Journey 4.0: Day 2!
What can I say? I really enjoyed the camping experience last night. I slept quite well, and woke up a bit after 6:00 a.m. to a beautiful sky that promised a lovely sunrise. Enjoyed a cup of instant coffee — that stuff has greatly improved over the last time I used it! — and got myself ready for the day. Once Matt was up, it was smoky links and scrambled eggs on the camp stove, washed down with an OJ slushy. Did I mention that dry ice really, really freezes the stuff in your cooler? We have tried everything — covering with paper towels and then a heavy layer of ice cubes, even a layer of bottled water — and stuff still freezes. At least nothing is going to spoil!
We broke camp and were on the road by 9 a.m. for a lovely morning’s drive along Lake Superior. As lunch time approached, we found ourselves in a little tiny burg called Sidnaw, and rolled into a pretty little restaurant called Sidnaw Eats. As you may recall, I love to “collect” interesting place names and their stories. I learned, in talking to the proprietor and his wife, that “Sidnaw” is a Native American word meaning “little hill by the creek.” This couple, Scott and Kelly Crouch, moved south from the Houghton-Hancock area a year and a half ago to re-open this restaurant. It was a giant leap of faith — they quit their jobs and sold everything to pursue this dream, and they are making it go. Scott is a very creative cook who, Kelly told me, never opens a cookbook. Our meals were excellent, and the place was friendly with a wonderful good vibe. Kelly told me that there is an airstrip virtually across the street, and the pilots fly in to come eat at the restaurant. The town has 88 residents, of whom 30 or so frequent the restaurant. Before we left, Kelly asked permission to take our picture and post it on their Facebook page. Check it out — Sidnaw Eats has a Facebook page! And if you ever get up that way, I’d urge you to stop for a meal. Tell them Sparky sent you. They’ll have no idea who you mean, but they’ll enjoy knowing you got there by word of mouth.
And I learned all that just by asking where the town name “Sidnaw” came from. If you don’t ask, you don’t know.
As we drove westward across Wisconsin and Minnesota, we discovered there wasn’t much to see once we got away from the Lake Superior shoreline. Duluth, of course, is an interesting and beautiful sight. Like Marquette, it’s full of old buildings and interesting bridges. Someone got really ambitious with the freeway ramps, though. The complexity would rival the ramps I remember navigating around Dallas.
My grandson is a deep thinker and a real student of the world, so we substituted great conversation for relatively dull scenery. And then drove into the rain, which by its intensity and apparent intention to continue falling apace caused me to look at the weather for the area we intended to camp. The weather forecast was for an 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms. Discretion being the better part of valor, we made an executive decision that tonight would be a hotel night, and got ourselves into a nice comfy Comfort Suites. We had an excellent meal at a nice, if somewhat overpriced, restaurant next door, and are preparing for an early start tomorrow. We have about a 9-hour drive to get to the campground we’ve picked near the Devils Tower National Monument. We’ll camp there tomorrow night, explore and hike around the monument Saturday morning, and be at my brother’s in Greybull late Saturday afternoon. I can attend Sunday Mass at the lovely Sacred Heart Church just down the street from their house, and then we can hike Devils Kitchen in the afternoon. Of course, we need to get to Shell Falls and to the Dinosaur Track site. Then on Wednesday we will head toward Cody and Yellowstone.
I have to describe my phone call to the Devils Tower View campground. The guy who answered sounds like he is right out of the Old West. When I asked if they would have a tent camping site available for tomorrow night, he answered: “Tent camping? You just come on in. We can always find room for a tent.” I don’t know exactly what that means, but I felt very welcome, so that’s where we are going. I’ll let you know in due course where they find room for us!
News from JD, in his own getaway at Paws A Playin: He has thoroughly enjoyed his new food, willingly eating from his dish AND eating all of his food at one “sitting”; he has communicated clearly that although he’s eating the food, he should still get some Milk Bones; and he has finally, on his 4th visit, found his way onto the middle of Miss Jamie’s bed, among 4 much larger dogs. He’s obviously settled right in for his own vacation.
That’s all for tonight. The journey continues, and the adventures will pick up, I know, when we truly get ourselves “Out West”!
Sparky The Intrepid Traveler, and Matt the Bold Companion