Hank – The alarm woke me up at 4:30 am today. I woke Kathy up and went back to sleep. The plan was to ride to Manitowoc in time to take the 2:00 pm ferry across Lake Michigan to Ludington. Kathy wanted 90 minutes to get ready. Only 30 minutes for me.
We ate a light breakfast and hit the road just after 6:00. Traffic that early in the morning is pretty light in Green Bay. We worked our way east to Main Street aka US Highway 41, which we took until it became County Highway R. We followed that to Denmark, which is where the Devils River Trail begins. After a snack we followed the crushed and packed limestone trail for its entire length of 14-1/4 miles. Again, kudos to Wisconsin for having such great trails. One problem Kathy had with the trail was the biting flies. They didn’t bother me. Maybe because I wear loose fitting clothes and don’t have lotion on my skin? Or maybe the flies thought, “The BO is strong with this one.”
Back on the roadway we followed the “Mariner Trail” signs to Manitowoc. It was nearly 11:00 am and we were ready for a meal. Kathy found a great smokehouse BBQ place. The brisket was so tender you could chew it by mashing it against the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Once we finished with our gluttony we moseyed over to the waterfront just in time to see the SS Badger, the ferry we were catching, backing into its berth. I got tickets for both of us and we joined the crowd waiting to board. The Badger and a number of other ships originally ferried rail cars across Lake Michigan to avoid the rail choke points in Milwaukee and Chicago. The Badger is the last ship and it ferries cars and passengers now.
I found it interesting that they don’t allow vehicle owners to drive their cars on or off the ferry. Young men and women wearing bright orange vests drove cars and trucks off the ferry, parked them, and then sprinted back on board to get the next one. Vehicle owners waited for their cars to be parked and then jumped in and took off.
At boarding time, Kathy and I got in line with the other passengers with our bikes. After our names were checked off the manifest we rolled our bikes into the vehicle parking area and leaned them up against other bikes that were leaning against a wall. Then we walked on up to the passenger area. The ship embarked at 2:00 pm. Badger Bingo in the main lounge started at 2:30. The two guys running the show were hilarious. Two people had a bingo in the first game. The guys said only one prize is allowed per game so they had to have a dance off. Too funny. The guys kept up the banter for an entertaining couple of hours. After that I broke away to practice my ukulele for a bit. The four-hour trip across Lake Michigan passed pretty quickly.
Getting off the boat was a breeze. We walked off with the passengers but told one of the employees we had bikes. We retrieved them and rejoined the passengers walking off. Then we loaded up and road a couple miles to a campground where we got a tent site. We clocked 48 miles for the day. The weather was great and it was a very pleasant day. Michigan is state #12. Only 36 more to go.