Saturday, August 26, 2017

Motel Hell Part II

On our second day driving north, we hit Michigan before 8 AM--leaving around 7:30.
It's very wooded with pines and birch trees and looks like ferns. They seem to be branched, and tall. Beautiful, in any case. We take 45, past Route 2, into Michigan, going beyond where we'd gone before. A new adventure for us. We like that about traveling. We never know what we'll see.
This road is perfectly smooth and hardly any traffic. We've decided against going or staying in Duluth. We want the quiet, open roads and wilderness around us.

At some point my phone switched over to Eastern Time. Never been on that before, sort of strange. You get hungry earlier than they serve lunch, and that's not to our liking. (There were times on this trip we had trouble finding a place to eat, and were eating way later than we'd like--and I mean once it was 1:30 before we ate lunch, and we like to eat around 11:30, normally).

We did the "rabbit ears" of Michigan, as Dennis wanted. The first part was all woods, passing little or no traffic, and a few camp sites (something we note because we may do an RV in a few years down the road). It was cool, dry 70's up here, exactly what we were hoping to enjoy, instead of the humid 80's of Illinois.

At the end was a small town called Copper Harbor. This is where they used to mine copper from the waters. We ate at a cute little diner. Again, our tummies were hungry, but we were eating later than we wanted. I don't recall the name of the restaurant, but there were few choices. We both had sandwiches, and ice tea. Enough to keep us going, and we were now on the Lake Superior side, which was a goal. We continued on Rt 2 and got the scenery we'd hoped for.

While Dennis made a video, I collected a lot of rocks. I'm a rock hound, by the way. The flat rocks were interesting. Some had holes in them, and you could see the blue, which would be copper, spotted throughout some.

We stopped in Cornucopia, where we'd stopped the last time, seven years (I think) ago. There, you could access a beach.

I took off my shoes and stuck my feet in.

That was fun.
Also took picture of this boat.

I've done a watercolor of this boat, and I'll share it at some point.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, plant, tree, outdoor and natureOur plan was not to go so far today, and walk around in and out of shops and do some shopping. And here I am in front of one of the shops, note the boat above is behind me in this shop.
The homes build along the lake were, let's just say, high-end.
We continued on Hwy 2, and got to Ashland, following a state trouper the whole way. Funny how no one passed him, even though it was a 4-lane road.

We took a break at a pull-off park where I found red raspberries and ate a few. I remember hearing at some place men discussing that the raspberries were at the end of production and blueberries were just getting ripe.

Next up--Bayfield, and lunch choices.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Motel Hell Part I

It's the luck of the dice when you go from one motel to the next, not knowing what you'll pay. Sure. We could have made advanced  reservations, but my husband doesn't like to be tied to some schedule when he travels. So, we just get to a town and hope for the best.

If you've never stayed in a motel/hotel, I've gotta say one thing, you get what you get no matter what you pay. You get a bathroom, bed, TV, and maybe you'll get a refrigerator/microwave, and a window over the parking lot. Some motels include the usual "continental" breakfast. As if the word "continental" is something special. You get bad coffee and stale donuts at the very least. Other places will give you a hot breakfast, actually prepared by someone. Usually this is some sort of fried meat, maybe potatoes, scrambled eggs that look like something from a M.A.S.H. unit, and lumpy oatmeal. There could be waffles, there might be pancakes, it all depends on what the motel is willing to fork out (it's not "free", you've paid for it).

My experience is, you sometimes get lucky. Luck in finding a place to eat nearby (dinner and breakfast), that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Our first stay was in Eagle River, Wisconsin. We try and find the "Ma & Pop" style motels, because, usually they don't cost much--around $60-$70, tops. Plus, you can usually park right in front of your door. This is good for when you have a lot of heavy stuff to haul in, as they are usually only one-story deals.

We found a place called "Edge Water Inn", it was right off the river, next to a restaurant that we went to the last time we stayed in this town years ago. When we got out, there was only an old Golden Retriever laying under the patio table in front of the office. She was friendly, and came right up to us. When we saw the note on the door saying the person in charge was "relaxing" on the dock out back, we wondered how to get there. No fear, the dog, being as smart as most Goldens, walked to a narrow opening through to the back of the motel.She waited for us to follow. And we found the middle-aged, rotund woman down a flight of steep steps in a lounge chair on a deck off the water, blowing up some sort of individual rafts.

We asked if she had any rooms available. She had two double queens--"maybe". Well we wanted to get that confirmed. She finally got up, saying she had a family reunion and there weren't many rooms left, said something about apartments too. We noted that there were rooms down below the main rooms facing the river, and those must have been the apartments (or suites). Eventually we got a room, near the end, away from the office and all the "family reunion" stuff, and got settled. We realized we had a door to the back deck, and this is where we spent some time relaxing that evening, watching the boats go by.

We paid $94.00 after tax, and for that money, I'd give the room itself a 3, since it needed dusting, but otherwise clean. But the view was a 5. However, the place really needed some up-keep. We didn't lean on the railing, as it was a bit wobbly, and could have used a coat of paint. The decks were rather worn, and should have been stained, and a few boards should have been replaced. Up-keeping on such a place should really be #1 in priority, especially where railings could fail. But this was an older couple, neither of which looked energetic enough to make beds, let alone some of the up-keep needed.

Their reunion commenced as promised, and even though she said we could join them, we aren't that interested in other people's relatives. Thank you. It was a good thing they pretty much contained their partying on the outer-most deck, shown below.

The restaurant next door is called White Spruce, and can be pulled up to via boat, much like this motel. They have a beer garden on their deck. I remember it from last time, but since it began raining, and there was thunder, they didn't seat anyone outside. Bummer. As usual, more than enough food was served. Salad is always first, and it was very good. I had eggplant Parmesan, and Dennis had something called "smoked meatloaf", which he didn't care for. I think my husband could have been a food critic. He really missed his calling.

Getting back to our room, we had difficulty navigating through the stations on the TV. This was Direct TV, with a thousand and one stations, and I do believe you need a PhD in order to understand how to use it. We wound up watching a Harry Potter movie, and could not find any news stations anywhere, not even in the morning.

Even though motels say they have coffee in the morning, they don't have coffee until they've rolled out of bed and made it. We resorted to our old standby by getting into the truck, and finding a gas station store, which always have coffee and some sort of sweet rolls. Plus, we needed ice. 'Nuff said. We got down the road heading for Land O' Lakes, and wherever the road takes us next.

It's beautiful country up this way, and I like it because it doesn't get boring (like 200 miles of Illinois and more than 300 miles of Iowa). I'll be back with rest of trip and Motel Hell Part II.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Get Away

Hi, all. My husband and I went on a 6-day road trip. We traveled up through Wisconsin, stayed in Eagle River, and on the river, which I'll post pictures of. Went on up into Upper Peninsula of Michigan to what they call "rabbit ears" to see Lake Superior and get away from heat and humidity of Illinois. And we did, although a number of the natives were saying it was hotter than normal, even more humid. To us it was a wonderful reprieve from our 60%-70% humidity down here.

I'm just going to post some pictures, and throw in some descriptions below.

Trip through Wisconsin is always more enjoyable than going west through Illinois and Iowa.

Me relaxing with a drink at Bridgewater Inn on Eagle River. I felt for the price of the view it was almost reasonable, but the upkeep could have been better. 

Boats on the river, they had a posted speed requirement, we watched them all slow down at this point.

The next day we headed into Michigan, the Upper Peninsula to reach our goal destination.

Lake Superior is the larges fresh water lake IN THE WORLD! Thus the name.

Above this trail beckoned us to go to the sandy beach, where I put my feet in and acted like a kid. I think acting like a kid keeps me young.

Thanks for joining me.
I'll post rest of trip pics later this week as time permits.

Summer and keeping cool

Living in the country has its advantages. You don't have close-by neighbors, and we get to see nature, like deer, raccoons, chipmunks. w...