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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Quarantine Diary #507 YES #507!

Didn’t I announce back in March that my Quarantine Diary was done?

Argh. Never say never.

I assumed after two vaccines it was okay to meander the world as long as we are mindful of kids and people with fragile immune systems. So put on the mask in public places and don’t be overtly stupid.

Making Memories?

This morning the Washington Post has an article about how we make memories. Interestingly, just because we say we are “making memories” doesn’t mean we are. Most little kids will not start making many memories until they are around age 8. Memories get stuck in our mind if they involve several senses and we are going slow enough to pay attention. If one WANTS to remember something, stop paying attention to everything else that is going on, focus in on the thing you care about using more than one sense. Recall it again later. Deep sleep on it overnight and good luck with that.

Three Things & One Announcement 7/16/2021

Thinking Outside the Box: 

Len once told me this WWII story. The first generation of bomber raids from England to Germany resulted in a terrifying number of bomber planes being shot down. Experts carefully examined the returning planes to create detailed reports of the bullet holes as they tried to understand how to reinforce the planes to make them safer.

Three Things 7/7/2021

Israel’s Health Ministry this week announced that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — one of the world’s most effective shots — was offering only 64 percent protection against infection and symptomatic illness caused by the delta variant.

The vaccine was still highly effective at preventing severe illness and death, the ministry said.

(I read this in the Washington Post, though it’s other places also.)

7/5/2021 Three Things (Don’t miss Highland Mitzi)

Last year was the Covid quarantine so most of us didn’t do very much over the 4th of July holiday.

This year, with half Americans now vaccinated there’s more freedom to do things and be with people.

Three Things (Well, Four) 7/1/2021

Bill Cosby is out of prison on a technicality. The judge said 40-year-old Britney Spear still can’t run her own life. Yesterday 88-year-old war criminal* Donald Rumsfeld died comfortably in his bed.

My gut is twisting. How are you? Power, injustice, and money still row the boat that we’re all on. This nation is playing whack-a-mole with justice, hope, and human rights. It feels ominous. I thought I would just mention this in case you thought it was just you that felt assaulted this morning.

Nope.

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