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Moving on again

Our tour of the Lakes comes to an end, regrettably

semi-overcast 66 °F

Room 821, Doubletree Hotel near O' Hare Airport
Tuesday, 15th May

Once again, I had to look at the calendar to see what day it was.

Time is short and I will have to be brief in this report back, I'm afraid (these words drowned out by sighs of relief by all and sundry. Who's this Sundry, by the way?).

What can we say? This mini trip has been full of surprises and we definitely want to come back for more of these wonderful lakes. Apart from our great time with our friends Linda & Ed, north of Northport, we were particularly taken by the stretch of Lake Superior from Saulte Ste Marie on. (By the way, we heard the Marie pronounced as in Mary. Not sure if that is how the locals call it?). That bit of the coast really was unspoiled and some of it was taken up by a Chippewa tribal reservation which was neat and tidy and which had much evidence, from the signs, of a caring society. We stopped at one lighthouse which was closed, but then, taking the dead end road to Whitefish Point, from Paradise where we stopped for a magnificent breakfast, we were relieved to find that the Shipwreck Museum was open. This opens one's eyes to the number of shipwrecks that have occurred on the lakes, in particular in the dangerous waters near this headland. In school geography lessons, staring at the atlas map of the Great Lakes, who could imagine that there would be 90mph winds and 27 ft high waves. Add to that congestion, shallows, incompetence & fog, and there is the recipe for many disasters.


We were surprised to see ice still floating on the lake

We thought this was some sort of platform in the lake. Now, looking at the close-up photo, it looks very much like part of a sunken vessel?

Next were the Tahquemenon Falls on the river of that complicated name. There are the Upper and the Lower falls and we walked to both! Why is the water so dark? It's down to the tannin as a result of vegetation and silt etc.


Bob takes over the driving from time to time

We never did buy a pasty. We only saw two places selling them. Down to the Cornish miners who came here to mine copper, we think it was.

Then on to our stop for the night, Gladstone, still in Michigan and looking across the top end of Green Bay (more correctly, Bay de Noc) to the Door Peninsula. Our stop for the following night.


More of a motel type hotel. But we had a nice room with balcony overlooking the lake. Tranquillity apart from the blackbirds with a red flash on their side (Ed ??) arguing over territory. An excellent restaurant was part of the hotel and John tried the lake perch, as recommended by Ed. Bob chickened out with the chicken (in balsamic vinegar) which he said was delicious.

So it's now Sunday and we take the road south which gets busier as we approach Green Bay. The image in John's head of red-neck meatpackers, supporters of Green Bay NFL team, was not born out by what we saw of this city. A nicely preserved downtown as well as a pretty riverfront, and lots of big churches. There was, of course, old heavy industrial sites too but that somehow added to the charm.


Then on to the Door Peninsula. This was quite New England-esque with its prim harbours and white-painted weatherboard houses. The hotel we'd chosen for the night was in the woods, set back from the lake. We somehow had a "room" with sitting area, dining area, full kitchen, bedroom plus another bedroom upstairs. It emerged we were the only ones staying there and had the place to ourselves for the night. We had a swim in the indoor pool and a soak in the hot tub. Dinner was down in the pretty village of Ephraim at the Chef's Hat where we had possibly one of the best dinners yet in a restaurant: brisket of beef over mashed red potatoes with a mushroom and bell pepper sauce. John had not had brisket since his Mum cooked it and it really was very good, and in a sensible portion size!


Monday saw us driving back down the Peninsula, despite the Garmin taking us along a winding road hugging the coastline. We stopped for breakfast in a great little town called Kewaunee where Bob enjoyed delicious steak and eggs and toast and potatoes for a mere $7.95.


Aha! The biggest grandfather clock in the world. At last!!


Then on to be chivied along Interstate 43 nearly in to Milwaukee. We came off the clattering road (the surfaces on many Interstates are awful!) to drive round the bay front and were amazed at the number (many hundreds) of mansion-size houses cluttering the roads round the lake side. Who are all these people? Where do they get all this money?! We were amazed.


Then in to Milwaukee city itself to find half the roads dug up and many closed as they install a new tram system. Oh dear, the road to the hotel is closed, but we keep going round the block until we find the place to stop for the Hilton Garden Inn valet parking. Hilton Garden Inns are slightly posher Hampton Inns, usually, but this one was set in a fabulously restored office building (originally a local insurance company) built in 1886. We were taken aback by this town. We liked it very much. We walked up the river walk to a German restaurant area and enjoyed Bratwurst with Sauerkraut etc etc.


The next morning (this morning, Tuesday) we had time for another walk in the city centre, this time to the historic 3rd Ward district and its market, which was brilliant.


Then time to get on the road again. We avoided the Interstate in to Chicago but found our road, US45 closed at one point. Diversions took us down some interesting county roads, crossing the border in to Illinois. As we approached the outer cities (called "villages"!) in the large, greater Chicago area, the traffic got heavier and commercial properties were much in evidence. Surprisingly, as we got closer to O' Hare airport the traffic got lighter. We're now set up in our hotel and we can see to our left in the distance the Chicago skyline plus a very big wood, and, to our right, the bustling runways of the airport.


Tomorrow, early, we fly to New York. Thank you all for your support!

Update: Chicago has become much clearer as a slight fog cleared. You all know about New York so do we need a Blog? Well, we do have a couple of unusual things to do in that city so maybe a few lines would be appropriate? See you soon.......


Posted by Johnash 18:49 Archived in USA

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Dear John and Bob,
Thanks so much for your colorful blog! I have so enjoyed reading it this year, especially about your impressions of the Great Lakes and Michigan. Even though Michigan is my home state I have never seen much of the U.P. so it has been a lot of fun reading about it!

by colette

All good things have to come to an end of course, BUT, look at all the wonderful things you've seen and shared with us (especially the bronze of the man and his dog, on the bench. I love those). Enjoy your last few days, and safe journey home.

by Margaret and Dennis

Looks like Bob did the w2ashing again and did he get any tips when watching the men at work xx

by vivienne

Flavours in many Milwaukee pics of architecture & street scenes I know so well in Montreal. I've really enjoyed sharing your tour of The Great Lakes & Michigan - a huge encouragement to visit them myself one day! Enjoy the Big Apple!

by Ian T.

Really enjoyed the wonderful pictures and of course the information that goes with them, you have taken a lot of time and trouble to share your experiences with us. Thank you it's been wonderful.
Enjoy N.Y and safe journey home.

by jean

It's been wonderful reading all about your trip. Really sorry that it is coming to an end. Enjoy NY and have a good trip home.

by Annie B

We know what you mean about the lakes we have been to Lake Ontario and it is more than a lake

by Brien kessler

I can't believe you've reached your last pitstop before you return. Has it really been 5 weeks already?????. I look forwards to New York blog!

by Antonia

This episode has certainly brightened a cold grey day in the Mudlands. Milwaukee has come as a real surprise as has the beautiful lskes. Thank you both for opening a window on a but of the US I dudn't know either. Eyes down for the final push!xx

by Maggie P

Absolutely beautiful scenery around the lakes. So glad you had the lovely weather. Such a lot to see and as always you made the most of it! This really has been a fantastic trip.

by Sue and Gordon

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