Leaving Ashland, Wisconsin was something we did eagerly, though we were extremely tired making the trip up the Bayfield Peninsula to the town of Bayfield, WI.
First we stopped at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center and we somehow engaged the nice woman in the gift shop with conversation, getting her to open up, and then she admitted she is one of the two authors of a recently published book about the Pictured Rocks in Munising. How fortunate of us! An actual author/photographer was standing before us! We chatted for a while about the book and she encouraged us to do a photographic book on the Circle Tour, which hasn't been done to our knowledge. She explained that they self-published their book and were already cashing checks beyond their expenses, so making money wasn't unheard of for a book with a relatively narrow reader base. Hmmmm... something to think about.
On the way to Bayfield, somewhere along the way, I saw a roadside gift shop that was a bit unusual, with gigantic totem poles for sale. Well, I love totem poles so we had to stop. An hour later, we were on the road again, having spent the time touring the workshop and property of these creative old men carving some really great statues.
This one was an 8-foot tall, lantern-holding wizard, which was being finished in their work area.
With a variety of finishes, various stages of completion, and the veritable zoo of creatures to see, it was quite a sight.
The totem poles were my favorites, and they made this style in a variety of sizes, in addition to having a very cute one with different Santas piled on top of each other.
Bears were the most common animals found among the sculptures, and they were really adorable.
We even were able to watch one of the guys in action.
This is the work area where the main carver worked, and many pieces were around that he seemed to be keeping busy with. He explained that he was in his 70s and had only been carving for about 20 years -- it seemed to us to be the kind of art someone pursues their entire life, looking for a market, but it seems to have all happened very easily for him in the later years of his life. Good for him!
My favorite piece was a dragon rocking horse (?) he kept in the back.
Maybe it was the heat and humidity, or maybe it was the bad night sleep the night before, but as soon as we got to Bayfield, we checked in at the Seagull Bay Motel (very nice place!) and passed out for an afternoon nap. We woke up late in the evening and were immediately hungry, but due to the late hour, there were few restaurants open. We ended up at a restaurant as they were closing and had, perhaps, the worst meal we had on the entire trip. Bluck. I may never eat fish again. Anyway, we went back to the room and fell right back asleep again. Bayfield isn't a sleepy town usually. I don't know what got into us but we figured it was okay because we were on vacation.