Back in the world!

I just left Pete’s Lake! No cell service for 3 days and got my blankets freshened🤪.

I’ll fill in the blanks later, I had a great time…

How I got to Marquette MI

Dear Hannah

Sorry, I’ve been out of cell and web coverage for the past few days.  I’ll catch you up in just a second, lets talk about my guidence system.  Yes, I do have apps that do all sorts of leg work for me but below is what I use to get me where I’m going

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This version of Atlas shows Forest service and BLM land and a few campgrounds.  I also us a few apps that I’ll tell you about later (when I figure them out).  I also use the nav system in my truck.

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Truth be known, I’m not overly impressed with the Toyota Nav system.  It sucks to search and program, but it shows the roads and thats about all I use it for.  Oh, and yes satellite radio is great!!

So anyway,  the day before yesterday (today is 9/21) I left Temperance river Park MN and head south toward Duluth MN.  The weather forecast proved to be accurate and it pretty much rained, in one form or another, until I got well in to Michigan.  My trusty map lead me to a little campground near Sidhaw MI.  I stopped for a fishing license and some bait on the way… just in case.  Of course the weather didn’t even try to cooperate…

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I had the Campground, and lake, to myself

Wet camp and constant rain meant I wouldn’t have a fire so I roughed it and settled for a sandwich and a failed, half hearted attempt at fishing.  The awning keeps things dry for the most part, and it really was a nice evening.

Sometime in the middle of the night, the gale force winds I was promised showed up and this morning it was downright nasty.  I took shelter in a group camping shelter to get coffee going this morning, it was nice to be out of the wind and rain.   I’ve rearranged my stuff so that I can make coffee on the go, and really only have to unpack what I need for any of a variety of situations.  This really helps to get moving in the morning.

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Coffee has become an almost ritualistic part of my day so lets talk about it.

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Everything I need to make coffee lives in this crate, in the back seat of the truck.

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Coffee, Coffee grinder perfectly adjusted, double walled insulated stainless steel coffee press, 1/2 cup measuring cup, stove, fuel and pot!

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Lets face it, I’m living in a spam can, coffee is really the only luxury I have:)  The press makes just enough for my cup and little thermos.

So Anyway, sitting in the shelter, hunkered down out of the wind and rain, drinking my coffee got me thinking… I need an oil change for the truck, I need to get my glasses fixed (I’m using spares) and I need to find a regulator for the big stove.  Oh what the heck, I jumped in the truck and headed towards cell service, and promptly booked a room in Marquette MI.  My old job left me with about a bazillion IHG hotel points and I’m not afraid to use them!  Holiday Inn here I come:-)

Tomorrow I’m heading towards a group of lakes in the vicinity of a few forest service campgrounds.  I talked to a guy at the local bait shop who assured me they are all producing fish, so we will see how that goes…

 

Well, at least I moved🤪

Dear Hannah.

Well I got up this morning at a decent time and made it on the road by 0800. I figured I’d run up to grande portage National monument then head back south maybe in to Wisconsin. I didn’t take the time to make coffee this morning, which was a mistake. I’m going to discuss coffee later

The drive from Ely to Lake Superior is probably one of my favorite “drives”, and this was the first time on it, just beautiful and in many ways reminds me of Alaska..

For the most part the little dots in the map are just that, maybe a roadhouse and general store to service the locals and tourists in the area. The rest is just wilderness.

Lake Superior looked grumpy but calm. I headed north along the shore to grand portage. My phone had just done some stupid auto update thing and I couldn’t take pics… I was pissed. How dare Apple screw with my phone!! Anyway

Driftwood sculptures for 1/4 mile

The forecast calls for rain starting tomorrow noon and lasting around 24 hours, tomorrow can be a big miles day cuz it’s not rainy now and I wouldn’t mind a camp fire. I pulled in to a little state park on the lake shore for the night (starting around 1400😁). In all actuality I’m only about 3 hours from where I started, but there was some backtracking involved.

Took a hike up the superior trail a bit and almost ran to a town to by a trout stamp. The pics don’t show it but there’s a run of some sort of fish cuz they’re stacked up in the pools. Rather than spend the money and time I just watched them and didn’t share my secrets with a couple fishing about 10 minutes up the trail!😁

Fires burning low and I’m aiming for an early start so I’ll probably turn in soon. Unless it’s pouring buckets I’m making coffee in the morning… I’ve yet to stop for a cup of coffee and had a cup of coffee worth stopping for.

Hitting the road again…

Dear Hannah

Well, Craig just headed back to the twin cities. We fished the hell out of this lake, did catch some fish (at least I did but I’m not going to mention Craig not only not catching a single fish but actually snagging an old landing net, nope, not gonna mention it). We treated ourselves to walleye tacos, shore lunch style.

They were DELICIOUS! 3 nice fish = 6 nice fish tacos any day!! Great ending to a great fishing trip!! Great to see Craig again as well!!!

Thought this was cool!! I should video more🤪

So now I’m sitting here in Ely, washing clothes and enjoying the fall evening. It was nice to be able to stand and change clothes, but back to the camper tomorrow. Gonna head to the Lake Superior shoe line and maybe try to catch the ferry to Isle royal NP.

This fishing trip is the last thing I actually “planned”. I need a few good “driving days” again soon so I’ll just watch the weather see how it goes. So much to see and do, so little time!

Fishing Shagawa lake

Dear Hannah.

So I got to Ely MN Sunday morning. My old friend and college roommate Craig kind-of last minute planned a fishing trip to “some lake up north where we can catch some fish”. Craig found Shagawa lake and here we are. It’s one of those little family owned places with a few camping spots, some cabins, a boat launch and a little bait shop. Craig had reserved us a campsite but when I pulled in I just wasn’t feeling it… everything was still damp from the big storm the night before and plus, Craig isn’t quite a week out from knee surgery.

“Hello, I’m here for the reserved campsite” said I

“Blah blah here you go enjoy your stay” said he

“Blah blah blah I see you have cabins” said I

Anyway I ended up getting us a cabin and Craig wasn’t arguing at all. We threw the boat in as soon as he got hear and went fishing. Here’s a few pics I’m getting hungry and better eat. You’d like this place Hannah. Cool air and clean water.

First fish. Small pike!

Craig and his boat. It was great he could make it up here!

Fished until sundown

Day 2, company for breakfast, he’s sitting on my foot!!

Yesterday 85 and sunny, today 55 and wet!

First Walleye!! It proved to be tougher to catch fish today than we planned. Not for lack of trying we only got two.

Family of Loons

This deer had been swimming in the lake. I couldn’t get the camera out fast enough.

I’m beat and signing off. Hopefully tomorrow is more fishy👍

Ely MN!!

Dear Hannah!

I know it’s been a few days, sorry no excuses!! I’m trying the remember where I left off. I think I was still in Turtle River ND. I really enjoyed the place! A little oasis of trees and woods in the middle of farm country.

So… sorry, was out fishing. It’s about 1500 on 9/17.

But back to the story..:I loaded up at a turtles pace and was in the road to MN someplace. It’s like… Friday and I needed to be in ELY by Sunday so you can see my spacious timeline👍.

My first stop was Spring Lake, Lengby MN. This was the place learned to swim, fish, swing from a rope swing and land in the lake (usually) and row a rowboat and stuff. We used to park a little camper, back when there was a little campground. There still a park where the park once was and it’s still a nice little lake, just littler than I remembered. Back then that diving board was 30 feet higher, I’m sure!

I had the find a home for the next few days so I set my sites on an area NE of Bemidgi that had some state land camping and tons of little lakes.

I found Bass Lake ( I’m sure there are many).

Great spot on a nice little lake!! It rained a lot here but the water was flat calm and the fishing was good. There’s a reason I don’t have any fish pics. When your in a canoe with a fishing pole in one hand, landing net in one hand, and a paddle in one hand, the last thing you need to be worrying about is the phone falling in the lake. Mine was in the truck.

I did bring it along for an evening paddle!

Like I think I mentioned, I stayed here for 2 nights. Great spot but a very damp camp. The almost constant drizzle and thick tree cover left everything clammy. Both evenings had real rain showers but the second night it Rained and stormed all night. A “gully washer” as they say! Big winds and almost constant lightning for about 5 hours. Luckily i had everything packed and the vehicles hitched and ready for the morning. At one point a wind came through, sounded like a freight train, and ripped my heavy duty over engineered rain fly system completely out of the ground and threw the poles over the camper. I spent enough time securing everything to be soaked. The rest of the night was kind of sucky!!

Next morning, straight to Ely with only a coffee stop on the way! As a matter of fact, I’m in Ely right now… more on that later… gotta go fishing

Slow Mornings

Dear Hannah

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I don’t just totally dig lazy mornings!! The rig is packed, it took about 30 minutes to make an acceptable cup of coffee (more on that later😁), take down the awning and pack absolutely everything and be ready to turn the key, and that was not rushing.

Thing is, that was an hour ago, and yet here I sit, drinking coffee. Cool crisp breeze, low fast moving clouds, the smell of the fall in the woods. Wait… why am I sitting here looking at my phone. Why are you?😁✌️

Turtle river.

Dear Hannah

I hit the road this morning only 45 minutes later than I had loosely penciled in as a departure… who cares🤪.

I headed up to brush lake and took a spin around. The old place looked great, people there so I didn’t stop, and it was nice to see the big fence to the east😉. I have to admit I did feel a bit of homesickness for the old cabin, but that turned out to be gas. Let’s face it… if I was still there I wouldn’t be here and I’m good with that. The journey from there to here has been worth it so far.

Anyway Hannah, it looks like fall today, low fluffy clouds and a northish wind. The farther north I went the more I noticed that the combining crews were hard at it. By the time I got to Mercer there wasn’t much standing grain and the corn and sunflowers looked great! It’s funny how I remember certain things, like the grain, but also notice what’s missing. I have not seen or heard a single pheasant, even along the river bottoms in the canoe… weird! I was hoping to have a pheasant picture to post but nope.

This is home for the night. Turtle River State Park ND. I was here as a little kid and seriously thought I had embellished the memories somehow as I got older…. but this place is really nice! It’s an oasis of forest and creek in the middle of a sea of flat grain farms. If the rain let’s up I’ll explore, or do that in the morning. Either way, I’m really in no hurry, I have a few days to get to Ely. I may stop in and see Paul and Babe.

Fire and crickets

A small fire in the big woods, river critters doing what river critters do at night. Stars emerge as sunset loses its grip on the western horizon. Alleycat clouds slink occasionally by, just this side of unnoticed. Thin, moving with purpose.

Smoke from the small fire rises straight up through the clearing in the trees. The rustle of a breeze occasionally slides across the treetops but has no business with the forest floor this evening. The lead scout for colder times coming. Moving with a purpose.

Critters move heard but unseen in the darkness, doing what critters do at night. Bats occasionally dip down from the treetops. A fish rolls quietly on the surface, just this side of unnoticed. Looking for a meal, moving with a purpose.