Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Michigan Aug 2015 On the way to Marquette on Lake SuperiorVan Riper State Park, Champion MI and Marquette

Van Riper State Park in Champion would be our last stop in MI.  The reason I had chosen this park, other than it was on the way south, was that my dad had a good friend when we were growing up named George Van Riper.  It was 40 minutes from Marquette and other than a nice lake-Michigamee- there was nothing nearby that we planned to do.  We'd stopped at Pictured Rocks on the way and were pretty knackered by the time we got here but the lake was beautiful, the water was warm enough for wading and we felt refreshed after taking a walk.
A lakeside (Lake Superior) beach on the way to Marquette

The next day was time for me to do laundry as I had not done any for almost 2 weeks.  The nearest laundromat was all the way in Marquette so off I drove for most of the day to wash and fold.  But, it always feels good to get that out of the way and when I got back we went for a paddle on the lake.  We also had plans to go into Marquette one evening for dinner because the people we'd met at dinner in Asheville owned a restaurant in Marquette that we wanted to visit. 

It's a 45 min drive to Marquette so we went early and walked around listening to a summer concert and watching the boats on the lake and then on to the restaurant where we talked for awhile with the "husband half" of the owners (his wife was preparing for their Labor Day trip) and then had a good dinner.

Roadside Scenes on the way

Lake Superior White Fish

The rest of our time at Van Riper was spent kayaking on the lake and hanging out before getting ready for the trip to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Sep 2015 Lake Wissota State Park, Chippewa Falls WI, Eau Claire and a new phone

We traveled halfway across WI going from High Cliff SP to Lake Wissota and saw farms and fields and farms and fields and it was lovely.  Lake Wissota State Park is totally different from High Cliff.  Built on a man made lake, formed in 1917 when the hydroelectric plant was built on the Chippewa River, the lake was named by one of the engineers in the Wisconsin Minnesota Light and Power Co that built it by joining the names of the two states :(Wis)consin and Minne(sota). The campground sits above the banks of one side of the lake. There are bike trails and hiking trails and a number of boat ramps and a nature center all within the park so we had plenty to do. I took a long walk each morning and climbed down to take pictures of the sunset the first night.  Don took long rides and walks along the trails and paddled the first day while I did laundry and groceries in town (Chippewa Falls.)

It was coming up Labor Day weekend (American version-first Monday in September is Labor Day) so the last weekend of the summer and the campground was scheduled to be full.  We knew this because when I'd made reservations only non-electric sites were available.  I thought that was no problem because we have our solar BUT the non-electric sites are all very shady and it was cloudy with rain in the forecast.  I checked when we arrived and there were no cancellations and no generators allowed in WI state parks so we figured we'd conserve and keep our fingers crossed.  But after 3 days with clouds and/or shade we were very low 57% charged and I was getting very nervous. We figured if worse came to worse we could take the MoHo for a drive and charge the batteries.  It was Saturday and we were also hoping that the rain forecast for Monday-the holiday-might get people to leave early and we would get a spot with electricity but no-one had left.

Then, since we would be in Minneapolis/Twin Cities next and had plans to see people and did not want to spend time doing laundry I thought I'd go back into town and do what had piled up again.  A friend texted me as I was hauling the bags to the car and I figured I'd wait until I got to town to answer.  Besides my phone needed to be charged.  Set to go, I started driving toward the gate and realized that my phone had not beeped when I plugged it in.  I looked at screen.  Turned it screen.  What???? I stopped at the Ranger station and checked.  Nothing.  The phone was COMPLETELY dead.  So, I went in and asked Amy, the ranger, if I could plug into the wall socket and see if it was the car.  Still nothing.  Well, she said, you could run over to Best Buy in Eau Claire and see what they say.  So, that was good.  I turned around to drive back to the site to grab the Tracfone, our back up emergency phone, and as I entered our circle I saw a big 5th wheel being hitched to the truck.  It was an electric site.  I stopped and asked if they were leaving and they said yes, in an hour.  WhooHoo!  I told Don, grabbed my phone and then went back to Amy who let us switch sites and left for Eau Claire and what turned out to be a new phone.  As much as something like this might be a hassle it was fun to go see Eau Claire-even if it was the mall-so I came back and went to the laundry where there was free WiFi and I was able to download all my apps and do updates and by the time I got back everything was good.  We had electricity so our batteries had recharged, the rain had stopped so I could go for a bike ride and we still had one more day.  Oh, yeah, we had clean laundry, too.

On the ride from Sherwood to Chippewa Falls we were reminded that WI is a farming state

Many towns had billboard type welcome signs

a stump that I thought was a large turtle

A Morning walk, 

with mushrooms


tree fungus

and a curious deer