Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson
For October 16th, 2009 Edition.
I think I'd be safe in suggesting lots of folks like to travel, take vacations, etc. that also include a bit of exploring new places or re-visiting locations that foster cherished memories. I've always felt the human species holds a deep desire to explore, as is clearly evident in much of our recorded history. Well, Wifee Poo and I invited two of our very dear and old time friends to join us on what has become an annual early fall/late summer exploring and sight seeing mini-vacation.
Ed and Marilyn Petras have been our best of friends for longer than we'd care to admit, Eddie's and my friendship dates back to the summer of 1945, plus Peggy and Marilyn have been close pals since our respective marriages in the late 50s!
During September of 2007 and 2008 the four of us, plus Belle, combed many of the back roads and scenic wonders of Michigan's U.P. during peak fall color time. We also viewed many of Michigan's popular waterfalls, Copper Harbor, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore plus numerous quaint villages and hamlets. Most of what we saw and visited were somewhat familiar places for Peggy and I, but all of it was new for Ed and Marilyn.
This year's excursion took on a slightly different tone. We left St. Germain on the morning of Sept. 29th and headed north on U.S. 51. After a breakfast stop at Michael's in Manitowish Waters we continued north to Ironwood, MI where the western end of Lake Superior Road (505) intersects with U.S. 2. This somewhat rough and rustic road covers roughly 30 miles of scenic beauty, including lakeside viewing of Lake Superior at Little Girl's Point and various other locations along its meandering route. Near the western end of the trip travelers will cross the Montreal River into Wisconsin. It's also worthwhile to take a short side trip on hwy 122 to Saxon Harbor for another breathtaking view of Gitchee Gumee.
From Saxon Harbor we opted to take County A, which is well-maintained gravel, west and south for about 6 miles where it intersects with U.S. 2. From there we continued westward, through Ashland to Hwy 13 and on to Bayfield. Our first order of business was to stop at the fresh and smoked fish shop for a brace of smoked lake herring to be used as the main entrée during our pre-cocktail evening snacks. After checking into our reserved rooms at Seagull Bay Motel we bought a ticket for the island ferry to take us to Madeline Island.
The round trip fee for four folks and one dog in a pickup truck is $70.00. It had been almost 20 years since Peggy and I visited this historic island, and for Ed and Marilyn it was their maiden voyage. We took the circle drive around the scenic island and enjoyed the early fall colors and varieties of native wildlife. Back in the village of La Pointe we spent an hour touring their unique historical museum and then caught the 4 p.m. ferry back to Bayfield.
After too many snacks and a glass or two of chilled internal body stimulants, we grilled rib-eye steaks over a charcoal fired grill while giant Idaho potatoes reached peak flavor via a micro-wave oven in one of our rooms. After our feast was completed Belle licked her chops on the steak trimmings mixed with her normal cup of dry dog food. Sound sleep soon followed for all members of the party.
The following morning, after another wonderful breakfast at Greunke's First Street Inn in downtown Bayfield, we re-visited the fish house and purchased a smoked whitefish prior to continuing west on hwy 13. Traffic was less than minimal while the scenery was at its maximum. We stopped several times along the route, once to walk the beach and pick sour wild apples at Cornucopia and once to say "hello" to former neighbors from St. Germain, the Brad Rux Family who now own and operate "Ruxy's Cottage Café" in Port Wing.
Once back on U.S. 2 we passed through Superior, (Peggy's home town and my college days location) before entering Duluth, where we checked into the Edgewater Motel and Water Park overlooking Lake Superior on London Street. Our lower level rooms were adjoining, and included a private outdoor patio with a spectacular view of the twin harbors of Duluth/Superior. Belle loved the accommodations also, as the area outside our rooms allowed ample space for her to romp and fetch her favorite rubber ball.
Later, a shuttle bus took us to Duluth's very popular aquarium, and picked us up again after a delightful 2-hour visit. Later that afternoon we spent another 2-hours at the casino on Superior Street, where only Eddie ended up a winner.
Our second evening dinner consisted of the aforementioned smoked whitefish, cocktails, crackers and cheese, Marilyn's super-duper crab salad and a pizza from Tiki Tom's in-house grill and pizza parlor, which we consumed in our room.
Our third and final day began with another great breakfast at Perkins in Superior, after which we headed south on hwy 35 to Patterson Park. Unfortunately, the water in the Black River, which fuels Big Manitou Falls, was so low we decided not to stop and view the 2nd highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. However, simply passing by the deep gorge below the falls brought back sweet college days memories of fraternity parties that were conducted deep within the bowels of the gorge! Boys will be boys!
From Patterson Park we took a leisurely meandering route to Hayward, hoping to see brilliant fall colors, but it was not to be. The ongoing drought raised havoc with the annual colorful plumage and most of what would normally be eye-popping maples, birch, ash, oak and other assorted hardwood trees in their fall splendor were basically dull and drab.
But the drive along hwy 35, County T, U.S. 53 and hwy 77 to Hayward was still enjoyable. From Hayward, County B lead us to hwy 70, and two hours later we were in Woodruff, and by 3:30 back to home, sweet home.
Eddie and Marilyn spent the night at our home, but not before the four of us had another delightful dinner at Scoobie's North on hwy 155 in St.Germain.
After dinner, back in the comfort of our living room, we enjoyed re-capping our relaxing mini-vacation. Next, we laid plans for another, but slightly more complex trip for 2010. Our next adventure will be to circumnavigate Lake Superior via the "Great Circle Route", a trip Peggy and I have enjoyed twice before.
As our friends were set to head back to their home near La Crosse the next morning, we said our good-bye's. But Eddie's and my parting was not to be for very long. In just one week the two of us would be heading west for our annual waterfowl hunt!
What are friends for anyway?
Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin. Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean, both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide. Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.
Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here
Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger
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