Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Door County, Sturgeon Bay, Washington Island and Rock Island

Door County, Wisconsin, is the peninsula jutting northeast of Green Bay.  It is named for the strait between Door peninsula and Washington Island.  The waters are treacherous where they flow from Green Bay into Lake Michigan, and the French named this area (wrought with shipwrecks) Porte Des Morts or 'deaths door'.  The peninsula is only about 60 miles long and starts at 20 miles wide, but narrows to only about 1 mile wide at the tip.   Because there are shoreline on both sides of the peninsula and it is relatively close to Green Bay, it has developed over the years as a popular resort area.

I had to enlarge this photo so you could see the goats.  Yeah, the goats are on top of the roof, which is covered with grass.  This is the famous Swedish restaurant, Al Johnson's.

The Algoma lighthouse, actually in Kewaunee County, was built in 1893, rebuilt in 1908 and automated in 1973.  I understand it is for sale if anyone is interested.

Door County is famous for its cherries.  There were cherry trees everywhere.

At the tip of Door County you board a ferry over to Washington Island.

One of the lighthouses on Washington Island.

A replica Stave Church built on Washington Island.  Stave churches were medieval wooden churches common in northwestern Europe, especially Norway.  This is one of only eight in the U.S.

Off of Washington Island you can catch another ferry to Rock Island, now a state park.

The Rock Island Lighthouse, built in 1836.

In 1910, part of the island was purchased by Chester Thordarson.  By 1920, he had built his summer estate.  This is the boat house.

Inside the boat house.  It is the only building still standing and it is open to the public.

On our way home we stopped at Sunset Point.

We went kayaking on Riley's Bay.  There was a small private island at the end of the bay which we traversed.  

We did get our feet wet at Whitefish Dunes State Park, on the Lake Michigan side.  I was expecting large sand dunes, but was disappointed.  The sandy beach was quite small land the dunes were all grass covered.  In fact, if someone hadn't told me they were sand dunes, I never would have guessed.  It seems to be THE place for people to come out and spend the day.

Just down the road from the state park was a county park.  No sand dunes, but instead, limestone cliffs.  It seems to be a popular place for cliff jumping into Lake Michigan.

The city of Sturgeon Bay reflects its name with painted sturgeons scattered around town.

I guess this is supposed to be a flying sturgeon.
The only thing I didn't get to do while I was there, was experience a Door County fish boil.  Most restaurants only prepare them on specific days and our timing just didn't fit.  I guess I now have a reason to go back someday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Oshkosh and the EAA Air Show

Our whole reason for heading to Wisconsin this year, was to attend the EAA Air Show, the largest in the world.  One of Max's friends was supposed to fly in with his small plane and meet us, but his friend had some complications and couldn't make it.  But we were already in the area, so we went and had a great time.  Over 10,000 small private plane fly in for this event.  It is geared to the private pilot and flying enthusiasts.  Most of the exhibits and vendors have to do with parts and accessories and such for planes.  Like going to an RV show, except this was an air show.  There were air shows daily, which lasted about 2-3 hours each.  Wednesday night was a nighttime air show ending with a fireworks display.   I am posting more pictures than I usually do in a blog, and this is just to give you an idea of what we saw that week.
This show is always the last week of July every year.

We parked out in the fields along with about 1,000 other RVers.

Every year they build a plane from a kit during the week of the air show.  

Day one, they are just sorting and starting to assemble the parts.

Day 3, and already it is starting to look like a plane.

Day 6, the wings are on and it time to put on the finishing touches.

The finished plane, put together by volunteers at the air show in one week.  Sadly, we did not get to see it's initial flight.  They test fly in a week after the air show.

We saw planes of all shapes and sizes.

This is supposed to be the smallest jet in the world.  

This is called a breezy.  You sit out in the open, nothing around you, with what looks like a lawnmower engine powering a small propeller behind you.

Every day the air show started with a fly in of the American Flag.

Notice this plane is flying upside down.

There was also a concert every night.  And out near the RVs, they had an outdoor movie screen and showed a movie every evening with free popcorn.  You just had to bring your own chair.

The air show featured dare devil pilots as well and groups flying in formation.

A short distance away, on Lake Michigan, were the water planes.

Even if it is only for one week.

They had two of the V22 Ospreys on site.  They did demonstrations on several occasions.  Fascinating aircraft to watch, especially when it would just hover.

In town one day, having lunch along one of the canals, we spotted these different looking boats cruising down the river.  Yes, I believe that is a 1957 Chevy.

I liked this ladies wheel chair.

After a great night time air show, we got to watch the fireworks.

This is a one man light aircraft, called a Velocity.  Just a chair with a big fan in back.

This is a Light Sport.  One of the ladies manning this booth rode her Light Sport all the way from Florida to the air show.  It looks like a hang glider on steroids.

I always wanted to fly and actually have about 60 hours (15 under a hood) in a small single engine piper.  My problem was I have no depth perception and had a hard time with landings.  Consequently I never solo'd, so never got my license.  But it was great while I was in the air.

Max checked it out too.

We did take a helipcopter ride in this small Bell helicopter.

Here we are about to take off.

We had a 15 minute ride around the airfield.  Here we are passing over one of the RV parking areas.

The Air Force Thunderbirds were there for several shows.

This is a Terrafuga Flying Car.

The wings fold up and it becomes a car you can drive on the roads, or expand the wings and fly off.  Is this an indication of the future?

Last day and it started to rain.  The fields became mini lakes.  Luckily we were parked on high ground and did not get stuck, but we saw many RVs being towed out of the muck.
It was a great week and so glad I attended this event.  Maybe I'll do it again someday.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Milwaukee, Germanfest and Harley Davidson

Yes, we are still in Wisconsin.  This is Lake Michigan.  It just looks like we are at the ocean.  We are at a city park in Milwaukee.

Downtown Milwaukee has winding canals throughout.  Although once the home of major breweries, only microbreweries still exist here.  All the big breweries have moved out.

You can really see the German influence all over the area.

Home of Laverne and Shirley, I had the opportunity to meet 'The Fonz'.

It looks like a church, but is actually a water tower.  Built after the likes of a gothic tower in 1873, it provided 55 miles of water mains to the citizens of Milwaukee.

Just north of Germantown is the small comuunity of Dheinsville, founded in 1842.  Christ Church here was built in 1863.  

On one of our bike rides we passed the old mill, which now has been coverted to various offices.

But leaving the historic look, I loved this sign.  

A Germanfest was going on while we were there.  Lots of good German food, music and beer.

They had a live Glockenspiel.  What a riot to watch.

Milwaukee is the home of Harley Davidson, so of course we had to visit their museum.

The two Davidson brothers and their friends.

The way I am perched on my toes is why I never had my own motorcycle.  They just don't make them short enough.

They had a traveling show about Route 66, aptly named 'They American Road'.  Very good show if you ever get a chance to see it.