Everywhere But Copper Harbor Event
The Copper Harbor event has been renamed the “Everywhere but Copper Harbor event”. Twelve hours before departure time, we learned of the “historic” storms that ripped through the Upper Peninsula on Sunday, June 17th and flooded areas and washed out roads. From various reports, we learned that many of the roads we had planned to travel were impassable. What do we do? We called Bill and talked it over with him. We decided that the reservation in Houghton would have to be canceled and the trip rerouted. It just wasn’t safe or smart to attempt going to the U. P. We now had no plans for two days of the four day trip. I called all the participants and had them cancel the Houghton reservation and said we’d decide how to proceed in the morning. One person opted to not join us on the revised route.
The group was standing around Rick’s phone when we arrived at Dilar’s Restaurant. The radar was showing huge bands of green with yellow and red areas in northeastern Wisconsin. What do we do? Half of the group did not want to deliberately drive into the storms and thought we could ride around in the area and go on Tuesday instead. The other half of the group was willing to go and deal with whatever we encountered, After all, as Steve remarked, “the pioneers did not stop the wagon trains just because of rain”. As we were discussing what to do, Steve checked the cancellation policy for the hotel in Eagle River, Wisconsin. The reservation needed to be canceled Sunday night so that charges would not be incurred. That ended the discussion. We would go. There would be eight of us that included Rick and Flo Tymczuk, Steve Penczak, Paul Zak, Ira Steurer, Bill Linwall, and Ken and me.
Next decision, what route do we take? Ken had a scenic route planned to Eagle River, but Bill suggested we take a more direct route. A consensus was reached and we headed up Route 12 towards Madison and picked up U.S. 39. Whatever was showing on the radar never materialized. We had a few sprinkles, but that was all. As we traveled across the areas where the rain preceded us, the temperatures were falling in the 70s rather than the 90s, which was a very pleasant change. We arrived mid afternoon in Eagle River and agreed to meet at 4 p.m. to discuss how we would fill the next two days.
What do we do? Do we ride around Vilas County for two days? Will we find enough good roads? Ken had roughed out two possible routes the night before. One route went east towards Whitefish Bay, but would we find motels and restaurants with no prior research and preparation? The other route went west across Wisconsin, staying away from the flooded roads in the north, to the Minnesota border. The group decided we would head west. After researching motels, we decided on Hudson and I secured rooms for us for the following evening.
After having a plan, we walked across the parking lot to Leif’s Family Restaurant for dinner. Our waitress, Perry, pegged Steve as trouble as soon as we sat down. She was a fun waitress and full of personality. She asked Ira if he would be her boyfriend and she took good care of her boyfriend. She was brutally honest about what she liked on the menu and what she recommended. All of her recommendations were delicious! We had a very enjoyable time at the restaurant.
That night, using Google maps, Ken laid out a route to Hudson, Wisconsin and back to Rhinelander for the third night, since that reservation was already locked in. The radar on Tuesday morning looked like the Twin Cities was getting rain. Once again, we managed to skirt the rain and only encountered a few sprinkles. We stopped in Hayward, Wisconsin for lunch at the Norske Nook. The restaurant is known for its pie. They had many varieties and Paul had the Butterfinger pie for lunch. Ira had onion rings and the chocolate strawberry pie for lunch. The rest of us did not have pie, but our meals were delicious. There are four locations in Wisconsin and it is absolutely worth a stop for breakfast, lunch or pie.
Wednesday found us going south from Hudson along the Mississippi River. It was very cloudy, but it did not rain. We ended up in Chippewa Falls, my hometown, for lunch. Then we made a diagonal line towards Rhinelander.
On Thursday, Bill and Ira left for another adventure and headed towards the Twin Cities. That left six of us to wander back to Illinois. The radar once again showed that we were probably going to get wet. At lunch, Paul asked Ken if there were any small towns he missed along the way. At Elkhart we split up going different ways to reach our homes after traveling 1240 miles together and we didn’t get wet – only a few sprinkles.
While we were unable to meet our original goal and go to Copper Harbor and I know the group was disappointed, but I think the trip was successful especially since we were flying by the seat of our pants and adjusting as necessary.
Text Submitted by Sandy McCall Photos by Sandy and Steve.