Oh, the ride out of Copper Harbor was brutal!! The only fun thing about it was having Lynn and Mark drive up on us and yell greetings out the window. Unfortunately, that lasted just a few seconds, and honestly, I couldn’t even respond, although I enjoyed it tremendously. There was 2 miles of sheer climbing, 12% grade in some sections. Ken and I had to walk our bikes…a lot! No wait…push our bikes. The shoulder was meager, the twists, turns, and crests substantial. Our entire bodies got a good hard workout that day. No sooner did we finally turn off that road and hit some downhill, that we met up with a construction crew tearing the road apart preparing to repave. Gravel, dust, more uphill, washboarding, and a few rude drivers was the tour of the day. The Tour Da Yoop, Eh route had a food stop through here, but when we got to it, the restaurant did not open for 2 more hours. We got back on our bikes and rode into Lac La Belle. This little town had no restaurants, either. We were going to ride through, but eyed a roadside park and pulled in. We were tired and hungry. Thankfully, we were able to talk with a local. He told us there was nothing ahead for over 15 miles. Our best bet was to go back into Lac La Belle and check out the cabin rentals or the campground for availability. We still had no cellphone service, so we made sandwiches and ate, then headed back into Lac La Belle.
We were hopeful for a cabin, but when there was no vacancy, we thought for sure the campground would take us in. Nope. We have never had a campground turn us away, but this one did. We were standing outside the entrance pondering our circumstances, when a gentleman came out on his ATV and asked if we were all right. We must have looked devastated. He didn’t say hello, or how you doing…he asked if we were all right. Ken answered promptly, and said no. God sent us a road angel that afternoon…his name was Ron.
A forever Yooper, Ron offered his yard across from Lake La Belle for us to camp on. We took him up on his offer, of course. It was great to have a safe, legal spot to lay our heads, but Ron was the highlight…a shining light. At 76 years old, Ron is a warrior. A true survivor. A man who appreciates all life has to give, the good, and the not so good. As a young man still in his teens, Ron survived a car hoist falling on him while he was working under it. By the skin of his teeth, he fell and landed safely in the garage floor work pit. He came home from the Vietnam war, when so many men were lost. In the late 1960s, he survived a shooting by a disgruntled employee who entered his place of employment and began firing at people. Ron lived only because he tripped and fell as the shooter aimed and unloaded his gun at him. But, the aftermath was worse than the shooting itself, as the memories remain so many years later. Ron survived a heart attack, a stroke that left his right arm wacky, and a bout with cancer. Ron says he carries an angel on his shoulder, but he is not sure why the angel watches after him. I told him because God is not through with him yet…as evidenced by his generosity with us.
Everyone in town knows Ron! His friend Steve came by in his ATV. He stopped and shut off the engine, and just sat right in the middle of the road, so he could chat. Another fellow did the same thing, only in his truck. A benefit fish boil for the local fire department was happening the next day, so we figured we would stay long enough for that. Steve ran up to the fire station to get our tickets for us, came back, then took me to his house so that I could use his internet to contact our family members and let them know we were okay.
The next day was pouring rain. We were still sleeping in the tent since there was no reason to get up, when Ron came by. He took us over to his RV and we made coffee and talked the entire morning away. When lunch time came, he drove us over to the fire station so we could all pick up our fish boil dinner, and we ate our lunch together. He let us stay on another night, or for as long as we needed.
You would think a man who has experienced so much turmoil, strife, and pain would be bitter and disheartened. But, here is a man that still has more to give, feels free to share of himself, and continues to strive to get the most out of life. Ken and I will never forget you, Ron. We’ll talk about you and share your story for years to come. Our memories of you will honor your goodness, and give us that inimitable character to aspire to.
Our Hero, Ron
View From Steve’s House
Lac La Belle – A Beautiful Haven
The Roadside Park
View From Ron’s Place. The Golf Club Has Been A Mainstay For As Long As Ron Could Remember. Wish We All Knew The Story Behind That One!
View From Ron’s Dock Of Lake La Belle
Another Of The Roadside Park
Lake La Belle
Finally A Close Up Of Sandhill Cranes On Lake La Belle
Duck Family Swimming Off Ron’s Dock
Local Lawn Art
Lac La Belle Is A Haven From Heaven!
2 thoughts on “Day 46 & 47 – To Lac La Belle (Total Miles = 737.25)”
What a nice and heart warming story. When you are nice, and pay it forward, God brings wonderful people into our lives.
That’s right Beth! I wrote Ron a thank you note before we left and told him that when we pay it forward we will say “this is for Ron”.