Saturday, August 27, 2005

Black River Harbor, on Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Yesterday afternoon we traversed the part of Wisconsin that juts out into Lake Superior, after passing through Duluth in the morning. We were on WI-13, after departing US-2. I am sure this peninsula has a name, but I don't know what it is. We ended the day in the lakeside tourist town of Bayfield. We had planned to take the ferry over to Madeline Island, where we read about a nice state park campground, however the ferryman wanted $120 to take Odyssey on a round trip, and we deemed that a bit much for an overnight.

We opted instead to spend the night at the nice lakeside campground, not in any of our directories, run by the city of Bayfield (map). It was beautiful and quiet, though we had some heart-stopping moments bringing Odyssey down the steep park road and under the low trees. The lovely canopy of trees did not diminish our lake view, but did preclude us from getting any satellite coverage.

We unloaded Aquarius and rode back into downtown Bayfield to do the canonical tourist sightseeing and had dinner at Maggie's Cafe. We had thought briefly about boarding the 5:30 Apostle Islands sightseeing cruise, but decided instead to return in the morning with both bikes, and take the ferry over to Madeline for the day, or possibly do one of the island sightseeing cruises.

When we got up this morning, it was pouring rain. Deciding that a day of wet sightseeing and ferry rides on the motorcycles was not really what we wanted, and figuring that the dirt campground road might well turn into impassable mud in short order, we quickly re-loaded Aquarius and beat a hasty exit. While we had been sweating it all night, given that we scraped hard on our way in, Odyssey easily climbed out of the campground with her air bags in the full-up position, and we headed south out of Bayfield. We were thankful for the things we did get to see the previous day, including the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore visitor center, and we will return to visit the islands themselves at a later date.

Today we continued, as far as it was possible, along the southern shore of the lake. Just at the eastern edge of Wisconsin is a turnoff from US-2 that brought us north to the mouth of the Montreal River, with its hydroelectric power plant and a lovely waterfall, Superior Falls. From there we crossed into Michigan along the lake, hoping to camp at the Little Girl Point county park. This park, apparently, remains full all summer, and we ended up returning south to US-2.

Our guidebooks suggested an alternative here at the Black River Harbor area in the Ottawa National Forest (map). It required a 15-mile drive down a dead-end road, but the road is studded with access points to a group of several waterfalls, that we hope to view on our way out. We were rewarded with a lightly-used but well maintained campground, and we were able to grab one of the few "lakefront" sites. It is a perfect spot, and we will probably stay here at least one more night.

A short walk from the campground is a small marina with a handful of sport fishing boats, and a beach accessible by footbridge across the Black River.

We are on a lazy schedule toward Marquette, a few hours east of here, where we will visit some friends Monday evening.

1 comment:

  1. Just became aware of your Bus and wanderings through Read your writings bout the bus conversion and was fascinated! Great job of conversion and a better job of documenting it.

    Then I found out you had just driven through my hometown of Superior, Wisconsin, goin on across the southern edge of Lake Superior.

    We just returned from a 4 month excursion around the country, and are attempting to get settled at our home in SE Florida once again. Would rather be on the road.


    dicnic on


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