My wife and I just completed a wonderful, nine-day, 1,717-mile drive around Lake Superior. We traveled counterclockwise from Bayfield, Wisconsin. We departed on Saturday, July 9, 2011, and completed the circle on Sunday, July 17.
Weather was definitely our friend with a touch of rain on the first and eighth days only. The sun ruled supreme otherwise. In fact, thanks to Ontario’s Eastern Daylight Time zone, the sun didn’t set until nearly 10:00 p.m.
My wife’s favorite spot was Wawa, Ontario. We had wonderful accommodations at David Well’s Rock Island Lodge (aka Superior Adventures), took a peaceful hike to Silver Falls, met a charming bartender named Woody, who serves great beers and fun tales at a pub bearing his name, and fell in love with the big goose statue. What does someone from Wawa call themselves? The only unofficial answer we got was “Honkers” from David Wells, who readily admitted he liked the name, but no one else seemed to follow suit. Well, if we lived in Wawa, we’d be honored to call ourselves Honkers in tribute to the amazing goose. However, a young woman who graduated from Wawa High School wrinkled her nose at the suggestion.
I have too many fond memories to pick one site. Clearly, Wawa, Katherine Cove, Neys Provincial Park, Rossport and U.S. Highway 41 south from Copper Harbor, Michigan, are must sees in my book. As is Bayfield and Madeline Island, Wisconsin; favorites of ours for three decades.
The negatives: biting “Stable Flies” in the UP that arrive with heat, humidity and a southwest wind. Curley’s Paradise Motel whose “non-smoking” room reeked. We slept in an ash tray – including the pillow cases. The gorgeous view out the window did not make up for the bad air. We literally fled Paradise (Michigan) the next morning. The stronger Canadian dollar combined with high gasoline prices seem to cut two ways: it shrunk our spending power but kept the crowds down.
Despite those drawbacks, the scenery is breathtaking and the Canadians and Yoopers we met were all extremely charming and helpful.
A footnote: while we knew the one dollar Canadian coin is called a “Loonie,” we were bemused to learn that the two dollar Canadian coin is a “Toonie.” Enjoy your Circle Tour.
Kathryn Rehwaldt & Tom Lindner, St. Paul, Minnesota