Mary Beth Writes

A week ago, Len and I took our vaccinated selves on a 3-day “Born to Run” road trip. We drove six hours north to Ashland, WI, which is on the Chequamegon Bay, which is on Lake Superior. Because everyone wants to rock out the end of a Wisconsin winter by going north to have more of it, right?

We stayed at the motel we always stay in. They no longer clean your room each day and the “breakfast included” is now cups of fruit and yogurt that you can take back to your room. Whatever. No one goes to a Super 8 for pampering. We ate both evenings at the Deepwater Grill which we highly revere and had sorely missed. They observed protocols and we wore masks except while we were eating. (Things you should eat at the Deepwater: burgers, any of their fish- it’s caught locally, mushroom and wild rice soup, their South Shore Brewery beer.)

It was both ordinary and extraordinary being back inside a restaurant. It felt safe, which is how places feel when a threat is invisible and consequences won’t appear for days. It was so, so, so lovely to sit, talk about the day, eat tasty food, and groove to the hum of other humans. Kinda felt like we were cheating on all of you.

But the best thing is this. We love Ashland because we love to hike. This was pretty early in the season and the hikes were icy-to-icier. After the hike that I did partially on my bottom in order to not fall over, we stopped at a hardware store in Washburn to buy crampons for our boots. (Can one buy crampons in a hardware store in Chicago? I bet not.) It took 26 years in Wisconsin to finally buy crampons. (Crampons are cleats you pull over your shoes or boots to help grip the ice.) They work marvelously.

Len took these photos. The weather was crisp and icy and as sheerly beautiful as glass art in a sunny museum.

The hike to the Ice Caves was closed because there had been recent thawing and it was apparently deemed unsafe. Then again, there was an ice fishing contest going on over the weekend; we saw cars, trucks, and full-sized trailers on the ice of Chequamegon Bay. And there is a PLOWED “road” on the ice between Bayfield and Madeline island. We didn’t drive on it.

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That’s the ice road to Madeline Island. Madeline Island is the spiritual home of Lake Superior Chippewa since long before Europeans showed up and French fur traders built a fort here in 1660. Jesuit Missionaries Marquette and Allouez established a mission here in 1663. (Those two guys impress me. I wrote about them here.

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Copper Falls State Park. This is Brownstone Falls where the Bad River and Tyler Forks River crash into and around each other. In the summer you can hear the roar of the falls from the parking lot which is a quarter mile away.

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 This is where springs outfall to and through a ravine on their way to Lake Superior. It’s on the Houghton Falls hike just north of Washburn. If you go this way, don’t miss this hike. It’s less than a mile from parking lot to lake and is not – usually - treacherous.

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The sky at night when one is not in a city. 

 

 

 

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Those are some spectacular pictures! The Pandemic isolation has certainly given us a new appreciation for the things we used to do. Glad you could get out there.
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. And I was watching it snow out my window here, as wrote this. sigh.

Love the pictures. Looks cold but very beautiful. An outing after all this time —- so fun. You are always so good with sharing!
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks!

Great details for my travel diary:) Can't wait to get my vaccine turn. My 85 yr old dad has 2 more weeks to get his second. Mom got both a month before his first...go figure:( Beautiful photo!
Mary Beth's picture

It's unsettling how differently states are doing this. Glad I don't live in Florida...

Love this part of the state! Thanks for tip on Deepwater Grill!
Mary Beth's picture

If you go to Ashland, here are some more stops to make. The Black Cat has great coffee. Across the street from it is the Ashland Baking Company. There's your breakfast... The Chequamegon Co-op is awesome. We stop there in the morning to buy a sandwich and a drink, put those in our backpack for lunch. This time, I hade a Thai wrap of greens, spicy stuff, cumin, and peanuts. Which one does not always expect to eat in the middle of an Up North forest, but it is a delight beyond compare.

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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