9/16/14

Munising, Michigan

We arrived at our ultimate destination of Munising, Michigan yesterday afternoon (pronounced MEW-nuh-sing). We are spending two nights here, and then we will turn the wagon around and head west again. There is still lots to see, however.

We had a scare yesterday, and initially thought we were going to have to scrub the rest of the trip when one of the front trailer jacks (called a "landing gear") stopped working. It meant we could no longer decouple the trailer from the truck, which is a major problem, to say the least. After making some calls and giving it some thought, Mike came up with a work-around that allowed us to continue. I can report this morning that his work-around is working, and we are doing okay. We should be able to limp home without any problem, paying attention to only stopping on level campsites. (I'll say more about that later.) For now, I'll say I need to confess, that it's probably my fault that the jack is effed up and here's why.

It has to do with the State of the States. Remember when I showed you I'd stuck Wisconsin on the map? Well, I tempted fate by sticking Michigan up there at the same time. We were traveling to Michigan the next day, and I figured, why clean off the side of the trailer twice? It's only one day, right?


Well Fate, having been tempted, could not resist the urge and scared us into thinking that Michigan was off the map before we'd even arrived. But we made it, thanks to Mike and his problem-solving skills. Who says engineers can't spell? Oh wait. That doesn't work. Anyhooo...

So here's how the map looks now. I'm thinking we're not adding any states on the way back, but one never knows. We are a few days behind schedule, which means that some things on the itinerary are going to be forfeited. If I can figure a way to drive through Iowa and Nebraska, you know I will do it.


Here's the sticker sheet with the states we have not yet visited. As a Marine brat, I've been in quite a few of these states. Heck, I've lived in quite a few of them. We've just not visited as a couple with our RV.


But on with yesterday's journey. We drove through the little town of Ashland, Wisconsin, where they appear to be building an ark. 


We traveled through quite a few little picturesque towns yesterday, this one below being the most patriotic of the bunch. There were flags everywhere...no real explanation for them beyond just loving our country. They'll get no argument from me.


And shortly thereafter, Michigan! Yahoo!


And, Michigan, we are loving your roads!

We stopped off for lunch at this lovely little spot. This is Lake Gogebic.


Fall is coming, my friends. We saw signs of it all the way yesterday.


Just before arriving in Munising yesterday, we drove through the little town of Christmas, which appears to exist for no other reason than to sell Christmas ornaments. And who do you suppose we saw there?


We are camped right alongside Lake Superior for two nights. Look north, and this is what you see.


Look south, and you see bright sunshine. I had to take this shot using the low-key setting on my camera.


Look straight out, and I believe you see Grand Island.


Turn directly around 180 degrees, and you can see our trailer.


This is a unique little bay here because it is sheltered on both sides and by the island, which means it doesn't bear the full brunt of the storms on Lake Superior. On the other side, there is a low mountain range. here's a panorama of the area. It's cut off on the left side because of the bright sunshine.


There is a sandy beach. If I didn't know better, I might think I was standing on a beach of the Pacific Ocean. The water extends on and on to the horizon. Minnesota is on the other side, but we can't see it.


Here's Mike's work-around. He uses the airbags on the truck somehow. He explained it to me, but it's not worth explaining to you. He can raise and lower the truck that way and ease it out from under the trailer. Then he used a manual jack to level and support this side of the trailer. It's a short jack, and so it requires those little plastic platforms to get it up high enough to reach the frame on the trailer.


We were wanting to try the local cuisine of "pasties" (pronounced with a short "A", as in "apple"). I had to ask my Facebook friends what they are, and we were told they were a sort of hand-held pot pie. The local watering hole and brewery served them up, and we had a coupon from the RV park where we're staying. 


The "firehouse" lounge is right across from the Munising fire and police complex.


They brew beer, but I'm not a beer drinker. I always order some hard cider if it's available. I always love the labels on the bottles. Looks refreshing, no?


While we waited for our food, we perused their Firefighters' Wall of Fame.


Firefighters and police from all over the state and country had signed the wall.



Give a comedian a platform, and he'll tell a joke:



At least one memorial to a police officer:


I looked for and found a woman's name:


And there it is...dinner! Our very first pasties. They were served up with coleslaw and some dipping gravy. It was a little too hot to hold in our hands, and so we ate ours with knife and fork. I imagine the folks in the restaurant laughed and pointed after we left.


And then, we headed back to our trailer and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset.


It reflected in the water on the shore.


This morning, my little buddy is helping me write this post, making sure I don't leave anything out. There is a squirrel running around outside that is about to drive him crazy.


Today, we're taking a much-needed day to just hang out while we wait for our boat cruise to the Pictured Rocks. It doesn't leave until 5:45. Mike needs to make a trip to the hardware store, and I'll check out a few gift shops. We need to pick up our tickets for the cruise as well. Tomorrow, we'll start heading for home.

I didn't want to stop today without posting this image I swiped off Facebook of Erik and Mae (on the left). They celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Hawaii this year when the attended (as they always do) the first away game of the Oregon State Beavers football team. This year, happily, the game was played in Hawaii. It was Mae's first trip, Erik's second trip. They're looking pretty happy there, aren't they? That's Diamond Head in the background.


Happy anniversary, my dears...and many more to come.

And I almost forgot to tell you this last little tidbit of information that I wrote yesterday. I wanted to follow up with some information about the rocky landscape around Lake Superior. My thanks go to Marie who shared this interesting bit about the geology of the area with me. Recall the image I showed you of the lakeshore at Gooseberry Falls State Park:


Here's what Marie shared with me:
Canadian Shield or Laurentian Plateau (lôrĕnˈchən) [key], U-shaped region of ancient rock, the nucleus of North America, stretching N from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean. Covering more than half of Canada, it also includes most of Greenland and extends into the United States as the Adirondack Mts. and the Superior Highlands. The first part of North America to be permanently elevated above sea level, it has remained almost wholly untouched by successive encroachments of the sea upon the continent. It is the earth's greatest area of exposed Archaean-age rock; the metamorphic rocks of which it is largely composed were probably formed in the Precambrian. Repeatedly uplifted and eroded, it is today an area of low relief (c.1,000–2,000 ft/305–610 m above sea level) with a few monadnocks and low mountain ranges (including the Torngat and Laurentian Mts.) probably eroded from the plateau during the Cenozoic era. During the Pleistocene epoch, continental ice sheets depressed the land surface (see Hudson Bay), scooped out thousands of lake basins, and carried away much of the region's soil. Drainage is generally very poor on the shield. The southern part of the shield has thick forests while the north is covered with tundra. The region is largely undeveloped but has great water-power potential and is a source of minerals, timber, and fur-bearing animals.

Here are the associated images:


When we toured the islands at Voyageurs, we were told that these were some of the oldest rocks on the planet, but we had no idea the vast size of these formations. Very interesting stuff. You guys are so smart. I do the looking, you do the 'splainin. Thanks again, Marie. And thanks also to Felicia who has been identifying all the wildflowers. Several others of you have chipped in as well, and I do appreciate your input.

9/15/14

Quilt Shop: Orchard's Edge Quilt Shop, Bayfield, Wisconsin

It was just plain good luck that we arrived in Bayfield, Wisconsin, early enough yesterday for me to visit the quilt shop. It was open from noon until 4:00 on a Sunday, and I was in for a treat. Here is their business card.


The store employee told me the story of the name. The shop is owned by a mother and son who do all the long-arm quilting. Originally, their business was home-based. Eventually, it grew enough that they decided to move into this little house in the downtown area. I'm sorry the picture isn't better, but I was shooting directly into the sun, and the storefront was in shadow.


As you walk through the front door, this is what you see:


This is a small shop, and their long-arm machine took up a good portion of the available square footage. There wasn't as much fabric here as I've seen in some of the other stores that I've visited, but what they had was very nice. There was something for everyone's tastes here.


They had a good selection of patterns.


including another new-to-me designer in Bloomin' Minds. You can see their website at that link, where I am informed they are based out of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The website is cute, and worth a peek. It also informs me that most patterns include a recipe of some kind. Cute idea. I didn't purchase any of these at the store, but I want to give that website a more thorough look.


If there had been a pattern for the quilt below, I would have snapped it up. This was hanging above


their shelf of fat quarters. Cute, huh?


They had a good supply of wool for you Woolen Sails people.


There were beautiful batiks and some pretty whimsical fabrics. There was also a good supply of regional prints.


Their books are 20% off all of the time, and I picked up this book. As I said in an earlier post, I'm looking at small quilts these days until I can get some of the larger ones off my WIP list.


And remember the Split Rock Lighthouse pattern I picked up in Beaver Bay?


Well, I was thrilled to find this fabric at the shop here in Bayfield. Won't this make a great back for my lighthouse?



It shows lighthouses from all over the country, including a few from Oregon, and check this out!


Well, I would have purchased it anyway, but seeing the Split Rock lighthouse really sealed the deal. 

So I loved this shop, and I was thrilled to find them open for business. The store employee was very friendly and told me some stories about the area. She wanted me to pass along to you that the best time to visit is in October when the apple festival is going on, and the population of the town swells from about 500 to 50,000. Considered yourself warned, er, informed. I give this shop my highest rating. They had me with their "open" banner, but I loved visiting here. It was cute, warm, friendly, and had everything a quilter needs for a good day of sewing. 


Definitely stop in if you find yourself in Bayfield. And, believe me, Bayfield is worth driving out of your way to see.

*Disclaimer:  Cat Patches accepts no advertising, nor any sponsorships. The opinions expressed on this blog are based on the personal impressions and perceptions of the author. They are formed on the basis of one short visit, on one day, and may or may not reflect the experience of others visiting on a different day.  They are no more descriptive than a single snapshot image can be, and nothing written in a review of a quilt shop should be construed as objective fact.  The reviews are strictly the author's subjective opinion and should not be interpreted as anything more.


Bayfield, Wisconsin

It's a delightful little town here in Bayfield, Wisconsin, which is the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. We had a short day of driving yesterday, although bad roads continue to slow us down. We didn't find any construction yesterday...which is both good and bad, because the roads could use a little attention on Wisconsin SR 13. 

There isn't a whole lot to say about yesterday. We got under way slowly yesterday morning. Duluth was less than 50 miles away, and it was the first place of note that we came to. You can just barely see it as we approach in the middle of the image below.


Duluth is a big port city at the southern tip of Lake Superior, and it has some pretty fancy schmancy bridges crossing this huge expanse of water. The bulk of shipping here is for grain and ore coming from harvest and mines to be loaded onto ships and shipped off to mill for processing.


There are huge grain silos. While you might think this is lovely waterfront property, it is highly industrialized.


Another huge bridge takes the interstate traffic across Lake Superior.


As you go up and over


and back down again, you cross into the Great State of Wisconsin.


There we took the scenic highway Wisconsin 13 along the lakeshore toward Bayfield. We've been a little disappointed by the lakeshore roads. When one drives down Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, the ocean is visible for most, if not all of the way. The drives along Lake Superior have given us just little glimpses of the lake. The roads are mostly lined with trees on both sides. It's pretty enough...just not what we thought we were going to see. The map designates them as "scenic highways" and shows the road going right along the lake. In fact, we are at least a quarter mile inland most of the time.

Nevertheless, we did see some beautiful country yesterday, even if it wasn't lakefront. I was able to add a few more barns to my barn folder.


The barns we saw were in varying states of repair, with some of their roofs actually caving in. We can't believe they are of use for anything since they can't possibly shelter against rain and snow.


After many miles, we finally got a glimpse of the Wisconsin lake shore. We were surprised at how muddy the water was for quite a ways out into the depths of the lake. Perhaps the recent storm caused this? Or perhaps a muddy river is draining into the lake? We can't say for sure.


Eventually, we caught our first view of the bay that is Bayfield. You can see a little blue strip across the middle of the image below.


And what a sweet little town, with a distinctly New England flavor...even if this is technically the midwest.


The roads exhaust Mike the driver, and so he stayed at the trailer after we unhitched, and I drove into town to do a little shopping. I was surprised to find everything (including the quilt shop!) open on a Sunday afternoon. There were some lovely homes along the lake front...big and old homes...and I would have loved to tour some of them. Many had been converted to bed and breakfasts and cozy-looking inns.


Do you see the church steeple a little off to the left in the middle of the image below?


And you gotta love a shop with a name like this:


There is a small boat harbor at the edge of town, and from here, boat tours to the Apostle Islands are launched. Here is what a placard at the edge of town says:


There's a lovely little park, and the weather was perfect. A little windy, but warm enough to be out without a jacket. Folks were enjoying one of the last warm weekends all around the region.


Here's a satellite image showing our location, and you can see the Apostle Islands off shore.


And here's a panorama of this lovely little harbor and water-side park. Look carefully right in the middle, and you can see one of the islands.


And I would be remiss if I didn't give you the State of the States. Yesterday, I added Wisconsin and Lake Superior to the map.


In a few hours, we will be off again, headed toward our turn-around point in Munising, Michigan. We'll spend two nights there and take a sunset tour of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore tomorrow evening. 

The quilt shop surprised me by being open yesterday afternoon. When I mentioned it to the employee, she told me that it is a short season here, and they are open as much as possible while the weather is good. Another of the shopkeepers told me the same thing, and so this is apparently a good time to visit. And all of that to say that I still have another quilt shop to tell you about, but that will have to wait for a separate post.