July 24 – We’re on our way east now, making our way ultimately to New England to enjoy the fall colors. We’ve left the Canadian border where we’ve had difficulty obtaining cell service and/or good internet connection for nearly two weeks, and admittedly we’re happy to have access to GoogleMaps and other modern tools and conveniences of this sort once again.
Now I can certainly read a good old-fashioned map, and in fact, we really enjoy navigating using our Rand McNally 2014 Road Atlas – we’re taking to highlighting every town in which we stay; a fun memento to have when we’re all done with this journey, don’t you think? But with GoogleMaps functioning once again, I, the self-appointed Chief Logistics Officer [CLO], determined we could make it to this destination – the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Ashland, WI – in 3 hours and 39 minutes; it’s 209.6 miles according to my cell phone – what did we do before these things?
In mid-afternoon we found a great little campground right on Lake Superior in Ashland to pull in for the night, so for $30 (cash only!) we hooked up to electricity and water, then unhooked Toad and left Charley to see if we could grab a sunset tour of the islands.
While we’re not necessarily seeking out every national park area (National Lakeshores, National Memorials, National Historic Parks, etc.) – there are some 400+ throughout the U.S. – if we’re in the vicinity of one, we certainly want to explore it. The Apostle Islands is comprised of 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland in Bayfield, WI. It features some stunning natural scenery – windswept beaches, rock formations, sea caves (enjoyed more in winter when they ice up), marine wildlife (we saw two bald eagles), an old fishing camp, and several historic lighthouses.
We made it to the Visitor Center just before they closed, then down to the ticket office and dock just in time (by skipping dinner) for the sunset cruise, only about two hours into our three-and-a-half hour cruise, clouds rolled in and we didn’t get the sunset pictures we were hoping for. Oh well, it was an enjoyable side-trip we managed to fit in, and we heard fun little anecdotes about this unique place.
We drove the 30-miles back down to Charley in Ashland and made a less-than-gourmet dinner (shame on me!) of Kraft macaroni and cheese with a can of tuna [for protein] added to it. As the old idiom goes, needs must. No harm, though – Fred enjoyed a couple of Hamm’s beers and caught up on his emails, I wrote most of these last two blog posts, and we were in bed and reading our new favorite books [Fred: The Boys in the Boat; me: The Kitchen House – thanks, Lisa, for these suggestions as we’re loving them!] shortly after midnight – all in all, a great Out There day!