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Sisters on the Fly, Big Bang Bob and other Dynamite Connections

 Hello from the Boulder Junction, WI Library and my sister's diningroom table,

Thank you for the free WIFI, and recharging station, Boulder Junction and Seester Mary!


Don't you think it is interesting the connections we make while traveling.  Or even in our hometowns, the  brief interactions that enrich our lives.  It is like the good wishes, prayers, and love in our lives is attracting to us just the people and and stories that will help us, or somehow become part of our journey.

There was a saying on a Dove Dark Chocolate wrapper that read: 

Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe.

I like that.   When I left the Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls I drove to the KOA in Hayward, WI.  It wasn't far.

I was attending a Wisconsin area Sisters on the Fly (SOTF) event.  SOTF is a membership organization that is nation-wide.  It started in Texas when a few women decided to start camping and learning Fly Fishing (hence the name).

Now there are over ... I don't know, 18,000 members?

I arrived at the KOA a day before the event started.  I knew that there were several other Sisters that were also arriving early.  

Fortunately I had enough cell service to check the facebook page for the event.  Someone said what site she was in and welcomed other sisters to come hang out.  That was all I needed to join the party, a simple invitation.  I met Barbara and that is her banner above that I photographed.

Somewhere along the way I met Becky from Minnesota.  She likes to hike and wanted to go hike Copper Falls which was an hour's drive away.  Barb and I volunteered to join her.

My father was in the CCC's as part of the effort to employ young men during the Great Depression.  He worked at Copper Falls State Park.

As we walked the stone steps and crossed the bridges I wondered if his hands had help to make these great and lasting walk-ways.  There were a lot of falls to look at and the trail did a great job of giving us different vantage points for each one.

It was great sharing the beauty with others and getting to know Becky and Barbara.  They both have done some serious (Camping style) back packing and Barbara had done some horse camping.  She still has four old horses.

Every evening the sisters would gather in a spare lot provided by the campground for our use.  We chatted and introduced ourselves and if we stayed long enough into the evening the circle would break up into smaller groups chatting away.

One morning Becky wanted to go to breakfast and I joined in that two.  It was a great little restaurant/bar a few miles away.

One day I went off on my own riding bicycle.  I rode into Hayward, watched some of the Lumberjack show (what atheletes!) and as I started to bypass the downtown I got a big flat.  The tire was shredded, not just the tube.  Luckily I was on my two-wheel bike with the standard 26 inch wheels.  If I had that happen on my trike with the 20" front tires I would have probably had to call a sister to come get me.

Google said I was only 1/2 a mile from a bike shop.  It was getting late in the afternoon, I was worried the shop would be closed by the time I got there.  But it was still open and the two women in the workshop took care of my tire while I waited.

The KOA was more expensive of a place than I normally stay.  It was very well run, quiet time was quiet time, and even with ... there must have been over 100 families there with children, the grounds were clean and neat.

The manager of the KOA took our group picture.

It was getting toward the end of our gathering.  I was sitting around talking with a few women.  Karen has been working on simplicity, or minimalism.  She said she starts days with 10 little stones in one cup and each thing she gets rid of she moves a stone from the starting cup to the done cup.  Until she has found 10 things to give away or toss.

I was inspired.  I had packed up a picture that George had drawn from a picture we saw in Sports Illustrated or somewhere.  We had gifted the picture to my dad who was a fishing enthusiast.  The picture made dad giggle and when he passed or my Mom passed, the picture came back to George and I.

My son had agreed to take the picture and I had carefully wrapped it and put it behind the three-drawer dressers in my Weeroll. 

The thing is, when I visited Jeremy, I forgot all about the picture.  I had other stuff in boxes I gave him, but the picture was still hidden in my trailer.

Then a few weeks after I had found the picture.  It was water stained, not worth the care to mail to him.  I decided after talking to Karen to take the picture to the dumpster.  

As I was walking... (it was so hear wrenching!  My dad, my husband, my son all wrapped up in this picture I held in my hands.)

A couple of sisters were finishing up their packing, getting ready to leave.  I told them how I was walking this picture to the trash and it was so hard to part with because it was so full of the love of our family.  And Mary (one of the sisters, these two were actual real sisters to each other) said, "That would look great at our cabin.  Don't throw it away, I would love to have it.!"

Oh my!  I almost started to cry.  

Wow what a chance encounter.  These two sisters will now have the fun picture on their wall and I can think it is bringing smiles to someone still.

And I am no longer towing it around with me!  Lighter... do I feel lighter?

When I was in Madison, WI, I attended the wedding of a daughter of a friend and got to re-connect with some friends from where George and I lived for 27 years.  When I left the wedding, I had walked away and my purple raincoat was sitting on the back of the chair.

I had talked about going up to Hayward and it just so happened that Vicky and Kyle had just moved into their summer home in Hayward area.  So they called and I arranged to visit them and get my purple raincoat.

I just expected to stop and get a little tour of their home (which is lovely and on a big lake).  But Vicky served me coffee and sweet bread and then they offered to take me on a ride around their lake in their nice new pontoon boat.  

How cool is that!  It was a gorgeous day for a ride on the lake.

The boat has some hydraulic jacks under it.  So when he parks next to his dock he doesn't jump onto the deck and tie the boat to the dock posts.  No, he pushes a button and the jacks go down, lifting the pontoon up out of the water.  

I was impressed.  I had to get down on my hands and knees and look below the boat.

I had parked on their road because I was towing Lilac and didn't know if I would be able to turn around in their driveway.  There were some construction vehicles also on the road, so I drove down a bit to get a stretch to park without obstructing traffic.

When Vicky and Kyle and I walked to my car there was a woman and what looked like a police officer trying to peek into the windows of my Weeroll.  It turns out that the woman panicked when she saw my truck and trailer by her house and she called the police.   Geesh!  The policeman asked if I was "Susan".  He had already looked up my plates.

After the Sisters on the Fly Event my next stop was South Trout Lake Campground.  I had arranged to arrive a day early so that I could learn a bit from the previous Campground Hosts.  I was feeling kind of nervous, this was my first Campground Host gig.   

All I knew was that I had chores to do and in exchange I would get a free (non-electric) campsite.

I arrived and pulled into my site.  Over came Pat and Bill, the current hosts, to introduce themselves.
Bill offered to show me how to clean the bathrooms in the morning.  That would be my first official day and the day that they pull out of the host spot and I pull in.

That's a picture of Pat below.  A couple days after I started we had a "Host" meeting at one of the other campgrounds in the State Forest here.  That is where I took the picture and met some of the other hosts.

One of my duties each week is "Wood Shed Duty".  Every day the wood shed is open from four to seven and we hosts take turns doing it.  My day is Wednesdays.  I like that it is regular, it is easier to plan around.

Shortly after I arrived at South Trout I had my 69th Birthday.  The day before my sister came and went for a hike.  She brought me a much loved bag of tree nuts, granola bars, and dark chocolate.  Yum!  Thank you, Sister Mary!

I got a message from Diane who I had met when I arrived at a trailhead last year and she and I hiked together.  She asked if I was available to bike the next day.  "YES!" I replied.

We met in Boulder Junction and biked to Sayner.   We passed through some of the prettiest parts of the trail.  The wood thrush was often singing in the trees as we wound our way among the tall trees.

In Sayner, Diane insisted she was buying my lunch.  I hadn't even told her yet it was my birthday!  When I did, she told the waiter.  And after a lovely lunch he delivered a lovely large peice of cheese cake with a candle in it!  We shared it and almost finished it off.  

Thank you, Diane!

The hosts have breakfast at the Holiday Restaurant in Woodruff, WI on Tuesdays.  I go to the gym and then meet them there.  They tell stories of their travels and their trials with campers.  I don't know if I will continue to go.  I like the food, (one veggie skillet gives me three meals) but the stories are scarey.  People partying all night in the campground, naked bodies sleeping on the ground in the morning...  my oh my!

Oh and I should tell you about Big Bang Bob.

I was doing woodshop duty.  It had been busy, but now there was a lull and I was sitting quietly in my chair, the wood cart in front of me about three feet.

A little car pulls up.  And just as it comes to a stop, "BANG!"

Right next to my chair something had exploded!   

I tried to see the driver through the glare on his windshield.  Long hair, sun glasses... Was that a gun that went off?   I looked next to me, there was no debris from a fire cracker or any bullet...

I looked at the man again, he was just sitting there looking at me.  

"Are you shooting at me?" I asked him.

He shook his head slowly.   

He then walked over slowly.  "I swear it wasn't me," he said.  "I saw something explode next to your chair."

We looked, I looked around.  

"Hi, I am Bob."

"I am Sue," I replied, both of us still wide-eyed in shock.

He wanted wood.  He had to go pay for it at the visitors center.  While he was gone I saw that one of the wheels on the cart was very flat.  Ohhhhh, that was the problem!

When Bob came back to get his wood, we chatted a while and it turns out he bikes and hikes.  He told me about a trail I had been wanting to do.  He offered to do it with me sometime.  He gave me his campsite number.

And so we hiked the Fallison Trail together.  It was lovely.  And a few days later we hiked the Star Lake Trail, which was amazing.

Now you might be thinking that romance is in the air.  I mean that would make a good, "How we met" story.  But it isn't.  We just like to hike and bike and he is intersting.

His name is Bob Shiel and he has some songs on Youtube.  He has published several albums and written a book on Bob Dylan that is 500 pages long or so.  He taught English as a second language.
But there is even MORE to Bob.  He as participated in many Native American ceremonies and he carries a pipe that he received during a pipe ceremony with him when he travels.  Boy, the interesting people you can meet in the craziest ways.


I went Kayaking with the Rhinelander Newcomers.  I invited Diane along and she brought an extra kayak for me to try.  A sea kayak, she called it.  It was nice.   My sister brought over one of her kayaks and I took it out on Trout Lake once.  It is a big lake with wind,  when it is calm it is at night when I am tired or in the early morning when I am cleaning the pit toilets.

Below is Diane on the left and my sister Mary on the right.  

This week Barb, who I hiked with at the Sisters on the Fly event, came over with her husband and camped at South Trout Lake after learning about the area from me.  They had a great time and I got to have a nice evening by the fire with them.

Next week another Sister on the Fly is coming to spend a few days.  I am looking forward to showing her some of the cool places I have discovered while here.

Well, I gotta go.  I am at my sisters house and there is left-over birthday cake to be eaten!  Adios.


  1. What wonderful adventures you are having! We are very happy for you - new friends, old friends, beautiful trails and lakes - they all leave good memories.


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