Sunday started with a quick trip to the grocery store for water and a few other items. We opted for the All Canadian grocery store across the street from the hotel. It was enormous, good prices, and a huge selection. It reminded us of a classier Wal-Mart. We got in the checkout line, and the total was $23 Canadian and change. Mom hands the cashier $25 US. She had to punch a few more keys to have the machine convert to US$ total, which was about $17. The cashier is still holding Mom’s $25. When she keyed in the amount of money tendered, she keyed in $40, not $25. I quickly let her know we’d given her $25, not $40. It then took 2 store managers to try to figure out how to correct the mistake without voiding the transaction. Long story short – the transaction was voided and redone, and we were on our way south.
The sky looked a bit overcast and gray as we started, but soon cleared. Could we be so lucky as to avoid rain yet another day? We crossed back into the US a little after 11AM. A quick stop for gas as I’d forgotten to check the fuel level before we left Thunder Bay, changed the settings from metric to US, and we drove the short distance to our first stop, the Grand Portage National Monument. An incredible historic fur trading site that has live demonstrations and docents to answer any and all questions.
We had no cell phone signal for the GPS, so we reverted to good old fashioned map reading for about an hour. Beautiful views of Lake Superior all along the drive.
It felt like there was more traffic, but we were on a 2 lane state highway, and the North Shore area of Lake Superior is a vacation destination. It thinned out a bit the further south we went. The scenery changed from lake views to vast rolling hills of farmland as we entered Wisconsin. We checked into the hotel in Eau Clair about 6:30PM, and took a short drive to an area restaurant that sounded good. Unfortunately, they weren’t open, so back to the restaurant near the hotel, Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill. It worked for two ladies who were probably a little more road weary than they thought or would admit!
Monday dawned sunny and bright. Our last day on the road. We were both glad we’d opted to bring in the bare minimum the night before as the elevator was being serviced. Two trips down the stairs and we were loaded and ready to go. First stop was The Paul Bunyan Logging Camp and Museum. Another fun, educational and interactive museum. We learned a lot about the early days of logging, and I learned my paternal great-grandfather was a logger in New Hampshire. The museum is supported and run by the local Kiwanis Club. They do an excellent job, and really bring the story of Paul Bunyan to life. I read the book many times growing up, and now need to reread it with the background information I now have.
It was time to hit the road for the final leg of Road Trip 2018. A quick stop at a local liquor store to purchase some New Glarus Brewing Spotted Cow. This beer and brewing company have a cult-like following, and you can only buy it in Wisconsin. No, I didn’t plan the trip through WI just so I could bring some home, but it was a happy coincidence. You also can’t be in Wisconsin and not stop for cheese! (Although my travel partner this trip would disagree.) We saw the sign for Humbird along the freeway, and we needed to fill the gas tank anyway. A great little place with a really nice gift shop.
The terrain continued to flatten out, and we were soon in very familiar surroundings. We realized that other than the last 5 or so miles of the drive, we had avoided duplicating roads and freeways. One BIG loop around the US and Canada!
I still have a little over 600 miles to go tomorrow to get home. If I include the miles that I drove to get to the starting point, I will log in excess of 6,600 miles in a three week period. I think I will stay close to home for a few months! At least until October, anyway, when the next big adventure begins…