We got up early, had a leisurely, easy packing (since we were staying in a motel), and rode the couple of miles to the ferry port in Ludington, MI. We took our bikes and ourselves on the SS Badger across Lake Michigan, a fairly smooth four-hour trip.
Then we grabbed a snack in Manitowoc on the other side, and motored down on I-43 to Grafton where we met my friend Rick. Last time I’d done this I’d refused to take any interstate and rode some small roads through a state park on the way. But eventually I’d gotten fed up by the slow progress and wanting to see Rick eventually, had hopped on the four-laner at some point. The state park had not been as impressive as it looked on the map, and the boat schedule was apparently an hour later than last time to boot, so we decided to skip the preliminaries.
It wasn’t as hot as the last time, but traffic was heavier. Rick led us in through downtown Milwaukee to the south side, and he and Judy welcomed us to their place. Here’s Rick and his son Mike, and Judy and my wife.
As last time, they made their place an oasis of calm and contentment and left me wanting to move to Milwaukee. After some rest, we put away the motorcycles for a while and headed out to the state fair for some various enjoyments. For those of you familiar with the New York state fair, the Wisconsin one is the same thing, a little smaller and less crazy, and more refined. For example where the New York food and vendor areas are an array of makeshift white banner tents of varying size, in Wisconsin there are many more actual buildings. The corridors are wider and there’s less jostling. There are even (a few) more places to buy good beer. And of course there are the local specialties like cheese curds, baked potatoes, and cream puffs. Animal exhibits seemed about equal, New York losing for its lack of pig races but winning on overall quantity and accessibility. New York does win the wine competition hands down, but Wisconsin did at least put in a showing, which I didn’t realize it could.
Of course at the end of all this, stacked on top of a day of boating and motorcycling, we were pretty tired. We held out for a bit after getting back to Rick’s, discussing things and doing a bit of google earthing of possible routes, but soon P and I succumbed to our slumber needs.