Wednesday, August 21, 2013

More on Oconto, Finally on to the U.P. and Kayaking!

In my last blog post I mentioned connecting with Kevin & Lora (sorry, misspelled before) Miller. We enjoyed having dinner with them at The Dockside Restaurant, located on Green Bay at the mouth of the Oconto River.


Sorry for the poor quality of this pic.


Earlier that day, Don and I visited the Beyer Home Museum, built in 1868.


Photography wasn’t allowed inside, so I wish I could show you some of the beautiful and ornate furnishings. But you’ll just have to visit it yourself!


A log house from the 1870’s was moved onto the grounds by the Historical Society.


It’s furnished as it might have been when a family lived there.


We drove by the beautiful Oconto County Courthouse, with a statue of Lady Justice atop the dome and modern additions on both sides of the building.


And we saw the First Church of Christ, Scientist. A marker beside it said, “This church was organized June 10, 1886. The first service was held here October 31 of the same year. Seven years earlier Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, had founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. Services were held elsewhere in the United States before this church was built, but it is the first edifice erected solely for this purpose. It was dedicated in February, 1887.”


On Monday we said goodbye to Wisconsin, where we spent almost a month, and drove about 140 miles to the Munising (Michigan) Tourist Park Campground. We are happy to have finally made it back to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula), one of the most favorite places in all our travels!

We didn’t have reservations, but when I called ahead, the woman who answered said they had room in the overflow section and we might get a regular site the next day. It’s good that we arrived as early as we did, around 2:30 pm, to have several choices of spots in overflow. By dark the place was packed!

We faced the waters of Lake Superior, “the big lake they called Gitche Gumee” (lyrics from “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot) with a partial view from our windshield between other RVs. (Follow the link to learn how the lake got its nickname.)


We had 30 amp electric and could have connected water, both of which were on the other side of our neighbor RV. Sharing electricity isn’t a good thing, especially when temps are in the high 80’s with about 50% humidity. Our EMS (electrical management system) kept shutting off the power because the wattage fell below acceptable safe levels.

So, after going out for dinner (yummy Whitefish for me!) we took our folding chairs next door to visit with our neighbors. The two couples are good friends, both the men are truck drivers and we had fun discussing RV driving. The two teenage sisters even joined in some of the conversations about camping and plans for college.


And guess the name of their Black Lab – “Shadow,” what else?


Yesterday morning we moved to a regular site, with a lot more space and much more reliable 30 amp electricity.


The view of the lake isn’t a lot better, but not bad for not having reservations. The best sites in the park, where we stayed 4 years ago, are right next to the lake, but reservations have to be made by Christmas for the following summer!


After moving to our new site, we went kayaking on the Au Train River, one of our favorite floats. The water level was lower than last time we were here, but that was earlier in the summer. We couldn’t use the gravel launch ramp to drive the car down, as a resident (an airline pilot) has claimed part of it (between the 2 signs) as his personal property and wants the outfitters in the area to pay for access. One outfitter told us we could slide our boats down the grassy bank on the left, then go down and launch. How selfish of that person to bar public access!


As we prepared to put our boats in the water, we had another “small world” experience. Jerry and Madeline Stephens were just putting a rented canoe in the river! They waited for us and we floated and paddled together. About 1/3 of the way downriver, Don stopped and got out of his boat as he’d noticed a lot of water in the bottom. It turns out his kayak had developed a large crack where there’s a screw holding the track for the foot rest to the body. Since the Coast Guard doesn’t patrol these waters, the only option was for Don to ride in the canoe with Jerry and Madeline, and tie his kayak to it. (Oh, I guess he could have swam or waded, but it was still about 4-5 miles to the end.) The kayak did fine being towed because the crack was above water level without a person inside.

I wish I could have gotten pictures of this, but my waterproof camera isn’t working. I think it bit the dust (or swallowed too much water) after being dunked in Patagonia Lake awhile back. Anyway, we’re awfully thankful to Jerry and Madeline for saving Don and making our day fun instead of disastrous! Our Angels were looking out for us again, for sure!

Later we joined them at a small grocery nearby that has homemade pasties (meat and vegetable pies)—in our opinion, the best we’ve ever had. When we drove by the day before they were closed, and we thought they might be out of business. So we were really happy to find the store open today and had a nice chat with the owners who’ve been making pasties for over 30 years! Jerry and Madeline ate theirs for a late lunch; we saved ours to eat later for dinner at home.


It was a fun day, but tiring because it’s been so long since we had so much physical activity. We need to get in better shape!


  1. You guys always make great adventures wherever you go! HUGS

  2. I was in Munising back over 4th of July, 2008. Kayaked the Au Train River too. Love that area.


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