Road Trip 2018: End

2018.07.09.001

Hernando, Florida to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, 1,360 Miles

Sheboygan, Wisconsin, July 9th – End

Stop 1 | Stop 2 | Stop 3 | Stop 4 | Stop 5|Stop 6

On July 9th, Day 22 of my trip, 3 full weeks on the road since leaving Florida, I finally crossed the state line into Wisconsin.

Some road trip statistics:

14 Cities

10 State & National Parks

6 States

5 Museums

4 Historic Homes

3 Civil War Battlefields

2 Native American Sites

1 World Famous Aquarium

Sheboygan, a small city of ~50,000 people right on Lake Michigan, was my home for a little over 4 months while I worked on the first project of my archaeological career.  At first I was apprehensive, but I came to really enjoy my time there.  I made some great friends, learned a lot, & generally had a fantastic adventure.  Sheboygan is a really pretty town, & I explored all of it on foot.  There were days when I walked several miles, just seeing what was around the next corner or over the next hill.  I discovered weird public art, found Bigfoot, & read all the graffiti on the lighthouse (spoiler: there’s a lot!).  They also have the most incredible library – whenever I got tired of my hotel room I would just go there & hang out like it was my living room.  Ever since I left I get automated text messages about how much the library misses me & I’m always like “I miss you too!” 😥  In September I made it up to Manitowoc for Sputnikfest, the Rahr-West Art Museum that sponsors it is wonderful & has a great collection of Soviet propaganda (among many other things).  My trip up to Door County in October was stunning, the gales of November brought snow & ice, then just when it was getting to where I really didn’t want to be that cold anymore it was time to close things down for the winter & head back home to Florida.  Overall I loved my time in Wisconsin & I look forward to getting back there someday!

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The Last Three Months in Awkwardness

Welp, I’m down to the home stretch of my time in Sheboygan (maybe at some point I’ll post the half-finished piece on my 3-week road trip up here…who knows, miracles do happen). It’s been a stressful, weird, wild ride & as much as I’ve come to enjoy this town, my job, & my new friends, I’m looking forward to getting back to Florida & resting up for a while.  For probably like a week before I get bored.

I’ve finally crawled out from under my rock & gotten a Twitter account, so you can follow me there, Facebook, Instagram, and/or YouTube if you want to.

Winter plans include trying to learn a new language (again), adding some blog posts about past travel experiences, video games, sleeping, having a real refrigerator & oven, paying down student loans, visiting family, uploading some new stock imagery, and just generally being warm & stuff.  (I forgot what cold is like.  Also the sun goes down at 4:30 here once daylight savings time ends.)

Some unique Sheboygan weirdness to brighten your day:

I found this under a bridge; it’s like 4 feet across so not a small undertaking & I seriously have no idea what’s going on in this image or why it’s there – graffiti?  City-sponsored art project?  Who are these people?  Why do they have a monkey skull wearing a top hat?  The world may never know.

Day Trip: Door Peninsula

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In other words: FALL COLORS!

I love fall, & I haven’t had it for the last couple of years because it really isn’t a thing in Florida.  A few trees turn pretty colors but for the most part they either just drop leaves everywhere all the time or insist on staying green & leafy year-round.  Anyway, I’m pretty excited about fall in Wisconsin.  I’ve been looking at wandering up into the Door Peninsula the whole time I’ve been here because I’d heard it was beautiful, & I figured what better time than fall?  I checked out the fall color report (easy to find for pretty much anywhere with a quick Google search) saw that Door County was up to 90% with expected peak this week, the weather was supposed to be nice on Saturday, so I packed up my camera & headed out for my mini road trip.

The Door Peninsula is the little thumb of land that sticks out into Lake Michigan north of Green Bay.  It’s about 90 miles from Green Bay out to the very end at Northport, to go any farther than that you have to get on the ferry to Washington Island (which I would love to do sometime but alas, it was not to be on this trip).  It was a long drive from Sheboygan, about 3 hours each way, but it’s a beautiful area & there’s plenty of little lakeshore towns to visit along the way.  It’s been 3 whole years since I’ve been north of the 45th Parallel so I was glad to get back!

WI-42 & WI-57 both wind up into the peninsula, I ended up taking 57 there & 42 back, both are great drives.  The only unfortunate thing is that I think half the state decided to go leaf-touring on the same day, plus half the little towns were having farmers’ markets and/or fall festivals so there was a surprising amount of traffic to deal with.  Sister Bay is a town of less than 900 people but there must have been thousands at the fall festival, all having to walk a long way from where they parked to downtown, none of whom seemed able to keep themselves or their dogs out of the road.  I think a weekday would have been better, although it would take a whole camping trip to properly experience everything.

I visited the farmers’ market in Two Rivers (self-proclaimed birthplace of the ice cream sundae), ate lunch in Bailey’s Harbor, & finally made my way all the way up to Northport to watch the car ferries for a bit.  Northport sits on the passage between Lake Michigan & Green Bay, a strait known as Porte des Morts or Door of Death.  The true origin of the name is unknown, but may derive from the oral histories of local Native American tribes.  It is appropriate today because this area may hold more shipwrecks than any other patch of freshwater in the world.  I’d really like to get back up there when I have more time (and maybe it’s warmer!) to visit the islands.  Pilot Island has a really cool-looking abandoned lighthouse that I could see from the mainland & looks like it would be really fun to check out.

On the way back down the peninsula I stopped at Door Bluff County Park & Ellison Bluff State Natural Area, both of which are very small but also free and had great views out over the lake.  The County Park is far enough off the main road that you start to think maybe you missed it but no, it’s there, keep driving.  I ended up spending 11 hours wandering around & it wasn’t nearly enough time!  Hopefully someday I can go camping up there & really get some proper exploring done.

 

This Week in Awkwardness

I’ve been busy packing & planning my drive up to Wisconsin – lots of fun stuff to see along the way!  I have 3 weeks of road trip between here & my new job so I’ve just been adding pins to my Google map for anything that sounds remotely interesting, plus of course looking for things to do over the summer & fall on my days off.  I’ve already earmarked Sputnikfest in Manitowoc in September & the Midwest Historical Archaeology Conference in Chicago in October.  Looking forward to getting my hands dirty as an actual working archaeologist!


Added to the Travel Map: Summer in Wisconsin Edition

House on the Rock, Spring Green – weird house with crazy stuff inside.

FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard, Sparta – giant molds laying around in a field.

American Science & Surplus, Milwaukee – crazy awesome store.

Mars Cheese Castle, Kenosha – when in Wisconsin, celebrate cheese.

Stavkirke, Washington Island – Norwegian-style church.

45 x 90 Geographical Marker, Athens – The exact geographical center of the N. Western hemisphere. Stop at the Wausau Visitor’s Center to sign the log book & get a commemorative coin!

Al Johnson’s Swedish Restuarant, Sister Bay – they have a sod roof with goats on top, who wouldn’t want to go there?

UWM American Geographical Society Library, Milwaukee – thousands of historic maps, globes, expedition photos, etc.

Circus World, Baraboo – Ringling Brothers circus museum.

Crash site of Korabl-Sputnik 1, Manitowoc- pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Sputnikfest September 7th & 8th!

Man Mound, Baraboo – human-shaped effigy mound.

Mr. Marvel’s Wondertorium, Wisconsin Dells – museum of the dime museum, compounding the absurdity.

Toy Train Barn, Argyle – giant model train diorama in a barn.

Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee – historic home of Milwaukee’s beer baron.

Little Bohemia Lodge, Manitowish Waters – site of a shootout between John Dillinger & the FBI.