Dwight Peck's personal website

Wisconsin during the Tea Party coup, 2011

More lakeside fun in the Northwoods

June-August: overview, escapades, visits from Marlowe and Lowell

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The new governor, a high-school graduate using the name 'Scott Walker', has tried to take over the state government, and the Tea Partiers are battling the humans on the capitol grounds in Madison -- but we're in the far north of the state, many of us working the telephones for the state senate recall campaigns and one of us watching with amused, self-satisfied detachment.

Kristin grabbed us off the arrivals platform at Newark's "Liberty" airport, and here we are at a cute retro tourist cabin in Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. The owner tried to cheat us on the fee for the kitties, and when Kristin raised the predictable row he protested that she wasn't being nice to him, he was trying to raise two teenagers with no health insurance. He blamed Obama for that.

But Sister Susan came up from mid-Ohio (which has its own lunatic for a governor) and we got in a nice walk on the shore and a dinner and a catch-up chat, before tangling with the owner and his floating cat fees the next day.

Desperate to get up through Michigan to the Upper Peninsula ("UP"), we're tangling our dismal way through Ohio, Oregon, or rather Oregon, Ohio, looking for the autoroute north. In the US, it's said, you can assess someone's patriotic sentiments by the size of his or her hegemonic flag, and car dealers nearly always win.

We're safely landed at Kristin's cottage on the lake, with an immediate trip to "Trig's", a local supermarket, to lay in a summer's worth of brilliant local and US craft beers, something we seriously lack in continental Europe.

A little work station set up for me, gazing out over the lake (and the trampoline), diffidently awaiting documents from Switzerland to work on.

Slaving away in the Wisconsin "Northwoods" -- 3 or 4 hours of work in the morning, a few hours at lakeside with an improving book, another few hours in the late afternoon with the hydrobike or canoe, and a festive dinner with the Greater Family in the evenings. It's not a Nike factory in Guangzhou.

The kitchen, awaiting us for breakfast

The living room, also awaiting us

Moonlight over the lake, with a fisherman out on it

Kristin's at dusk (with trampoline)

Squirrel has realized that Bob has entered into his very declining years, and is being extra solicitous with the old boy.

Bob walked in on us in Trélex, Switzerland, in 1998, and has always treated Squirrel disdainfully as a second-class cat. But Squirrel in turn has always worshipped Bob, and finally gets to show it.

Marlowe and Dima have come along for a week to introduce Our William, who seems to think that one of his two grandpas (the one behind the camera) looks really funny. That story's told elsewhere.

And William got to see his first US Indian shindig, as we went to Lac de Flambeau to applaud our friend Geralynn (center) at the Ojibwes' Bear River Pow Wow. That's another story, too.

Water skis on, everyone!

Kristin's ready. "Hit it!"

Actually, Kristin and her sister are going out together, once the ropes have been sorted out. "Hit it!"

Sorting the ropes has taken longer than anticipated, and they're out in the middle of the lake now. "Hit it!"

Up and away

Back from the far end of the lake twenty minutes later


Now Kristin's going for the single ski takeoff, calling upon muscle-memory from the earlier years.

Up and away

(I tried water skiing once, 15 years ago, and spent eight hours in Moreton Bay near Brisbane just trying to get up. Once up, at last, it was a mile in a straight line to South Stradbroke Island and a straight line back, and that was the end of it.) (That's why I'm envious.)

Kristin on one ski, heading off down the lake

And coming back again later

Enough for one afternoon


Some of the younger generation: Emily, Zoë, and Hans

Up and away

Expected back in half an hour or so

Lowell and Sheila have come north from Kansas to join us for some hiking in the Porcupine Mountains on Lake Superior -- that story's also told elsewhere.

Time for a quick lunch

Kristin's porch

The living room

The main island in the lake, called Adjidaumo (from the talking squirrel in Longfellow's Hiawatha); there are six islands, but this one's in the centre. We sneaking up on the eagles again. There's a big nest au milieu, hard to find, with two adults, at least one adolescent, and some additional squeaking coming from the direction of the nest.

Normally, each day, the eagles are cruising, patroling, diving, and perching whenever I haven't brought a camera along, and they're visiting relatives on some other lake whenever I've got one. Today, I'm sneaking up quietly with just my expendable little Fuji (in case I flip the canoe).

That's one of the adults on one of their two favorite lookout spots, with feathers in disarray in a strong wind from the north.

The old Fuji's only got a little zoom, so that's the lot.

We're back another day for another try, and a thunderstorm blowing into the venue, but they've seen us coming -- the eagles are hiding or otherwise occupied.

We're circumambulating the island to see if they're hiding anywhere. Circumcanoelating the island.

It may be time to head for the shore, however.

Lowering clouds, and thunderboomers

We're paddling quietly over this way . . . where we've just seen the sneaky eagle.

That one, but we'll never get close enough.

So now it's probably time to head for the shore.

The lake putting on a choppy show

Kristin's family dock and no lightning yet

Kristin's cottage from just off-shore

Mid-August and near the end of our holiday, we've promised ourselves a brisk hydrobike excursion all round the shoreline of the lake, reputedly 11 miles as the hydrobike pedals.

En route on our Shoreline Challenge, we're in the quiet back bay behind the highway bridge 3km south of Kristin's cottage.

On the last stretch northward up the lake to home, Kristin (paddleboard) and Kim (kayak) spring up out of nowhere.

I assume there's a simple trick to it. Kristin can ride out water-skiers' and jetskis' wakes on that thing (I couldn't balance on it in the living room).

But she can't keep up with a hydrobike. Sayonara.

Back to the dock

Cousin Rob's stopped in to sound out the possibilities for some collaborative travel in southern Italy in the autumn.

Dinner at the country club: Liz, Susan, Kristin.

I'm soon off to Switzerland -- Kristin's coming along in a month or so. Photo by Oscar.

Summer in Wisconsin, 2011

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