A day in the Great North Woods

This was mostly a day of driving, but the driving was through the beautiful Great North Woods of Wisconsin.

Before we got started, the final stop we had to make in Rhinelander this morning was to see the Hodag, the symbol of the town, right in front of the visitors’ center.  Now, the hodag was given birth in a bar in the 1890’s, by a fellow – maybe in his cups – who described a terrible creature he met in the woods which had barely managed to escape his clutches. Panic and excitement ensued, and the town rallied to trap the horrible hodag.  By the time the guy had confessed that he made it up, the town was possessive of this amalgam of lots of ugly and scary beasts – and made it their town symbol.

It is lovingly reproduced in fiberglass, as shown here, and the same image decks a lot of local enterprises and stationery.  In fact, the legislature of Wisconsin actually considered making the Rhinelander Hodag the official mythical creature of Wisconsin.  You have to love this state.

Then we drove through lots of small towns that celebrate their logging past and revel in their current outdoor recreational offerings.  Wabeno is just one prime example, with its iconic “Larry the Logroller.” We just had to brake for Larry.

On to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula next. We stopped for a late lunch at the oh-so-classy Buck Inn and then headed for our hotel overlooking the mouth of Green Bay on Lake Michigan, outside of Escanaba.  That will mean something to some of you.  We have a great view and almost the whole place to ourselves, which makes it even better. And best of all, the fish-cleaning room is not currently being used. Come to think of it, this is the first hotel we have stayed in with a fish-cleaning room. Have we been missing out on something?

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