Wednesday, September 16, 2015

South shore 2015

Knowing over the Labor Day weekend that I'd be making another entire riding weekend the following week, an already short week got even shorter.  Making it easy though, much of what I'd need on my trip north was already in the van.  A tent was added, warmer clothes, the down bag (2 down bags, one a liner), 3 count-em riding jackets to be ready for any sort of weather.  In other words, since I'd be in the van and camping rather than motelling it this time, I had both the room and the need for extra stuff.

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 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 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!!


  1. looks like a great long weekend!

    could you explain: An Apostle in the distance....

    I liked all the sunset pics!

    1. Thanks Dom, it was truly the kind of September we all hope for up here but seldom get for as many days as this in one stint.

      This area is just west of the Apostle Island National Lakeshore, 22 islands just off the shore of northern Wisconsin in Lake Superior.

    2. thanks for the explanation....was looking for a holy figure....


  2. It was nice to see you again. You've got some great sunset pictures!

    I think I'll have to start exploring more of the U.S. Forest Service roads around here. Maybe some knobbies are what I need.

    1. Thanks Erik, a real having you stop by for some time together on the picnic table. It's interesting up there, the difference between the Bayfield County Forest and the Chequamegon National Forest....names vs numbers to identify the roads. There's no way the OEM tires on the TW could have done what these more aggressive tires on the KLR did. I remember well what a struggle it was back then.

  3. I'd go with the sunset that sank... :)

    1. I'm with you, it was the most fun to wait for. If it hadn't been for that darn tourist stepping into the view... :)

  4. Fabulous pictures. It looks like a great weekend. Beach camping, fine riding, and beautiful sunsets and you met up with Erik too!

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Any one of those things good in themselves but together, September Magic!

  5. I can picture the bike jumping from its trailer, in anticipation of great little dirt roads, and you found some nice playground for the Kawa.

    1. It wasn't much different than that Sonja. I've been looking forward to using the Kawa like that all season.

  6. Coop - that's it, you've just added another must see location to my list. On my little trip around Superior I stopped off en route on Manitoulin Island (supposedly known for it's sunsets.) I waited hours and didn't get a single photo as lovely as your Superior south shore pictures. Apparently Superior is the lake to visit for sunsets not Huron. Sorry can't choose a fav. The sand looks a little less than favorable for cruisers. Will have to stick to pavement. Camping on the shore, that's worth a bit of a walk. How busy do they get in the summer months - reservations required? Already, next summer is forming in my head.

    1. If camping and South Shore make your list, this campground is definitely the place. No reservations accepted or needed from what I've seen. Popular on the 'nicer' weather. As you can imagine, with a cold front coming through from the NW and rain, a bit more shelter would be welcome. The nearby pavilion made a great place to eat and organize, the tent-site sleep and fire-sit, efficiently reducing transporting everything. Unless the weather is really bad, I'll do this again, possibly even in '15.

  7. Hay Coop, I was just up there with the family a few weeks ago. We stayed on Madeline but spent some time in Herbster. I remember saying "we should camp here some time." Maybe next year. Loved hearing about the family connection to the area.

    1. That's right, I remember that your family considers the island a special place. I toyed with the idea of taking the bike over, it's been years since my old Honda 750 made the trip.

      That Herbster campground is a great place to enjoy the lake.