Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Morning Lite

After a week of the State of the Union, domestic surveillance bullshit, and fraternal right-wing crap, I'm plumb tuckered out. Time to go to my happy place, which very well may be Wisconsin.

It's all about fishing there. Fishing and beer. All the small towns dotted along the shores of Lake Superior had signs touting fish boils. I never did find out exactly what they are, but I suspect they involve large cauldrons, boiling water, several fish, and about a dozen cases of beer. I mean, how the hell else are you going to get a boiled fish down?

We camped right by the lake outside the town of Superior. I'd always heard that Lake Superior is cold, but the shallow waters here made for pleasant wading in July. The beach was about ten feet wide, covered with rounded egg-sized stones. When the tide came in the beach disappeared and we beat a hasty retreat back up the bluff.

No trip to northwest Wisconsin can be complete without a visit to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and its flagship four-story muskie, in Hastings. You can go up the flight of stairs inside the muskie's gut and take in the view from the observation deck built into its mouth, peering out through its fierce teeth onto the oversized fiberglass fish scattered across the museum's grounds. Of course it's hokey. But it's a four-story muskie. A FOUR-STORY MUSKIE!

The other buildings house displays of world-record fish. Real giant muskies, bass, trout, catfish. If it's abnormally large and has been hauled out of the water on a hook, it's probably here. As are carefully arranged displays of lures, reels, tackle boxes, boats, and hundred of outboard motors.

People were very friendly in all the small towns we went through. It's hard not to be friendly in a place where the convenience store coolers have styrofoam packages of nightcrawlers, leeches, and crickets right next to the Bud Light. Our Arizona license plate sparked great interest; most folks wondered how we could live somewhere so hot. The two ladies pulling on longnecks at the bar in Sisko's Campground noted that their last few winters had been comparatively mild, earnestly telling me it hadn't hit fifty below probably since 1995.

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