Wednesday, July 13, 2016

81: The good ship S S Badger

It was raining when we woke, and there were a couple hard showers as we were getting ready to go. So we really expected to be pounded today. But we had an opening in the weather for our departure, and our Warm Showers hostess, Michelle, rode us out to the edge of town and gave us some great advice about a route to take to Manitowoc.  She is a very active member of the cycling community in Appleton, and the entire Fox River Valley. So she really knows the roads!  She recently toured Australia for three months.  Dream trip!

We kept thinking that the storm front would catch us, but we made it through without rain after all. The forecast was for storms and high winds all over the area, and so that ferry crossing kept making me nervous. I wasn't too keen on a rock-and-roll crossing, and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" kept running through my head!

Grey skies threatened, but did not deliver today

We had a really sweet road to ride on today. It's County Road K in one of the endless counties of Wisconsin. If you're looking for it, it will be somewhere around County Road Q or R or one of those other letters roads. I'm sure it makes sense to the folks around here, but it's hard for an outsider to know which Q or R or JJ or K or CE you're talking about because it seems that every county has at least one of every letter of the alphabet!  In any case, it was brand new road, with a great smooth surface and though it was a bit muggy, the cloud cover and a nice breeze at our back made for pleasant riding.  We made very good time on our transfer from Appleton to Manitowoc.  
S S Badger - an impressive boat

We got our tickets, then had time to eat.  Oh, delight!  We found a restaurant that had some great grilled fish tacos, with a vegetable for the side.  NOT potatoes!  Finally! 

Then we boarded the SS Badger, a historic carferry that brought us over Lake Michigan into Ludington, which is a very cute little town that must get a lot of summer visitors.  The boat was built to ferry train cars across the lake.
Train tracks on the ferry

It held 34 freight cars - you can see the tracks that ran into the main floor.  The ferry has been running since 1953.  It was listed on the National Register of historic places earlier this year. It's the first time I have ever sailed on a national landmark!  It was actually quite enjoyable to sit and enjoy the cool breeze on board, and not have to pedal. It's a four-hour crossing, so they had games, movies, and food service on board.

Many folks enjoyed a nap in the sunshine

The crossing is 60 miles - long enough that you lose sight of land in the middle.  The difference between the two shores of Lake Michigan is amazing. Manitowoc is still an industrial city, with a huge silo operation right near the pier and other artifacts speaking to its heritage as a shipping port.
Now THAT'S a silo!

A familiar brand

When we got across the lake it was all sailboats and condominiums on the waterfront! (Plus the sun was out and sparkling on the water, which helps a lot!)
A pleasant welcome to Michigan in Ludington

We will head north tomorrow towards Traverse City, where Roger spent many summers in his youth, and where his mom and dad later retired. Then we will pick up the Adventure Cycling route to head across the state and into Canada over Lake Erie.

Hard to believe the incredible blue of the lake

After dinner, we stopped at a local spot for ice cream. Contrary to our lackluster review of the much-touted Voodoo Donut shop in Portland, we found this place worth the wait. Absolutely wonderful ice cream, and friendly service.  They've been in business 66 years.  House of Flavors is worth a stop!  (Tennesee Toffee was fabulous, as was Roger's Black Cherry.)
Roger waiting in the queue

Happy customers outside

Mob scene inside

We hit three milestones today:  Another state, the Eastern time zone, and 4000 miles!

The day's report:  Appleton to Ludington, 48.8 miles/4008 to date

1 comment:

  1. I took the carferry round trip ("mini-cruise") a year ago when I was hiking the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin. I *loved* the trip! So glad you enjoyed your crossing too!


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