July 2 – Leaving Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is always disappointing, no matter the direction. We traveled the same Highway 2 in Wisconsin, but, well, it was just simply different. Missing were the delightful Waysides we’ve come to love in Michigan. Slowly but surely, the deep green forests dwindled, but one similarity exists in both states: Iron. Iron Mountain, Iron River, Iron County, Ironwood. The rocks are red; the asphalt is red; even the sand is red!
Today, we once again veered from Highway 2 in order to drive the peninsula from Ashland to Superior by way of the lakeshore roads. It was the Apostle Islands we desired to view from shore, but we found no waysides or pull offs or rest areas on the entire east drive past the islands. We did, however, discover a fine spot along a narrow sandy beach on the west side where we lunched in the warm breeze of Lake Superior. I browsed the sandy bottom for the first of my small rock (actually stone) collection and met a couple from a bit further south who had come to enjoy the sun. They were the first couple to whom I gave a copy of my book. I prayed for them as we drove away. The world is full of nice people, and we get to meet some along the way!
At the base of the peninsula, we crossed the state line, entering Duluth, Minnesota. What a beautiful city it is! Again, we traveled the shoreline north, but contrasting the Wisconsin peninsula, observing an abundance of beautiful homes, large and small, of cottages and pull offs to view the big lake from rocky cliffs. I should have liked to have driven for hours and to have stopped at marina cafes and restaurants along the way, but we turned west toward a small campground in Saginaw – Minnesota, that is – not Michigan. Click here to read my post about staying at the Saginaw Campground.
The morning was already quite warm as we prepared to leave the little Saginaw Campground. While Ron checked connections and adjusted the sway bar, I conversed with two couples, tent camping nearby. Frequent campers, it was nonetheless their first overnight at this campground. They shared the story of their restless night (click here to read the post). These couples were common everyday people, about the ages of Ron and me, and I enjoyed meeting them. These were the second people to whom I gave my book. Again, as we pulled out of this campground, we asked the Lord to use that book for His glory.
It was a beautiful drive across the short stretch from Saginaw, Minnesota to Itasca State Park, south of Bemidji, Minnesota. This state park reminded us of those in northern Michigan – woodsy! Now the day was hot. Very hot! Ron was more than a bit flustered when we discovered our reserved, designated campsite. Evidently a site for tent camping, it had no electric or water hookups, was not large enough for both our trailer and pickup, and in looking at the road and trees, Ron doubted he could actually back the trailer in to this site. This site was located in a stifling low spot without any breeze whatsoever. By this time, it was 90◦ Visions of a hot sleepless night entered my mind. Why did I ever book this site, I wondered. But I had. This is where cell phones come in so handy. A quick call to the Minnesota State Park office and a short drive back to the camping check-in cabin confirmed one available electric and water site for the night. One. And on this busy holiday weekend! Site 73E was on the ridge, overlooking beautiful Lake Itasca! It was not the first time the Lord had graciously “upgraded” us, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last. He is an Amazing God.
As soon as we got set up, we started our hike, as this afternoon was our only time to visit the spot we had come to see: the Headwaters of the Mississippi River. The trail was smooth, thank goodness, as it was long.
I dropped a shoe and a sock in the water but didn’t really mind, as I discovered it to be somewhat refreshing for the nearly 4 mile hike back. We were a bit out of shape to undertake a long trek on a hot day such as this, and I was a overly exhausted when I climbed onto that memory foam topper later, but once sleep came, it was good, and the Minnesota breeze refreshed us that night, calling us to venture yet further west.