September 2018 – After our delightful stop in Walker, Minnesota, we continued our RV travels towards Lake Superior, and we made landfall (waterfall?) just east of Duluth on the lakeshores of Wisconsin.
Our first glimpse of mighty Lake Superior was very humble. We parked the rig and ran down a short path between thigh high bushes to a spot where endless small waves landed on a thin ribbon of driftwood strewn beach. The water was very red and muddy. We thought the red tint would look cool at sunset, but we were too excited to stick around to wait for sunset, so we kept going.
The road hugged the shoreline but offered few views of the water until we rounded a slight bend and saw the most charming harbor. Big sailboats were lined up by docks along the shore.
The juxtaposition of the tall pine trees of Wisconsin and the towering masts of ocean worthy sailing vessels was fantastic.
We were in Cornucopia, a little beachside hamlet that has a few charming tourist boutique gift shops.
Across the street there was a small cluster of buildings that make up the town. Cornucopia is nicknamed “Corny,” and the Corny Coffee Shop was very inviting.
But the area that kept drawing us back was the little harbor.
Just a little further east on Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline we found Meyers Beach. The National Park Service has a tiny outpost here for the Mainland Sea Caves around the corner, and lots of people launch their kayaks from the beach to get to them.
Every so often in the latter part of wintertime this part of Lake Superior freezes and you can walk the mile or so out to the sea caves. This happened a few years ago, and when the phenomenon made the national news, the cars lined up for miles as people came to Meyers Beach to explore the frozen caves.
From Meyers Beach we traveled to Little Sand Bay on the northern tip of this peninsula on Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline. There is a campground up there with lots of boating activities in the summertime. It was pretty quiet by this time in September, but we did catch a cute pic of our fifth wheel next to a sailboat on a trailer in the parking lot!
Fall was progressing and apples were ripening on trees all over the place. One day when we parked I noticed that the ground was strewn with apples. I looked up and the tree branches above me were filled with ripe apples. I picked a few, and those were the juiciest and most sweet/tart apples we’ve had in a long time.
The apples were tastiest when eaten with thin slices of extra sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese to go with. When we first got to Wisconsin I started hunting around for a good sharp cheddar and discovered that unlike cheddar cheese from other places (like Vermont), all Wisconsin cheddar cheeses are yellow, no matter how mild or sharp!
Our shore-side route along Wisconsin’s piece of Lake Superior took us to Red Cliff where we found a wonderful restaurant, campground and marina right on the edge of the lake at the casino.
A little further down the coast we found the pretty town town of Bayfield.
We made our way down to the boat docks. A big flock of resident seagulls took off as we approached.
As we talked to boat owners about what it’s like to sail on Lake Superior, I noticed that many boaters had planted flowers, tomatoes and peppers in between the rocks in the breakwater that protected their boats from the wild waves of the lake. What a clever idea! Almost every slip resident had created a boatside garden in the rocks.
Bayfield is a charming waterfront town that has a very salty air, even though it is on a lake and not the ocean.
One morning we got down to the waterfront at dawn to take some photos. The sun was playing games with the clouds, and as we walked around Memorial Park taking pics, I captured a photo of the sun peeking out from behind the clouds and backlighting a flag on a lamp post.
Later that day when I was going through my photos I realized the date was 9/11. The photo seemed very fitting.
Up in town there were several coffee shops, and once the sun was up we picked a place for a morning cuppa joe. Buddy saw me go into the coffee shop and sat transfixed by the slightly open door until I emerged again, latte in hand.
A lot of rain had fallen overnight and there were big puddles in the parking areas near the marina. As we walked back down through the parking lot Buddy wandered through a puddle and then suddenly sat down in a dry spot. He was on his own little island.
We both noticed that the puddle was creating fantastic reflections of him as he sat there, and for some reason he seemed very content to stay on his little island for quite a while.
I crept around him to try to line him up with Lake Superior in the background.
Looking at the pics afterwards, I turned my laptop on its side to show the above photo to Mark. As I flipped the laptop back, I caught a glimpse of the image upside down.
Wow!! It was as if Buddy was sitting in the heavens!
Our friend Bob who has created many marvelous magazine covers of Buddy for “Dog Life Magazine” (pretend ones, of course) had suggested a while ago that Buddy’s song is “Buddy Angel,” sung to the tune of the 1960s hit “Johnny Angel” (listen here).
Although Buddy is definitely a little angel sent to us straight from heaven, he is still very much a dog. A little further south when we did a brief walk through the woods to get down to the beach, Buddy suddenly stopped at the foot of a tree and stared into the branches.
High overhead a little squirrel scolded him.
But it was lying in the warm sand that was most satisfying. We had arrived on Lake Superior just in time for a fantastic week of Indian Summer and the temps were in the 80s. I was astonished that the water was fairly warm too and we saw quite a few people swimming.
But the warm temps didn’t stop the wind from blowing and whipping up the waves. When we stopped in the town of Washburn the waves kicked up against the town jetty and sloshed all over the place.
This didn’t seem like a great time to jump in the water, but over at a small beach we watched two guys set up their kiteboards for a bit of fun.
In just a few minutes they were airborne!
This little trip along the shores of Lake Superior in Wisconsin had been full of delights, including a bright blue canoe that had been transformed into a planter full of flowers.
And what a blessing it was to arrive on the shores of Lake Superior in the middle of such ideal summer weather.
If your travels take you to Wisconsin, be sure to sample some of the shoreline route, even if you have a big RV like ours.
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More info about this area:
- Cornucopia, Wisconsin
- Mainland Sea Caves
- Bayfield, Wisconsin
- Washburn, Wisconsin
- RV Campgrounds in the area
- Map of our route
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