To the Northwoods and Beyond

It was that time again - time to get away from friends and family for an extended period of time. Not that we get to see friends and family in person for an extended period of time very often. Still, it seemed like it would be a fun thing to do, so we did it, and it was.

Here's what it was...to the best of my recollection. (It's amazing how quickly you forget or reorder things sometimes.)

Note: If you arrived here from State Parks Journey, you should know that this article covers both Amnicon and Pattison State Parks (and more). It was written before I had the thought of visiting all the state parks in Wisconsin. I will compose a new story about each of these parks over at State Parks Journey, if and when we make it back to them someday.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

After Karen was done with work at the local KT, we headed north along I-94 making it as far as Eau Claire to visit with Matt and Becca for the evening. (Yeah, ignore that first line above.)

We had a relaxing few hours. I took a picture of some of their tall pines because they looked picturesque. And when trees are giving you that look, you don't want to disappoint.

I also got to try a new (to me/us) game called Point Salad. It was light, quick, and fun. I won by a point, but we agreed that I probably should have lost. (Matt should have played differently on his last turn.)

Monday, August 2, 2021

I'm not sure if Eau Claire is technically in the Northwoods, but on Monday we definitely drove through them and beyond - all the way to the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our first stop was at Gooseberry Falls in Minnesota.

Gooseberry Falls

Here are a few shots that pretty much speak for themselves, so I won't say anything about them.

Fine...I'll say one thing. People ask us if falls like these have a lot of water falling down them or not. Since this is the first time we've seen them, we have no reference point, so we really can't say. Sure, there are a lot of visible rocks, but is that normal or not? Probably not, but who am I to judge?

Now back to your regularly scheduled pictures.

See the overpass in the background? This is the not-so-soft underbelly of that beast, which we walked under to get back to our starting point. You can see the walking path at the right.

Here is an interesting, castlesque wall near highway 61, which is virtually adjacent to the falls area.

I think we saw these berries along the way. They're not gooseberries though.

Tom's Logging Camp

On the way back to Duluth-Superior, we wanted to stop at Tom's Logging Camp. 'Tis not an easy place to get to, even though it's clearly visible from the highway.

Coming from the north, as we were, you go past the camp, turn around at the next available spot, drive past the camp again, turn right onto a gravel road, cross the tracks, turn right again onto a paved road, and follow the (largely useless) signs advertising the attraction until you get to the entrance.

Granted, it wasn't as difficult as I'm trying to make it sound, but the State really should let them have access directly from highway 61 because the parking lot is literally on the other side of the ditch.

As you might expect, Tom's has a large collection of rusty, old logging camp paraphernalia - things for cutting down trees, things for moving trees, things for horses who help move the trees, etc. I didn't take pictures of them.

Related: Did you ever stop to consider how difficult it is for a blacksmith to create an iron chain? You probably haven't. Please do so now. Apparently each smithy had his own method for doing so and didn't share it with his fellow smiths.

Here are the things I did take pictures of.

There were a few animals in the camp that you could feed for a quarter a pop. (We didn't.)


The quality of these pictures isn't as good as I would have liked. For some unknown reason, I left my camera in the car and had to rely on my phone. I'm not as good with a phone camera as with a "real" camera.

Llamas, because...llamas

Flower, because...flower

Street Shoe - Rubber Cased - City Use Only

Yes, it's an electric chair. I don't think they actually used it at the camp, so why it's there, I have no clue. Which is, of course, why I had to take a picture of it.

Super8 - Superior

After our first day of sightseeing, we returned to Superior, Wisconsin, where we had reservations for the week at a Super8 on the east end of town.

For supper, we went across the street to the Choo Choo Bar & Grill. I regret that I didn't take any pictures of the building, but you can get an eyeful if you click the link. I didn't realize till much later that the name of this establishment may be a pun, but I'm not quite ready to give them that much credit. Sorry, just being honest. The food was good.

By the way, most of our lunches originated at the local KT, which was just up the street...obvz.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The next day we took a train ride aboard the Duluth Zephyr. It was a pleasant excursion from Duluth nor'eastward alongside much of highway 61 where we had been the day before.

It was hard to get a good shot. (We don't know those people.)

Afterward, we walked along much of the lakeshore starting near the iconic (I guess) lift bridge.

From the north side

Approaching, if driving onto

From the south side, where we ate lunch

Bridge lifted up

Drawbridge to where we ate lunch

The Minnesota Slip Bridge, as it's known

A large pier

With a lighthouse at the end

Someone noted that the Duluthians know where to place their transmission towers (not in so many words).

I was surprised - though probably shouldn't have been - how quickly the landscape rises around the lake. But I guess that's why the lake exists, isn't it?

Dipping the toes

(I got my hands wet, too.)

The shot below is a tile mosaic along the lakeshore walking path. I didn't get the whole thing in the frame. Below it are the tracks that the Zeyphr used. Above it is the city street/highway.

Someone spent a lot of time supergluing all those tiles in place.

Edit: I have been informed that I mixed up the dates we went to Eddie's and Gronk's. I mention this only so you don't yell at me if you try to go to Eddie's on a Tuesday and find that they're not open.

For supper this day, we went to Eddie's Supper Club.

Once upon a time, Eddie's ribs cost just $4.00. Not so anymore, but I had a quarter rack anyway. They were good.

Eddie's is an unusual place in many respects. It's located in a residential area, right next to the train tracks. To be clear, it's hard to build anything in Superior that's not near the tracks.

The theme of the club is mainly gas station related. Just inside the main entrance are two very old gas pumps - one for Sinclair, the other for Mobile. There are antique oil containers on a shelf all around the 10-table dining room. (I didn't take pictures because I didn't want to be that guy.) You can see model cars in the picture above. There were similar vehicles on every such dividing wall, trying to stay with the oil and gas theme.

Our waitress may have smiled once. I proposed that she had maybe had a rough waitressing day. Karen noted that the supper club had only been open for an hour, so....

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

On Wednesday, we took a trek south of town - mostly via lettered, county roads - to Pattison State Park, home of Big and Little Manitou Falls. Big Manitou (manitou means spirit, as we learned later while on Lake Superior proper) is the largest waterfall in Wisconsin and the 4th largest east of the Rockies.

More than once on this trip, we saw selfie posts. You set the timer on your phone camera, set it on the shelf provided, click, run, and hope. At least, that's what I did. I got it right the first time.

Here is Big Manitou all by itself from two slightly different angles.

Big Manitou is on the west side of highway 35. There's a parking lot on that side that doesn't feel like part of the park proper. We started there and then had to walk through this tunnel under the road to get to the main portion of the park. I probably didn't really have to duck as we walked through, but I did.

If you think about it, the water has to get from the east side of the road to the west side (where Big Manitou is), so they had to leave a place for...water under the bridge.

The water is falling, but I'm dubbing this a waterdrop instead.

On the other side is Interfalls Lake of which this is a portion.

Little Manitou isn't especially close to its Big Brother. At several places along the path to the south, we saw signs similar to this one.

I wonder how temporary that really is. Maybe when the former path is completely grown over they'll remove the signs.

Someone wisely put a resting bench at this spot.

At last we made it to Little Manitou Falls.

On the way back, we walked over a bridge. The water below seemed rather troubled, so....

That was quite enough excitement for one day, so for supper, we went to Gronk's Bar and Grill which is right next door to the Super8.

Sadly, this fine establishment is not related to Mr. Gronkowski. A Gronk is apparently a cavemanesque figure for which someone decided to name the restaurant.

It does contain this cool jersey though.

Gronk's is one of those places, where, if you can eat an 8-pound burger in 2 hours without leaving the table, you are reputed to be quite the person.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Three Hour Tour...Or So

On the last day of our expedition, we traveled an hour and a half east to Bayfield to take a (nearly) three-hour tour of the Apostle Islands aboard the Archipelago, a catamaran-style boat for which I sadly have no pictures. (Thought about it. Just didn't do it.)

I did get plenty of shots of interesting-looking sights along the shores of the islands and in the waters of Lake Superior. Again, I'll let them mostly speak for themselves. (Don't ask me which island is which or if I have the pictures in the correct order.)

Bald eagle

Eagles in nest

Gull on a tower

I didn't notice till later that not all of these are gulls.

Fishing camp

More gulls

We weren't the only boat on the lake, though these were much smaller. Which reminds me...I was surprised we didn't see more large shipping ships. (There's one in the background a few shots up above.) Is shipping no longer a big thing in Duluth?

UPDATE: Somehow I totally forgot to tell y'all about Amnicon Falls in the first edition of this post. So here goes....

Amnicon Falls State Park

On the way back to Superior, we stopped for a little while at Amnicon Falls State Park. The main falls area isn't very big, so we didn't stay very long. Much of it you can see by circumferencing an island adjacent to the main falls.

But first, we took a quick look at Now and Then Falls as seen just below.

I am not making this up. It's actually called Now and Then Falls. I'm just guessing, but I think of late it's been more Then than Now.

Here are a few shots of the main falls area.

Here's the covered bridge that you have to cross to get to that island I mentioned. (That's Karen posing.)

And finally, here is Snake Pit Falls that you can see on your trip around the island. It's a little hard to tell in this photo, but there's a big, dark canyonesque area down there that gives the falls its name.

No fancy supper club this evening. Instead, we just went to the A&W in Superior.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Our trip home was almost uneventful. What obviously happened below actually occurred in Delafield.

I'm glad we made it home before the big rain. We had 1.63 inches last night, and as I finish writing, it starting to rain again - another big storm approacheth. But that's okay. We need the rain.

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