My destination, one I've been trying to make for a few years now, is the campground in Herbster, Wisconsin, located right and I mean right on the south shore of Lake Superior. Realizing that I'd be out 4 nights, the plan was to stay at one of the much coveted shore-side campsites as long as the weather was good, in the tent and then if the weather turned, I'd move up into the more secluded spots in the woods and sleep in the van. Of course, with the van and cargo capacity, I had ample room to provide the luxury of setting up for most any alternative.
So that was the plan but in looking ahead at the forecast, I felt confident enough, threw caution to the wind and paid for 4 nights on the beach spot. Sleeping less than 15' from the lapping (potentially roaring) waves more than offsets the slightly cumbersome part of having to park all vehicles across the road and in a parking lot.
I'm ahead of myself here though.....Thursday evening I was already packed and more than ready to go. Peg and Lauren decided to see "Holmes" at the Red Wing Cinema, 9PM showing and asked me to go along. I almost never visit the theaters, instead waiting to watch anything that interests me in the comfort of our home. Knowing that I'd planned for a very early start Friday, I was more than tempted to turn down their request and then thought better of it and accepted. So glad I did. There were 3 people in the room, all of them Coops and we all very much enjoyed the show. My weekend away had started with a bang.
I've always wanted to stop at Louie's in Cumberland and have more than once but never during Open hours. This time it worked and I had meat, cheese and locally grown vegetables to fill the traveling larder.
Some but not all of my larder. Another stop in Hayward to fill out the corners......they knew how to entice me for a stop. It was raining while inside, sometimes quite hard as I did my grocery shopping.
By the time I made the shore of Lake Superior, it was getting VERY nice out. This taken from the parking lot where the van/trailer/bike are, towards my tent. Tents only, NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES on the beach side. The RV's on the left, the other tenting area and my fallback campsites are further to the left, more private up in the woods.
The KLR almost hops off from the trailer and we were soon on the fire roads.....here a logged area, leaving selected tall and skinny oaks.
An Apostle in the distance....
Worked my way over to Lake Siskiwit, the township campground that I stayed at the last time I did a South Shore Ride.
Price is up.....$6/night last time.....
Looked around Cornucopia, preparations for the Art Crawl the following day were being made.
These libraries are now scattered in the small towns along the South Shore.....this one at the locally famous and much enjoyed artesian spring. This old well head is capped, the spring is flowing a'plenty just to the left.
Always ready for a Wisconsin Friday Fish Fry, I visited the Village Inn, one of Corny's options for Friday fish.
Back at the campsite, I was more than a little intrigued by what I found parked next to my outfit. A bear hunter, playing with a drone on the beach. His friends, his "Bear Truck, as well as the way he presented himself....I never would have connected him/them/bears/drone. That's what I get for supposing.
This couple rode past every evening.....this road heads out to Bark Point and is not very busy, even in season.
OK kids, now you've got to make a choice......I took numerous (as in many) sunset photos each night, tripod in front of my picnic table. Your favorite??
(Monday gets a 2nd showing)
An extra lazy Saturday morning, the plan to attend the Corny Art Crawl....looking east from my tent.
Before the crowds in Cornucopia....
Iced fresh fish being unloaded from the boat......all 4 had been out on the lake that morning.
The KLR makes 7 of the bikes that have had their photograph taken in front of Peg's grandfather's fishing boat The Twin Sisters, beached after the lamprey's did their best to ruin commercial fishing on Lake Superior.
Bark Bay Slough, safe and easy kayaking adjacent to the Lake.
Back to camp for some lunch and then an afternoon of Fire Roads....
Stopped at the Long Lake Day Use area, a few swimmers at the beach. Our family has enjoyed this sandy beach in the past.
A loop out to Washburn for an afternoon coffee with a stop at Big Top Chautauqua. We've never been....some day.
Sunday morning first sunlight, on the beach next to the tent.
More Forest Service Roads and my 2nd trip to the fire tower.
Remember my GPS Track from last weekend?
Here's what the Track looks like a week later....not as extensive, nor as dense. Average speeds were down, a lot more time in 2nd and 3rd gear rather than 5th and 6th. You can see lots of breaks where my old Quest unit kept losing satellite connection.
Roads NOT found in southern Wisconsin....the Driftless Region. I can brag now, never fell down but came the closest Tuesday morning, a very long stretch of this stuff. Not bad while the front wheel's rolling but you dasn't let that front wheel start plowing. I almost had all 3 legs down once but managed to maintain.
It shows a 4-way but there were really 5 that came together here.
I stopped at Siskiwit Falls, a place that 10 year old Peg and her cousins used to cool their toes off. Our kids and we've done it here as well.
Monday afternoon I rode up to Sand Bay adjacent to the Red Cliff Reservation, a very popular place for the sea kayak folks to put in.
The campground at Herbster had wi-fi, though it fanned out over the RV area and did not sweep the area where my tent was. The camp's bulletin board mentioned free wi-fi at "The Gym". All of my trips through Herbster hadn't allowed me to ever go past The Gym. I stopped and was dumbfounded by the building and the story of its origin.
Open 24/7, you simply walk in and share this building with the community. I simply couldn't believe what I was seeing and how lovely it is inside. With my muddy and crusty boots, I didn't even walk in on the board floor, instead just stood on the carpets at the base of the bleachers.
There was a man mowing next door and my standing out front, just staring at the building brought him over and when the engine was shut down, he shared much of the story. He had been chairman on the Town Board when the decision was made to renovate and bring the place back to life, possibly even better (brand new energy efficient windows) than when the WPA had built it originally. "There was grumbling about the money....it takes quite a bit to heat the large, old empty space but your smile and everyone else's that sees this building makes it worthwhile. We truly do think it's a community treasure."
I do too. The next time I'm camping in Herbster, I hope it rains and gets nasty.....just one day though.
Before heading north last week, I quickly sent our buddy Erik an email that I'd be not all that far away and if so interested, I'd enjoy a meeting somewhere. Erik rode up, not once but twice before he caught me (those KLR's are fast...). It was really great to see him again, our discussion a good one. Thanks Erik, really appreciate the effort and chance to shoot the breeze again in such a lovely place. Oh, and I took your route home, thanks for the suggestion.
Tuesday morning was as stretched out as I could possibly make it. I was on the bike as early as I dared with neighbors near the pavilion that may not be as enthusiastic about single cylinder motorcycles as I am. Check out time was 11:00 and I pushed that right up to the last few minutes.
Before I got on the bike though......formation.
Local shooting range open to the public...
Stopped at Halvorson's for smoked whitefish at 10 Tuesday morning only to discover that they were closed. A quick dash to Ehler's Store in Corny was a successful shop. It was there I discovered these wonderful and thoughtful signs.
Not wanting to end my weekend and time along the shore, I packed up, loaded the bike and drove over to Port Wing to study sea gulls. It was lunch time and a very fine place to supervise activities at the pier.
The equivalent of arms' length apart......
Then the flock of ATV's showed up, lunch time for them as well.
Home again, what a great time up north!!