July 23 to August 9, Winthrop Harbor to Green Bay

We had a pleasant passage from Winthrop Harbor to Racine.  The wind was higher than we would normally prefer, but it was on the stern, and the waves had a very short period that Nine Lives handles beautifully.

This was the day that things went wrong for me.  Arthritis in my hip flared up, making line and fender handling difficult.  The next day it was worse, and I spent three days pretty much lying down.  In the evenings, with help from a handy walking stick that Dick just happened to have on board, I hobbled very slowly to the local restaurants, but for everything else, Dick was the explorer and photographer.

The harbor breakwater at Racine

We had planned to refuel on arrival in Racine (Dick having researched the best fuel prices at the mid-point of this year’s journey).  After refuelling, we proceeded to our assigned slip.  Having asked for docking help, we were also ably assisted by several of our dock neighbours on both sides, as we shoehorned into our extremely narrow space beside another boat.  The watching boaters were suitably impressed with Dick’s deft handling. This is a very large and friendly marina.  Most boats tie up stern to the dock, so they can sit at the back and socialize with dockmates.  Many spill out onto the docks with chairs and even tables.  We haven’t seen this level of socializing since we were in Quebec a couple of years ago.  Nice to see.  A few boats go out, but mostly people use them as floating cottages for the weekends.

The large marina at Racine

We had been looking forward to a highly rated Spanish tapas restaurant, so that evening, with the help of the cane, I followed Dick slowly up the hill to the restaurant.  There we were greeted by a hostess who told us it would be an hour wait to be seated.  Asking about the empty tables, and complete lack of a queue outside, we were told that people can phone ahead to be put on the waiting list.  In other words, in spite of what the lady had told me on the phone, they do take reservations for a short timeframe.  It would have been impossible for me to stand and wait for an hour, so we went elsewhere.  Very disappointing, not to mention annoying that someone “in the know” can skip the line.

Racine is the 5th largest city in Wisconsin, and considered one of the most affordable cities to buy a home.  Local industries include heavy equipment manufacturing, Dremel Corporation, Reliance Controls, InSinkErators, and Horlicks, as well as SC Johnson and Son, who make cleaning and chemical products.  I have also discovered that SC Johnson make ziplok bags.  We are hugely dependent on these clever products, and for many years when we lived overseas our suitcases were filled with boxes of the precious food savers.  Other people may think about smuggling diamonds and furs, but we find the reliable, sealable, and high quality plastic bags are far more useful!

Downtown Racine

Before the Civil War, Racine was known for its strong opposition to slavery, with many slaves escaping to freedom via the Underground Railroad passing through the city. In 1854 Joshua Glover, an escaped slave who had made a home in Racine, was arrested by federal marshals and jailed in Milwaukee. One hundred men from Racine, and ultimately 5,000 Wisconsinites, rallied and broke into the jail to free him. He was helped to escape to Canada.

Racine is also famous for a Danish pastry known as a kringle.  It is a large, circular pastry with a white icing top.  Unfortunately, the nearest place to enjoy one was too far to visit, so we have missed that particular gastronomic experience.

There was a heat wave during our stay.  Dick set off on his bike to visit the zoo.  I asked him to bring back a giraffe, and a lion, so he did.  He found the zoo rather disappointing, mainly because the animals were smarter than the people and were asleep in the shady corners of their enclosures, so were hard to see.  Dick also dropped the dinghy and explored the river, but there was not a lot of interest.

Lion at Racine Zoo
and a giraffe
Bridge across the river at Racine

Our next evening, we went to a Wisconsin “Supper Club”.  The specialty was prime rib, which was very good.  Unfortunately, we did not realize that these traditional supper clubs are something of a throwback to the 60’s.  Each entrée comes with soup, salad, and two sides, a very great deal of food.  Because we didn’t know this, we ordered appetizers to start.  Far too much to eat, so several takeaway boxes went back to the boat with us.

Our third evening in Racine we were delighted to get together again with our friends from Apres Sail.  Drinks on their boat, followed by a nice evening at a restaurant.  Their planned route coincides with ours several times, so we look forward to our meetings.

Racine marina sunset

As we walked back from the restaurant, we were fascinated by two dragon sculptures at the end of the town market square.  They were lit up, and closer inspection showed that they were made of thousands of tiny bottles filled with different coloured liquids.  The wings and larger details were some sort of plastic based fabric.  There was no plaque or explanation for why they were there or who was the creator.

Dragon sculptures in the square
A closeup showing the construction of the dragons

Our run from Racine to Port Washington was interrupted by a severe weather warning broadcast by the Coast Guard, as a line of strong thunderstorms was about to cross the lake.  Fortunately, we had speeded up our trip by running fast, and we were close enough to duck into Milwaukee to wait out the weather.  We will be making a proper visit to the city on our trip south, but it was handy to be able to suss out the docks where we already have a reservation for later this month.  They are part of a City waterfront park, and were completely empty that day.

The afternoon run to Port Washington was easy, in hot and sunny conditions.  We eased into our space on the town wall with excellent help from neighbouring boaters.  The wall and town waterfront form part of the marina.  It is always enjoyable to sit in the cockpit and watch the world go by.  People love to walk along the waterfront and look at the boats, some with dogs of all sizes and shapes. Attractive modern condos line the docks, and then give way to a mixture of new and restored old buildings in the nearby downtown.  The whole area is beautifully landscaped and well kept.

Waterfront condos in Port Washington

The first settlers came to Port Washington in 1835, and by 1848, after many petitions, Congress agreed to build a lighthouse to assist the increasing shipping calling at the port.  The first lighthouse deteriorated, so was rebuilt in 1860.  Ten years later the Federal Government built the first artificial harbour on the Great Lakes in Port Washington. Pierhead lights followed 15 years later, although the original lighthouse continued to be operated by a resident keeper until 1903.

The 1860 lighthouse at Port Washington
Another view of the historic lighthouse

St Mary’s Catholic Church, a beautiful limestone church dating from 1882, is set on a bluff above the downtown.  Dick was very taken by the number of steps required to reach the church.  He suggests that attendance would be for the most committed worshippers only!  The church tower houses 3 bells, that apparently can be heard for miles.

St Marys Catholic Church
Steps to St Marys Church

The restaurant highlight was an establishment called Twisted Willow.  Very nice food, with a starter of baked cheese curds.  Wisconsin is known for its cheese, and cheese curds are a specialty.  They are traditionally eaten uncooked, straight from the dairy, or they are battered and deep fried and served with a sauce.  I can tell you that at Twisted Willow they are also delicious baked and served with crisp toasts.

Twisted Willow is a very nice restaurant in a historic building

Once again, I was down for the count, this time by reaction to the arthritis meds I had been taking.  Dick had to be the town explorer and photographer.  We ended up adding an extra day, partly because of poor conditions on the lake, but also to give me time to visit a doctor.  I was relieved to be correct in my diagnosis of what was wrong, and was given helpful advice, no prescriptions required.

The extra day, and my feeling better, allowed for the much-anticipated visit to Duluth Trading, my favourite clothing shop.  I stocked up on a couple of things I already knew work very well for me, and also found one or two new offerings.  Even Dick bought a few items.  Until now we have never been near one of Duluth’s bricks and mortar shops, only bought online.

Port Washington downtown
Port Washington Courthouse
Swallows gathered on our railings each morning, twittering and grooming

As we left Port Washington there was a huge fishing tournament underway.  The evening before there had been live music in the park, and when we looked out at 6am most of the boats in the marina were gone.  Dick could not believe the number of empty trailers in the parking lot.  All the boats must have headed out before first light.  On our way out we saw a sheriff’s boat towing an upside-down aluminum fishing boat.  One presumes the occupants were rescued, but I am always amazed at the very small boats that go out in rough conditions to fish.

We had a long run to Manitowoc, as we are leap-frogging the various towns to allow for interesting stops in both directions on the west side of Lake Michigan. We had strong winds and higher than anticipated waves, but fortunately on the stern.  The air was very hazy from the fires in western USA and Canada, so much so that one could not see cloud formations building. On many afternoons the sun hangs in the sky as a red ball, long before sunset, because of the smoke in the air.  Part way on the trip, our weather apps started predicting thunderstorms, so we speeded up to arrive before the rain.

Smoke haze reduces the afternoon sun to a red ball most days

We met other Loopers, one on the same T-Head as we were, and another an Endeavour sailboat a few slips down.

Manitowoc marina

Manitowoc has similar history to most of this area, with the first Europeans being French fur traders, and subsequent settlement by immigrant groups from Europe and Canada.  A local ship-building industry began in 1847, building schooners and clippers used for fishing and Great Lakes trade.  During WW II the local industry turned to building landing craft, tankers, and particularly submarines for the war effort.

Dinner on our first evening was at a restaurant called Holla.  It was an unassuming building, and very spartan inside, but the food was very good and with reasonable portions.  I enjoyed the pizza from the wood fired oven, and we agreed that it was just about the best we have ever had (of course Dick needed to test it by trying a piece).

Just about the best pizza ever

The next day we took an interesting Segway tour.  The marina is sheltered from the lake by an island, most of which is now a bird sanctuary, but you can walk to the end and visit the harbour breakwater and lighthouse.  This made for a very enjoyable start to our tour on the Segways.   After the island we rode on Mariner’s Trail, a substantial 7-mile pathway along the shore of Lake Michigan north to the town of Two Rivers.  Along the trail, various individuals and businesses have sponsored and keep up interesting gardens.  One is a “human sundial”.  Stones are set in the ground, and one stands on the appropriate month, casting a shadow on the outer ring of stones to tell the time.  Dick dutifully posed as the gnomon.  As well as some pretty flowerbeds, there is a large area of “prairie regeneration”, plantings of native wildflowers and plants.  There are also interesting sculptures, the largest being a tribute to Native Americans near Two Rivers.  At the end of our ride we were in time to see the famous SS Badger come into port.

Segway tour, Nine Lives in the background
Birdlife on the island
Mariners Trail
Mariners Trail prairie restoration
Mariners Trail prairie restoration
Mariners Trail sundial, Dick is the gnomon and it’s 11am
Two Rivers sculpture

SS Badger is a historic ferry, operating between Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  It is the last coal-fired passenger vessel operating on the Great Lakes, and is now a National Historic Landmark.  It was constructed as a rail car ferry in 1952, with a reinforced hull for ice-breaking, so it could operate year-round.  In 1990 Badger was retired and subsequently sold.  In time it was purchased by a local entrepreneur and philanthropist, and was refitted to carry passengers and vehicles.  Today it operates daily from May through October.  Some say that a trip on SS Badger should be on everybody’s bucket list.  Dick and I have been there and done that, and probably would not go quite that far!  Perhaps if our trip in 2016 had been on a warmer day in less rough conditions we might feel differently.  It also occurs to me that a ship that was built in 1952 is only a little older than I am, so perhaps I should be designated a National Historic something-or-other as well!

SS Badger coming into Manitowoc

SS Badger, historic as it may be, cannot be considered to be environmentally friendly.  The engines burn 50 tons of coal a day, and produce 4 tons of coal ash.  Responding to concerns from the EPA, and after some negotiations, the engines have been made more efficient, and the coal ash is now stored and offloaded rather than being dumped into Lake Michigan each trip.  The coal ash is used in the production of cement.

SS Badger in port

There was time before lunch to visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.  It is an interesting museum, with displays of local history, many ship models, and a few beautiful old wooden boats.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum wooden boat display
more wooden boats

The Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company was a major shipbuilder of the Great Lakes, building mainly steel ferries and ore carriers.  In 1939, the company president contacted the US Government and offered to build destroyers.  After consideration, the Navy suggested that they build submarines instead, and a contract for the first 10 was awarded in 1940.  Although they had never built a submarine before, the final total of 29 submarines were delivered before the contracted completion date of the first 10. Although she was not one of the Manitowoc submarines, USS Cobia, after distinguished service in the Pacific and subsequent use as a training vessel and reservist, now forms the basis for the Maritime Museum.

USS Cobia
USS Cobia and the Manitowoc waterfront
touring USS Cobia
touring USS Cobia
the toilet on USS Cobia

A highlight for Dick was touring USS Cobia. (We decided that given my recent issues with walking, it would be unwise for me to tackle all the stairs plus twist through the small hatches in the sub).  One of the pictures he took is of the toilet.  I am sure you are wondering why I am giving that photograph such prominence, but Dick tells me that flushing this toilet required 14 separate action steps!  By comparison, our guests on Nine Lives are intimidated by the simple requirement to press one button and hold it for a count of 5 seconds!

We walked to the Courthouse Pub for a late lunch, trying traditionally battered and fried cheese curds for the first time (it won’t be the last).  The town has some lovely old buildings, but like many American cities it is very spread out.  The courthouse itself is a beautiful old building, with a completely hideous white painted metal fire escape on the front, destroying the symmetry and showing a complete absence of respect for the historic building.

cheese curds the Wisconsin way
Seafood nachos for lunch
Manitowoc Courthouse

I have to tell you that I have been rather non-plussed to have been called “old” twice in one week.  The first occasion was as we were slowly making our way to a restaurant, when a fellow sitting on the waterfront greeted Dick and asked how he was doing.  Dick replied, “I’m great, but she is not doing quite so good”, gesturing at me behind him.  The fellow then asked my greybeard husband, “Is that your mother?”  Of course, I was a few paces behind Dick, and I am sure all the man could see was my cane and possibly some grey hair blowing.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  The next occasion was on arrival in a restaurant a little early, and being directed to the bar to wait for our table.  As I eyed the rather tall bar stools, and planned how I would climb up, the very nice hostess asked Dick, “Would she be better on one of those chairs over there?”  Asking the companion as though the individual is incapable of understanding or deciding for themselves is is what people do with extremely old ladies!  It was, of course, well meant, but I surely did feel old and decrepit.

Docktails platter

Our next stop was Kewaunee, mainly chosen because it would have been a very long journey to our next destination.  This is very much a working town, but as with most of what we have seen in Wisconsin, clean and well cared for. The town is a centre for fishing, with the local catch including Chinook and Coho salmon, rainbow trout, walleye, and smelt.  The county is a centre for the dairy and cheese making industries, with more cows than people. 

Kewaunee Marina

Our marina was tightly packed with fishing boats, but Dick’s brilliant manoeuvring got us into our shared slip without making marks on our neighbour.  We ate on board, but took a walk into town to visit a cheese shop.  Waaker Cheese is a small batch cheese-making operation that specializes in gouda, made from recipes brought from Holland by Johannes Waaker, who emigrated to Wisconsin in 1988.  The operation is still family run, with Johannes and his wife Olga having been joined in the business by their daughter and her husband. Apparently, some of the ingredients even today are sourced from the Netherlands.  We tried some onion and paprika flavoured gouda, which is delicious, and we are looking forward to trying the chipotle flavour next.  The town also has a smoked and fresh fish shop.  Dick bought some haddock, now frozen for a future dinner on board, and also some lemon and pepper smoked salmon.  I generally do not care for smoked fish that is not thinly sliced, but when we set this out later for docktails we discovered that it is beyond delicious.  We are happy that we will be stopping in Kewaunee again on our return, and will certainly get some more smoked fish, perhaps even some to freeze.

Sturgeon Bay is a town in the middle of the Door County peninsula.  The town joins a deep bay from the western end with the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, that allows shipping to get into Lake Michigan without having to pass through the notoriously weather prone and often dangerous straits at the northern end of the County.  This includes the disturbingly named Death’s Door Strait.  We are not planning to travel over the top of the peninsula! The canal entrance from the Lake Michigan side is marked by a very bright red lighthouse.  After 1.3 miles the canal opens out into a long narrow lake, with the town of Sturgeon Bay in the centre.  There are marinas on both sides of the lake, and the town is clearly a mecca for recreational boaters.  Not too long after we were tied up, we saw another Looper arrive, in a PDQ trawlercat.  We left a card and were able to meet the next day.

Entrance to Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal with historic lighthouses

While Sturgeon Bay is very much a tourist town with quite a few restaurants, the staffing shortages we are seeing everywhere has had the effect of reducing the number of days that fine dining restaurants are open, so our choices are somewhat limited.  The first evening we walked across the river to an Irish Pub, Kitty O’Reillys.  On arrival we were told we had a wait of 50 minutes, but there was an outside bar area we could wait.  Wine and beer in plastic cups.  I asked about inside seating, but was told that due to staff shortages they were only seating outside.  The enclosure for the restaurant was both cleverly constructed and very pretty with hanging plants.  Dick loves traditional Irish food, whereas I prefer to make those specialties that I also like at home.  Fortunately and unusually, this restaurant had quite a few non-Irish choices.  We shared an interesting starter of lobster rolls, a chopped lobster filling inside a deep-fried egg roll.  I tried one of the hamburgers.  It was delicious, but so huge that there was no possibility of eating it normally, so it had to be deconstructed and eaten with a knife and fork.  Dick liked his corned beef and cabbage.

Sturgeon Bay Irish Pub garden

Passing the Coastguard Station on the waterfront, it was interesting to see the stacks of ATONs.  These are floating buoys, set in place as aids to navigation of US waters.  Most common are the green ones that are shaped rather like a floating oil drum, round, with a flat top.  These are called cans.  The red ones are also round, but with a pointed top, and are descriptively called nuns.  (a little nautical trivia for you).

ATONs at the Coastguard Station

The next day we wandered around the town, visiting some of the upmarket tourist shops.  We enjoyed the pretty gardens, and some fascinating tree stump sculptures.  Dick rode his bike to the local West Marine to get an electrical fitting, while I did the laundry.  In the evening we hosted docktails for 6 Looper guests.  The other 3 couples are all about to start their Loop this fall, so it is possible we will see them again in September when we are all in the rivers.  It is quite interesting how many “about to start” Loopers we are meeting on this side of the Lake.  The group was happy to be joining their “first real Looper docktails”. I hope we set the right tone! Even though it is tradition, we asked the guests not to bring food on this occasion, and we set out a platter of some of the delicious treats we have been collecting along the way.  After docktails we walked out for a late Italian dinner at Trattoria Dal Santo.  Good food, and unfortunately we won’t be able to enjoy it again when we return to Sturgeon Bay as they won’t be open.

Gardens in Sturgeon Bay
Gardens in Sturgeon Bay
tree stump sculpture, an owl sits on a cello
another interesting tree stump sculpture, a lighthouse
Docktails with soon to be Loopers
Italian restaurant in Sturgeon Bay

It was a short trip the next morning to our planned anchorage in Little Sturgeon Bay.  It was very windy, with some rain in the night, but our anchor held firm.  After consulting a U-Tube video, Dick spent time installing the replacement electrical fitting on our power cord.  Anchoring allows us to use the grill (usually forbidden in marinas), and Dick prepared some of the Berkshire pork chops from our initial meat order.  The next morning was a good opportunity for a big breakfast.  Chef Dick makes an excellent bacon, eggs, and fried potatoes breakfast.

Electrical repairs while we anchor in Little Sturgeon Bay
Berkshire pork chops and baked potatoes on the grill
the chef prepares breakfast at anchor
bacon and eggs, potatoes and toast

Anchor up, and we set off towards the city of Green Bay.  The winds were quite high, and the fetch of at least 20 miles meant the waves were also higher than expected.  We started to run fast to compensate, and all was well until the starboard engine started making a roaring noise and the temperature dial climbed.  Dick shut it down immediately, and we had to proceed on just one engine.  A short investigation, as much as was possible with a hot engine, showed no obvious immediate fix.  I asked tentatively if we could go faster with the one engine, to be told certainly not.  About an hour later, the third cup of coffee stimulated the engineer’s mind, and he realized there was no reason not to attempt to get up to at least hull speed.  That improved our speed by 30%, and (important from my perspective) smoothed out the rock and roll considerably.  It also gave us a better chance of missing the thunderstorms that were heading in our direction.

Docking turned out to be impossible in the wind with one engine, in spite of 5 eager dockhands to help.  After briefly starting the starboard engine, we got into the fuel dock for a pumpout, and then some of the young ladies ran around to catch our lines at our slip.

Now, I’m just sayin’… When we first took over Nine Lives, she had another name.  We did a proper ceremony with lots of friends, calling on the gods of wind and waves to forget the old name, and introducing them to the rechristened Nine Lives.  It is bad luck to mention the name that the gods have been asked to forget.  At docktails the other night, in spite of my trying several times to stop him, Dick insisted on telling the other Loopers the former name.  (Cue spooky music of your choice). Now two days later we lost an engine… I call that unlucky.

Dick was able to get a tech on board, the good news is that it appears to be the water pump that failed, a relatively minor fix once parts are obtained.  The tech had hoped to confirm that the next morning, but, as everywhere, staff are short, and there were too many other jobs ahead of us.  Our plans are to stay until Tuesday morning anyway, so we can only hope that it will be possible to get the repair done on Monday. If it had been the port engine, there is a good chance that Dick would have been able to make the repairs himself, but because the water pump is on the side of the starboard engine that is up against the wall, one has to work by touch only, and without the intimate knowledge that a trained marine tech has, there is no way to do the work blind.

Green Bay is a city at the southern end of Green Bay, a long bay on the west side of Lake Michigan, separated by the Door County peninsula, a popular tourist destination.  I am not really a fan of cities, but Dick is, so we visit them.  Can’t honestly say that Green Bay is on anyone’s top ten tourist destinations, even for those who have heard of it!  The Green Bay Packers are of interest to sports fans (but I have had to check google to see that they are a football team, competing in the National Football League).  Aside from that, initial impressions are of a tidy downtown with an improved waterfront on the Fox River.  Our marina is located in a heavily industrial area at the mouth of the river, so the choice is either a 3+ mile bike ride, or launch the dinghy and use the convenient docking facilities downtown.

A small trading post was established by French fur traders in 1634.  It was originally called La Baie des Puants, which translates as the Bay of Stinking Waters.  I can tell you that as we passed the largest of the several rookeries, the smell of guano leaves no doubt of the accuracy of the early name. Over time the name gradually changed to Green Bay, due to the presence of algae that colours the waters a bright green, especially in the spring.  Over time, and especially with the arrival of the railroads and the opening up of Great Lakes shipping, the city continued to grow as an important international trading port.  It is a major centre for the paper industry, sometimes called “The toilet paper capital of the world”. Wikipedia duly informs me that Northern Paper Company (now part of Georgia Pacific) offered the first splinter-free toilet paper in the early 1930’s. (gosh).

Minnie duly launched, and all dressed up for our fine dining outing, we set off down the Fox River.  We were happily tootling along, when suddenly the outboard engine cut out.  (more of that spooky music please). I felt a certain amount of panic, sitting in our tippy dinghy in the middle of a shipping channel, but the engineer calmly tried various press this and squeeze that.  He then took the top off the outboard (rather as men always look under the hood/bonnet when a car isn’t working), shook his head, put it back on, pressed the starter again and the motor came to life and settled down to a gentle purr.  It’s not that I am afraid we would drown, we always wear life jackets, are close to shore, and carry a handheld radio.  I just don’t want to be toppled into the water under any circumstances!

Our destination was a very new restaurant (open only since May) called Slander.  The menu is interesting, with a lot of creative offerings divided into sections under small, medium, and large plates.  The waitress explained that it is expected that all the dishes could be shared (rather like tapas).  Very trendy of course, but Dick and I are both getting somewhat tired of having to choose a dish that would not necessarily be the first choice for either of us, just so we can share.  As it happened the lobster fried rice appealed to us both as a starter.  It was tasty, with some interesting flavours, but the overly mushy rice was a bit disappointing.  Instead of sharing for the main course, we each had our own choice.  Dick went for the duck, which he enjoyed very much, and I ordered a smoked burrata salad.  My salad was delicious, with a variety of very fresh lettuces and tomatoes, and a generous amount of torn, lightly smoked burrata cheese.  This was set on an amazing smoked basil aioli, and topped with balsamic pearls.  These are tiny balls with balsamic vinegar, a wonderful alternative to the usual drizzle.  We will most certainly be combing the specialty shops to see if we can find some to take home.

After the excellent meal we returned to the dinghy, and as it was well into dusk, we were glad to find that the lights worked.  Mid-trip, we experienced the same disturbing engine failure, this time while we were sitting right in the middle of an open railway bridge.  So, in addition to wondering whether we would get the motor to start again, we also hoped the (always automated) railway bridge didn’t need to close for a train while we were stuck in the channel!  After a certain amount of muttering and button pressing, the motor duly started up again and we returned to the marina without further incident.  The sunset was beautiful.  Even though it is an industrial area, with huge piles of coal, gravel, and sand on the shoreline, at dusk it is still pretty magical.  This area is also a mecca for wildlife.  We have been seeing a lot of white pelicans in the last few days, and there are several rookeries at the mouth of the Fox River and just outside in the bay.  We also saw deer, as well as the usual ducks, geese, and cormorants.  I am sure I can hear osprey as well.

even an industrial area is beautiful at sunset

The next day rained all afternoon and evening.  Dick had a chance to get on his bike in the morning to do grocery shopping.  He brought out his new cart (trolley), a clever folding contraption with two wheels.  It hooks to the back of the bicycle, and has the advantage that it can carry heavy weight without affecting the balance of the bike.  Capacity is not much more than Dick’s usual complement of saddle bags, but being able to transport large jugs of water, many beers, and other adult beverages, is a great advantage.

With the heavy rain all afternoon, there was no chance to look at the dinghy motor.  The forecast had the rain continuing all evening, so our plan to dinghy into town again had to be scrapped.  Dick weighed up the choices of missing the fine dining restaurant that was booked, or letting go of his absolute rule that we do not take taxis to dinner.  Fortunately, the alluring menu heavily influenced his decision, and we had just about the best meal this summer.

Chefusion offers fine dining meals from an extensive and wonderfully creative menu.  There are two multi-course prix fixe options, or one can order a la carte.  After we made our choices and ordered, we were delighted to be presented with a delicious bread basket with three spreads, and a little amuse bouche.  It was a tiny piece of rare beef with mustard grains, a heavenly bite!  For first courses I had another burrata salad, this one with the burrata served on top of a grilled half avocado.  Dick chose matso ball soup.  The excellent experience continued with a palate cleanser of strawberry lemon sorbet.  For main dishes, Dick loved his rack of lamb, and I had some of the best mac and cheese this side of the Atlantic, accompanied by lobster claws.  My dessert was a wonderful amalgam of mascarpone cheesecake with a brulee topping and strawberries, while Dick was in heaven with a bread pudding.

Chefusion bread basket and amuse bouche
avocado and burrata salad at Chefusion
Chefusion rack of lamb
Chefusion mac and cheese with lobster claws
Chefusion heavenly desserts

After we returned to Nine Lives, the rain and thunderstorms picked up in earnest, lasting all night and resulting in flash flood warnings for the area.  The dinghy was still tied to the dock, waiting for attention from Dick and to be transportation to the next dinner.  It filled with water, sitting very low, but did not sink.  Dick took a bucket out in the morning, and bailed at least 100 gallons of water before we could put it back on the hoist and open the drain plug to get the last of the water out.  Further investigation will be required, to ensure that the water has not damaged the battery, and also to see if it can be determined why the motor stopped during our evening outing.


I am writing this on what we hope will be our last day in Green Bay, as we wait for the tech to arrive to fix the engine.  We have had a very lucky break.  Another Looper boat arrived the other day, and in conversation yesterday, Dick discovered that not only do they have the same engine as us, they even had a spare water pump on board.  They are leaving their boat here for a week while they visit friends, so Dick has made a sort of exchange, and will use their water pump while ordering a replacement that will be waiting for them when they return.

We enjoyed a very convivial evening of docktails with Karen and Bob last night.  They are from New Zealand.  After buying their boat in Louisiana in 2018, they have been doing the Loop on a multi-year basis, returning to New Zealand periodically.  They expect to “cross their wake”, that is, complete their Loop, this autumn, and will then plan to sell the boat.  They are great travellers like us, and we really enjoyed their company and hearing their stories.

The weather has been a combination of extremely high humidity and very heavy thunderstorms during our whole visit.  Dick hopes to take care of the dinghy between raindrops, but we have already booked another taxi to take us to the restaurant this evening.

2 thoughts on “July 23 to August 9, Winthrop Harbor to Green Bay”

  1. Now you have us all wondering what the former name was – but we, of course, won’t press your luck and ask you to tell us what it was. Here’s to better luck! Hugs!


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