Days 33, 34 and 35, WLBT

July 19, 20, 21  Madison, Door County and Green Bay, WI; Traverse City, MI

After 16 years in the Rogue Valley, the Tour had forgotten the suddenness and severity of summer storms.  One swooped into the Midwest on the 19th bringing strong winds and rain.  For the Tour, the impact meant slowing down our drive to Wisconsin and a change in plans.  Out the window went the idea of visiting the Indian Grounds national monument in far northeastern Iowa.  We also decided to bypass the National Motorcycle Museum, somewhere along Route 151, with its 475 cycles.

While the drive was somewhat difficult, we did not encounter the tornados that ripped through other parts of Iowa or the strong wind that upset the duck boat in Missouri leaving 17 dead.    

Our Madison hostess Donna McDowell welcomed us from her bed in the ER at University of Wisconsin Hospital, having awakened with a severe pain in her stomach that morning.   Many tests later, she was released, with the cause of her pain still unknown. The only lingering concern was her elusive gall bladder, which had taken so long to find that the staff tried to convince Donna she’d had it removed and forgotten it. We drove her home in the Ford, as Tom had gone down to their farm 45 minutes away to feed the cattle.

Her release allowed the Tour to go forward with plans for a book event at Donna’s Episcopal Church, a windshield tour of Madison and the University’s campus and a great dinner at Sardine, a restaurant on one of the many lakes of Madison.

Saturday, we were on the road by 7:15, to make it on time for a Scone by Scone reading at the spectacular new library in the town of Egg Harbor, population 201.  Ten percent of the town turned out for the reading.  Well, maybe some of the 20 or so were from other communities in picturesque Door County, a resort area for people from Chicago, Milwaukee and other Midwestern cities.   

Day Thirty Three of the Scone by Scone Book Tour
Deedie speaking at Library

Deedie was given a rousing introduction by Tom Mosgaller, who grew up nearby and whom the author met while they were organizing Harrisburg, Pa’ers for improvements in that city. The Citizens Alliance to Save Harrisburg (CASH), ultimately was successful in saving folks from we’re not sure what. Tom married the abovementioned Donna in our Philadelphia home in the 1970s.   Several of his family members turned out for the reading in a large room on the second floor, and it was great meeting them over coffee, lemonade, CHEESE (we’re in Wisconsin after all) and crackers, and cherry and pecan kringle.  Everything was provided by Donna and Tom, thank you.

The rapt audience had many questions, including one about how much longer were we going to be innkeepers.  The Tour offered to sell immediately, but that was turned down.

Lunch was at the While Gull Inn, where our Ashland friend and former employee Kathe Nabielski learned those skills that made her our star hostess in Anne Hathaway’s Club House.

Day Thirty Three of the Scone by Scone Book Tour
Best Sign!

We toured around the Door County tourist area (best sign was at a farm stand – Unattended Children will be given expresso and a free pony)  and then the off-the-main highway ag areas, including cherry orchards and then the Mosgaller family farm where brother Gary is in charge, with brother Dick just down the road.

After checking into the Astor House Bed and Breakfast, run by Donna’s friend Barbara Robinson in Green Bay, we ventured to Kroll’s for a beer and brat (pronounced braught) and occasional peaks at the Brewers game against the Dodgers that was being broadcast on the half dozen screens scattered around.  If you want service at Kroll’s, you press the button in your booth and your waitperson is there in a jiffy. They save on dishwashing costs by not using plates or silver, an idea we thought we might consider for the future. The restaurant is across the street from Lambeaux Field, on Lombardi Drive.  All is in preparation for next week’s annual shareholders meeting of the only NFL club owned by the community.

After a prolonged breakfast at the Astor House, and a pop-up reading for other guests, The Tour took off for Michigan via the SS Badger, a four-hour ferry trip across Lake Michigan.  Wind and rain accompanied our departure, prevented a lot of strolling around the Badger and was with us as we departed.  The Badger, originally built for railroad cars, was filled with vehicles and families, including a large contingent of Amish.  Our time was filled with reading, napping and watching the waves of Lake Michigan. And being glad we weren’t in charge of the four children under five next to us.  Others were entertained by bingo, movies shown on two screens, a singer and lots of eating and drinking.

At times we shared a table with two couples – first a man who cooks for the crew and passengers on the Badger, who was on a trip across the lake and back with his daughter and a lady friend from Florida.  He had spent his entire career in the food business and cooked on the Badger to keep busy in the busy summer months.

The other couple was en route from St. Paul to Virginia where their youngest daughter was attending poetry camp. David, the husband, has become a Civil War buff since retiring in pediatric orthopedics. They were looking forward to spend more time in Virginia visiting battle sites.

During a 90-minute drive through beautiful western Michigan we were amazed to come across the Cherry Pit theatre, a functioning drive-in with a long string of cars waiting to be admitted.  Must be among the last in the country.  With the change to Eastern Standard Time, we got to Traverse City at 9:20, where Gail, mother of our daughter-in-law Mel, and Kevin had a drink and dinner waiting.  A warm welcome on a cool, rainy night.