A Travellerspoint blog

Sheboygan…

You Show Off

When you have someone who became as wealthy and civic –minded as John Kohler (the plumbing fixture magnate), you better show off. I think he left that stipulation in his will along with half a dozen other locations he bequeathed to his beloved town.
Kohler-Andrea State Park, is just one of the locations. Andrea was also an early settler who left his summer home land as a state park. Then John left his land. The state bought the interlacing 1000 acres and made a very nice state park on the dunes.
Dunes Lake Sky

Dunes Lake Sky

Start of Kohler Dunes Walkway

Start of Kohler Dunes Walkway

Along the Dunes

Along the Dunes


I don't remember noticing this any of the other 11 states' parks I have traveled into this year, but here the camp rangers are gun-carrying, bullet-proof vest-wearing sheriff deputies.
"Is that to shoot the bears?" I asked.
"Well, no, ma'am. We don't have bears here. But I have full arrest authority throughout the park."
I kept my mouth shut and didn't ask him how many criminals he had to shoot or arrest in the park.

Later, I was telling this to a group of people who were camping down the road. One couple grinned about it with me. Others commented how thankful and safe they felt knowing the guy at the desk carried a gun. I must admit I didn't keep my mouth totally shut; I muttered "oh, for crying out loud."
These Are NOT the Colorado Dunes

These Are NOT the Colorado Dunes


I would have much preferred he could have told me something about the flora and fauna.
Time to Go To Town

Time to Go To Town

The gem of this area is the John Kohler Arts Center.
Kohler Art Center

Kohler Art Center

Kohler Art Center Old House Wing

Kohler Art Center Old House Wing


Kohler has had an artist-in-residence program for the past 40 years. In return for the opportunity, each artist must leave two pieces: one for the factory and one for the arts center. The exhibits are fantastic. The videos and explanations of the program and how the artists and production associates work together made me a bit emotional.
Just a Sample

Just a Sample


True to their production, some of the items take on a bathroom fixture theme. All of the washrooms have been designed by artists and are quite a thrill to see.
Men's Room at Kohler Art Center

Men's Room at Kohler Art Center


Kohler also has the American Club. Originally, this structure housed immigrants brought over to work in the plant. Today, it is a resort that outshines the Grand. In my opinion, spend your money here instead of at the Grand.
However, skip the Horse and Plow. Although the Bread and Bean in Sheboygan Falls had a nice ambiance and great people, the food was just so-so.
I stayed at the Rochester Inn just up the road in Sheboygan Falls.
The inn rooms are beautiful - ask for a second floor, two-level suite. If they are not full, they will probably upgrade you to one of these rooms without asking. The reviews rave about the breakfast. However, it is served at 8:30, so all I had was a croissant and fruit - but still tasty.
Bedroom in Rochester Inn Suite

Bedroom in Rochester Inn Suite

Sitting Room in Rochester Inn Suite

Sitting Room in Rochester Inn Suite


My whole purpose for stopping here, however, was when I learned you could take a tour of the Kohler plant. This three hours was one of the highlights of my time in Wisconsin. I can, however, understand that it might not be to everyone's liking. Just in case you are interested, Kohler uses SAP as their ERP software.
Kohler Plant

Kohler Plant

Artist in Residence

Artist in Residence

Artist in Residence 2

Artist in Residence 2


After seeing all the civic responsibility of the company, and the processes I will never buy anything but Kohler again!
Preschool at Kohler Art Center

Preschool at Kohler Art Center


Just off I43 near both Kohler and Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin is the Acuity Insurance Company. Towering by the plant is a 200 pound American flag.
Third Tallest Flagpole in the World

Third Tallest Flagpole in the World


They like to claim that it is the highest, but any of you followers of my blog will know the one in Azerbaijan that I photographed last year is taller. You can see pictures of that in my photo gallery.
Actually, I hear that one in another Mideast oil country has even surpassed that, so Acuity's must be the third tallest now.

Posted by pscotterly 17:47 Archived in USA Tagged wisconsin Comments (0)

You Can Do Anything beyond the Door

Door County, Wisconsin That Is

You can swim, sail, paddle board, canoe, kayak, row, pontoon, and water ski.
And, you can even do as I did and take the Washington Island Ferry across Death's Door to visit the island. This is definitely not like Mackinac. It is quite laid back, nothing high-end, and a public K-12 school for 58 kids.
Safe Passage through Death's Door

Safe Passage through Death's Door


You can hike and bike – especially if you come the first Saturday after Labor Day for the Century RideCentury.
Or, you can do as I did and drive around a bit in your vehicle, take a few short bike rides, and perhaps take the Cherry 'Train or the Door County Scenic Trolley.
All Aboard the Cherry Train

All Aboard the Cherry Train

Scenic Trolley

Scenic Trolley


While riding my bike, I stopped to take a photo and shed my jacket. About a mile down the road, I was marveling how lighter my load felt without my jacket on. T'was then I remembered I had forgotten to put my backpack on. I pedaled up hill and there it was. I was glad I was not on some city street instead of the roads of gentle Washington Island.
Items Are Where You Left Them

Items Are Where You Left Them


You can camp or stay in anything from a luxury resort to a rancid motel with every kind of inn and B&B in between. Even better, stay for a week or two in a rented cabin, cottage, or mansion.
Or, you can do as I did and just park your van at a Ellison Bluff Overlook, a remote scenic spot. There were probably 100 people to watch the sunset. Thirty minutes later, the place was empty except for me and Ol' Chevy Van. Only I slept under the trees with the full moon making it almost bright enough to read. A camper pulled in, but must have decided it was too crowded and kept going. Only I saw the moon set eight hours later. I have never seen anything like it. It was like a sunset in a black sky. A huge orange orb slipped beyond Green Bay and took my breath away.
Everyone Comes to Watch the Sun Set

Everyone Comes to Watch the Sun Set

Only I Remain

Only I Remain


I took a picture of the moonset, but it doesn't do it justice.
You can take culinary or fabric arts classes or go to one of three live theaters and at least three performance arts centers
Or you can do what I did and read the bulletins and catalogs while imagine I might return some day for an extended stay.
You can visit galleries and museums.
I enjoyed the public art and the cemeteries.
Catfish

Catfish


In Memory of Georgia O'Keefe

In Memory of Georgia O'Keefe

Handbuilt Scandinavian Lutheran Church

Handbuilt Scandinavian Lutheran Church


Washing Island Cemetery 2

Washing Island Cemetery 2


Of course, you can shop.
I didn't do any of that, but I did find just the place for my cousin-by-marriage.
Chip's World

Chip's World


To help narrow your decision:
Fish Creek and Sister Bay are the "charming little towns" with galleries, boutiques, many tourists, and everything that comes with that. The further North you head from Sister Bay the more relaxed and wild everything becomes and "that's the way we want to keep it, thank you."
You Can't Shoot Here Anymore

You Can't Shoot Here Anymore

You Can't Shoot Here Anymore Alter

You Can't Shoot Here Anymore Alter


There is even a wilderness park where you must backpack in if you want to camp.
I grew rather partial to Bailey's Harbor. More like a small town on the lake with some nice restaurants and, of course, beautiful Lake Michigan sand beaches.
I enjoyed the Beachfront Inn. Just a motel, but the bed and linens were upscale. And then there was this beautiful front yard and campfire on the beach every night where you could gather and meet other guests.
They just put this place up for sale if you are interested.
Beachfront Inn at Bailey's Harbor

Beachfront Inn at Bailey's Harbor


After all this traipsing around, I had to spend a couple of hours on woman's work.
Laundry Time

Laundry Time

Posted by pscotterly 05:55 Archived in USA Tagged wisconsin Comments (0)

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Sitting on the side of the bay

I didn't have any Caviar here in the home of the sturgeon.
But, I did find a wonderful meat market and bought a piece of meat that lasted two days.
Two Days of Rib Eye

Two Days of Rib Eye


After leaving the SS Badger, I didn't have a true destination in mind. I headed for Sturgeon Bay and saw a sign for Cliffdwellers Resort. I remembered seeing an ad for this spot and headed to it.
Fortunately, it was as pleasant as it looked in the pictures and there was room for the next two nights.
It's New! It's Clean!

It's New! It's Clean!


View from My Backporch

View from My Backporch


Clliffdwellers Seen from the Bay

Clliffdwellers Seen from the Bay


There was violent rain and lightening for much of the night. I was snug and content in a nice, clean, two-bedroom townhouse on the bay - for which I was given the one bedroom rate because I was only one person.
I mention this gleefully, because I had contacted a three-bedroom cottage owner asking him if he would lower the rate on his unbooked cottage since I wouldn't use all the bedrooms and bathrooms. He replied quite condescendingly that I "might find a hotel more appropriate for my travel needs." I wrote him a dozen replies in my head informing him of all the places I have stayed from Azerbaijan to Wyoming, but then decided to just let it go.
I drove through the town a bit, but was most interested in enjoying a soak in the hot tub, a kayak ride, and a bike ride around Potawatomi State Park.

I considered doing the last five miles of the Ice Age trail, but after all the rain the woods seemed too wet. Maybe tomorrow. I probably will miss the other 955 miles - Oh, shoot!
Ice Age Trail Info

Ice Age Trail Info

Ice Age Trail in Potawatami SP

Ice Age Trail in Potawatami SP


Sturgeon Bay is a very small bay off Green Bay. I had to closely look at the Wisconsin. map to really understand how this peninsula of Door County has Lake Michigan on the East and Green Bay on the West.

I could stay here for several more days, but guess what? Door County has a Century Bike Ride on Sunday. I spent most of this afternoon on the internet trying to find a place to stay Saturday and Sunday nights. No luck. Even the campgrounds are nearly full. I don't feel ready to leave the area, however. I think I will head to the tip of the peninsula tomorrow and see if I can find anything. If not, the bed in Ol' Chevy is more comfortable than the one i had at Smerts on Bass Lake - and cleaner too!

Posted by pscotterly 16:07 Archived in USA Tagged wisconsin Comments (0)

Ol' Chevy Gets a Ride

Car Ferry from Michigan to Wisonsin

The SS Badger carried rail cars across Lake Michigan in years past.
Since 1997, it has taken passenger cars as the gull flies to save the time driving across the Upper Peninsula or down south through Chicago.
Waiting Its Turn

Waiting Its Turn


The ship carries semis, motor homes, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and still had room for my Chevy van.
Waiting to Board the SS Badger

Waiting to Board the SS Badger


Ol 95 Gets Driven onto the Car Ferry

Ol 95 Gets Driven onto the Car Ferry


The ferry departs from Pentwater, Michigan.
Goodbye Michigan

Goodbye Michigan


Four hours later, it arrives in Manitowac, Wisconsin.
Hello Wisconsin

Hello Wisconsin

I am headed up to Door County to look for another lakeside place to stay.

Posted by pscotterly 15:54 Archived in USA Tagged wisconsin Comments (0)

On the Tip of the Mitten

Golden Beach and the Magnificent Mile

Drove from St Ignace along Michigan's charming towns on the tip of the mitten.
Really, there is no need to go all the way to Mackinac Island. There are charming places such as Charlevoix and Petoskey.
Earl Young House

Earl Young House

Charlevioux

Charlevioux


45th Parallel

45th Parallel


I stayed in Traverse City and visited my son's in-laws. Denyse gave me the grand tour up to Northport and through the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes .
Halfway Up the Sleeping Bear

Halfway Up the Sleeping Bear


We also had a very nice dinner at Boone's Long Lake Inn.
Paula, Charles, and Denyse

Paula, Charles, and Denyse


After doing some laundry, relaxing, and having a good pancake breakfast, I headed south along Lake Michigan to Muskegon to a cottage I had rented for the next two weeks. I am just not ready to leave the lakeside. I have been next to a lake for a month, and I want even more time.
I had terrible rainstorms along the way and was forced to cower along the road several different times. The windshield and wipers of this model van leave something to be desired. For some reason, the view is never completely wiped clean in a downpour. Add that to the rear-wheel drive handling of this boat – and that I am accustomed to the AWD of an Audi!- it is better if I park and not drive in a downpour.
When I arrived at the highly awaited cottage, I almost wept. The cottage was just as pictured on line, the view from the front was fantastic, the deck and hammock spot were just what I wanted.
BUT…. The street was being torn up to put in some sewer lines or something – backhoes and excavators would be running all day long for my entire stay. The back driveway was next to the shoulder of a major highway with traffic roaring past – even with the wind roaring across the road, I could hear the traffic. Across the highway was a cement "factory"(?) – trucks would be pulling in and out all day.
The owner was delayed and had not met me at the cottage. I called her. "Don't bother to come. I am backing out and not going to stay here." She said no one had ever complained before. I guess they had not spent the last month in the quiet and beautiful places I have.
I headed north again, thinking perhaps I would return to the quiet woods of my family near Traverse City. Instead, I found a motel, Buzz's,Lakeside , for one night.
Sunset at Buzz's

Sunset at Buzz's


Beautiful view and good dinner, but the neighboring guests were the first jerks I have met in five months of traveling through 11 states and 1 province.
The next day, I continued north throughPentwater. I couldn't find a place on the lake in this charming little village, so I kept going North and stopped for two nights at Smerts Cottages. This is just about as rustic as the Windy, however, I do get electricity and plumbing but none of the camaraderie.
I have to seem to have the uncanny ability to find either the very best or the most rustic of places.
Morning on Bass Lake

Morning on Bass Lake


Luxurious Smerts Cottage

Luxurious Smerts Cottage

Posted by pscotterly 15:49 Archived in USA Tagged michigan Comments (1)

A Bit of Civilization

Mackinac Island

I have always wanted to stay on Mackinac Island –don't know why, just have. If I remember my family stories correctly, my Aunt Mary served in the Grand Hotel dining room one summer when she was young , maybe around 1920.
Too Grand for My Budget

Too Grand for My Budget


I had always thought the Grand Hotell was the only hotel on the entire island. At $300 a night minimum, it was out of my budget. I was surprised the island has many hotels, inns, resorts, and B&Bs. I found a very comfy B&B with special pricing that gave me a bill of a little over $300 for two nights.
My Sitting Room at the Metivier Inn

My Sitting Room at the Metivier Inn


Actually, I was very happy I had not chosen to over splurge and go to the Grand. I went there for lunch. (If you are not a guest of the hotel, you can pay $10 admission and visit the hotel and go to the buffet lunch.) Save your money and don't go in for the tour, the lunch, and the room - Unless you want to pretend you are on a cruise ship. The décor borders on ostentatious instead of grand. You are allowed to go up to the cupola bar for a view of the island – but when it is rainy and foggy, all you can see is the gull poop-spotted roof. However, for $17, you do get a nice mimosa.
Grand Grounds

Grand Grounds


The lunch was nice, but also a cruise ship buffet. About 150 lunch guests from a group tour arrived for lunch also.
The best thing about the Grand was that all the children in the dining room had very good table manners. I have to admit, however, I rather missed the camaraderie of the Windy Lake Lodge.
If you go to Mackinac, be sure and stay at least two nights. As anyplace, going for a day tour is just not worth it. You need to settle in, relax, and just enjoy the view.
At least 10 people a day stopped to take a picture of the front garden at my B&B.
Metivier Inn

Metivier Inn


Of course as you know, no automobiles (except one old ambulance) are allowed on the island. There are so many people on bikes and so many horses, that I think it would be less congested if there was a bit of auto traffic! People wander in the streets and forget to look for the bikes and horses. Most of the people haven't been on a bike for 15 years, so they wobble around and forget how to stop. It was really funny to watch.
15 Miles Around and About the Island

15 Miles Around and About the Island


For $9, I had my bike transported over on the ferry. Much wiser than paying the $5 an hour if you rent on the island. There are many routes all over the island – many are quite hilly, hard to get up, scary to go down.
Arch Rock

Arch Rock


You can easily spend one whole day just biking around, taking a little side walk here and there, and learning about the history.
I visited one more restored fort and have certainly refreshed my memory on the fur trade and the War of 1812 after this journey from Northeast Minnesota to North Michigan!
Scene Seen from the Fort

Scene Seen from the Fort

Posted by pscotterly 07:41 Archived in USA Tagged michigan Comments (2)

Transition Day

Preventing the bends

I knew I would never be anywhere exactly like The Windy Lake Lodge again. As a matter of fact, I had the exact opposite as the next location on my itinerary, To keep from transitionig too quickly, I stopped at the Wayside Inn in St. Ignace, Michigan and for $54 had a hot shower and a clean bed. (For some reason, in spots the carpet was damp and the floor was soft.)
Wayside Inn

Wayside Inn


Soon after I arrived at 9 PM, I tried connecting to the wifi and couldn't seem to get a signal. I called the front desk and asked "Mr. Bates" if he thought the router was down. He replied, "No, everything is fine. Would you like me to come over to your room and help you."
I declined. He seemed like the type that would get dandruff all over the pillow.
The next morning, I drove down Main Street to find a place for breakfast. This was the sign on the front door at Java Joe's.
Hippies Use Backdoor

Hippies Use Backdoor


They let me use the front door even though I was from Colorado because i looked clean enough. Thank Goodness for that hot shower!
Cloudy Day from St Ignace

Cloudy Day from St Ignace


Now with cool air and intermittent showers, I set float in a ferry into Lake Huron.
Going Under the Mackinac Bridge

Going Under the Mackinac Bridge

Posted by pscotterly 05:09 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Leaving The Windy

Check here for more news on bear hunting

The only way for me out of The Windy Lake Lodge was to flag down the train - which had to be almost three hours late.
Flagging Down the Algoma Central

Flagging Down the Algoma Central


Trainstop

Trainstop


Jake, Brad, and Tom waited with me without complaint. It was hinted they wanted to make sure I got on that train and did not find my way back to the lodge.
Waitin' on the Algoma Central

Waitin' on the Algoma Central

Rainy Morning

Rainy Morning


I think it is because they still felt guilty about not hearing my calls for help when I couldn't get myself onto the dock and out of the row boat. As you can see however, I did make it out with considerable struggle. Who says I can't travel solo??

Just now, I received an email. Mitch, a bear hunter from Traverse City, Michigan that arrived Monday got his bear Tuesday night - just after I left.
Mitch and Bear

Mitch and Bear


I was sorry I missed the excitement. I would have really liked to see the skinning process. Brad has also told me that bear tenderloin and fried bear heart are some of the best eatin' around.

Posted by pscotterly 06:15 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

The Mystery of the Traveling Spoon

This actually happened

Some where in a pulp mill town between Bimidji and Silver Bay, Minnesota I stopped at a Goodwill store to look for some camping supplies.
The only things I found that I needed were two red plastic-handled spoons.
Bought them for $.19 each.

By the time I used them the next night on the western shores of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, I realized it was a poor purchase. Even though I had intended to use them only for eating, I put one of them in a hot pot directly off the Coleman. When the handle melted, I decided this was probably not a good purchase. These spoons had to have been manufactured in the '50s and who knows what kind of toxic substance was used in them.

So, I put them in the trash bin on, I think, August 11.

On August 22 in Pancake Bay on the eastern end of Lake Superior in central Ontario, I was filling my jug at the potable water spout. There, as big a you please, lay my red plastic-handled spoon! Right before my eyes, shiny clean, with it's little burnt handle.

I have no idea how it got there. I wanted to run from camp to camp to ask everyone if they had found it in Minnesota. I had met some wonderful people from Port Huron, Ontario who had gone west along a similar route as I had headed east. However, Graham and Carol with their fantastic sons Will, Tom, and Nick (whose pictures I forgot to take) were in that area earlier in the month than I. I was too embarrassed to run around and ask everyone else, so I just took a picture of it.
A Mystery

A Mystery


Maybe someone will read this and have the solution.
I threw away the spoon again. If it catches up with me, I will let you know.
Let me know if you saw the cow jump over the moon either of these nights.I haven't found anything missing, so I guess a dish did not run away with the spoon.

Posted by pscotterly 05:15 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Bear Baitin'

Don't read this if you are opposed to hunting

Here at Windy Lake Lodge, some folks come to fish, a few come to cross-country ski or snowshoe, most folks come to hunt moose or bear.
I am probably the first who came to Windy Lake to experience something I have never experienced before.

Bear hunters are coming to the lodge on Tuesday. So on Sunday, I rode the rounds with the men while they prepared the baits to attract bear.
The Lodge has five bear baits set up around the area. Every day at the same time, you must go check the bear baits to see if a bear has visited the bait stand. If so, you replenish the bait. Bait is all the garbage and food scraps from the previous day with some special treats thrown in - nuts, sunflower seeds (bears seemed not to be overly fond of these), cookies, and.... well, I don't know...I didn't examine the bait buckets too closely. I only know what I saw put in or contributed myself.
Brad Tom and Jake - Bear Baiters

Brad Tom and Jake - Bear Baiters


Over hill and dale, Jake flew me in the side-by-side with buckets of bait in five gallon buckets in the back. Brad and Tom were on the ATVs. Somehow, they always arrived at each bait stand first. I felt like I was in a taxi in a strange city getting the run around of a five mile ride when the destination was only a few blocks away. Actually, it was similar because Jake was trying to give me the ride of my life over boulders, up extremely steep rocky slopes, and around each pond. I received an adventure ride without going to Disneyland!

A bear bait is either a hole dug in the ground or a big oil drum. You pour in the contents of a bait bucket. Then you cover the hole or drum with a sheet of metal, logs, and rocks. The idea is to make it so difficult that small animals can't get to it before the bear and the bear must naturally work to get the food.
Bear Bait

Bear Bait


To make it extra-enticing, you smear some out-dated Krispy Kreme frosting all over the bait. You also spray some smoke scent all over the place. I am still a bit puzzled about the purpose of this aroma, but I'm thinking it is meant to smell like a campfire and explain the left over goodies to the bear.
Tempt Them with Frosting

Tempt Them with Frosting


Nearby - now you who are anti-hunting and did not heed my original statement, don't get squeamish - usually in a tree is a place for the hunter to sit. The spot has direct view of the bait - and you know why.
Also, strategically placed is a motion-activated camera. If the bait has been "hit," you put the SD card in your hand camera to see what visited. If you are hosting paying bear hunters, you replace the SD card with a new one so you can take this one home and show the guests to get them excited about what's roaming around out there.

There is also another way to tell if a bear has been in the area.
Bear Has Been Here

Bear Has Been Here


If you know what you are looking for, along the way you can see signs of other wildlife.
Wolf Tracks

Wolf Tracks

Moose Tracks

Moose Tracks


The evidence of the moose tracks also explains why they allow bear hunting . There are no natural predators of bear. Bear are too big the be preyed by a wolf. Hungry bear after hibernation, however, are the biggest killer of baby moose. Only 20 licenses are allowed in this area of Ontario so the bear population can be kept at a level to help maintain the population of moose.

After this, you go home and talk about bear hunts of the past.

Posted by pscotterly 04:38 Archived in Canada Tagged canada Comments (1)

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