GOOSEBERRY FALLS AND SPLIT ROCK

Our day was quickly speeding by and we had seen a lot of scenery and walked through woods, up hills, over rocks, along the shore and out on the breakwater – but we still hadn’t accomplished any of the goals we originally had.

So, we kept going with a stop at Gooseberry Falls. I didn’t get a lot of pictures here – there were people everywhere.

And it was here that the 9yo suddenly realized she had left her sweatshirt back at Two Harbor Lighthouse – on the rocks. She was not happy. This was the shirt I bought her at camp last summer that matches her cousin’s. But alas … when you set stuff down, you gotta remember to pick it up. We had already gone about 25 miles up the road.

After Gooseberry we headed to Split Rock. Split Rock is a well-known lighthouse because of it’s beauty – I guess too well known, because other than a quick glimpse through the trees as you went along the road, you could not see the lighthouse. They had even closed the overlook where people could take free pictures.

When we got to the gift shop (always one of those), we realized it would cost about $45.00 for us to get inside the fence. Considering we had already climbed, hiked and meandered along the shore and among the rocks that day, that seemed a little high. Maybe if it had been the ONLY thing we had come to see, but as I said, we had already seen a lot of Lake Superior scenery.  So, we headed back down the road and I pulled over on some gravel. I gave Jeff my camera and he want tromping through the woods looking for a clear shot. Couldn’t find one. So he walked up to the closed overlook, crawled past all the the road equipment and took a picture. What a guy!

Here is Split Rock in all its beauty. Our one and only picture

DSC_0307By this time, we were all hungry. Evening was approaching. We had seen a restaurant on the way north called Betty’s Pies. Looked like a touristy place, but there were a lot of cars there, so we decided to give it a try. Whoa! We all really, really liked the food. Jeff said his walleye sandwich was delicious. Cindy had a reuben. One of the kids had fish sticks that were absolutely yummy. I had DSC_0310a pasty which is a meat pie. Super, super food – all of it.

And the pies were crazy. A guy at the table next to us got  pig’s trough which was about six pieces of different kinds of pie in a pie tin with bananas around the side.

We decided to buy a five-layer raspberry pie and take it to our motel for later on. I’m not one for overly rich food – but this pie was so creamy DSC_0311and light, we remarked that we didn’t even fill that full after eating it. the middle raspberry part was creamy with fresh raspberries mixed in. Unbelievably good. No wonder the parking lot was packed.

About five hours after we had been the Two Harbor Lighthouse, we once again passed the lighthouse. I pulled in and Jeff and the 9yo ran out to the rocks – and there was the sweatshirt – exactly where she had left it. Victory!

A great day – but not the day we had planned.

HEADING WEST

After doing some more geocaching in the Bayfield cemetary, we headed west. After all, we had two more goals before this trip was over the next day – the Split Rock Lighthouse and the Freshwater Fishing Museum. Just because one goal fell through, that didn’t mean all our goals had to fall through.

So, we headed down the road and I saw a sign that said Two Harbor Lighthouse and I turned in. Another unexpected twist to the trip. The lighthouse itself was private – and actually a bed and breakfast, but they did have a gift shop that was open. (Funny how that works, isn’t it?) Still, we did get to see the lighthouse.

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The cool thing about Two Harbors, however, is the breakwater jutting out into the lake – and so we walked it.

THE DAY OF THE BOAT RIDE –

So, the next morning we got up bright and early, ate breakfast at the hotel and headed north to Bayfield. The blue sky, the blue water, the crisp air added up to a day made to order.

Cindy had made the reservations and they said we needed to get there by nine thirty in order to keep the reservations, so we arrived in plenty of time. The town was busy with people coming in for the day’s boatrides – several different types of boats go out from Bayfield – including the ferry to Madeleine Island.  I dropped Jeff and Cindy off and headed up the street to get a parking space.

Soon they were back again.

“Bad news,” Cindy said. “the boat is broken – no rides today.” She went on to say that there were a lot of very unhappy people milling around inside the boat office, quite angry that there was no warning and people traveled miles out of their way to get there.

So much for my BD present boat trip.

We parked the car. Cindy and the 6y0 went off in search of something to drink while Jeff and the girls decided to introduce me to some geocaching. This particular hunt took us up the steeps hills of Bayfield and then deep inside a wooded ravine. We walked through the woods and then crossed a bubbling brook and walked over a wooden bridge.

“Aha!” Jeff said. “I think we have it. Girls, check under the bridge.”

Soon, the 9yo came out with the the treasure.

THE SUN SETS OVER LAKE SUPERIOR

After eating the s’more, we decided to go paddleboating. We all took turns, with Jeff being the head crew member …

I’m not sure you could have found an activity more relaxing-and-work-forgetting than this – paddleboating in the Lake Superior sunset.

Ahhh… my cubicle seems very far away …

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But alas, the night must end.

Tomorrow was the day we had been waiting for since February …

THE MOTEL …

We reached Ashland by mid-afternoon and everyone was hungry.  We stopped at a cafe downtown and even though we got to sit at the counter (which was a thrill for anyone age 9 and under), the food wasn’t all that good. Maybe you shouldn’t trust a restaurant that has artificial flowers and washcloth butterflies hanging from the ceiling. But at least we were now sufficiently fed.

The unusual thing about Ashland (other than its Lake Superior location) is the murals. Unfortunately, we were too concerned about being fed and then finding our motel to see very many of them, but I did get this picture as we headed back to the car.

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We then made our way to our hotel, carefully chosen by me, not only for its proximity to our boat boarding dock in Bayfield, but because of it’s water-park-type-swimming area and the room balconies overlooking the lake. Could I just say here – if you ever need a motel in Ashland, Wisconsin, this is the place to go. (AmericInn)  Not all that expensive, they had the above-mentioned amenities, plus bikes and s-mores and paddleboats (and some other things, too).

The kids immediately convinced their parents they needed to go swimming and I thought about going, but was enchanted by my lake view and never got there.

Here’s another selling point for the motel – among the pictures of people who have stayed there in the past was this:  DSC_0153

As the sun began to set over the lake, we went out for all-you-could-eat s’mores and as you can see, they were greatly enjoyed by all.

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ON OUR WAY TO THE APOSTLE ISLANDS

The next morning we left early – well, the plan was to leave early, but we stayed up late talking the night before, so we didn’t leave quite as early as planned.

We headed west – through Woodruff (with a stop to see the world’s largest penny. This is not an exciting stop. Do not go out of your way to stop. Ever.)

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We moved on to the world’s largest loon, which is actually the world’s third largest loon – but used to be the world’s largest talking loon, but it really didn’t talk, just made loon noises. So, this is the world’s third largest non-talking, non-loon-call loon.

Once again we were on our way. Cindy had heard of a place called Copper Falls. The person who recommended it said it was worth stopping. We figured the falls were right off the road and so I turned when I saw the sign. Well, they aren’t right off the road, they aren’t even in the town right off the road, but are rather way down the road in another town. But the grounds, trails and falls were worth stopping for. The falls are in a state park and we did have to pay $10.00 to enter, but we did a lot of hiking and felt the stop was worth the price.

After rock climbing, hiking and seeing guys propose, the girls and I hung around at the playground while Jeff, Cindy and 6yo climbed up a tower to see Lake Superior in the distance, except when they got there, they couldn’t see the lake because of the trees.

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We actually ended up spending a few hours there – the first of the events in the unplanned/planned vacation.