Travels with Clark and Reba travel blog

Ashland Mural

Another great mural

Little Black Bear

Saw lots of deer

Jacob learning boatcraft

Wisconsin's Morgan Falls

July 4th Parade

July 4th Parade Finale

Ashland's Bandstand

Apostle Islands - Devil's Island Lighthouse

Sea Caves

Raspberry Island Lighthouse

Days 120 - 124 of The Big Trip On July 2, we drove from Superior to Ashland, which is about 60 miles. We had planned to stay at the Kreher City Park, where they have RV parking. It's a beautiful little park, right on the bay, but they had only one space available, so we headed east to a Casino and found plenty of spaces. The only problem was that it was in a parking lot, but available during this holiday time. After we got settled, we went into town to see if our mail had arrived. It hadn't, but we discovered Ashland to be a beautiful little town and we loved the murals that were done on the buildings throughout the downtown area.

On the 3rd, Clark, Jacob and I drove to visit Clark's aunt in nearby Cable, south of Ashland. She had received multiple packages for us and we went to collect our mail and have a visit with her. She lives on Lake Namekagon and we always love our visits with her. This time, we caught her at a busy time, so we had to be satisfied with a short visit. We were there long enough for Clark to get a kayak out, so Jacob could paddle around the lake. Clark chose the take the shortest route on the GPS and we drove the back roads of Wisconsin, most of which were gravel. We came to an intersection to find the cross road was called "Lovers Lane." We stopped to take a picture of the road sign and Jacob said, "There's some animal in the bushes. I think it's a bear." We finally saw a fuzzy brown animal and it was a bear - a little black bear. Sharp-eyed Jacob saw lots of deer and we got some good pictures. We were thankful we had taken the back roads. When we came to another intersection, there was a rural cafe with a Wednesday night special of ribs. We stopped and had dinner. One of the men, there, suggested we go see Morgan Falls, which was very close to where we were. After eating, we went to the falls. We were totally unprepared, because we had no bug repellant and we stepped into mosquito heaven. Jacob said, "We'll deal with it," so off we went on the path to the falls. The falls were beautiful and probably worth the effort and pesky flying critters.

There's nothing like Small Town America on the Fourth of July. We went into Ashland to be there for the 11:00am parade, which lasted well over an hour. The paraders constantly were throwing candy to the watchers and the local kids had arrived with bags to hold their catch. It seemed that every local business, with a pickup truck touting their name, was in the parade. There were groups making political statements - everyone was welcomed to participate. The highlight, for us, was when the Antique Tractor Club came through with men driving those wonderful old machines, all clean and shiny. There were followed by a monstrous new machine, like the ones that have been so intriguing as we've driven through Midwest farm country. The end of the parade was a fire truck driving down the street, periodically spraying anyone in reach, with cooling water. We found the courthouse square, where the Lions Club was having an ice cream social. Most of the ice cream was already gone, but the bratwursts were plentiful and Jacob got his first taste of a brat. He asked for a second one. We were back in town in time for the 8:00pm band concert in the park. This little town has a beautiful band shell and they put it to good use with weekly concerts in the summer. The band consists of people of all ages and was very good. As they were playing, "America the Beautiful," the sun slipped below the horizon. Good timing.

They finished with Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," and we were off the find the fireworks. We kept asking where they would be and were told we could watch anywhere along the water front. We walked to a nearby vantage point and couldn't have had better seats. A long day, but a wonderful day of celebration.

On the 5th, we were up early, without enough sleep, and on the road to Bayfield. We had tickets for the Apostle Island Cruise and wanted to be there in plenty of time. There were lots and lots of people lined up for the 10:00am cruise, because they had sold enough tickets for two boats and scheduled an additional cruise for the afternoon. There was so much joking going on, amongst the passengers, because we were setting off on a three-hour cruise and everyone was comparing it to the Gilligan's Island bunch and wondering if we'd make it back. We finally left the dock and were on our way into a bay full of boaters. There are 22 islands in the Apostle Islands National Seashore. All but one were confiscated, under imminent domain, during Nixon's administration. Madeline Island was well enough populated that the government, in all its wisdom, left it alone to thrive. Our cruise made its way through a route that gave us a view of almost all of them, some at a distance. Before the government made them all wilderness areas, people lived on them - making their living by fishing, lumber or quarrying brownstone. On one, there are brownstone blocks that were left when the market dropped out of the market, due to steel becoming the preferred building material. The captain of the boat was very good at narrating what we were seeing at all times, as we passed through this beautiful scenery. The northernmost island is Devil's Island. All of these islands were quarried for their brownstone, but the brownstone on this island is more porous and more prone to erosion. The north side of the island is full of sea caves, carved into the cliffs. They are spectacular. We watched kayakers making their way in and out of the caves. Sitting above the caves is one of the eight lighthouses in the islands. We watched as two bald eagles soared above us. Eagles have recently returned to the area. As we passed Raspberry Island, we were treated to another of the lighthouses. We found a place to have lunch before we went to catch the ferry to Madeline Island. The island was very busy on this beautiful July afternoon. We were tired and it was hot, so we didn't do much more than sit on the beach for awhile. Going to the island and going back to Bayfield, we were able to walk onto a ferry ready to depart. There are frequent ferries, with good service to the island. In the winter, when the ice gets solid enough that the ferries can't get through, there is an ice road for the residents. It would take hardy souls to stay there year-round. The two-room school has about twelve students. After getting back to the car, we were home in about 45 minutes and tired after another long, but very good day. We walked into a motor home with the temperature registering about 100 degrees inside. The A/C came on immediately. Summer had arrived.

On the 6th, Jacob requested that he be able to go to the beach, so Sandi and I took him. We went to a little beach, in Ashland, and watched as Jacob slowly, very slowly, put his feet in the water. He never got his body in completely, because he couldn't get over how cold the water was. We had heard, on the cruise, that the water in Lake Superior is in the 50s. Our Texas boy just wasn't prepared for such cold water. And, I didn't attempt to try it myself.

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