Here’s a map of Tumbleweed’s current journey, which will lead us in a roundabout way to Victoria, British Columbia. Clicking the red balloon thingys will pull up links to the blog posts from each stop.
To see the good stuff from other travels, just click on the menu. We really can’t make it any easier.
If you want to find out what’s going on without having to remember to track us down, you can follow us to get updates by email. Woo Hoo!
First things first. We left Green Bay on Thursday, and made it as far as Egg Harbor. This time through we found Green Bay a bit more inviting, which probably says more about our attitude last fall than it does about Green Bay. We confirmed that—with the notable exception of University of Wisconsin Medical Center ophthalmologists—everyone in Wisconsin is good natured and helpful. South Bay Marina completed most of the stuff we needed done. So let the summer commence.
Door County currently is in full Spring mode, which differs significantly from our stop there seven months ago.
Last year the autumn gales prevented drone flying. This year? Calm and gorgeous.
We ate, walked around town, bought delicious butter crisps, blah, blah, blah. For none of those reasons, this Sister Bay stop was life-changing. Some folks look back on wedding days, the birth of children, or a religious epiphany, as the most significant events they’ve experienced. Meh. We’ve enjoyed our nearly thirty-year marriage and our kids and all, but Sister Bay gave us something even better: Starlink.
Discerning observers immediately will spot the dishy—seriously, Starlink named it “Dishy McFlatface”—temporarily mounted on a deck railing. Here’s a better view of this bad boy.
Boom! Just like that we’re done fretting over crappy Verizon service and hit-or-mostly-miss marina Wi-Fi. No more scrambling around tiny villages looking for someplace to watch Doug’s mighty Volunteers. Indeed, those same Volunteers are battling Dana’s Longhorns in the NCAA super-regionals and we get to watch every minute. Without breaking a sweat. Like we said, life-changing.**
Lest anybody think all we’ll do now is bask in Tumbleweed’s bounty of streaming goodness, we also walked around Sister Bay to see if anything changed in the last six months. Al’s goats are still eating the roof, although we had to look hard to find them.
The shrub people are still in place, and look much happier in spring hats than they did when dressed as Packer fans.
We also hiked up the road with the 15% grade to buy some of the delicious local cherry cider Doug discovered at lunch. It was available at the shop that shares a parking lot with the Piggly Wiggly. A Piggly Wiggly in Wisconsin still seems odd. It’s like finding a Krystal on the moon. Some things should just stay in the South.
Despite an evening of softball on TV, we pulled away long enough to watch our first awesome sunset of the summer. Tennessee Orange. Vols beat Horns in game one.
Our plan was to cruise directly from Sister Bay to Fayette, which basically is an historic village and state park in Michigan. Then a reader named Scott commented on our last post with a recommendation that we visit Escanaba, Michigan, and that we watch a movie—which he described as a cross between Fargo and Rocky Horror Picture Show—filmed in Escanaba.We may or may not get around to Escanaba in da Moonlight, but mostly based on his description and his slick reference to our Sturgeon Bay post we decided to take a chance. For non-Yoopers, during our crossing we punched up a little geography aid.
Escanaba—“Esky” to the locals—welcomed us with one of those old-fashioned welcome signs. We know the sign was for us because almost nobody else was around.
When the summer season kicks off, of course, Yoopers will be out and about in force, making sure Escanaba knows wassup.
Our five-mile hike around town took us past a few other points of interest. That lighthouse on the welcome sign? It’s the Sand Point Light, built in 1867. They don’t make up for the abomination that is Jim Harbaugh, of course, but the numerous lighthouses Michigan gave the world are damn cool.
Here’s Rosy’s Diner, which was featured in the beginning of the movie Scott wants us to watch.
Scott and several others identified Stonehouse Restaurant as the place to eat, but they don’t take reservations and don’t open until 5:00. So to kill time we walked around to the high school, which also apparently made an appearance in the movie that made Escanaba famous.
Eskymos. Oh you funny, funny, politically-incorrect Yoopers. Most importantly, dinner at Stonehouse indeed was delicious.
Our route back home took us past House of Ludington, a grand establishment dating to 1864. Advertisements in 1893 proclaimed that it was the only hotel in the city with, among other things, “baths and steam heat.” Pretty gross was Esky back in the day.
When we returned home from dinner, we still were all alone on the municipal marina’s long wall. Which was just fine by us.
Escanaba may not make the list of top places we’ve visited, but we’re happy we made the stop. No bashing Scott for recommending Escanaba. We do reserve the right, however, to challenge his movie taste if we watch Escanaba in da Moonlight. And in the very unlikely event tomorrow’s breakfast at the goatless Swedish place sucks, he’ll hear from us.***
Our first three days underway were perfect. Cool temperatures. Smooth water. Slight breeze. No clouds. Few boats in our way. Just the way we like it, and no, we’re not embarrassed about being wussies. Unfortunately, based on our experience it seems unlikely that this will continue all summer.
Oh yeah. Lady Vols win game two and are heading back to the WCWS. And we were able to watch every pitch. Starlink, baby, Starlink.
Next stop, Fayette.
*Sincerest apologies to ABBA, and best of luck on your virtual reality tour.
**In no way should this post be viewed as endorsing Elon Musk, a megalomaniacal evil genius whose intentions to control and then destroy the world are foiled only by his own hubris. Basically Elon Musk is Heinz Doofenshmirtz, but less funny and without a secret-agent platypus nemesis. Tesla paint peels and Twitter is a cesspool, but by golly so far Starlink is awesome.
***None of this should scare anybody off. We’ll take local knowledge whenever it’s available.
Long-time followers know our affinity for old country songs and for dead or close-to-dead country singers. Zac Brown is neither dead nor dying and barely is country, but Dana was right: this line makes a great post title. Because a week ago we left the Scottsdale blast furnace, heading back to Green Bay, brimming with hope that the ice was gone and that the yard had completed the winter maintenance. Green Bay is where the boat will leave from.
We’ll not detail the entire two-thousand mile trek, but a couple of quick notes. Remember that time almost exactly a year ago when our horrible experience with Hertz ultimately yielded a too-small car that required a car-top carrier, rather than the cargo van we reserved, such that at every nightly stop we had to load and unload stuff in rain and snow as we crossed this great country, which required excessive profanity? This year we went with Avis. Avis delivered the exact minivan we requested. No drama. Beautiful.
Of course, not everything was smooth. The first two hours got us north of Payson, but then we had to bounce back to Goodyear for an unexpected last-minute doctor visit. This is important only because of the absurdly ambiguous cul-de-sac we observed when we were trying to leave.
Anyway, we ultimately did get away. Which leads to an observation about the middle part of this vast country. We allow for the remote possibility that states like Kansas have redeeming qualities that for some reason they decided to keep hidden from the rest of us. Based on our experiences, however, there’s only one place that justifies stopping in Kansas: the Kansas City Chuy’s.* That’s it. Just Chuy’s.** And the Kansas City Chuy’s isn’t even in Kansas, it’s in Missouri.
Out of necessity we did spend a night in Dodge City, Kansas, whose history of assorted gunfighters and lawmen like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson would make it cool if its coolness wasn’t more than offset by the bogus claim of Boot Hill Cemetery. Everybody knows the real one is in Tombstone. Arizona, not Kansas. Also, Bill Self rivals John Calipari in lying, cheating, basketball dirtbaggery.
Ok, that’s way more attention than Kansas deserves. Onward across Iowa. Even if Iowa wasn’t significantly more scenic than Kansas, we wouldn’t belittle it out of deference to all the famous and important people from there—people like John Wayne, Radar O’Reilly, and our good friends Sharon and Angie. Plus, John Dutton planted a baseball diamond in his Iowa cornfield just so he could show it off to Elmer Gantry and Mufasa and have a catch with his dead father.*** Now that’s cool.
Our other noteworthy stop was in Madison, Wisconsin, mostly because we met Peter and Yvonne for dinner. Peter and Doug worked at the same law firm before Peter left to become a bigwig in the Justice Department. It was great to catch up some twenty-five years later. Next year, pickleball in Wickenburg.
In the days since leaving Peter and Yvonne, we’ve encountered a series of unfortunate events that put Lemony Snicket to shame; events so numerous and so unfortunate that—to steal the line faithfully submitted by Sergeant-at-Arms Douglas C. Neidermeyer—“decorum prohibits listing them here.” But Tumbleweed was waiting in the water, and we’re planning to get underway tomorrow. Hopefully the quality of blog posts will pick up from here.
*In fairness, one of us thinks going out of the way to see the still-standing house in Holcomb where Herb and Bonnie Clutter and two of their kids were slaughtered In Cold Blood would be worthwhile. Dana? Not so much. Dana would rather gargle with battery acid.
**Only one thing on God’s green Earth dresses a tortilla chip better than Chuy’s salsa, and that one thing is Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeño Cilantro Dip. Fact.
***Are we the only ones who find it odd that Kevin Costner’s dad in Field of Dreams looked nothing at all like his dad in Yellowstone, who looked exactly like Dabney Coleman, because he was Dabney Coleman?