Thursday, 22 July 2010

Ashland on Lake Superior and time for a rest

21th July: Superior to Ashland

Odometer: 108 km, Start: 9.30am, Finish: 4.45pm, Avg: 22.9 km/h,
Weather: Sunny, humid AM, Temp: 21-28°C
Mosquito Bites: 79, Hills walked: 0
Road Conditions: #2 (after leaving Superior and CR UU stretch), 0.75-1m shoulder, good surface all day except the run in to Ashland. Light, occasionally moderate traffic. Regular stops available. Services: Iron River (66km). Ascent: 300m/400m.

It was quite humid when I left Superior this morning and that led to a sweaty morning’s ride before the wind picked up and provided a little freshness to the air. It was still quite hot though.

Duluth from Superior in the morning

I was heading to Ashland a medium sized city on the shore of Lake Superior. This was going to be my next rest day town. As normal, once I’ve decided I’m going to have a rest day the next day, the current ride becomes quite long and tiring. This was despite another good west wind. (Chuckle. I’m going to pay for all this favourable wind and weather big time someday soon, don’t you think?).

The nice white post office at Brule

Route #2 was the road again, after a short detour on County Road UU to avoid a fast divided highway section. Wisconsin county roads all have letter designations instead of the usual numbers. It’s quite strange to see. County Road UU was a nice “English country lane” with a buckled and unmaintained road surface to match!

County Roads have unusual letter designations in Wisconsin

There were lots of “artisan type” shops along the #2. Some woodworkers, a quilt maker, antique stores, curiosity shops and… a chainsaw carver! There were a fantastic selection of animal wood carvings on show. As I looked around, a gentleman was chain-sawing away in the background, “releasing”, in true Michelangelo style, a bear from the large tree trunk.

Chainsaw wood carving store
"Releasing" a bear
Exquisite attention to detail

At Iron River, the artisan theme continued. I had lunch at the Orchard's Cafe (& Pie Shoppe). A great selection of homemade meat pies were the main part of the lunch menu. Big chunks of meat and vegetables in a pasty. All handmade by Sue. Delicious.

Approaching Ashland the road ran alongside Lake Superior and provided excellent views on my run into town. I rode quite a way into Ashland before realising I was passing all of the cheaper motels.

Ashland Marina. (My posh hotel in left background)

I didn’t fancy riding back (I never do), so I looked at the large, impressive, centrally located hotel overlooking the lake. A “prime site” hotel if ever there was one. “This is going to hurt”, I thought, as I walked inside and up to the front desk. Actually, it wasn’t too bad with their special mid-week rate. An upmarket pad for another well earned rest day!

Colour ripples
Boats glinting in the evening sun
Silhouettes as the sun sinks

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