"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door" … "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."
~ Bilbo Baggins from The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkein

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Along the Western Shore of Green Bay - Entering Wisconsin and on to Title Town!

Our Route: Escanaba, MI - Marinette, WI - Green Bay, WI

Two Days of Riding, Over 120 Miles and Every Bit of It Along the Western Shore of Green Bay - Most with a TAILWIND!

Escanaba, MI - Marinette, WI

A strong north wind blew yesterday’s rain far away and left us with a beautiful, sunny day to ride south along the western shore of Green Bay.  This is, I think, the closest we’ve been to the lake for the longest period of time on the entire route, all day within sight of the water – what a treat. Downside, for there always seems to be a downside, our route took us along MI 35 a rather busy and narrow shouldered road. But, the traffic, especially the large truck traffic was, by and large, very considerate, moving over and giving us plenty of room. Thankfully we had a clear day with a monster tailwind so the riding was easy. 

We started our day in Escanaba with a stop at the Swedish Pantry - almost made me think I was back in Minnesota with their Swedish pancakes tasting remarkably like the German ones my Grandma Elise used to make. Great omen for the day. 

Escanaba Harbor as we depart. A strong north wind kicks up the bay and blows us along.

Enjoying the playground in Fox Park right on the edge of Green Bay (the water) within easy access of MI route 35

Another view from Fox Park
Entering our second to last state - one close to my heart. We leave the wilderness behind and start on "known" territory

Another beautiful sunset from the bridge over the Menomonee River which separates Michigan and Wisconsin

Marinette  to Green Bay with stops in Peshtigo and Oconto

Although the weather channel says the wind is from the southeast and therefore in our face as we move south, it sure seems like another glorious day of tailwind riding. We make our way slowly out of Marinette through a complicated route of residential, industrial and eventually frontage roads to Peshtigo and across the Peshtigo river. 

On the same night as the Great Chicago Fire, October 8, 1871 the forests around Peshtigo erupted into an "inferno of flame and terror," the worst forest fire in American history. While the loss of life and property in Peshtigo far exceeded that from Chicago's blaze, the news of the destruction took a long time to creep out of the wilderness and into the national news. Rescue teams from southern Wisconsin were well on their way to assist displaced Chicagoans when they heard of the far worse tragedy in their home state. Over 800 people lost their lives that night, some 350 so badly mutilated, men, women and children so indistinguishable from each other, that they were unidentifiable and buried in a mass grave. Some of them had been almost instantly incinerated in the conflagration that overtook a boarding house thought to be safe on the east side of the river. 

When I was young my father told me stories of this fire. It haunted him. His mother, Dora had grown up in Pound, WI just a short distance from Peshtigo. His father, Shorty worked as a truck driver for the Connor Lumber Company in Dad's home town of Laona. Both families had long histories in the lumber industry. Both told horrific stories of being almost caught in forest fires.

My reflection fittingly captured in the reflection of the Mass Grave market

Peshtigo was a living, breathing, memory for Dad. Visiting the mass grave, wondering the cemetery filled with memorial stones and recent placards telling their stories I wept. I wept for the loss of life. I wept for their sacrifice. I wept for their contribution to the southern cities along the lake in which I grew up and now live. The volunteers who lovingly maintain the museum we didn't have time to visit and tend the graves have my grateful thanks for keeping those memories, alive so we don't take them for granted.

Continuing South through Oconto and to

 Title Town (a/k/a Green Bay) Home of the Packers

Momma Goose, Daddy Goose and ... count 'em 12 goslings - crossing a quite country road just north of
Oconto on our second day along Green Bay

A flock of egrets trying to decide who gets the best spot to feed, or maybe the female.

Last lunch with Robb as he leaves us in Oconto and dashes back to Green Bay and then home.
Will miss him in so many ways.

One of many beautiful "painted ladies" in Oconto's historic district

Will overlooking the Oconto river from a new bike / pedestrian bridge

The perfect adventure cycling photo - looks like I'm really going somewhere
Dinner at Title Town brewery - a fitting end to some wonderful days of riding along the shores of Green Bay

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