July 20, 2013: Day 9
At last, after our thwarted attempt on Monday the 15th we were able see the Apostle Islands clearly, although I couldn’t get any good photos. Afterward, we checked out the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore headquarters in Bayfield, and ate a late lunch at Greunkle’s.
Finally, and reluctantly we left beautiful Bayfield behind, saddened by the knowledge that vacation was over and that in a day and a half, Lake Superior, Kabetogama, Rainy Lake, Crane Lake, and all of their historic, cultural, architectural, and wildlife treasures would also be behind us. We made a few stops, including at an out-of-the-way fishing hole and at a castle-like building in the middle of nowhere (J. took a photo of it). At Rice Lake, we ate at Lehmann’s Supper Club.
We soon faced an unexpected problem — there didn’t seem to be many places to stay in northern Wisconsin, and a big event at Wisconsin Dells meant every lodging was booked. Even an operator from hotels.com couldn’t help. By now both of us were very tired and desperate for rest.
At last, I found a place with a room — Devil’s Head Resort. The problem was that it was more than an hour and a half away. As we got closer, we ran into another problem — unbeknownst to us at first, the GPS decided to take us through Devil’s Lake State Park instead of on the regular roads. Poor J. was trying to stay awake while driving on the park’s hilly, sharping winding, snaky road, while I was trying to stay awake to keep him awake. In hindsight, it was terrifying.
Despite poor coverage, I managed to get the resort’s desk attendant long enough to get better directions. At last we arrived — after 3 a.m. Never did a cinderblock-walled room look so welcoming and comfortable.
July 21, 2013: Day 10
After a better rest than I expected, we went to Blue Spoon Café in Prairie du Sac, a little out of the way but worth it for a good breakfast on the tiered back patio overlooking the Wisconsin River. A railroad track lies between the river and the buildings, a little above river level. It reminds me of the dreams I used to have that I’m at home and that a train runs behind the trailer, curving around Dad’s garden and Virgil’s ash tree before heading west to an unknown destination. Sometimes it derails, sometimes it never ends, and sometimes it takes me with it.
We spotted a Harley Davidson dealer, so J. stopped to get something for his brother while I got a free bandana.
At about this time rain came, and I don’t remember that it quit. For long stretches, it was pretty bad. Closer to Illinois we ran into an almost unreal amount of road construction, which, with the rain, meant a slow, tiring return — just in time for the work week starting Monday, when Lake Superior and all the other lakes and the waterfalls receded into the realm of a dream.