We started and ended with visits to museums in Green Bay, which sits at the base of the Door Peninsula. The starter was the National Railroad Museum, a fairly impressive collection of rail cars and locomotives. One of their biggest stars is Big Boy, one of 25 built in the early 1940s for the Union Pacific RR. At 1.2 million pounds, it was the heaviest steam locomotive ever built. We wonder if anyone running this monster ever did learn what every single control was for in this jumble of valves and dials. Interestingly, although you could theoretically throw coal into the firebox, that's not how it was done since this engine burned coal faster than any human could heave it in -- it was fed automatically by a screw device from the coal car that ran behind the locomotive.
The museum had quite a few railroad cars as well, just two of which we've illustrated here, the kitchen from an early 20th century dining car and a mail car, where postal workers sorted the mail as they picked it up from towns and cities along a rail line.
Our first destination was Little Sturgeon Bay and a resort called Wave Pointe. Do any of our readers know why developers think it's cool to misspell "Point" these days? Well, misspelled or not it was a nice place with views over that little marina, or off to the side to the back portion of the bay. Across the bay the next morning we stopped to photograph this group of pelicans.
The Door Peninsula and Door County (the northern 2/3rds of the peninsula) get their name from the French description of the ship's passage at the northern tip -- "Portes d'Enfer," i.e. The Door to Hell. There are a lot of sunken ships up there. Given that danger, and to cut a lot of miles off the trip from points to the south like Chicago or Milwaukee into Green Bay, a canal was cut across the peninsula in the 1870s. They only had to cut through a mile and a quarter, then dredge Sturgeon Bay a bit. Technically, much of Door Peninsula is actually now an island reachable only via any of three bridges. Needless to say, there was no need for locks on a canal like that.
Between those two placid spots is the one dramatic place on the lake side, Cave Point County Park, where Lake Michigan is taking on the Niagara Escarpment and sometimes winning. In fact, there was one bedroom-sized chunk of the peninsula sitting in the lake, awaiting further dismemberment by ice cracking and by waves.
One more quiet road got us to stop for a photo, Cottage Row in Egg Harbor, then we got on the totally quiet Ahnapee Trail to Algoma, at the Lake Michigan base of the Door Peninsula. We were impressed with how orderly they've gotten the birds to be down by the Algoma Lighthouse.
And now we've come back through the city of Green Bay to pay a visit to Heritage Hill State Park, a collection of historic buildings from northeast Wisconsin. They have about 20 historic structures, but we'll illustrate just three: a cabin that was built by a fur trader some time prior to 1830; a wigwam, actually a reconstruction of ones built by Jesuit explorers and missionaries who were among the first white men to visit Wisconsin starting in the late 1600s; and the general ward from the base hospital at Fort Howard, which was built to protect Wisconsin from the British after the War of 1812, and was abandoned in 1841 when Canada proved to be a peaceful neighbor after all.
Keeping the bike running well is the second challenge, but we've also had fairly good luck with the tandem, though we did break one spoke that a bike shop replaced and have had 4 flats that Jeff has repaired. We also had a derailleur cable fray, but we had a spare and the repair took us less than 20 minutes.
If you look closely at Jeff working on that inner tube, however, you'll see the result of our third challenge after weather and bike problems -- motel rooms. Every week we have to learn the layout of 5 or 6 new ones so that we can navigate through them to the potty in the middle of the night. For instance, in one place we both visited the john in a bathroom that was particularly dark at 3 a.m., and both had the impression that it had the most uncomfortable seat we had ever rested our buns on. Then, after dawn, we discovered that each of us had sat on the toilet seat sideways! Well, on the Door Peninsula Jeff zigged around a wall when he should have zagged, and that cut over the eyebrow is a result. A day later Louise nailed a chair leg with her pinky toe, surprisingly the first biker-furniture assault of this trip (last year we had 3 or 4).
If the walls and furniture don't get us first, we'll be at the end of the bike trip in one week, when we reach Milwaukee. We'll wrap up the bicycling part of this year's blog in our next entry.