Heading up to northern Wisconsin

Susan Manzke
Susan Manzke practices taking pictures on her new smart phone as she travels to northern Wisconsin.

Sometime in May I heard about a three-day bus trip put on by Wisconsin Public Radio. The trip was in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first public radio broadcast. It included two Big Top Chautauqua programs.

Our family thought it a good trip for us, so Bob and I made reservations. After putting it on our calendar, I didn’t think about it.

Before our bus excursion I talked to our daughter, Rachel about picking up their dog, Jade from its two-week vacation on the farm. Rachel and her whole family planned to come for Jade and to spend time on the farm. It was Seymour’s Burger Fest weekend and they wanted to experience it with their three children.

I had forgotten to check the date for Burger Fest. Oh my! It was the same weekend of our bus trip. I had the urge to cancel our trip, but Rachel said to go. They would use our home as base camp for their hamburger celebration weekend.

I felt sad I’d be missing our grandchildren’s excitement at seeing the events: parade, ketchup slide, and hot air balloons. Still, it was time to pack.

Our trip was a casual event. I should have been able to use an overnight bag for two changes of clothes. Instead, I took out our big suitcase. Rain was predicted. We needed extra clothes for that possibility. Also, the information sent to us said we’d be staying in Ashland at Hotel Chequamegon on the shores of Lake Superior. Lake weather could be cool, so I packed for cool, too.

In the end, with all the possible scenarios we could encounter, I packed two suitcases, throwing in everything but the kitchen sink—better to be safe than sorry.

We had to meet the bus at seven that Saturday morning in Appleton, so Bob and I left early. It was an odd feeling knowing our family would arrive at the farm in a couple hours and we wouldn’t be there to hug all the grandkids.

The bus ride was long as we stopped to pick up others on our route northwest. In Chippewa Falls we loaded our eastern bus group into a larger bus that had begun its day in La Crosse. It was nice not having to drive and to comfortably watch out the window as northern Wisconsin rolled by.

On other bus rides, I had taken along knitting projects to pass the time. This trip I brought a smartphone. Our son, Russell, had upgraded and gave me his old phone. As we rode, I used the bus’s WiFi and learned more about using my new toy. Up until now, Bob and I had our flip phones—Bob only wants his flip phone.

I’d always thought it neat when friends could pop up a screen and tell when the rain would arrive. Now I had that ability right in my hand.

Susan Manzke shoots a selfie with Bob on the deck of Hotel Chequamegon with Lake Superior in the background.

On the bus, I took my first selfie. Actually, I took six photos of myself. My heavy finger held down the button too long so many photos of me showed up on my phone—it’s not like my camera. This happened most of the time I tried to take photos during our trip with my smart phone. I have ten photos of Bob on the shore of Lake Superior—basically they are identical. Soon I’ll have to weed out the duplicates to save space on my computer and phone.

We arrived at our hotel at four and were delighted to find our rooms on the lake side of the building. I took more photos, almost all were multiples—I’m still trying to find a lighter touch but I guess more pictures are better than none.

I will continue writing about our trip next week. I just couldn’t fit it all in today. Imagine how long winded I’d get if it was more than three days.

Room with a view. Columnist Susan Manzke was delighted to find her room was on the top floor of Hotel Chequamegon in Ashland on the shores of Lake Superior.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;