"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

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

From Green Bay to the Door

Our Route: Green Bay - Sturgeon Bay

After exploring Green Bay (the city) on our rest day we headed off with two new companions toward Wisconsin's beautiful Door County on what seemed like our first real summer day.

Departed:Jun 08, '15, 08:41AM
Starts in:Green Bay, WI, US
Distance:58.0 mi
Elevation:1816 / - 1734 ft
Max Grade
8.0 %
Avg. Grade
0.2 %
Total Duration:07:01:39
Moving Time:04:23:27
Max Speed:26.8 mph
Avg. Speed:13.2 mph

Exploring Green Bay

Crossing the Fox River on our way to dinner - note two paper mills in background
but small white dot is really a LARGE pelican

Months ago while planning this trip I came to realize that the city of Green Bay offered more interesting stuff than just a tour of Lambeau Field. I was particularly keen on exploring an exhibit at
American Pelican
soaring over the Fox River
the local Neville Public Museum. and finding a few unique sculptures scattered around town. So I decided to book our rest day here. Good thing too as we escaped having to ride through that morning's thunderstorm. Much to my surprise I also found that the historically polluted and undesirable Fox River has now become a dining, boating and general recreation destination. Its beauty is astounding given its industrial past. Today a large flock of American Pelicans patrols the sky and fishes the water - a testament to an drastically improved ecology.

Beautiful exhibit of Copper Culture Indian artifacts
I was not disappointed with the museum visit. The exhibit, "On the Edge of the Inland Sea," filled my brain with tons of new information. From the Glacial period 14,000 years ago, through the long and various Indian cultures including Copper and Hopewell, the French and British fur trading era, the American settlement and Indian expulsion, the logging and mining era and on and on. It captured in one place all the history I was trying to find out on my route and put it in context. I think we spend over 2 hours there and didn't really have time enough to absorb it all. This is DEFINITELY a place to come back to.

I'd also marked a few spots I wanted to see around town. I suppose the only real disappointing part of
Part of Logging Sculpture
My great, great grandfather
Moses LaBelle was a saw sharpener
our visit to Green Bay was the emptiness of the downtown district. Seems their trying to bring it back to life with several dinning spots along the river and our hotel and conference center. But, by and large, its looks to be an abandoned town. Maybe it comes alive during the week with office workers, but I saw little evidence of lunchtime eateries, coffee shops or other establishments. The edifices are there, the infrastructure is there - where are the people? One history book I read commented that unlike Chicago which deliberately turned its face to the lake, most other, smaller cities like Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine, turned away from the water. Meaning, they built their industry there and ignored the recreational and natural attraction of the place. Only now are some of these towns, like Kenosha starting to realize the economic value of turning their faces lakeward. I hope that Green Bay will begin to see that same value at least with the River.

Heading to the Door

Our new group posing with the statue of Nicolet who "discovered" Lake Michigan
and Green Bay for the French in 1634

On Monday we headed out, now on our last week of this glorious adventure, toward Wisconsin's
Nancy, admiring the shell-filled shore
Door County. I anticipate a very different atmosphere to this section of our ride. First, we'll be in a much more developed, highly structured tourist focused area. The Door is beautiful which is why it
attracts so many visitors. But, there will be far fewer opportunities for historic visits or natural settings. More riding along stunning lake shore vista. Secondly we'll be joined by two new biking friends, Jerri & Nancy, up from Chicago for a few days of self-supported riding. It should be great fun exploring together.

We set out on what to us seemed like our first day of real SUMMER, sunny and warm with a bit of a tail wind. We enjoyed the warmth and the beautiful views. We ate our lunch outside but then noticed the anticipated thunderstorm which seemed to be arriving a little ahead of scheduled. Picking up the pace we got to Potawatomi State Park with just time to climb the tower, view the Bay and observe the incoming storm. Fortunately we could shelter in the campground showers to wait it out before proceeding to Sturgeon Bay, hot showers and a great meal.

View of incoming T-Strom from atop the tower in Potawatomi State Park

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