On the Road Again

On the Road Again

Willie NelsonThis post is a mish-mash of random stuff I saw while taking the scenic route to Door County a couple weeks ago. I’ve included some traveling music to get your toe tapping, so if you love Willie Nelson, click HERE and tap along!

Usually when we go to Door County we take the interstate through Green Bay and don’t start experiencing “The Door” until about Sturgeon Bay. This trip I decided I was going to meander up there and get as close to Lake Michigan as the roads would let me with several stops to gawk along the way. After a great stop at Pinecrest Historical Village I headed back east to the lake and Manitowoc, so I could head north again on 42.

Almost immediately I started noticing lots of pullouts to stop and check out the views. Park benches were surrounded by beautiful gardens and a bike trail ran all along the lake for as far as the eye could see. Turns out The Mariners Trail is seven miles of wonderful blacktop running along Lake Michigan connecting Manitowoc and Two Rivers. Lots of folks were walking, biking and even roller skating along the beautiful shoreline with the lake breeze to cool them down. A group called Friends of the Mariners Trail help to keep the trail maintained. For information on how you can help this worthy cause, click on the link. Below are a few pictures, showing how great it might be to bring a book and relax for a while or dust off your bike and take a ride.

Next stop is Woodland Dunes Nature Center, a 1300-acre preserve just west of 42 in Two Rivers. Along with a butterfly garden, trails to hike, an interpretive display and a Little Wings nature play area for the kiddos, this place was pretty cool. Most of the trails are less than a mile, with the exception of the Ice Age Trail Woodland Dunes segment, which is 2.25 miles. “This segment of the Ice Age Trail runs through the Woodland Dunes Preserve and is concurrent with Trillium Trail for part of its length. It is marked by yellow blazes. Unlike other Woodland Dunes trails, the Ice Age Trail is open to dogs on leash, however, they must stay on the trail.”

The best thing was the Osprey nest perched high on a platform just outside the nature center. On the TV inside you can see what’s going on in the nest at any given time via a camera mounted close by. You can also see the Ospreys online by clicking here! When I visited at the end of August, the parents had already left the nest. One of the nearly full-grown youngsters left to fend for itself was not there, but the other had just returned with some lunch, so I watched him enjoy it in awe. I am not sure how long they stay in their nest – they may be gone now for good, but next spring be sure to check it out!

Since I was mostly just passing through and I have a thing for cattails swaying in the wind, I walked the Cattail Trail (0.3 mile). The beautiful boardwalk meanders through a shrub swamp, a sedge meadow and a cattail marsh where birds and wetland animals live or visit. Signs along the trail help you pick out plants and animals that may be found there.

Just up the road about four miles from Two Rivers is Point Beach State Forest. With six miles of sandy beach, lots of options for hiking and camping and a lighthouse, this is a nice stop. Rawley Point Lighthouse (previously known as the Twin River Point Light) has been operated by the U.S. Coastguard since 1853 so there is no public access, but you can get close enough for pictures from the lake and the parking lot. At 111 feet tall, it’s the tallest lighthouse on the Great Lakes and is a huge presence on the shore of Lake Michigan.

The next pictures just cracked me up. I thought twice about stopping along the road to take pictures of cows, but when am I EVER going to be this close to this many cows on such a perfect day? So, I pulled over. It seemed a little like Yellowstone National Park where – when you see someone pulled over with a camera there must be something great to see, right? When the passersby realized what I was up to, I could imagine the disgust in their voices as they said, “Damn city folk, they’re just COWS!” Like it or not, I think these girls are kinda pretty basking in the sun, and there was one who kept getting a little closer and a little closer. That’s when this city girl decided to leave, before that country girl jumped the fence and came after me!

This COMBINATION octagon barn/barn quilt – what a score! Although I have seen many barn quilts on my journeys this year, I haven’t seen many octagon barns. Looks like I’m not done with my road trips after all!

This farm was probably where those cows live. I’m assuming there’s another barn that’s not quite so air conditioned?

I got more than a little creeped out when I came upon “Nuclear Road” just up the road. Below is the Kewaunee Power Station, which is now closed. It was one of four nuclear power plants in Wisconsin and since I don’t like the idea of nuclear power AT ALL, I quickly hauled my little car out of there!

Antiques anyone? Anyone? And we’ve come to the end of this post with the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse, which is located at the mouth of the Kewaunee River. Click on the link for some better pictures and lots of information about its past.

Next post will be more of my beloved barn quilts, an historic church and some more farm animals. Welcome to Wisconsin!

Happy trails,

Barbara Olson

Barbara Olson

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