Part Ten of how the Last Resort came to be! Scroll down to read Parts One through Nine!
Part of the summer fun was playing bingo at the VFW hall on Tuesday nights. The first time we went we were (by later accounts) a pretty annoying bunch. We showed up and did not know about the Bingo Dobbers that all the Seniors used semi professionally. We only had pencils in our possession and began Xing off the numbers which collectively shook the table. Well, the other table occupants were really annoyed by our impertinence and lack of dobbers. Finally, one kind elderly lady offered to LOAN us dobbers for the evening and then things proceeded smoothly.
We made several trips to the Three Lakes Area for berry picking. We drove from Eagle River down Hwy 45 to 3 Lakes, went East on 32 to Chicken in the Woods Road and then North to Laurel Lake where the best Black Berries were growing. Chicken in the Woods road turns into Military which eventually runs into Hwy 70 East of Eagle River. Turns out there was an old restaurant at the corner of Chicken in the Woods road and 32 which happened to be the even older Trading Post many years ago. It was used as a starting point to many places in the area as 7 mile lake and 9 mile lake as they were 7 and 9 miles respectively from the trading post. By now I had all of the cottages up and running and was still commuting back and forth to O’Hare.
One week our regular guests Patti and Jeff of Chicago told me that the mattress in their bedroom was not as comfortable as it was the previous year. I decided to get a bedboard for them as they like a firm mattress. I proceeded to cottage 6 main bedroom, removed the pillows and lifted up the mattress to insert the bed board. Taa Daa! What do you know. Laying there between the mattress and box spring was my trusty Fox/Savage 12 gauge double barrel shotgun. Guess I had placed it there for safe keeping when I left the resort the previous fall. Everyone was now happy. I found my missing shotgun, and they got their comfortable mattress back.
As the summer ended, the girls went back to Florida, and I started spending more time in Chicago wooing Carol. Carol showed an interest in learning how to fly, so we began lessons in a little Cessna 150. She soloed and began her studying and training for her Private Pilot’s License and completed that in a short time. We bought a Cessna 150 and later upgraded to a nice 4 place Cessna 182. Carol was now flying up between work assignments and running the resort while I was off on International flights. When I came back, I flew up in my plane and took the reins as she flew back to Chicago. Several times we even passed each other mid point in the air between Eagle River and Chicago. Turns out Carol is just as big a workaholic as I am and we managed to make additional improvements to the resort. It became a true labor of love.
There are several things in life that we dream about and I discovered I always wanted a Fire Engine. Well, just so happens one was for sale in the Chicago Tribune and was located in Milwaukee. It was a 1953 FWD open cab (convertible) that had been in service with the Milwaukee FD. We, and I mean Carol and I, proceeded to purchase this GEM and set out to drive it from MKE to Eagle River. We got as far as Slinger, WI and the oil pressure dropped to Zero. We pulled off the highway and luckily a truck repair facility was close at hand. We left it in their care and actually called one of our resort customers that lived nearby and asked for HELP!!! The Wegner’s came to our rescue and thankfully delivered us to Appleton where we caught a flight to Rhinelander and bummed a ride home with Auntie Helen. The Fire Truck needed $2500 in repairs and the advertisement said “Completely Restored”. We gave the mechanic the go ahead and then filed a small claims suit against the seller. The seller responded with a $100,000.00 large claims suit for libel and slander. (This is a whole other story that I will not go into). When our Fire Engine was repaired, we had it trailered to Eagle River and have used it in every 4th of July parade since 1984. Can you imagine 20 kids in back all armed with super soakers driving down main street??? Doesn’t get much better than that.
To be continued……