Sailboats are in full bloom, a massive red and white striped sail caught fat with wind pulls fast and forward as its closest rival loses the breeze and slows to a loss. A man with a thick paunch and polo shirt blows a whistle from a bench on the same pier where we’re watching it all unfold. “Winner!” he declares.
Over the next few minutes dozens more sailboats, the Apostle Islands their backdrop, come in. Children frolic ecstatic in the bayfront park where our own ages 10 months to 11 years found an hour or two of solace before being forced away to sit as quietly still as their parents could manage on a deck overlooking the water. Alcohol and fish sandwiches accompany us into the evening. Earlier this morning I walked into town from the closest RV park to Bayfield, an easy, summer day mile walk into a town stuffed full with local coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Inns and marine stores, docks and lazy small town sidewalks weave the thread holding a host of locals together, everyone from bikers to hipsters to downhome good old American conservatives make up the slim population that explodes come tourist season, whether those tourists be summer boaters or ice fishermen.
Later tonight, we’ll tell stories of our travels and those would-be travels we look forward to having, around a fire of course. Our dog, Annabelle, will fold herself up neatly somewhere beneath our feet. Our clothes do and will still tomorrow stink like campfire smoke, though only others will find the smell a stench. The Lady and I will revel in our natural bug repellent smokestack perfume, even if we regret needing to leave town tomorrow due to a heavily damaged debit card and an RV park which only accepts cash.
Bayfield is one of those small towns worth planning on spending a month in. But tomorrow is another day and a new address, I suppose.