Over 4th of July weekend, Lydia and I went on another road trip! We drove through several small Minnesota towns along Highway 210. We went through Duluth and on to Bayfield, Wisconsin, via Route 13.
Bayfield was once a booming town on a prominent shipping route. Today, it’s a small town along the Lake Superior South Shore, gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
We drove the six or seven hours from Fargo to meet my parents and two other couples from their sailing club (in Illinois). The eight of us had a fun adventure together!
I was looking forward to seeing my parents and crossing some items off my “travel bucket list.” I have wanted to see the Minnesota countryside, including some of the “10,000 lakes” and Duluth. I have also wanted to explore Lake Superior for quite some time.
But guess what? We almost didn’t go! It was a lot of work to prepare for the trip. I had to pack for two, reschedule a commitment, plan for our return, etc. I have a couple other big plans (and projects) for the summer, so I wondered if taking time away was a good idea. Still, I was excited for the opportunity, and I am so glad we went!
Lydia is an awesome little traveler, and we had a special time away with my mom and dad. Usually when we travel to Illinois, there are other people or plans vying for our attention. We stayed together in a cute bed-and-breakfast and had perfect weather for the entire trip.
What a blessing!
Our new friends were very eager to show us around. Excellent hosts, they generously took us all on their sailboat, speed boat, and dinghy to explore several of the Apostle Islands.
The first night (Friday) we went out to see the stars. We used the ‘Sky View’ app to learn about the constellations! Lydia loved going fast on the boat ride!
Saturday included a dinghy ride to see an old shipwreck. The water was so clear! We also motored out to Raspberry Island to see a light house. We toured the buildings, and it was compelling to think about the history and importance of lighthouses. Such brave men (and their families) gave up everything to ensure the safety of sailors and other travelers.
Sunday was spent on an all day trip to one of the farthest islands. On Devil’s Island, we saw another lighthouse and natural sandstone caves eroded by years of wind and water. The colors were beautiful and I took pictures of the caves, water, and ships passing by.
On Sunday evening, we experienced the Big Top Chautauqua (think old tent revivals). The Chautauqua has been around for 30+ years. Its concerts bring many famous acts, but also showcase local talent. We attended a show called ‘Riding the Wind,’ a musical history of the Bayfield/Apostle Islands area. Lydia clapped along with everyone else. But when asked what her favorite part was, she enthusiastically said, “The hot dog!”
Monday was the 4th of July, and truthfully, the best Independence Day celebration I’ve had in years! With just me and Lydia, the holiday has not been all that exciting. This year, we all boated over to Madeline Island for a parade. Lydia received a beach ball, small root beer float, ice cream sandwich, and some candy. Pretty good for her first parade! She was a little timid at rushing into the street for candy (two things I generally don’t encourage!). But she got the hang of it and had fun!
Monday afternoon, my dad and I joined a blindfolded dinghy race! Dad wore the blindfold while rowing and I was his skipper. We raced around a buoy and back to shore, where I talked Dad through a mini obstacle course. We came in third, but had so much fun!
In Northern latitudes, it seems fireworks start around 10:30 pm, just as it starts getting dark (at the peak of summer). In the past, keeping Lydia up hasn’t seemed worth it. This year, however, Lydia enjoyed her first ‘real’ fireworks show. We sat on the dock and watched a couple different shows with several other sailors!
I wonder if the fireworks could be seen in Canada?!
Originally, I planned to drive home Tuesday. But, everyone kept asking, “Do you really have to leave?” Now, if I have learned anything these last few years, it’s that life is short. Sometimes, it may upend our plans. Sometimes, it may be costly or inconvenient. But there are limited chances to spend time with loved ones. We will never regret those moments in the future. Also, an open invitation from new friends doesn’t come often.
I realized that as much fun and adventure as we received, we also brought the same to our hosts. When I thought about all we would’ve missed if we hadn’t made the trip, the choice was clear: We really didn’t have to leave Tuesday. So, we stayed for another great day…and enjoyed a few more adventures!
We all walked knee-deep in the Sisikiwit River, and Lydia loved the hands-on learning! We found two types of wild ferns, wild roses, and a hummingbird nest. We played in waterfalls and saw many types of beautiful trees. After enjoying a steak dinner on the way back, we saw the most gorgeous sunset heading down across the lake. A front was coming in and the wind picked up. But, we all got some great pictures!
It was a memorable trip, one I hope to repeat. If we had stayed home…the easy choice…we would have missed so much. And, I earned a new perspective on what’s really important!
God, thanks for a great adventure! Thanks for the grace and freedom You bring into our lives. Help me to have the flexibility to make changes when needed and live the life You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Questions: Have you been on a road trip lately? Where did you go? Did you learn anything new on your adventure?