Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Racine

 

September 2, 2021  Racine, Reefpointe Marina

We really enjoyed our 3 nights in Racine.  Reefpointe Marina was the nicest one we’ve experienced.  There was an on-site restaurant with pretty good food, very nice facilities, a pool and two hot tubs!  The other fun part of this marina is that there were several Looper boats there.  Each night, there was a gathering, called “docktales” where we all sat around sharing tales of our adventures and good information for what is ahead.  Eight of us went to dinner one night at Olde Madrid and had a fabulous time.  Our looping experiences, up to now, were mostly just Dan and I and an occasional looper boat or folks on land who have had, or hope to have, looping experience.  Starting now, however, we seem to be in a big bubble of boats who are making their way south.  Not only are we in the prime time of the season for this migration, but there is a tremendous increase in the number of boats out here – likely because of the pent up demand from the pandemic.  We’re enjoying the social aspects of the journey!

Racine, like many of the towns we’ve visited is an old city with interesting architecture.  Compared to Milwaukee though, Racine looks as though she is having a rougher time economically.  I enjoyed my two morning walks, taking pictures of old houses with nice porches and buildings with attractive architectural details.  I really enjoyed visiting their art museum – lots of whimsical pieces that were a joy to behold.

Milwaukee

 August 30, 2021,  Milwaukee,

We enjoyed Milwaukee very much.  The McKinley Marina is HUGE, and is actually 3 marinas.  Friends, on the Subject to Change, were on E dock and we were on N.  It was a half hour walk to get to their boat!  We had drinks and snacks the first night we were there.

We tied up the boat on the Port side, which allows us to deploy the dinghy.  We had several excursions using the dinghy – what a hoot!  The first trip across the big harbor and going up the river, Dan and I both got drenched!  We had followed Tim and June on their dinghy.  When we got close to them, we realized they were dry as a bone!  They are very experienced dinghy users and filled us in on some tips.  They have the same dinghy and motor as we do.  What worked for us, on subsequent trips, was for me to sit on the floor in the middle of the dinghy.  This allows the bow to go up, and any splash is absorbed up in front. 

I took several nice walks in Milwaukee.  The first, was around the park which surrounds the harbor, then up a trail and steps that put you up on the street level.  Quite a climb!  But, it was worth it.  I saw some nice sculptures, lovely old homes – took lots of pictures, as usual!

Another walk was in the Third Ward.  Dan put me off the dinghy and went on to the Harley Davidson Museum, whi ch I had no interest in seeing!  So, I got to explore Milwaukee’s Public Market and walk around the streets taking pictures of some beautiful architecture.  The Public Market is nothing like Eastern Market in Detroit.  Milwaukee’s was a collection of eateries and seating for folks.  It is lovely and had quite a selection of food, from middle eastern to wine, tosandwiches, to fresh fish, to bakery goods.   My favorite big building was Milwaukee’s City Hall.  I saw the building in the distance, then drew closer.  It has a tall spire and is quite beautiful.  The building closest to it has a mirrored surface, which perfectly reflects the City Hall tower – cool!   There were also a few more sculptures around the area.  Milwaukee has a huge number of the sculptures, each with its own characteristics.

We were delayed in leaving by one day, and we used that day to just relax, do some needed light chores, and nap!  I would go back to Milwaukee in a heartbeat!

Now, on to Racine – looking forward to 4 nights there.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Port Washington, Wisconsin

 August 26, 2021  Port Washington, Wisconsin

Nice little town with an actual downtown!  There are quite a few pre-Civil war buildings, making for interesting walks through town.  Dominating the skyline over the town is a beautiful steeple on the top of a very heavily wooded hill – from the bottom, where the downtown and the marina are, you can only see the steeple.  On our evening walk, we did find a very long staircase that leads to the church, but we were not in the mood to climb it!  Also on the top of that hill is a lighthouse that was built in 1860. 

As we were securing the boat after arriving, a man standing there was interested in where we are from, where we left from, etc.  He is originally from Grand Rapids, so was happy to talk to some Michiganders.  He recommended a restaurant, fairly new, called The Steerage.  He said it’s the best food in town.  Well, we went there and had a lovely dinner, cocktails, appetizer, and dessert for $61 – quite a bargain these days.  And, the food was delicious.  The owner came around and actually was our waiter. 

The next morning, I took advantage of the cooler weather and went on a walk.  Climbed a pretty long hill looking at some nice homes with porches, then realized I was on the level with the beautiful church and lighthouse.  So, I walked over and got some nice pictures!

Next stop, McKinley Marina in Milwaukee, where the fuel prices are the cheapest around!  Looking forward to 3 days in this large city exploring and seeing interesting things!

Sheyboygan, Wisconsin

 August 25, 2001   Sheboygan, WI

Loved our time in Sheboygan!  The marina was top notch – nicest facilities we’ve seen.  Huge restrooms and showers, swimming pool and hot tub.  Marina was in a park, with lots of opportunities to walk.  Right in that park was the very interesting recovered wreck from a 100 year old boat!  Gave us non-divers a chance to see the remains, walk through and see the structure. 

My favorite walk was through an older neighborhood with some really lovely homes, many with large front porches.  Dan and I rode our bikes around the first night, exploring the area around the Sheboygan River.  We found only one restaurant open, a barbeque and pizza place that was really hoppng.  Enjoyed some beverages and a dinner.

A local couple, who are Loopers but not on their boat right now (lucky us!} are not technically Harbor Hosts, but certainly functioned in that capacity.  Rich drove us all over town, showing us the various areas and relating some history and local color.  He drove us to the grocery store for a much needed provisioning.  The next morning, we were scheduled for a Kohler factory tour that started at 8:00.  Rich volunteered to pick us up at 7:30 and drive us there and back – what a hero!  That evening, he and Sue met us at our boat for some before dinner drinks.  That afternoon, some other Loopers arrived, and they joined us for the drinks.  They were three brothers, who bought a boat together and are doing the Loop.  Lots of fun conversation.  Amazingly, Rich and Sue were desperate to find a marina or dock space near Ft. Myers at Christmas time.  One of the brothers has a home with an 80 foot dock in Cape Coral, very near Ft. Myers.  Their dock will be unused at that time, so Rich and Sue, plus their traveling buddy boat can stay there!  What a fortuitous meeting!  After drinks, Rich, Sue, Dan, and I went out for a Mexican dinner.

Next stop Port Washington.

Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Kewaunee, Wisconsin

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, last stop on the Door Peninsula

 August 12, 2021 Sturgeon Bay

All the towns we have visited so far in Wisconsin have been on Green Bay.  To get to the town of Sturgeon Bay, we had to leave Green Bay, enter Sturgeon Bay, go under two bridges.  The marina we picked is the same astounding price as all the other Wisconsin marinas so far.  This is a small marina that has very recently been bought by Bay Marine.  It is fairly small, but the dock is fine, the bathrooms and laundry are fine.  Very quiet here – no dock employees on site, but we have met some of the boat owners and everyone is friendly. 

We were excited that the Antique Boat Show was being held while we are here – just a few blocks away at the Maritime Museum.    What fun to see some beautiful old boats.  One event that spanned the two days was a contest, where participants are given 3 sheets of plywood and some marine sealant.  They are to build their boat on site.  They are timed.  On Sunday, each boat is launched with 2 people, with the goal to (1) stay afloat!, and (2) to paddle around two buoys.  So fun.  Some boats never made it away from the dock.  Some made it a little ways, then either broke apart or filled with water.  The Coast Guard had a boat entry, and the two Coasties came out wearing dinosaur costumes.  They finished the course.  An interesting entrant had built their “boat”, which was actually a box, in one hour.  They got lots of points for such a speedy construction.  But, their speed in completing the course was very slow.  These two women had actually won the contest in other years, as ungainly and ugly as their ‘boat’ was!  The winner, a carpenter and his wife, built a canoe with nice lines.  It took them 2.5 hours to build it, but their speed around the course was very fast. 

Some of these people compete every year.  The canoe won first place this year.

Sturgeon Bay has an active downtown, with a number of good restaurants.  We enjoyed putzing through some of the shops, had a couple of meals.  We had the best pizza in a while at Sonny’s, which is right by one of the bridges across the Bay.

Leaving Sturgeon Bay, the city, via Sturgeon Bay.  Years ago, a canal was dredged that connects Sturgeon Bay into Lake Michigan.  It makes a great shortcut from Green Bay into the big Lake. 

Next stop is Kewaunee, a small town on Lake Michigan.