"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

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ridin' Through the Ol' Hometown

Our Route: Port Washington - Milwaukee - Racine

The day began with fog and rain but turned to sunshine around Milwaukee. Got to see some sights I'd never visited as a kid. 

Departed:Jun 14, '15, 09:15AM
Starts in:Port Washington, WI, US
Distance:65.8 mi
Elevation:3705 / - 3824 ft
Max Grade
25.9 %
Avg. Grade
0.0 %
Total Duration:08:35:02
Moving Time:05:14:17
Max Speed:21.9 mph
Avg. Speed:12.6 mph

Starting Out WET

We left Port Washington prepared for fog and rain. The forecast was not great but Will and I are determined now to finish these last two days on our own two wheels, garage to garage. We've come 1,300 miles already - almost all the way around THE LAKE and we don't want a little inclement weather to keep us from our goal. Fortunately, once again, the threat of thunderstorms did not materialize. Ladies up there still lookin' out for us I guess and we give thanks to them and to all our well wishes constantly. We slogged through the stuff and began to see a glimmer of sun about the time we reached the Schiltz Audubon Center in Bayside, just north of Milwaukee. A little further on and ... Ta Da ... sunshine and our first glimpse of the lake in two days - WOW that felt good.


While doing my history of Lake Michigan research for this trip I found out that I really knew very little about Milwaukee, the town I grew up in. I left there over 40 years ago and although I returned often for family visits I never really spent anytime exploring this great city, second largest on the lake. For this ride I determined to at least visit a few important landmarks. I grew up on the west side of town close to
Milwaukee's Water Tower
built in the year of the
Great Chicago Fire - 1871
North Avenue, but when I went downtown to the Art Center or to college I always went by south first and then east. Never directly east. If I'd done so I would have discovered that the lake was less than 4 miles from my house. I would have seen some of the most historically spectacular residences and community buildings. But, I did not. I stayed in my little world, did not venture out to the north or south side. What a shame. Now they seem intriguing. Now I want to explore. This trip, this "sample trip" as we've come to think about it has the potential for generating many more shorter ones of deeper exploration.

For some reason I particularly enjoyed navigating through Milwaukee's south side by bicycle, finding all the small, lightly trafficed streets that threaded our way out of town and on to the beautiful Oak Leaf Trail bike paths and city parks along the lake.

The Fog that Ate Milwaukee

As Far As I Could See - We've Been There!

After the sun came out and we could see THE LAKE I again marveled that as far as I could see across it in any direction - I had been there and on my bicycle. We've been at this a month now. Left Chicago in the fog (remember the "Fog that ate Chicago" photo) and now are returning in the breaking fog. We've been through the surprising Indiana, but the dune covered lower Michigan shore, past the Straights of Mackinaw, across the wild and desolate UP, down along the shallow and marshy Green Bay, up the other side to Door County and now down the rocky western shore past port town after port town. Many, many memories. Much still to process. Maybe much still to write.

Still, one more bittersweet day to go. I will be glad to be home. I miss Jim and our regular life. I will be sad to be done. I like the traveling, being on the road, the discovery, the sheer determination to keep going despite the weather. But on balance, at least for now. I'm ready to be done traveling. In a week or so though, after I'm emerged in life's routine let's see if I'd rather be back on the road.

Finally Sun - Looking back toward Milwaukee's Harbor

Looking South Toward Racine and the End of Today's Ride

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed riding with you those few short miles into Grant Park. Your trip is inspiring and I look forward to reading more of your adventure. Hope and pray you made it home safe and sound. Mark