Woodland Park Campground was expecting us, sort of. When Matt drove us to Grand Marais for dinner, we had made a quick stop into the campground to check out the situation. I bounded out of the car and bopped over to the camp host, who was riding his golf cart. He looked at me sideways and asked what I wanted. Like a kid, I explained we would be riding bicycles into town, but will be too late for the first-come-first-serve status of the campground. Could he keep a site open for us?…Pretty Pleaasse??? He looked me over sideways again, half grimaced, and grimly said there would be one here for us. I think Eugene liked me!
So, we packed up in the morning and, as we left for Grand Marais, Matt left down the North Country Trail. A super easy ride, we made good time and arrived at Woodland Park around 2:30. As promised, we had a beautiful sight with Lake Superior in view. Eugene drove over to greet us and we were both happy to see each other. Eugene is old. I don’t know how old, but he is old. Eugene is not a Yooper, but he knows the U.P. He has been coming here for over 30 years, mostly to snowmobile in the winter. His wife passed away a few years ago, but he still comes up north every year. I think Eugene’s wife was a tough lady. He talked about how she had to have her own snowmobile, she wasn’t riding on the back of his! She loved the outdoors as much as he did. They would travel the back roads and trails on their snowmobiles, sometimes going out for several days at a time. Too cold for me, but I love that they shared adventures in the snow.
We had barely entered the park before Julie and Jeff came over to talk. Like so many others, they wanted to know our story. Yet, unlike most of the others, they insisted on getting us wood and delivering it to our site. Not too unheard of, except that they had no vehicle to drive either, and the wood was about a half mile away at the convenience store in town!! No, no, we said it was too much. They related a story of how his mother had told him to be gracious when someone offered something. How, it’s not really about you, it’s about the giver, and they wanted to do this for us. So, Julie and Jeff walked a half mile to the store, split the load of wood between them, and hand carried it back a half mile to our site, along with some items for kindling. I cry as I relate this story to you. Do you know, they did that for us, we talked a bit, and we never saw them again!
As soon as Julie and Jeff left, Bob and Pam, Collin and Ineike, our neighbors, came to talk. As it turned out, we didn’t burn our hand-delivered wood until the next day, because these 4 friends invited us to share their fire. We talked and learned a bit about each other, before we all headed to the beach to watch the sun set.
While at the beach, we met Dominic, and some other young folk getting it done on the beach! They were building a cool beach getaway made of driftwood. They had been building this special place for 3 years, coming back every summer to keep adding on. They fly the American flag and are very proud and respectful of their American heritage. They spoke of the appreciation they have for veterans, and how they thank them at every opportunity. When the flag is weathered and torn, they reverently burn the flag and replace it with a fresh new one. True Yankee Doodle Dandies!! We were asked to carve our name in a driftwood table for posterity. We did and Dominic filled it in with sand, then burnt it so our names were visible. So awesome! Our young!!
The next day, our neighbors on the other side of us came to talk. Mike and Deb are active retirees, too. Mike loves to bike and was heavily involved in the Michigan bicycle trail committees, along with his father, so it was all in the family. Deb is a walking fanatic. We related different stories of our athletic adventures, and trail concepts, and the like.
A day off the bike was nice, and I was able to work a little on the blog.
Julie and Jeff Our Campground Angels
Bob, Pam, Ineike, and Collin Our Neighbors
Lake Superior Beach and Sunset
Bringing In More Wood For The Structure
The Haven Architect Taking A Rest
Dominic and His Groupie
West Bay In Grand Marais
Mike and Deb