PrologueWhat we are doing, and why we're doing it!
Our route north from Nashville took us into Kentucky, which turned out to be a delightful state. There is a lot to do and see in Kentucky, but the late July heat was oppressive. We enjoyed some sights near Bowling Green, then continued north to cooler climes.
One interesting activity in the Bowling Green area is a tour of the General Motors factory where they assemble Corvettes. It's an immense facility even though it's one of the smaller automotive production lines. The tour didn't allow any cameras so we don't have any photographs, but trust us, it's an amazing place! You could even follow your own order through the process that takes about two days. We were fantasizing about doing so and which options and color we would choose. It was fun!
We also went on a cave tour while we were in the Bowling Green area. Kentucky is riddled with caves. Some of them form huge networks with hundreds of miles of passageways! Mammoth Cave is in this neck of the woods but the tour we went on is a smaller cave named Lost River. The tour in this case is provided on a boat. It's a spooky sensation to have to duck down deep towards your chest in the boat to pass under low spots in the cave. The tour gave us a great understanding of how water and limestone interact to form underground rivers and caves that often collapse into sink-holes.
Having had enough of the heat, we rumbled through Indiana into Illinois to visit some friends northwest of Chicago. We spent a wonderful weekend visiting and enjoying the Gaddes' hospitality.
During the week, we took a side trip even further north to Door County near Green Bay Wisconsin. This is the peninsula that sticks out into Lake Michigan. We drove the whole way north along the shore of Lake Michigan with only an occasional glimpse of the water. The entire area from Chicago to well north of Milwaukee is spotted with small towns surrounded by an interesting mix of farms and housing tracks and weather was mild with low humidity.
Door County is north of the twilight between city and country. The housing tracts have not encroached onto farmlands. It is beautiful country that is a draw to tourists due to it's small town, marine environment. Many of the local farms have roadside stores selling cherries and apples. The few villages in the area all cater to the tourists with cafes and inns.
One of the notable traditions of the area that has been adapted to the tourist industry is the 'Fish Boil'. It was originally developed as an easy way to feed crews of lumberjacks and fishermen. A Door County Fish Boil is held outdoors. A huge cauldron of brine, potatoes, and local whitefish is heated over a wood fire until near boiling. The cook then splashes a bucket of kerosene on the fire causing the liquid to boil over, taking much of the fish oil with it. It's quite a show to watch but the end result is simply boiled fish and potatoes. We watched the show but didn't partake of the meal.
Lake Michigan has a strong influence on the area that includes a significant maritime tradition. Sturgeon Bay, the only significant town in the area, has a shipyard and a canal leading from Lake Michigan to Green Bay. The lighthouses that aid navigation offer up rare opportunities for photographers as well as safe passage for mariners.
At the end of the week, we returned to visit with the Gaddes' for another weekend. We enjoyed an evening at the county fare, delicious dinners, bike rides through the lovely country and more wonderful visit time. It's always so good to drop in on old friends. We even had some time to catch up on some cleaning and maintenance chores on the coach.