Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Washington Island Tour Route

Hugged the lake all the way. North of Sheboygan we could even see the sand dunes and sail boats on the far side of the Lake!

Sturgeon-->Washington Island

Yep, made the 9:00 a.m. ferry.

nine am Ferry to Wash Is
En route to the ferry I passed Door County's rendition of Edvard Munch's Scream:

Strange Bride_Door County
Spent 24 hours with Valerie Fons who is a canoeing phoenom. This is the canoe in which she paddled from the Arctic to the Cape Horn in 33 months.

Valerie--Two Continent Canoe

Had planned to ride home, but the weather forecast was for 70-80% chance of rain and thunderstorms for the next two days with temps in the low 50's. Caught a ride in the back of a panel truck with some friends from our church, Mary and Russ.

Blessed ride all around.

Day 2-->Washington Island

At bed time said we should have winds from the east at 3-5 mph all the way to Sturgeon. But, the weather god changed his attitude between bed time and ride time. Winds were a steady 20 mph out of the north, our direction of travel, gusting to greater. Coming off the lake it was a cold, slow, hard ride.

Alaska, WI
No wonder we were cold!

Kunkel's Korner in Kewaunee seemed quite welcoming, despite its menu of more down-home-deep fried cuisine for what your heart may desire, but not need.

It was the day before Memorial Day so the small town communities along the way were bedecked in honor:

Manitowoc Church Sign Board

Memorial Day Float Outside Manitowoc

We stopped at a Walgreens just as we entered Sturgeon Bay to ask directions to the Super 8. How often have you ridden into town and been told to ride 1 block, take a left, and the bike path will take you directly to the front door of the Super 8. Wow!! How much better can you get than that??

The go was so slow today I would not be able to make the last ferry across from Northport to Washington Island. I held up in Sturgeon, had an awesome dinner in Egg Harbor (Trio--I'd highly recommend it)with Mark and Jeff, and hit the hay for an early departure Memorial Day morning with hopes of catching the 9:00 a.m. ferry.

North To Sheboygan

We were blessed with this awesome route to Door County created by Pat, one of Mark's and Jeff's friends. I figured getting through Milwaukee would be a real pain, but instead it was a real joy. On top of that, Mark and Jeff knew of an awesome restaurant in the Third Ward, Palms, where we had a leisurely, scrumptious, lunch.

Palms Restaurant_Milwaukee

The weather was actually decent--no appreciable wind, temps in the high 50's, sun. What more could a Midwesterner want? Maybe the opportunity to use sunscreen, but I'm not complaining.

Lift Off From Milwaukee Art Museum2
In front of the Milwaukee Art Museum

The afternoon brought us 2 flats and a broken spoke, all on one bike. But we were up and running in fairly short order.

The only dining (?) option within walking distance of The Sleep Inn in Sheboygan was Judi's which featured down-home-deep fried cuisine for what your heart may desire, but not need. But hey, 127 miles after our start we were grateful.

Gift Of Friendship

Many riders, friends, and family have known that I was planning to ride from home (Wilmette, IL) to Washington Island, WI, as the tee shirt reads, just a little above Door County. I would leave Saturday, May 23rd, Memorial Day weekend, ride with the Bagel Boys to Once Upon A Bagel in Highland Park, and then head north to Sheboygan for Day 1 of a two day, 265 mile ride.

Mark and Jeff, the best riding buddies one could want for, met me at my alley at 5:15 a.m.

Leaving Palms Restaurant

Their bikes were loaded with panniers for what reason totally eluded me. After noshing on bagels and more, some of the Bagel Boys headed home and some headed north for the Saturday Kenosha ritual ride. Mark, Jeff and their panniers were some of the "headed north riders".

Leaving OUAB for Wash Is

The fork in the road would be Rt 50 and 22nd Ave. in Kenosha where all would head south to home and I would head north to Sheboygan and beyond. 22nd Ave. came, I turned north and so did Mark and Jeff.

Took me a number of more miles to figure out they were riding with me!! Took me even more miles to figure out they were riding all the way to Sturgeon Bay with me!! Totally blew me away. Best surprise gift I think I have ever received.


My, but the Midwest has had trouble finding spring! The Great Lake Randonneurs, those of us who like to ride long distance, unsupported rides of 200k [125 miles] or greater, had hoped the weather gods would smile on us with favor for the 300k (187 miles) on May 16th. (You may remember the 200k April 25th was challenged with steady rain, 40 degree temps, and enough wind to make it even more miserable.)

Well, 3 weeks after the 200k there was some improvement, but not a lot. There was no rain and the temp was 10 degrees warmer (low 50's), ah, but the wind--25-30 miles per hour and a head wind to boot for the first 95 miles.

When it was clear I was not going to be able to finish the ride in 14 hours or less, I turned around and headed back to the start. I did end with 200k, a decent night's rest, and the ability to be fully available for the the family activities of the next day.

Some hardy souls pressed on and finished the 300, but even the speed demons came home with slower times than they had seen in years. Hard day on the bike. :)