Day 32 – 33 Ironwood Back To Wakefield (Total Miles = 504)

So, we backtracked today. We knew what we were doing! Yes, we did!

Ironwood is the start of a paved bike route called the Iron Belle Trail. Man…if we could only have that to ride on for our entire journey! It is smooth, relatively flat, and pleasantly occupied by runners, walkers, and cyclists. It provides great shade, displays a myriad of wildflowers and berries, and, believe it or not, goes right by a Super Walmart! Alas, it is only 8 miles long as yet, although there are plans to expand it. We rode the trail into Bessemer, and then took Highway 2 into Wakefield. We have a warmshower hosting us this evening. Tom actually hosts because of his son, Michael, who lives in Minnesota. Michael took off on a 3 wheel bike, pulling a trailer, back in 2014. He made it all the way to California and made quite a name for himself along the way. The bike was cumbersome though, and at times, Michael had to detach the trailer, ride the bike to the top of the mountain, then come back and hand pull the trailer up to the top!! Uh, nooo. I would be putting my thumb out at that point!! Not surprisingly, Michael needed some down time, so his dad drove for 36 hours to California to get him. What a dad!! And, although Michael is now in Minnesota, Tom still enjoys hosting cyclists on his 30 acre home site. We are sorry to not have met Michael, but he is currently writing a book about his travels. I, for one, hope he finishes the book because I know it will be full of many interesting stories of bike travel. And he should mention his hero Dad, too!!

We had arrived at Tom’s place early in the day, expecting to have some internet service, but it was a dead zone there.  I was so behind on the blog, I really needed to get my posts published.  We decided, after much consternation, to get a hotel in Wakefield and spend a day on the blog.  So, here we are backtracking again!  Not planned!  I am ready to move on…but, apparently, God is not ready for us to move on…accepted!

We are at Indianhead Mountain Resort…in Wakefield!  It is home to both Indianhead and Blackjack Ski Resorts.  The views here are awesome at the top of the ski runs.  Boy, really makes me want to be skiing!!

We hope to be entering the Porcupine Mountains tomorrow! It is supposed to be beautiful!  We have nowhere to camp.  All the campgrounds are 100% full and have been since January.  We will be stealthing it and probably without internet.  We are expecting to spend 3-4 days riding through the park and seeing the sights.  So, we will check back in on the other side!!

Iron Belle Trail

Iron Belle Trail

Non-Biting (I think) Glowin Green Bug

Michael’s Tin Man

Tom, Michael’s Dad, And Our Warmshower Host

View From Atop Of Indianhead Ski Resort

One Lone Hummer

Day 30 – 31 Black River Lodge to Ironwood (Total Miles = 484.2)

We left the Black River Lodge feeling like we were leaving home. But, we also knew our ride into Ironwood was going to be short, with only a few hills. On top of that, the weather was cooperating. We took all back roads and relished the joy of having little traffic. We tooled along, appreciating the countryside and farm homes. Ken and I had not seen a deer in at least a week! We still didn’t see any on that day, but we did see a family of sandhill cranes. The cranes always seem to hang out in fields, so getting a good view is difficult. As usual, they were out in the field, but I could see that there were little ones…a lot of little bitty cranes! Oh how I wish I could have snuck up on them to get a closer look at the babies! I couldn’t count all of them, but there had to be over half a dozen.

Before we knew it, we were in Ironwood. We had another reservation at the Budget Host Inn.  Again, this was another one of those old family run motels that is a gem. Friendly owners, staff, and patrons. The rooms were huge and clean, and inexpensive.

We had a lot to do in town. We had to do laundry, get Ken’s bike fixed (his derailer turned out to be bent), go to the post office, and go to the thrift shop. I also wanted to check out the Ironwood Museum. We went, but sadly, it was closed.

Ironwood has a lot going for it. It is near skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, ATVing, and waterfalls. There is a small downtown area that is very quaint. We ate twice at Ben’s Place. We stopped in because they had ice cream (what do you expect), but the lunch was delicious. We spoke with Selena, the owner. She grew up near me, downriver from Detroit. We shared stories of Allen Park, the AP Theater, Sears & Roebuck (with their hot peanuts), and why not, ice cream (Selena was a Calder ice cream fan, I am a Sanders ice cream fan)! She mentioned that, right across the street from her restaurant, the town is putting in a park with water fountains, picnic areas, and a winter ice rink that would actually encircle the park area. She was excited about the future, and that was so refreshing to hear in these times of uncertainty. Yes, they were already hard at work on it and I would love to be able to come back and see it finished. I would definitely ice skate around the park, stay at the Budget Host Inn, and eat at Ben’s Place.

Let’s pray for our service men and women, our police officers, and firemen, current and past.  Without them, we would not enjoy the life we have today.  Please, let’s not forget that!

Hard To Count All The Little Sandhill Cranes

First Thing We Saw Entering Our Budget Host Inn Room…An Open Bible!

Ironwood Museum

Ironwood Museum

Carved Tree Stump

Wood (sp? hehe) Have Been A Big Tree!

Mural Paying Respect To Early Miners

Brewster’s Northwood Bar and Grill

Ever Eat With Chainsaws Above Your Head?  Say Yah To Da Yoop, Eh!

Ben’s Place

Selena Made A Nice Outdoor Seating Area

Selena of Ben’s Place


The Future Of Ironwood


Day 27 – 29 Black River (Total Miles = 474.2)

We left Wakefield, and Eddy Campground, for the Black River.  It was not a long bike ride and the roads were all paved for easy riding.  We had reservations for a hostel at The Black River Lodge.  This lodge is fabulous.  There are standard rooms, but we chose the hostel hoping others would be staying there, too.  But, Ken and I were the only ones in the hostel area. Then again, that was kind of nice.  We had a great kitchen to use, a shower, and bunk beds.  The lodge was full, so we had plenty of other people to talk with.

The lodge is owned and run by Justin and Brittany, along with their 2 young boys and their great dane, Copper.  Upon arrival they said to make ourselves at home, and that is exactly what we did.  There is a large pool and hot tub, 2 living areas, one with a pool table and fooz ball, along with outdoor areas for bonfires and picnics.  The family puts a lot of love and work into the lodge and they do a great job.  Justin built a blazing fire one night, and we enjoyed just hanging out and talking.  We also relaxed in the hot tub, and were able to cook fresh vegetables in the kitchen.

Ken and I finally stopped long enough to just be tourists.  We headed out on our bikes, pack free, to go sight seeing!  The area is home to Copper Peaks, the only ski flying facility in the Western Hemisphere.  The hill saw a total of 12 ski flying competitions from 1970 to 1994.  Although it was expanded in 1980, the hill could not keep up with current technology, as flyers went further and further off the jump, so it closed down.  Today, they open the area to allow people to climb the jump and see the phenomenal views from the top.  The jump is 1782 feet above sea level and 1180 feet above Lake Superior.  It provides the tallest structure in the midwest with 360 degrees, and over 40 miles, of panoramic views.  Then, to imagine someone skiing down a 35 degree, 469 foot long, cantilevered ramp and flying off the end of it?!  Nerves of steel!!  No words, no pictures, can ever describe the thrill and beauty of it all.  You just have to come see this for yourselves!!

From Copper Peak, we continued on to see 3 of the 5, Black River falls.  We were able to leave the bikes at a trailhead parking lot and hike/run in to see the falls.  Our first one was Conglomerate Falls, then Potawatomi Falls, and last Gorge Falls.  The Black River water is actually black.  Tannin, from hemlock trees, leaches into the water, and the black rock base, all add to give the water a deep, dark, reddish brown look.  Hiking in was wonderful!!  It was so freeing to be on our feet and running a trail.  We could hear the falls roaring through the woods, long before we even laid eyes on them.  Each one special in their own uniqueness, I can’t really say I had a favorite.  They were all majestically beautiful, each one holding firmly to their rank that makes the Black River a must see.  One of our best experiences was stopping and talking with Fran.  Fran is 85 years old and is still getting out and hiking.  She was so grateful that her 2 daughters encourage her to join them in their activities.  It pushes her and helps to maintain her fitness.  Her advice was to always keep moving.  I will listen to that advice, Fran.  Just Keep Going!

The ‘Tour Da Yoop, Eh’ route goes into Ironwood.  So, Ken and I loaded the bikes back up after a 3 night stay at the lodge, and rode off to Ironwood.

 Justin, Brittany & Family of Black River Lodge

Nope, Not A Deer…It’s Copper The Great Dane!

Bessemer Architecture

Someone Needs To Bring This Home Back To Life!

Just A Nice View From The Road

Copper Peak From A Distance

Info On Copper Peak

Looking Down From The Starting Gate

View of Lake Superior From The Top

Big Powderhorn Ski Area

We Walked Down…No Skiing Today!


I Don’t Know About Skiing But He’s My Number 1

Conglomerate Falls On The Black River

View Of The Black River

Can’t Resist An Adventurous Trail!

Potawatomi Falls (Reminds Of A Wooly Mammoth or Mr. Snuffleupagus)

Potawatomi Falls Video

Gorge Falls

Gorge Falls Video

85 Year Old Fran Hiking In Sandals!