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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Miles Upon Miles

~Saturday, July 31, 2021~

Day 412 (Travel Day)

Last day of July and our last day in Michigan. Wow, the U.P. of Michigan really exceeded our expectations, which were already high. We’ll absolutely be back to take in more of Pictured Rocks, more hikes, more waterfalls and views of the Great Lakes. The places we stayed and the people we met along the way were absolutely wonderful. McLain State Park wins the #1 spot for camping in the U.P. region, at least for us. You just can’t beat a better lake view than we had from our campsite, and we just simply liked the energy of the place.

Today we’re headed to a new state for us…..Wisconsin! We’re excited to be using our Boondocker’s Welcome membership with our stay at “Peace and Quiet” in Washburn, WI. The drive….about 3 hours and gaining an hour since we’ll be in the eastern side of the central time zone.

And.....we turned over 40,000 miles on "Hank"!! Wow, and to think it's only been a little over a year. We've definitely covered a lot of ground.

Many Boondocker hosts prefer when mentioning them, you keep to their host name which in this case is “Peace and Quiet”. They’ve been terrific in their communication leading up to our stay. The reason we chose Washburn is due to its proximity to the Apostle Islands and it was kind of on the way to Illinois where we’ll be visiting family again in the next week or so.

Before leaving our campsite at McLain, we were contemplating whether to fill up our fresh water tanks there, but that would have meant carrying another 400 lbs. in the rig which is not ideal. And our Boondocker hosts assured us that we could either use their water with a filter or get water from an Artesian Well in Washburn.

About 1 hour into our drive, we noticed the skies getting smokier which prompted me to look up the culprit. It appears any smoke headed in this direction is a culmination of fires in the West and Canada. So sad that these fires are worsening every year with the expectation that clear blue skies in the summer are a thing of the past.

Once we got closer to Washburn, we decided to get fresh water at a local campground called Thompson’s West End Park, which allowed non-guests to use their water and dump station facilities (a rarity). It wasn’t hard to find the “fill-up” spot as we must have seen 3 or 4 cars parked nearby with people unloading containers of all sizes to get their drinking water. And these were not guests of the park. This Artesian well produces some of the cleanest, purist, water you can find. As we filled up our clear collapsible bottles (5 gallons each), we couldn’t get over just how clear the water was and no filter! And it’s free for all to use. But this particular well is historic. The Sprague Well, believed to be the first drilled Artesian well in Bayfield County, was completed at 119 feet in 1903 by Monroe Sprague at what was once the Sprague Lumber Co. Early on, the flow was recorded at 224/gallons/minute. Then in 1956, the flow was measured at 54 gal./min. Artesian wells have enough pressure to bring water up to the surface on their own, as opposed to standard wells which require a pump. The water that is unused just trickles back down to the source. Apparently, these little gems are numerous in the area. It really astounded us that we could simply walk up to a pipe that runs 24/7 and have the luxury of getting fresh, free water to our heart’s content. A little hard to digest when you know what’s going on with the limited water 💧supply in the western part of the U.S. 🤔

Our host’s directions were perfect. About 10 minutes from downtown Washburn, we were suddenly in a dense forest setting. Their property backs right up to a national forest, where on one side of the road are perfectly aligned evergreen trees and on the opposing side, deciduous trees. Luckily, the road we needed to turn off of to get into our spot in the forest, was lightly traveled. We even had time to inspect the location before backing in the trailer. Ah, so nice to be in “Peace and Quiet” as their name describes. Most of the Boondocker Welcome locations we’ve stayed at have the owner’s home within view. In this case, we feel like we’re in our own secluded spot as their “home” is out of our line of sight. Just in the first few minutes of arriving, we realized just how much we’ve missed boondocking. The location is perfect. We even have a picnic table and plenty of room to move about. Sadie couldn’t be more thrilled as she has the whole forest to herself. Our host even left a box filled with maps, a journal, and notes of all things to do in the area. Perfect!! We have our sightseeing work cut out for us since we have a very short time to visit.

Within just a few minutes of our arrival, our host appeared from the forest (there’s a nice walking path from their location) to welcome us. So nice to chat and in fact, found we had many things in common…..we both like to sew (she’s a quilter), they too, own a Lance Trailer, they are full-time RV’ers on their 40-acre property here, and we LOVE dogs! She and her husband own 3 Samoyeds and 1 other dog. In fact, during their winters, they enjoy sledding, being pulled by their 4-legged family members. How cool is that?

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