Wednesday, July 31—Northern Door County

Happy birthday, Matt.  We hope you have a great one.

It doesn’t take long for us to get into a routine while traveling, particularly when exposed to lots of fresh air and outdoor activities.

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Yesterday, the bicycle tires were under inflated, and the derailleurs would not shift smoothly into the various gears for the 21-speed bikes—lack of use since wintering in Texas; this made riding a bit more difficult than it should have been.  Consequently, after quiet hours expired this morning, the tires were inflated to 65 psi, and lots of silicon lubricant was sprayed on the chains and derailleurs. As you may of noticed, we wear bike helmets while riding, a lesson learned after Kay’s accident on a non-moving bicycle last December.  And the helmet mashes Kay’s hair flat, so she wanted a photo taken before any bike rides today.  With a 60% chance of precipitation forecast for afternoon, we were off to explore the west coast and northern portion of Door County. The peninsula is less than 10 miles wide, and it doesn’t take long to drive from one side to the other. Along the way to Baileys Harbor, we saw 6 wild turkeys, including a strutting tom. Fog was rolling in, and prevented our seeing much of the coastline and lighthouses. Driving north to Cana Island, we were rewarded with two different sets of two Sandhill Cranes, munching goodies in the marsh flats of Lake Michigan. With the fog, we opted no to pay to see the Cana Island Lighthouse. The coastal roads were quaint, with little to no traffic and lots of bicyclists. Much of Door County is rural, with extensive farming operations—corn, dairy cows, orchards, and vineyards—and reminded us of Prince Edward Island.

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Near the top of the peninsula, Newport State Park, a wilderness park, juts into Lake Michigan. After paying the $10 daily fee, and unloading the bicycles, Kay and I did a 7-mile off-road bicycle ride on the Europe Trail along the northeast coast and through a canopied section of the wilderness forest. The trail was rough in places, with sand, rocks, roots, etc. making riding difficult. Kay has grit and hung in there, and made the complete ride without incident. As we neared the parking lot on the return, however, she pedaled so fast it was difficult keep up with her!

Driving north, we arrived at Gills Rock where a ferry takes cars and passengers to Washington Island; otherwise, there was not much else. East of Gills Rock towards Northport, we drove on one of the most crooked roads in the US, second only to Lombard Street in San Francisco. Northport, too, was only a ferry stop, with a few resort homes and residents. Heading south again, we arrived at Ellison Bay, and while quaint, it offered very little in terms of eateries, shops, etc. 130731 WIMI E 027 Further south, the village of Sister Bay greeted us, and is a wonderful place to while away some time. There are lots of gift shops and restaurants, and people walk and ride bicycles all over the small town; as with other Door County villages, it was filled to the brim with tourists and summer residents. We call it the “goat village” as several of the restaurants and shops have goats nibbling away on top of grass-covered sod roofs. Of course, most everyone stops to take pictures. At Ephraim, just down the road, we had lunch at a local eatery. Continuing our drive south towards Egg Harbor RV Resort and Campground, we stopped at a roadside market where Kay bought some more delicious cherries. She dropped me off at the motorhome, and drove the short distance to Egg Harbor to explore the various shops while the motorhome got a deep cleaning after being idle for several months. Upon her return, it was off to Walmart in Sturgeon Bay, about 20 miles south, for groceries and other necessities like machine oil for the bicycles. Back at the motorhome, we enjoyed some quiet time outside in the cool evening air with temperatures in the mid-60s. As a postscript, we are really enjoying Door County, and neither of us expected to like it as much as we do. In fact, we’ve even talked about it being a semi-permanent summer destination—somewhere to escape the Arkansas heat. It offers several advantages: cool summer weather only 825 miles from “home” great kayaking, biking, and hiking lots of shops and restaurants lots of cultural activities Need we say more!

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