As if Friday wasn't good enough, Saturday was the cherry on top. Two days in a row where the weather and rain hold back so I can get in driving tour videos and some great photos.
Saturday started out in a complete downpour but I don't give up so easily and have learned to take the weather channel's predictions under advisement. This will be the day that I head over to the Michigan/Wisconsin border to visit Rustic Road 100 located in Iron County, Wisconsin. This will also be the day my GPS decides to take a more scenic and 'direct' route to the destination.
Starting out, it wasn't a bad way to go at all and when the weather clears I'm definitely going to have to explore the route more because there were some amazing barns along the way. I'm from Wisconsin and nothing makes my head turn like a barn that is aging gracefully. It'll also be a good route for another scenic drive video.
Things are going smoothly, a little too smoothly as I twist and turn through the small towns and following the GPS's directions from County Roads to Highways back to County Roads. That is until one of the turns indicated that the bridge was out up ahead. So we had to bypass the route and keep going straight. Of course, I'm in the middle of nowhere with no signal. Should have known that the curse of the Rustic Roads continues.
Even though I don't believe in curses there is something about these Rustic Roads that when I go out to specifically drive one of them I get detoured or off of the route altogether. Obviously, Saturday is going to be no different. We finally come to an intersection that has one direction point towards Bruce, well from the last time I went to this Rustic Road I knew Bruce could get us back on track so I turned towards it.
To help ease my frustration I took this time to make a few stops along the way to snap a few pictures of the barns. Yes, it was still raining but this gal needs to make some money and Mother Nature isn't going to completely push me away from the day's goals. Finally, after what seems like an hour, Bruce appears ahead and a part of me is thinking I should have gone left instead of right because we are now heading South instead of North. Whatever.
The one and only gas station in Bruce has me pulling over to try and get a signal and get the GPS up and running. My niece, sister-in-law, and Aria are also along for the ride because after we visit this Rustic Road we're going over to Drummond to meet up with my folks for dinner. It is only after my sister-in-law threatens to go in and get a road map that the GPS finds the signal, calculates the new route and is ready to go. Hmmm, something is afraid of a little competition.
After a quick stop at the gas station, we are back on the road making a steady pace North and East towards Mercer, Wisconsin where the Rustic Road is located. Thankfully, this route is mostly on Highways so the speed is able to stay consistent for longer stretches. We also had the pleasure of snaking through a few more towns and enjoy the view of the Flambeau River State Forest and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. I highly recommend seeing both of these forests if you are ever in the North-Eastern part of Wisconsin. The National Forest actually has a Rustic Road that goes right through it and that is beautiful.
Hopefully, I'll be able to sneak up there before the leaves fall completely and the snow starts falling to add that route to my scenic road videos. I drove through it a year or two ago and it was absolutely amazing. A real favorite of the Rustic Roads.
Finally, the town of Mercer comes into view. Small, quaint and very nice town to drive through. About halfway through is County Road J and not far from that turn off is Rustic Road 100. It is 13 miles long! One of the longer routes of the Rustic Road collection. Oh my gosh, it was beautiful!
The rain had stopped completely and splashes of color surround the car as I snaked through the drive. It is about half paved and half gravel. The further in you go, the rougher and more narrower the road comes keeping in mind that even though you don't see them there are homes hidden behind the trees and behind every corner is someone walking or biking the route.
I was in heaven. It is the views I found out there that day that made the entire day worth it. The videos were solid, the colors were full and beautiful, the road was quiet and every turn was leading to more and more beauty surrounding me. I was smiling from ear to ear and whispering to the Universe, "thank you, thank you, thank you. This beauty is why I love being a YouTuber and Photographer. This is why, so I can share this beauty with you, my followers, fans, and customers. I love showing these hidden gems to the world."
Nearing the end, as mentioned earlier, the road gets more and more rougher and I'm now on gravel making it even more of a challenge. I'm barely able to get to 40, even though the speed limit is set at 45, this is causing a bit of anxiety in the back from Aria who isn't crazy about these slow speeds. She is also panting and jumping up and down off the backseat. Now, my niece is getting anxious trying to calm her down and keep us informed of what she is doing.
When able I let both her and Aria know that we're almost done and tell my niece to just let Aria be, as soon as I'm off this route she'll settle down. Yeah, like that ever works. But at least now there making their sounds a bit softer. A few more twists and turns, slowdowns and climbs and up ahead is the sign showing a stop sign is ahead. "This is it Aria we are through. Stop sign ahead means smooth roads are coming."
As the road slows to a stop she curls back up on the floor and begins settling down on the floor in the back. A glance back shows my niece is doing the same. I now cross the border and we've now entered Michigan. A few minutes here to stretch our legs and we're back on the road heading West towards Ashland.
From here on out, the routes just seem to be getting longer but at least the rain is holding off, although, the clouds are showing that they're starting to regroup over Lake Superior just off the right towards the North. After about a half-hour, Ashland shines through up ahead. We make a few stops before making a longer one at the Bayfield Park. Both Aria and my niece are happy to be out and away from the car.
The wind is cold and the water looks angry with mud and sand being kicked up from the bottom making it look more brown than blue near the shoreline. They walk one way and Aria and I walk another. Twenty to twenty-five minutes later we have regrouped and are heading back towards the car. We're all revived and enjoying the break from the car. As of now, we've been in the car driving for five hours. I've been for eight, still holding strong but the cool air was a good revival for me.
We get settled into the car and finish the rest of the way to Drummond. No sooner was the city of Ashland behind us that the rain began to sprinkle, drizzle and finally turn to full rain. A miss of my turn gave us another five minutes on the route but we maneuvered back easily enough and are back on track. Finally, we made it to Drummond.
The final drive back to the house started out fine with rain stopping altogether. But shortly after merging onto Highway 53 it hit us, along with dark clouds and a setting sun. It only gets better as the wind continues to pick up and oh, look at that we have road work ahead of us. Road work that didn't include repainting the lines. A little tense but I make it through unscathed, well almost, a raccoon came out in the middle of the road and I had cars around me and it just stopped in the middle of my lane. Not cool.
I apologized to the raccoon because I will do what I can to avoid these situations but rain, low visibility, at night, it was either him or me and with my niece and Aria in back it had to be him. So, again, I apologize. Thankfully, no more issues and we get home safe and sound. Even as I finish writing this, the rain continues to pour down around us. It definitely makes for good sleeping weather.
I've now officially been up for fifteen hours and was planning on going to bed over an hour ago but when this blog popped into my head I had to write while the memories were fresh. Thank you for visiting!
Be sure to check out my online shop on eBay as well as my YouTube Driving and Walking Tours with special features of the Rustic Roads of Wisconsin. The direct links can be found under my 'Welcome' tab located at the top of the page.
Enjoy the day!!!