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APOSTLE ISLANDS NATIONAL LAKESHORE (WI)



THURSDAY - This morning we'll be finshing up the last 50-miles of the North Shore Scenic Drive between Gooseberry Falls and Duluth, MN.

All along this stretch of the road there were purple, pink and occaisionally white lupines in bloom. It made for a very colorful drive.

While passing through Duluth we've planned a short stop at the Costco and Walmart stores for grocery items. What was supposed to be a "quick in and out visit " turned into 4-hours.

The two stores were way up on a bluff that had a pretty amazing view of the southermost tip of Lake Superior. It was easy to spot this winding and twisting road with a bridge over the Lake.

Little did we know that a short 15-minutes later we would be crossing over that bridge. Later while looking at a map I guess it was a 50/50 chance we would be, because there are only two bridges that cross the lake between Duluth, MN and Superior, WI.

Then, in the blink of an eye, at the very center of those baby blue trusses, our 30-day visit with the state of Minnesota came to an end and our 7-day visit of the state of Wisconsin began.


Just like we had a very rainy day on Tuesday at Gooseberry Falls in Minnesota, the Bayfield area of Wisconsin had it even worse.

When we arrived at the privately owned Apostle Islands Area Campground there was a flurry of activity. There were bulldozers and other heavy equipment pushing dirt and gravel back where it was previous to the storm.

The site we were assigned wasn't in too bad of shape when we arrived, but we're supposed to have another couple of rainy days during our 4-day visit here and I'm sure our site will become a muddy mess when that occurs.

As you can see, we had to get creative again to make everything fit within the site...

...but we eventually made it work.



SUNDAY - This afternoon at 4:30PM we have a reservation with Apostle Islands Cruises on their Grand Tour that will take us around the 21 islands of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Originally we had reservations on the Friday afternoon tour, but when we woke up on Thursday the forecast was not looking like it was going to be a good time to be out on the water. So, just within the 24-hour window they give you to change your reservations without penalty, we did just that.

A lot of rain and a little wind has been occuring all over the Lake Superior region for days, but this afternoon the clouds will part and the rain will stop just in time for our tour. At least that's what the forecast predicts!

Our tour is 2½-hours and covers 55-miles snaking our way through all 21 of the Apostle Islands.


Seating on the boat is First Come First Serve, so if you're particular about where you want to sit you'll need to be in line an hour before boarding time.

We of course were the first people in line and for our efforts received a free photo book that they sell in the ticket office. We looked through it and Tricia took a few photos of the more interesting pages and then we gifted it to the lady who was second in line.

When choosing our seats we immediately went to the open air upper deck and sat in the front row of the "starboard" (right-hand) side of the deck. That was a mistake for two reasons!

First, when the boat is traveling into the wind, the bow spray comes up and over the top railing and soaked us both.

Secondly, when the boat approaches a new feature they want to show us, the people on the "port" (left-hand) side of the boat get to see it longer than we did. The entire explaination of what we are looking at is given while we can't see it. The Captain does spin the boat around so everyone gets to see what they're talking about, but once the spin is complete we're off to the next sight.

My advice is to sit on the upper deck and port (left-hand) side stern (rear) of the boat for the best experience. Please, learn from our mistakes if you decide to visit.


THE GRAND TOUR
OF THE
APOSTLE ISLANDS NATIONAL LAKESHORE


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Today ended up being the perfect day to get out on the water.
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This formation is called a "sea stack" which is a stand of rock surrounded by water.
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For most of our tour this was our view, faraway islands on the horizon.
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This preserved "fish camp" is found on Manitou Island.
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Here the cliffs have eroded to create a sandy beach.
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This is the lighthouse and keepers quarters on Devil's Island.
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Devil's Island is also where we saw the best examples of "sea caves".
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For us the whole 2½-hour tour boiled down to what we saw over the next ten minutes.
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The sea caves were definitely the star of the whole tour.
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Out on the horizon you can just see the North Shore of Minnesota.
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This is the Raspberry Lighthouse, one of the additional tours you can see up close.
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Power boaters and sailors alike were out enjoying the water today.
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Our tour comes to an end as we approach the Bayfield Marina.


The tour company also offers two different lighthouse tours, one to Michigan Island and the other to Raspberry Island. Actually, they only offer the $52 narrated transportation to each of the islands and the National Park Service operates the tours at $5 per adult.

The lighthouse tours start today, June 22nd and run through September 1st, on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We unfortunately leave here tomorrow, on Monday, so that will have to be planned on our next trip through Wisconsin.


Does anybody know what this kind of car is?

The license plate will give you a clue, NO it's definitely NOT a Ford Pinto!


It's a "first year in production" 1975 Mercury Bobcat with a V6 engine! The owner was very proud and takes excellent care of this car, which he has owned since it was brand new.



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