You know what’s better than waking up 10 hours from home and not a care in the world? Waking up and actually being able to breath! Since my sinuses are from the war-torn allergy capital of America known as the Ohio Valley, the ragweed, mold, dust, grass, pollen, and any other allergen in Door County, Wisconsin wasn’t nearly strong enough to so much as aggravate a gentle sneeze from yours truly. This was a good thing as the second day would be the only one that required an alarm clock as we had a precious ferry to catch early in the morning!
With temps in the mid to low 80s (mid 70s near the water) forecasted, Miss Madison seemed to think we needed to dress like we were spending the night with an Eskimo in December. Mr. Skipah didn’t care how far north we would be trekking that day it was his standard dad bod outfit of cargo shorts and a t-shirt! As usual, Mr. Skipah was right as more clothes were shed by the end of the day than a Kumbaya ceremony at a nudist colony! Also, a quick public service announcement to everybody, the natives freak the hell out in Wisconsin in June if the mercury makes it to 85! More on this later, while we were off on a mission to visit Washington Island and the oh so mysterious Rock Island, I had other plans that day. Mr. Skipah was going to look for a badger come hell or high water! The state school (The Wisconsin Badgers) routinely kicks my beloved Indiana Hoosiers square in the ass in just about every sport, I was going to give their pride and joy the “what for” if I came across one!
Groundhog George posed as a badger, but I was on to him right away!
I thought I saw a badger on the road, but he jumped into the water when I mashed the gas!
Goats actually live on a rooftop, the rumor is so they can stay away from badgers.
Once Skipah’s Travelling Road Show arrived at the top of the Wisconsin peninsula after an arduous journey through major metropolises known as Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, & Gills Rock (non-tourist season population of 132 I’m guessing) we made it to the pride of the fleet of the Washington Island Ferry Line in a nick of time. Sloane had never been on a ferry so she thought it was the coolest thing ever (since replaced by a dinosaur statue at a Wisconsin gas station), me I was just happy to have a 4G signal for once on my precious G7! For some reason in an area of the country, only seagulls thrive at while on a 30-minute ferry ride, I had cell phone signal that would make city slicker Sprint customers jealous. After finishing shrewd deals and trades in fantasy baseball, catching up on some local news, and checking Katy Perry’s concert schedule I quickly found myself literally in the middle of nowhere. My extra Spidey sense was on full alert (no Flonase needed) for badgers!
Earlier that morning I check with the staff at PJ’s of Door County (thank god they were still around this year), and they had heard reports of badgers causing mischief near this old Viking church on the island. I didn’t tell Miss Madison this, but lo and behold she wanted to go see this attraction first anyway! That is known as dumb luck in my book. A quick walk through Prayer Pathway led us to one pretty cool restored church that the Vikings prayed at when they weren’t out being savages.
Editor’s note: Skipah was obviously badger crazy at the time or he would have known this “stave” style church was actually built in the 1990s to honor the rich Scandinavian history of the area.
Whenever it was built I don’t care, it was neat to see.
The badger hunt came up futile, Miss Madison and the gang were puzzled as to why I had colored my face with black and white stripes by this point, I just told them the fresh air just had me giddy! We promised the kiddos though they could go play in the arctic waters of Lake Michigan/Green Bay (roughly 63 degrees) so we took them to Schoolhouse Beach. I didn’t say Schoolhouse Rockchild of the 80s, but if you know me I might have dropped “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function” a handful of times. Schoolhouse Beach is only one of five (I said three in my last post, I was wrong) beaches in the world made up entirely of rocks. These are some precious rocks to say the least, a $250.00 dollar fine if caught taking so much as one rock! Water clearer than glass that had just been graced with Windex, it was rather breathtaking to see in person. In fact, the kids liked it so much we decided to have our time-honored tradition (two days now) picnic lunch there.
Can’t wait to see the birch/pine tree love child next time!
I saw an old tablet from a former badger hunter suspiciously placed under a pine tree that said “check the museum out” so in my quest to capture a badger I fooled the gang into visiting the Jacobsen Museum after lunch. No badgers were found, but this place was chock full of history and one very informative curator!
By now, it was time to make the journey to Rock Island. We boarded the Karfi ferry boat on foot and floated on over to the docks of Rock Island. No vehicles are allowed, evidently it is a camping mecca for people that like to sleep with mosquito nets and fornicate with wild animals. Because I don’t know what else you would do there overnight. I channeled my inner Doctor Dolittle and was telepathically talking to the wild animals about badger locales. Unfortunately, I came up empty, but you know who didn’t many moons ago? Chester Thordarson that’s who! This guy was evidently a pioneer in electricity and made so much money keeping the lights on for everybody decided to buy pretty much all of the island for his own little personal sanctuary. Think the Chicken Ranch in Texas (only on a remote Wisconsin island and without hookers), the boathouse alone that he had built is worth the $100.00 round trip fare to puddle hop from the mainland.
My slithery friends informed that badgers were definitely on the island, they lost a brother a few weeks ago to one!
The crown jewel for the hiking/tourist crowd that visit the island though is the 1.25 mile walk to the Pottawatomie Lighthouse. Small in stature, it is the oldest lighthouse in the land of cheese curds and has been restored to its original state. Minus the gift shop of course. The Friends of Rock Island State Park picked a fine husband-wife combo to do the tours that week. I learned more from those two in 30 minutes than I would on a Wikipedia bender. The highlight of the hike was seeing the natives gasping for air and sweating like a whore in church because of the Saharan like eighty-degree temps. I need to bring some of these folks back to Indiana when the heat index is pushing 120 degrees!
Which reminds me I need to go on that link and write the best damn review ever so that those two keep getting to do the tours. Loyal reader if you think about it, you should too, just say Skipah sent you that carries more weight than a presidential pardon. This couple was amazing with answering questions and entertaining the kids. This would also be the closest I would come to visiting Michigan this trip, as we were so close to the state our cell phones finally regained signal in the Eastern Time Zone (Wisconsin is central) thanks to a cell tower on St. Martin Island. Impending shoulder surgery coming as I was trying to land rocks on the island from the lighthouse.
Damn spider photobombed me!
After that, it was just a routine rest of the day visiting a local lavender farm where Sloane and Miss Madison Jr. spent their well-earned cash on all things sleep inducing. Some local wieners on the grill for dinner, hot dogs get your mind out of the gutter! I would be remiss though if I didn’t mention Salmon’s Meat Products, the cheeseheads know their wieners! Screw Ballpark, Eckridge, or whatever else store brand, look these up and order them ASAP. They aren’t “pre-cooked” made with all natural ingredients and freaking delicious! Throw in kids versus adults throw down in Pictionary and all in all another day full of memories.
I’m done taking tips from animals were badgers might be!
About it for now, don’t think I have given up my badger hunt so easily! I picked up a few tips from the locals on seeing badgers (think snipe hunting), fireworks to be launched, and plenty more sunsets to enjoy before I’m done with this journey!