Nancy Cycles!

Nancy Cycles!
"You got to be careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." ... Yogi Berra

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Nicolet National Forest and Wolf Ecology

Our days are so full, I am already behind in my blogging!! And when I finally make time even though tired and sleepy at night --- there is little or weak wifi and I am unable to download photos. So I am starting this tonight (Wednesday) about yesterday (Tuesday) and may have to complete it tomorrow (Thursday). Dang!

For our bike ride this day we would load bikes, gear and selves into the trailers and vans.


We will be shuttled to and from the ride start today.


Kathryn (likes Kathleen for (tongue in cheek) suggesting the ice breaker game. Kathryn may just hate ice breakers more than I. And I hate them a lot!


Chris (chickens) is ready to roll.


Dentist Randy (raptors) waits his turn to load up his bike

Our route would take us through scenic Nicolet National Forest. We would weave our way through the magnificent forest land of the Northwoods, stopping to view a couple of lakes and to have our picnic lunch at Sevenmile Lake. Along the way there would be stops for our leader, Kim, to tell us about the trees and other forest growth.

A brief stop to enjoy one of the many lakes of the area -- and spotted a loon!


Lunch spot on the boat ramp


After a full and tiring day of somewhat hilly riding in a beautiful forest all day, we would have our regular dinner hour and then a class about Wolves. Our leader this evening would be Melanie who did a fine job of "handling" this rowdy crowd! Well, not really rowdy, but talkative ;'-). Melanie showed us slides, some short videos and gave us so much information about wolves. Too much to recall actually. But we sure did enjoy the learning.

Melanie teaches us about wolves


Susan having a good time


Getting a feel for the wolf and coyote


Some have more fun than others


The skull of the wolf and the coyote seem identical except for size


The dentist must check the teeth

This will bring us up to date through Tuesday. Wednesday had its own fun and adventure. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Yes, we did get to Bog Walk

Vern, our leader for this event, educated us about bogs, marshes and swamps. As I think I learned, it all depends on the vegetation surrounding the area: lots of trees in and downed surround a swamp; reeds and low growth throughout are in a marsh; bogs are holes in the ground filled with water and low growing vegetation which eventually leads through sphagnum to the body of water. The vegetation will eventually grow across the "pond" and fill in so that there will be no water, but all land.

Following this lesson, we donned our bog boots and loaded up into the bus that would transport us to a nearby bog.


Nancy admires Archie's (aardvark) fashion


A look at the full fashion statement


Booted up, we make our way to the bus.

Once parked, we found our way to a trail that would lead us through the forest to a bog.


We feel like we are walking on a giant sponge

We have quite the experience wandering around on the bog and making sure we don't step into any holes -- or black holes -- that Vern had warned us of.


Rob investigates that where he will step is not into a black hole


Vern (no "v" favorites known) continues our lesson about bogs


Pitcher plant that holds water in the bottom and "eats" insects that fall into them
A bog

We walk along the spongy sphagnum and learn it has many uses -- at least in the past. It would be dried by the Indians and used as diapers because it absorbs so much fluid. During early wars it would be used to stanch bleeding wounds for the same reason.

This was quite the adventure and experience for all of us.

Another bike riding day coming up soon.


Bikes, Storms and Bogs

Monday, August 29, 2016

During breakfast, we had a storm. Thunder, lightning and heavy rain to wait through before leaving the dining hall to attend our class. Mike from a bike shop in Rhinelander came to give us some lessons about bikes.


We are gathering for our lesson


Our ice breaker the day before, as much as most if not all of us did not want to do, proved very helpful for learning everyone's name. We started around the circle with our first name and something we liked that started with the same letter. Each person after that had to retell the name and thing liked of all those before as we went along.

Deb (who likes dates) Rob (who likes robins) and Nancy (who likes nene birds) pay close attention to Mike's instructions.


Deb got a little tired of sitting and so did some stitching.

After the indoor class, Mike put each of our bikes on the work stand and gave them a once over, insuring that our gears and brakes would serve us well on our rides.



Soon we were ready to saddle up and do our short shakedown ride around Eagle River.


Joe (likes jam) and Mary Jo (likes mice)


Laurie (loons) and Susan (science) get to know each other before our first ride


Kim (kakapos -- look it up) is our bike tour leader for the week.


Kathleen (katydids) can hardly wait to get rolling.

And then we were riding. Silver Lake was on our route to explore just a little of the town as we checked out Mike's work on our bikes and before returning for lunch. Breakfast and dinner (and some lunches) are served in the dining hall.

Lunch time

Now we would actually take a ride for the day. We left from campus on our bikes to roam around back country roads through the Eagle River area to experience the local environs.


Van support is always with us and we have a number of breaks in the ride for water or other needs.


Deb talks Paul (pears) into a smile for the camera


Marty (martens and meadowlarks) entertains some of us at this stop.


Dan (dancing) ...


...and Margaret (marshmallows) enjoy the break as well.


Kathleen and Cindy (children) look back at something going on back there.

Our major stop (the one that had our first outhouse opportunity) was at Burnt Rollways Dam.



There is an interesting lake-to-lake boat crossing here -- a lock like thing.


You put your boat on the transport device here... and your boat get rolled over the road...


...then you get lowered to the next lake here.

We had a very full day by now and it was time to return for dinner with barely time for showers and a mini-rest.

We thought we had had a storm this morning? During and after dinner the ear shattering thunder and the sky lightening lightning struck and brought torrential rain. But it passed!!! It passed. Unlike the rain in Seattle, it passed. There would be some thunder and a bit of rain through the early part of the evening while we attended our bog ecology class. Would we or would we not be able to do our Bog Walking Adventure!?!

More about that in the following post.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Eagle River WI

Sunday, August 28, 2016

We landed today. After three full days and a morning of driving we have made it the 1785 miles to Eagle River. Susan did ALL of the driving even though I was there for relief if she felt the need or desire. The weather was variable -- sunny at times, cloudy at times and a heavy rain on the last full day. But the rainbows were beautiful.

And the sunsets were stunning.

We get a lot of rain in Seattle, but without the sun -- so rainbows are few to none.
Even blurred the sunset is incredible. Thanks to the clouds.

At about 140 miles from our destination we found a place to spend the night. No easy feat in these lake resort towns with sky high prices. Coming upon the Casino -- we got the last room -- and that one had just opened up with a cancellation.


A haven in the night


Thank goodness


Free rewards for joining including $10 for the slots.

Susan seems to win whenever we do this (we have joined at least three casinos on our various travels) and did win $5 which almost paid for the two beers she had. I came out a clear winner of $1.50 to the good!

Finally a full night's sleep with no need to rise at an unreasonable hour as the drive to Eagle River was relatively short.

Checking out the outdoor shops and any fishing shops called for a stop before finding Trees for Tomorrow.


Interesting crosswalk marking in Eagle River


The crosswalks look similar to traffic circles

From the brochure information: Trees for Tomorrow (TFT) started in 1944 to help reforestation efforts in northern Wisconsin. Now that the reforestation has been completed, TFT has shifted more toward educating students, teachers and other adults about wise use of natural resources. TFT is an accredited Natural Resources Specialty school.



Got our room keys and name tags


Door "decs" just like Sarah did for us at WWU!!

Accommodations are sparse, but several steps up from fish camp!


We have electricity and the (indoor) facilities are a short walk down the hall

After social hour with snacks and drinks, we had dinner. THEN we had ice breaker time. I HATE ice breakers, and have learned that most people here hate them too. Fortunately we had only one and all got through it in good form.

A slide show and introduction to TFT followed our ice breaker fun. Our leader, Kim went over our schedule and told us what we would be doing for the week. There will be bicycling of course, but also we will have a canoe day, and apparently a walking in a bog adventure where we will wear these provided boots.



Off to (bunk) bed now ;'-)