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Mr. Pike takes a vacation


Sun, Nov 12th, 2000
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Monday, November 6, 2000


My wife, Deb, and I went back to Door County for a four-day visit after a seventeen-year absence. Our eagerness to get our vacation underway had us driving across Wisconsin in the dark on a highway we dubbed "Dead Deer Drive". Although we drove quite tenuously, it appeared that most Wisconsin drivers had about as much respect for the rules of the road as did the deer.

Arriving safely in Door County, we observed that they had not missed us and had gone ahead and made changes without consulting us. We also noticed that it is now much more commercially oriented than we remembered. Many of the motels and restaurants had in-season and out-of-season rates. The rates were clearly stated, but the dates for the discounts were not. We finally figured it out. When the weather is nice and the tourists arrive in great herds, that is in-season. When the weather is bad and the tourists stay home, that is out-of-season. The weather made it in-season during our entire vacation so it was nice for sightseeing, but harder on the credit card.

Door County has several claims to fame. One of them is the abundance of maritime artifacts such as lighthouses and maritime museums. Many of these are free or low-cost. They were all closed. Other claims to fame are the Door County shops, boutiques and galleries. These were all open and they sold everything. There was a business next to our motel that sold glass items. They offered a nine hundred-dollar giraffe-shaped glass chair. I begged to take it home but Deb said it did not match our décor. There were many other glass items small enough to stick in the pocket of my overalls that cost more than most cars I’ve owned. Most of what we saw were the standard offerings of animals wearing clothes, plastic fruit, dried grass, desiccated flowers, and exhausted lumber decorations that all looked like birdhouses. People were buying this stuff.

It seems strange to be somewhere and not run into someone I know, but it happened this time. However, I did meet a new friend in a little shop in Egg Harbor. He was there doing a book signing. His name is Robert Stowell, a retired dairy farmer and poet. He lives in southeastern Wisconsin. I talked to him for a time while Deb did a thorough job of shopping. It turned out that he often visits friends in Fillmore County and has been within a few miles of our house many times. I bought a copy of his book. Small world.

A highlight of our trip was a ride on the ferry to Washington Island that lies a few miles off the point of the Door Peninsula. We got to ride on the top of the car ferry. It was a windy day and the ferry rolled on the massive waves. It was like a hurricane to us flatlanders. Deb said riding facing the wind was like "being force-fed fresh air". We found that the main business activity of the Washington Island inhabitants was to get people to ride the ferry to their island. Once there, they urged us to drive around looking for something to do while spending our money. Then it was time to ride the ferry back again. The literature encouraged us to stay for a week, but in our usual style, we covered everything in about three hours.

We stayed in Green Bay during our last night away. Fortunately for us, there was no Packer game in town. We dined at a pizza place that had empty seats on a Saturday night. There was a television for each patron and each was tuned to a different sporting event. Car racing, the World Series, college football, and golf were all there to enjoy with our cheese-laden pizza. All of this was within the shadow of the great Lambeau Field. As we drove by Lambeau Field we admired the huge statue of a Packer receiver stretching to catch a football that was forever lost in the sun. In my opinion, it would have looked better had he actually had a football in his possession, but this empty-handed approach might have some greater appeal to Packer fans. They know best.

We had a good time and avoided hitting a deer. The weather was perfect for vacationing and evidently it was perfect for everyone who stayed home as well. We didn’t see rain until we drove back into our yard. We can now leave Door County alone for a while and let them make some more progress without us.

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