Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Roots, as in Family History - Friday, Sept. 26

This morning, as we were getting ready to leave Derge County Park, Kevin and Evelyn came out to bid us adieu. We had all been so busy the only time we got together was Happy Hour and dinner on our first night there. We were happy they recommended Derge County Park in Beaver Dam to us and glad we were able to see them again.

From Derge County Park, we headed northwest through Randolph, Wisconsin, up to State Route 30. We took SR 30 west to Portage, WI where we then took I-39/U.S. 51 north. I drove most of the way on I-39 until Wausau, WI and the driving was great! Not much traffic, perfect weather and a beautiful drive. The fall colors are close to their peak.

Lots of windmills across the countryside
Fall colors
When we stopped for gas, Bob took over driving the remainder of the day. (Our total driving time for today was only about 1-1/2 hours.) He had smooth sailing as well until we saw the dreaded orange sign: Emergency Scene ahead. Two miles from the sign, the freeway was shut down and all cars were re-routed on state highways. We never did find out what happened. Thankfully, traffic on the state routes was light and we made good time to St. Germain, Wisconsin.

Our destination for two nights was Lynn Ann's Campground on Big St. Germain Lake.

Site #63 at Lynn Anne's Campground, St. Germain, WI
We had a huge back in site but the interior road by our site was narrow with trees and a campsite number sign close to where Bob had to turn the truck to back the 5er. Bob backed in like a pro and missed the trees and the signpost by about two inches. We bought firewood so we could have a campfire on one of our nights here.

As soon as we unhooked and set up the 5th wheel, we took off to explore St. Germain, Sayner and Plum Lake. You see, Bob had quite a few relatives who lived in Plum Lake, WI years ago. In fact, one of his relatives, a grandfather, I think, built a resort called, The Woodlands on Plum Lake. We wanted to find it and Plum Lake Golf Course where his dad worked as a caddy while in high school.

First off, we drove around St. Germain to get a feel for the town; found the grocery store, the Visitor Info Center/Chamber of Commerce and SR 155 to Sayner. It was late afternoon so we made the seven-mile drive north to Sayner and poked around.

Did you know that the first snowmobile was made in Sayner, WI? You can find out all you ever wanted to know about this area at Vilas Historical Museum in Sayner. The museum was closed for the day but would re-open the next morning. Guess where we'll be tomorrow?

History of the snowmobile
Paul Bunyan and Babe in front of Vilas Historical Museum
The museum had some informational brochures in a display outside. Bob picked up a brochure on Dr. Kate and the Million Penny Parade. Bob's mom had just mentioned her in a phone conversation with Bob earlier in the day. Here's the story from the Dr. Kate Museum and Historical Society brochure:
The country doctor has played a vital role in the history of Wisconsin's great Northwoods. Among the giants of the breed was Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb, who is remembered as "The Angel on Snowshoes" for her dedication in reaching patients when the winter roads were impassable.

A physician with a dream, Dr. Kate spear-headed a movement to build a hospital in tiny Woodruff. The lowly penny became a symbol of the project when local students sought to collect a million of them for Dr. Kate's hospital. The absurdity of it all, a humble Northwoods doctor and school kids collecting pennies to build a hospital, captured the imagination of the American people and the world. Donations of pennies came in from every state along with many foreign nations.

To preserve this moment when the dedication of one woman with a sense of community made the country cheer, the Dr. Kate Museum was created [in Woodruff, WI] in 1988.

From Sayner, we drove to the nearby community of Plum Lake. On the way to the golf course, we spotted a flock of wild turkeys.

Wild turkeys
Bob wanted to visit Plum Lake Golf Club where his dad had worked as a caddy during high school. We found it!

View from Plum Lake Golf Club
Looking across Plum Lake
Back porch of Plum Lake Golf Club. Beautiful spot!
Plum Lake Town Offices

Very nice benches in front of Town Offices
After exploring as much as we could this evening, we headed back to St. Germain for dinner. DJ's Northwoods Family Restaurant looked good, and was it ever. OMG. I had pecan-baked walleye and Bob tried the herb-baked cod. Our meal started out with rye bread, butter, and succulent baked beans. We chowed all that right on down. I have to say I don't remember what came with my pecan-baked walleye. The walleye was that good. The fish had a sweet sauce and melted in my mouth. We didn't walk away from that restaurant hungry. Normally the restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch, but recently added a Friday night "fish fry." We were happy about that.

DJ's Northwoods Family Restaurant
Today was a very relaxing day. We're happy to be on the "Roots" portion of our vacation. Tomorrow you will learn a lot more about Bob and his family roots.

Travel Bug out.


  1. I must say the Paul Bunyan and Babe statue is much more lifelike than the one we saw in Bemidji MN. . .

    Enjoy the "family roots" tour. . .Bob sure got sunburned somewhere along the way. . .wow! That looks like it hurts. . .

    1. Oh, sorry, Bob is not burned. I was fooling around with the photo because Bob was in shadows. I tried to make him have more light on his face, but apparently I overdid the red coloration.


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