were getting a little low on propane in the Minnie so we stopped by an Ace Hardware Store and they filled it up.

Getting propane

We are camped at the state park in the Union Campground. Once we were back in our site we walked around for an hour. We walked by the boat landing and saw a great fishing pier that had two picnic tables for the fishermen to use. The area isn't protected like the harbors but the ramps were very nice. After the landing we walked by the park store and the Folk School. The Folk School has workshops to inspire creativity, learning and appreciation of the natural environment and culture heritage of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness. We had a nice walk.     

Camping in Union Campground

Leaves changing color

Lake Superior from the campground

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tuesday 9-25 It's My Birthday

Celebrating my Birthday

Today was an exciting day, I turned 62 and am now eligible for the America The Beautiful Senior Card. I've been looking forward to this for a long time and finally it is time. Last year the card was only $10 but this year it went up to $80, still a bargain. We now can camp at any National Park, Corps of Engineers Park, National Monuments and many more at half price. You also get free entry to all National Parks, National Monuments, Corps of Engineers Parks, National Seashores and other day areas in the National Park and Recreation Program. 

Our next destination was the upper peninsula of Michigan, soon after entering Michigan, Larry passed the Ottawa National Forest Office, he turned around and went back. The lady that was taking care of the front desk sold me my card. She was also very helpful by giving us information about the area. She suggested a beautiful drive through Big Powderhorn Mountain to some hiking trails and waterfalls..

I have my Senior America The Beautiful Card

We took her suggestion and took the drive. Big Powderhorn Mountain is a small snow ski area. It has a big sign with a skier on it to show you the way. It was a beautiful 8.5 miles through the Ottawa National Forest. The trees are turning to their fall colors. In the next week or so we should see a lot more fall colors. We walked to three different falls. The first two were in the same area. The Potawatomi Falls were down a short easy trail. They were very pretty. We took another short trail to see the Gorge Falls, they were more dramatic, taller but not as wide. You got to the next set of falls from the Black River Harbor. The harbor has a very nice park with an old boat called Nancy Jean. There was a sign that explained the history of the boat. The harbor was well protected. You can tie your boat up to the pier and plug into electricity. The falls were down a trail on the other side of the harbor, you walked over a beautiful wooden expansion bridge which was built by the CCC in the 30's. As you walk on the bridge it moves a little. After crossing the bridge you hike 3/4 of a mile through the forest to Rainbow Falls. We climbed 172 stairs, some were wide and others were narrow. Rainbow Falls was the largest of the falls and was gorgeous. When we finished hiking the trail we went to the beach area. The weather was rainy, cloudy and cold enough for a jacket but it didn't stop fishermen from going out on Lake Superior. We had a super hike.

The sign that showed you where to turn
Potawatomi Falls

Gorge Falls

Suspension bridge

Standing on the bridge

Rainbow Falls

After hiking to the falls and having lunch we still had over 30 miles to go to get to our next campground. On the way Larry stopped by a Dairy Queen to celebrate my birthday. We shared a triple chocolate brownie. It was very rich and delicious Thank you honey.

My birthday dessert
Our final destination was Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. It is a huge park with multiple sections, some are day use areas and there are two campgrounds. First thing we did was stop at the office and bought a non-resident yearly pass for the Michigan State Parks ($32.00). We then went on a hike to see three waterfalls. The hiking trail was a 2.5 mile loop trail. We had to climb 537 stairs (I counted them). The trail was on both sides of the river. We started on the West River Trail, it had all the stairs and some boardwalks. There were observation platforms at each of the falls. We saw Manabezho Falls, Manido Falls and Nawadaha Falls. The falls were magnificent. The boardwalk stopped after the Manido Falls and to get to the Nawadaha Falls you had to climb a steep hill. Larry and I climbed it but it was very steep, we had to take our time. Most people passed on the climb. Once you got to the top of the hill you took the trail through the forest. We hiked through an old growth forest and it was very nice. After seeing the Nawadaha Falls we hiked to the road and crossed the river via a bridge. We took the East River Trail back. This trail was a lot more challenging. We hiked over a lot of tree roots and at places it was very narrow. The view of the Nawadaha Falls was a lot better from this side. When we got to the end of the trail there was a crossing that was very challenging, you had to climb over logs, over granite rocks and had to be very careful not to slip. Next you crossed over a suspension bridge. Once on the other side we hiked back to the Minnie. During the hike we saw a lot of people hiking and some of them had their dogs with them. We had another great hike.

Manabezho Falls

Manido Falls

Nawadaha Falls
The bridge that took us back to the parking lot

By the end of the hike we were tired and we still had 23 miles to get to the campground. The drive was very pretty, we drove through the forest and had trees on both side of the road. When we got to the campground Larry went to the office to see what sites were available. Afterwards we drove around to pick a site. The campground isn't the best one we have stayed at. Some of the power boxes are impossible to reach without a 100' long extension cord, you share it with three sites. The sites weren't too level and they are on grass, it has been raining and many had mud holes. We found a couple of sites that looked good. We drove back to the office and got the second one on our list. It was right next to the bathroom, which made it good for us to go take a shower. We'll be here for a couple of nights.

I had a super birthday. LIFE IS GOOD!!!! 


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Monday 9-24 Unexpected Problem

Going to the dentist

For the last few weeks Larry has a tooth that has been painful. He has been eating on the other side of his mouth and hoping it would get better. This morning he gave up and called Lakeview Dental Center in Ashland. He explained his problem and told them we were on the road, they said they could fit him in at 9:30. They x-rayed the tooth and determined he needed a root canal and a crown. They said he could possibly wait until he got home but it could get worse and he would be in a tremendous amount of pain. Our dentist at home does not do root canals, he sends you to an endodontist, then you go back to him for a temporary crown and a few weeks later for a permanent crown. This dentist could do the root canal and had all the modern equipment, he could even make the crown on site. Larry felt he got excellent care and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We were out of there by noon and Larry had a new crown. Ashland is a small town of about 8,000 people and they had a number of dentist, I guess we got lucky in calling the one we did. The total bill was less than we paid for his last root canal and crown. The last one also took weeks to finish the process, plus he really disliked the endodontist.

The dentist office called in a prescription for an antibiotic to Walmart, before picking up the prescription we drove around downtown Ashland. It is a quaint little town. The downtown had magnificent murals on many of the buildings. When we got to Walmart I made myself a sandwich for lunch. Larry couldn't eat because he was still numb.

As we were driving to Ashland we saw a bald eagle hunting for his breakfast. He didn't have to try too hard considering an animal was lying dead on the side of the road. Larry saw it swoop down via his rear view mirror.

Larry wanted to hang around the area for the day to make sure the crown was ok. He knew there was a forest campground about 20 miles from Ashland so we drove to it. You have to travel down a gravel road for a mile and a half. Farmfields were on both sides of the road. Then all of a sudden we saw a nice forest. When we got there we parked the Minnie and Larry walked around to check out the sites for camping. There were only five sites on the loop and only one that would fit an RV. The loop had a number of mud holes and it is suppose to rain again tonight. We decided to pass on staying there, I'm fighting a cold and wasn't feeling very well. We left and drove back to Bad River Casino for another night.

I didn't feel bad enough to stop me from gambling. I went to the casino after dinner and gambled for three and a half hours, I came back a few dollars richer. Because we were using a rv site they put $5.00 on my club card, I gambled with their money the whole time. I had a lot of fun.

Yesterday when we arrived at Bad River Casino we saw that a group of men working on building a new water tower. This morning we watched the crew use a crane to lift the round metal plates and put them on the tower. They had to hammer the pieces in place and then weld them. The crew started early this morning and was still was working at 5:00. They had a long day.

Grabbing the metal plate

Putting the plate in place


Monday, September 24, 2018

Sunday 9-23 Dreary Day

A dreary day

We had a cold, windy dreary day.

When Larry looked at the weather report this morning it said it was going to be in the low 50s and rain. East of here in Ashland it was suppose to be a bit warmer and very little chance of rain. Larry decided to drive a scenic route called the National Lakeshores. It was misting a little so there was no need to stop too often. We stopped at an overview of Lake Superior, it was rough and very brown. We have been looking at Lake Superior for the last week and the water has been beautiful and clear, it doesn't look like the same lake today.

Lake Superior today

Lake Superior a few days ago

The next stop was Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Visitor Center. There are 21 Apostle Islands, the shoreline encompasses 69,372 acres. It has a collection of historic lighthouses, sandstone sea caves, a few old-growth forests and natural animal habitats. You can only get to the islands via boat, there are a number of commercial carriers that you can hire to take you to some of the islands, there is even a car Ferry to Madeline Island where there are shops and restaurants. While at the visitor center we watched a movie about the islands. It was very interesting. There is a sign outside that gives prices to get you to the island and when the boats depart. This time of year there are very few boats going to the islands, we had just missed today's trip and we probably wouldn't have gone because it was too cold and nasty.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Visitor Center

Next we visited the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center. They are going to celebrate their 20th year anniversary next Saturday. The visitor center has three levels, the first level has exhibits about the natural history of the area, the second level exhibits change (we saw small beautiful quilts) and the third level is the observation level where you can go outside and look at the surrounding area. There is also 3/4 mile interpreter boardwalk. We saw a gorgeous mural illustrating the history of the area with people and wildlife. It's in two sections and each section has a sign that has numbers and names of animals for you find. The artist that designed and painted the mural also did some murals around the city of Ashland. We had fun learning about the area. We had been here before but it still was fun to revisit.

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

We were planning to stay in a National Forest Campground but due to the cold rainy weather we changed our minds. The Bad River casino is near Ashland and since I like to gamble and they have RV sites, it was perfect. For $20 a night you get power and water and you can use the resort's spa and pool. They also give you $5 dollars on a players club card. We had no problem getting a spot considering we were the only ones there. When I signed up for the player card. I ended up get $15 on the card, $5.00 for camping there, $5.00 for being there the first time and $5.00 because my birthday is this month. I ended up giving them back their money in a couple of hours. I went back in evening for another two and half hours and broke even. I had fun.       

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Saturday 9-22 What a Wonderful Day!!!

Awesome Day!!!

We woke up to a cold windy morning. It was in the 50s but the wind made it feel much colder. I was happy we had power and ran the small heaters.

Where do I start? Our first stop was only a half mile up the road at the Canadian border at Grand Portage State Park, it is also a rest area. It had two sets of falls, Upper Falls, which was only a mile round trip and the other one was five miles. We decided on Upper Falls. We climbed a few stairs and saw Minnesota's tallest fall, about 130 feet. One side of the falls is in the U.S. and the other side is in Canada. There are multiple viewing areas where you get magnificent views of the falls. It was an easy hike.

Grand Portage State Park Upper Falls

The next stop was at the Grand Portage National Monument and Heritage Center. We have been here before but it was fun to revisit it. We walked through a great museum that showed displays and talked about the history of the Ojibwe people and the North West Trading Company. Then we watched a 19 minute movie about the history of the Ojibwe people trading goods with others. After the movie we walked around the Grand Portage National Monument. It had reproductions of the original buildings used by the North West Trading Company, they traded with the Voyageurs (French for travelers) and the Ojibwe people. The park workers were dressed in the clothing worn in the era. We walked through a workshop where the Birchbark Canoes were made, some were up to 38 feet long. The Voyageurs used the canoes because they could go 60 to 80 miles a day and on foot they could only go 15 to 20 miles. They learned how to make the canoes from the Ojibwe people. We walked by the Three Sister Garden, a Ojibwe Village and the Trading Post. We walked through the Great Hall, where there were displays of furs, hats and clothing that was worn in that era. We walked through the kitchen, where a lady was baking. The stove was actually outside. The North West Trading Company used this trading post until the U.S. and Canada realigned the border and the post was now in the US. The North West Trading Company was Canadian and relocated to Montreal. We walked on the dock that was used by the Voyageurs. We had a great time walking around the monument. When we returned to the Minnie we had lunch.

Welcome sign
Grand Portage National Monument and Heritage Center
North West Company Trading Post
Some of the fir that was traded
An example of the Birchbark Canoe

As we were leaving Grand Portage we saw the casino was having a car show. Earlier we saw a few old cars coming from Canada going down the road. We thought they probably were going to a show. We stopped by and walked around looking at the cars. It was a very nice car show and most of the cars were from Canada.

One of the cars in the Grand Portage Car Show

Larry checking out a Austin Mini truck at the car show

Our drive up the coastline of Lake Superior was complete so it was time to turn around and head back down to Duluth.

A few days ago we went by Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, the visitor center wasn't open so we couldn't tour the lighthouse. We had toured it years ago so we were not too disappointed. Today is Saturday and we knew it might be busy but we decided to take a chance. We drove in the park and it was swamped, there was no parking and people were parked on the curbs. Larry did a U turn and we left.

While driving to Duluth we drove through a couple of tunnels.

Larry wanted to stop in Duluth and look at the Lift Bridge, it raises up to allow the huge ships into the port. Duluth has turned the entire area into a trendy shopping area and it was packed with people. There was no place to park the Minnie or a car. We saw the bridge from a far and we also saw the lighthouse from the street.

One of the tunnels we drove through

Bridge from Duluth to Superior Wisconsin

We left Duluth and went across the river via a huge bridge to Superior Wisconsin. We went to the local Walmart and did a little grocery shopping along with buying a rotisserie chicken for dinner. This was the first chicken we have had during this trip. It was delicious.

We thought about moving over to the Menard's (like a Home Depot) for the night but decided to stay where we were. We had a terrific day!