A CannonRide Through The Door

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Another CannonRide. This one takes in rolling and twisty riding for big bikes via designated Rustic Roads, shore roads, and a trip through the Kettle Moraine. We'll get the usual portion of history including early settlers, shipwrecks, developing industry, Indians, and an array of other (hopefully) interesting anecdotes. We'll check out the scenery along the way and introduce some places of interest that some may want to explore further in their own travels.

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    The Door? This refers to the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin, Door County, and "Death's Door". Much of the ride concentrates on exploring this notable area in the midwest.
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    This ride takes a minimum of 4-5 days to complete (lots to see) and begins in southeast Wisconsin and runs out to the tip of the Door Peninsula and back. It can be ridden as a single loop or in segments of one's choosing. I'll share a GPS file with tracks and points of interest for others to use as they see fit.
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    A GPX file for this ride can be downloaded here.
    #1
  2. beeper

    beeper Badger tickler

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    In. :lurk
    #2
  3. Utah Bones

    Utah Bones Gas X ready!

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    :lurk.......
    #3
  4. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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  5. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

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    :lurk
    #5
  6. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    The ride starts out near Whitewater, WI, at the Whitewater Lake Recreation Area.
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    In this area, it follows the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive (KMSD). The KMSD is a designated scenic route that traverses landscape shaped by the most recent glaciers in the area. It runs through the heart of the southern and northern units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The route is pretty well marked by these signs and is about 115 miles long.
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    The route threads past scenic lakes formed by the glaciers shaping the terrain.
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    Someone thought up the idea of the KMSD in the 1940s. Eventually it all came together.
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    Many people enjoy this winding and rolling path as it makes it's way north through some spectacular forests.
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    A popular spot for cyclists (motor and otherwise) to stop and enjoy some ice cream.
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    Back during the days when the area was being settled. A militia group that was chasing Indians camped near here.
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    Around 1804, the President decided that it was time to move local Indian tribes to the west side of the Mississippi. The deal was that they didn't have to move right away, they could wait until there were enough settlers coming into the region to where the land needed to be divided up. Around 1820 it was time. Chief Blackhawk moved to Iowa, but later defiantly moved back across the river. Violence took hold and the militia started chasing Blackhawk and his tribe. The chase led through this area.
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    We didn't have a large regular Army so citizens were called up as militia. The mix of untrained militia, regulars, and the Indians made the chase and ensuing battles kind of a giant cluster. By the way, future Presidents Abe Lincoln and Zachary Taylor were part of the forces involved in what came to be called the Blackhawk War of 1832. Jefferson Davis, future Presdient of the Confederate States of America, was also involved. Anyway, when some of the forces camped here, the leaders went to the top of Bald Bluff to survey the area. Kind of neat to stand up there today and think about what was taking place back then.
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    I read Blackhawk's book on this subject to see what his point of view was. The government point of view was that Blackhawk was a troublemaker who also fought with the British in the war of 1812. The war ended when the troops caught up with Blackhawk at the Mississippi River and killed many of those who didn't already drown trying to get across the river. As was the practice at the time in dealing with Indian leaders, Blackhawk was taken on a tour back east to see the highly developed world (cities, transportation, etc) of the non-Indians so that he would be convinced it was futile to resist. I think there were around 70 losses for settlers and soldiers and losses in the hundreds for Blackhawk's tribe.
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    Glaciers involve dumping all kinds of till in various landforms. Much of this till involves rocks. Since rocks were such easily accessible building material, there are a lot of stone buildings along the route.
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    Stones large and small.
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    Or combinations of stones and logs.
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    Lakes are abundant in this area.
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    Worthwhile stops along the route are the visitor centers for the State Forests.
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    This one also has a museum with great exhibits on the glaciers, wildlife, and early settlers. Well worth the stop.
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    We still have some rail service to a number of small towns in this region. It died off for a while but now has staged a comeback. Granted, it is no high speed corridor, but it does move freight and commodities in and out.
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    Wisconsin has a federal trail called the Ice Age Trail. It follows a path of glaciation across the state and is a huge project that is still developing. The goal is to allow someone to hike a continuous path along the entire 1,000+ mile trail. We'll come across this path many times on our route. Remarkably, I think an adventure motorcyclist is the manager of this trail. :D
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    There are many fine trails in the state forest in this region, but none are open to wheeled motorized travel. :cry
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    Old World Wisconsin is along our path. It is a historical exhibit that depicts life on the farmsteads and in the early settlements in the area. There are living exhibits that recreate activities that can range from blacksmithing to working teams of oxen.
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    There are themed exhibit areas.
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    Some exhibits change with the seasons.
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    I think it was last year that a kick-ass tornado came through here. As you ride the route, you will see some of the damage. Even the sturdy oaks took a bad beating.
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    The path went across Old World Wisconsin and eventually got into a subdivision in Eagle. Once it got into the subdivision, it did some serious damage including completely destroying the fire chief's house. Thankfully the basement offered sufficient shelter and protection for his family.
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    You can see how sturdy those old barns were. This one at Old World survived even though the surrounding trees were snapped like toothpicks.
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    Once you get to Eagle, stop and see this guy to check out the Urals. He was a dealer, but I don't see him listed anymore. He has had 2-3 machines in his shop though.
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    Diamonds (and other stuff) are not so unusual to find in this area because of glaciers moving stuff around from the far north.
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    Railroad through the heart of the town.
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    More glacial till as building material.
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    #6
  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Location:
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    (The red lines highlight designated Rustic Roads.)

    Kettle Moraine topography has kettles that sometimes have springs or fill with water. You will pass several on the ride.
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    The scenic drive winds and rolls through the forest.
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    More stone.
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    Rustic road.
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    Because of the glacial topography, some of these roads have sharp drops on them. Not always so visible in the pictures, but very fun to ride.
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    Sometimes the drops are sharp enough to bottom out vehicles.
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    In Wisconsin we have over 100 designated Rustic Roads. These go well with motorcycling. In fact, if you take pictures of your bike at the various signs, the State of Wisconsin will send you a patch for pix at ten different roads or a certificate for 25. Pictures like this work fine.
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    If you follow my track on this ride, you will hit eleven Rustic Roads and will get this sew on patch. More on Rustic Roads here.
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    Ride up to the observation tower on top of Lapham Peak in the state park. A great view. Our local boy Lapham was a big player in the formation of the National Weather Service.
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    Lots of glacial lakes in this area.
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    This boy's school (prison) just down the hill started out as an asylum for tuberculosis.
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    Nice forest here.
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    The Ice Age Trail runs across this peak.
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    Nearby Delafield has some unique architecture throughout much of the town.
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    Hotel in town.
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    Aerial view of Delafield and the surrounding lakes.
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    Hawk's Inn was a stage stop built in 1846 using hand hewed timbers and hand made nails. Note the contrast of old and new with the new hotel in the background. (Wisconsin became a state in 1848.)
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    Even the bars follow the architecture . . .
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    And the gas station . . .
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    The town also has a military academy. Nice looking place.
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    Some notables that attended here? The guy that started Gerber baby food was one as was the guy that started Guidant Corp. One of the Apollo 13 astronauts (Lovell) had his kid enrolled here (as depicted in the movie) during his near fatal trip to the moon. Oh yeah, the Commander of the Marines at Iwo Jima during WWII also came out of this place. Curt Roosevelt (grandson to president) who was a delegate to the UN. Trevon Hughes - starting point guard at UW-Madison. And let's not forget the President of Panama (Marty Torrijos). Also, a former CEO of Texas Instruments. Dan Rostenkowski (Ill Rep). Also, an ambassador to Russia who helped develop The Marshall Plan. You get the idea . . .
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    Northwestern used to be an elegant naval academy on Geneva Lake in Wisconsin. Real estate on the lake was worth so much that the place sold out and the school merged with this one. By the way, local boy Spencer Tracy went to Northwestern on Geneva Lake but he didn't finish. He did score a couple of Academy Awards though. :D
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    It is kind of inspiring to look around the campus.
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    Aerial view of the campus.
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    The elegant hatchery building is now a community center.
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    Another great Rustic Road.
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    This one also threads between some lakes.
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    #7
  8. IceCreamSoldier

    IceCreamSoldier suffering somewhere

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    Fantastic!! Thank you.
    #8
  9. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

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    Good stuff. :thumb
    #9
  10. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

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    :kbasa

    When you get a chance, think you could give a short blurb on that Fly?
    #10
  11. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Thanks for riding along. Hope you enjoy it.

    Fly Trekker DS Helmet. Fits very comfortably. Has excellent ventilation. Very quiet helmet. Has flip down windshield but also takes a set of goggles even with the windshield down. I like it much more than my Shoei Hornet.
    More info here.

    Not good for camera work though. Better to wear one where the chin flips up to give unrestricted access to the camera viewfinder.
    #11
  12. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

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    Thanks, appreciate the review. :thumb
    #12
  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
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    More glacial lakes along the way.
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    The overhanging trees are scenic but often interfere with my satellite radio.
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    Nice curvy backroads.
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    Designated Rustic Roads often have guide signs when they change direction.
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    Sporty.
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    Another Rustic Road and the required shot of the bike at the sign.
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    These turkeys are all over the place.
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    Relax . . . it is not what you think. :D
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    Holy Hill involves a church perched on top of a glacial feature.
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    If you visit this hill (formerly called Miracle Hill) at certain times of the year, it is supposed to bring cures for all kinds of maladies.
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    Father Marquette discovered this hill in 1673 on his way through the neighborhood on his discovery travels. Marquette wrote about it in his diary.
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    You can climb one of the spires - spectacular view.
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    Anyway, some German priest who had been recreant to his vows sought to do pennance in the new world. He read about this spot in Marquette's diary. He headed off to find the hill but took sick in Chicago and became paralytic. He eventually continued on to find the hill and when he did he crawled up it which happened to cure him of his paralysis. Since then, every year some people make a trek to the hill hoping for cures.
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    Stone barn in Slinger.
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    Old fire lookout on top of a ski hill.
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    We don't want to confuse this fire lookout with . . .
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    . . . this deluxe deer hunting stand.
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    More lakes.
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    These geese are kicked back in a safe spot. It is early goose season in Wisconsin right now. Early goose hunting involves hunting local geese - the kind that hang around all year and don't migrate too far. Usually they live in town or on golf courses where they remain fairly safe. The problem is that we now have a very significant population of these geese and often they are a nuisance.
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    Local road signs reflect the terrain.
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    Not many old bridges like this around anymore.
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    Ivy covered rural church.
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    Ice Age Interpretive Center. Info and exhibits about the area.
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    This is how the last glacier looked about 18,000 years ago.
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    These are some of the common glacial features that make the roads so entertaining around this area.
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    Sometimes a road will go up and over one of these drumlins.
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    A road along an esker can be winding fun.
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    The glacier drug this big hunk of copper down from the UP. Lots of "out of place" stuff turns up.
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    Map of that 1,000+ mile ice age trail we keep running into.
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    Lots of bikes out riding the state forest today.
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    Another kettle pond. Important habitat.
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    This one is in the woods, but it is a little dry right now.
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    When you come across some fruit trees, it likely means there was a homestead there at one time.
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    The Wade House was a stage stop that is now an exhibit.
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    Wade built the place over four years beginning in 1847 at a total cost of $300. A lot of big deals were discussed in this place including the railroads and the Civil War. They also had a blacksmith shop on the site that did stagecoach repairs.
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    #13
  14. beeper

    beeper Badger tickler

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    Can't help but notice your Fort McCoy sticker, What brings you there? Next time your heading to the Sparta area look me up. :D


    Now back to our regularily scheduled Cannon ride....
    #14
  15. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Retired. I do make it to Tomah from time to time.
    #15
  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Elkhart Lake and the surrounding area was the scene of open road racing back in the early 1950s. Courses were laid out on local county roads.
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    Seems like after WWII there was a lot of interest in racing. The local road courses ranged in length from three to seven miles.
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    Some big names in racing ran here.
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    After the tragic death of a child in Watkins Glen, NY, open road racing moved to private tracks.
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    Nearby Road America was one of the tracks that formed after the end of open road racing. It has been operating since about 1955 and hosts about 400 events a year including bike events like the AMA Superbike Series.
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    The course is known for great design and safety. The main loop has 14 turns in a little over 4 miles with a lot of elevation changes.
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    Nearby Sheboygan Marsh is on the route.
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    Climb a tower and take a look around.
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    Looks like it is a little short on marsh right now and the boat landings seem unused at the moment.
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    As you ride through Plymouth you will see several of these murals celebrating Plymouth's heritage.
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    Some interesting historic buildings in town.
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    This old mill has been converted to living spaces.
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    Kohler is the home of Kohler Company. It is a community formed around the manufacturing plant. When the founder moved his plant four miles out into the country away from the labor force people figured he was done. I guess he wasn't.
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    Kohler Company was founded by an immigrant in the 1870s. He started out making small castings.
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    In 1883, Kohler developed some enamel powder and sprinkled it over some of his hot castings. His new product, a horse trough/hog scalder, could also be used as a bath tub by adding legs. He made it his flagshp product.
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    Today Kohler makes kitchen and bath fixtures, furniture and tile, engines and generators, and is in the golf and resort business. They have a design center you can tour that features a wall of porcelin commodes of varying styles and types.
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    The American Club, on the Kohler grounds, is now a luxury resort/spa type deal that is affiliated with a couple of top tier golf courses.
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    It was originally built has housing for immigrant workers. Pretty nice.
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    As I passed by one of the older factory buildings, I couldn't help but notice the hot and smelly air venting from the windows. I guess that is the nature of this type of manufacturing. Beautiful looking old building though.
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    Waelderhaus was a Kohler project. It was built to remind him of the old country. Ornate carvings and metalwork.
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    This old school house in Sheboygan is still set up as it was in 1876. You can take a seat and experience education/cirriculum as it was back then.
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    As I looked around this site I was reminded about what a big deal it was for a circus to come to town.
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    Pierhead light.
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    Coal fired power plant. There are two nuke plants up the shore that have a much less intrusive footprint.
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    The Lottie Cooper was a lake vessel that was built in a shipyard in Manitowoc in 1876. It was 131 feet long and 27 feet wide and was about 250 gross tons. This is the kind of ship that was used in commerce on the Great Lakes for many years.
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    This ship sank in a storm trying to get into Sheboygan.
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    They used to pour salt through holes in the hull so that it would mix with the bilge water and help preserve the wood.
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    A ship like this took about four months to build. Craftsmen worked on it outside everyday until it was done.
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    When the city went to build a harbor a while back, they found the wreck and decided to bring it up and display it.
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    Another wreck nearby was more tragic. This boat was loaded with coffee, sugar, molasses, hardware, and immigrants.
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    The story is that the Captain injured his leg and was confined to his cabin leaving the ship in charge of someone else. During a stop in nearby Manitowoc the crew got drunk. While sailing to Sheboygan, some of the passengers noticed something wrong with the engines and tried to notify the crew. One guy, who was knocked down by a drunken crew member, was essentially told to mind his own business. The ship caught fire and burned in sight of Sheboygan. It burned so brightly it lit up the night. Two small lifeboats were launched that saved 42 people including the Captain. One lifeboat eventually returned to the burning ship from shore and picked up three more survivors. The rest already burned to death on the ship or died in the water from drowning or the cold. Some tried to climb the rigging to escape the fire and burned to death there. Anyone going into the water in November would soon die from exposure.
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    Whistling Straits is a newer golf course right along the shore of Lake Michigan.
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    The inside of the clubhouse if pretty magnificent.
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    In 2004 they held a PGA Championship here. Vijay Singh won.
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    Before the course was built, this was a featureless airstrip. 800,000 yards of dirt and sand later, we have a championship course.
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    The course has two miles and eight holes hugging the lake.
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    Before this place was Whistling Straights, there was an Army training camp here (Camp Haven).
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    They used to trail 500-700 National Guard and Reserve soldiers at a time.
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    They would fire .50 cal and 40mm anti-aircraft weapons at targets towed by B-26s or radio controlled drones.
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    #16
  17. Crocodile Tears

    Crocodile Tears Steve Harvey Oswald

    Joined:
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    Nice report - you're definetly selling me on my earlier decision to get out of Ohio and look for work in WI. Hoping it pans out soon because the report is making me jealous
    #17
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    23,892
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
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    Manitowoc used to build ships. Now they build cranes and some other products like food service equipment.
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    This is a crane they were building around WWII.
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    This is some of the stuff they build now.
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    I'm not sure how some of this stuff supports it's own weight, much less make some of the extraordinary lifts they do.
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    Big rigs.
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    It takes five guys about twenty hours to assemble one of these cranes on site with the use of a helper crane.
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    For many years, ferries hauled trains across Lake Michigan to avoid congestion at Chicago. One of these is still in service as an auto ferry.
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    I've used this ferry on some of my other routes in the past. Someone from Michigan that wanted to ride Door County could grab this ferry from Ludington to Manitowoc.
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    I think this ferry was built in the 1950s. Most ships at that time were oil fired. Since the railroads had coal and the means to transport it, this one was still built to be coal fired. This semi backs into the ship and drops coal.
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    Fuel pile in downtown Manitowoc. There is a problem with being coal fired as the ship was designed to dump the inert ash into the lake as a slurry. People want to stop that.
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    Since the ferry took trains on board, it can take oversized cargo and road construction equipment and save people a lot of money by not having to go around the lake.
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    This breakwater lighthouse has been automated for years. Many of these have been sold (or are being sold) to private parties. No lawn to cut.
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    This big grain facility in town has Budweiser all over it. I wonder what the Miller folks think about that.
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    Manitowoc is the home of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. A worthwhile stop.
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    During WWII, they used to build submarines just up the river a bit. They would launch them sideways and then ship them to New Orleans on barges via the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. I think Manitowoc built something lijke 28 subs during the war.
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    This sub was built in Groton, but is representative of what was built here. The USS Cobia had a great war record sinking 13 Japanese vessels including a ship carrying a tank battalion and 28 tanks on it's way to reinforcing Iwo Jima. The Marines credited this sinking as very important in helping them take Iwo a few months later. In 1945 she was depth charged for eight hours in only 120 feet of water. She was blasted over twenty feet into the sea floor. She got away, even though she was heavily damaged.
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    In a running surface battle with two armed Japanese sea trucks, she lost a crewman (20mm gun loader).
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    For a while, the sub was stationed in Milwaukee with a reserve unit.
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    You can tour the sub and even sleep overnight on it. Much of the equipment has been restored to operating condition.
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    Burger Boats still has their headquarters here, although shipbuilding is no longer present in town. Burger builds luxury aluminum hulled yachts for the very rich. I think it was Burger that built some wooden hulled ships for the Navy for minesweepers. They also built the Phoenix, which we mentioned earlier in a tragic shipwreck tale.
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    Some of the old works along the river have been put to a new use.
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    Instead of ships, a company is building wind generator towers there.
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    These port towns used to be quite the industrial centers.
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    At first glance this looks like one of those ships that has been converted to a barge. The rear is shaped to accept a power unit like a tug to push the rest around the lake. Not sure if this is one of those or not though.
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    #18
  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,892
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
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    Two Rivers has a new farm museum for those that might be interested.
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    The ice cream sundae was invented in this ice cream parlor. Back in 1881 some guy asked the proprietor to pour chocolate sauce over some ice cream he just ordered. Up until this time, chocolate sauce was used in chocolate sodas. The new concoction cost a nickel but the proprieter would only serve it on Sundays.
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    Eventually some whiney 10 year old kid demanded a sundae on a weekday. She pointed out that we could all just pretend it was Sunday. It all took off after that. The term "sundae" was used by a glassware salesmen when he put in an order for the special dishes used for the mix.
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    Someone thought it ws important to capture stuff related to wooden type and printing.
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    There is a fishing village exhibit along the river in town. This is the old lighthouse that was moved inland when it was replaced by a more modern and durable version.
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    The museum has fish shacks and a boat to look at.
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    There is still an active fishing fleet in town.
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    One of these got run over and sunk when the crew was busy working inside. Some thought it was a gas barge that hit the boat but I don't think they ever proved it.
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    Many of these harbor towns have small Coast Guard stations. Many look similar to this one prominently positioned in the harbor.
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    They had a boat I hadn't seen before on a trailer ready to respond if needed.
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    It looked like it had some fancy seats that would take a pounding on rough water.
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    A short while later I was pulling out of a gas station in town when a local cop waved me over to a parking lot. He asked me if I had been taking pictures by the Coast Guard Station. I told him I was and explained what I was doing with this motorcycle ride. He told me that the Coasties had called it in and he was following up. No issues. The Coasties were following procedures involving force protection and people that might be "casing the joint". Obviously I wouldn't post anything that would put anyone at risk. Everything you see here is in plain view right in the middle of town. In a minute or two I was on my way to get a sandwich based on a recommendation the cop made about a place he thought I'd enjoy in town. Good tip!
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    #19
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    23,892
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
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    Required artillery picture.
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    Rawley Point lighthouse. This tower replaced one that was originally brought up from Chicago. It was installed in 1894. It stands 113 feet high and is the tallest of this type on the Great Lakes. Ships can see it for 28 miles.
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    Since the light is automated, the keeper's quarters are not used. Military personnel and retirees can inexpensively rent the quarters for a getaway.
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    Point Beach State Forest runs along the beach in this area.
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    It has a great campground just off the beach.
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    More Ice Age Trail.
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    Government boat?
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    Another Rustic Road. This one in the state forest.
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    A visit to a nuclear power plant.
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    Barriers.
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    Interesting displays at the visitor center.
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    This plant is undergoing some kind of refurb. There are three of these new transformers standing by. There are large temporary parking lots around with bus service to the plant. License plates indicate that the workers are from a wide range of states.
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    Since the place is a refuge of sorts, there are a lot of deer and turkeys around.
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    This is the next plant up the shoreline.
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    Another Rustic Road.
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    This one has a little gravel on it.
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    A fish processing facility. This one is seasonal. People are welcome to come and watch the technicians process fish. There are windows on the fish ladder that allow people to watch the fish migrate.
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    #20