October 13-19, 2005: A Trip to Florida
September 24, 2005: A Trip to the Arboretum
Return to Index for 2005


 
October 4-7, 2005
A Visit to Guy in Green Bay

 


 

October 4, 2005

 

Getting to Green Bay, Wisconsin

 



As you probably know if you've been working your way through my photo album, our friend, Guy Blair, has been transferred to Green Bay, Wisconsin from San Antonio, Texas. It has been quite a change for him, and I promised him a while back that I would come visit when the time was right for him and for me. About a month ago, after he'd gotten set up at his church, he invited me up, so I made reservations for this week.

I flew on Midwest Airlines for the first time, getting to Green Bay via a stop in Milwaukee. I didn't leave until late morning, so I didn't get to Green Bay until late in the afternoon. When I arrived, I called Guy but he was busy with a church function and could not get away until dinnertime, so I called the hotel where I was staying and had them send their shuttle for me.

Getting into town was not much of a problem; the route was pretty straightforward. I got to the hotel without a problem, checked in, and then went for a walk. The Quality Inn was on Washington Street, which runs right along the Fox River. It was a pretty nice hotel, and there were two good reasons to pick it. First, it was quite close to Guy's church, so I could walk back and forth, and it had a fitness room with an exercise bike I could use.

I had a bit of time, so I walked a few blocks to a convenience store and stocked up on some sodas to keep in the fridge in my room, and by the time I got back, Guy was calling me on the phone to tell me he was free and on the way over.

 

Dinner With Guy

 

Guy arrived pretty shortly, and he was ready for something to eat, so we headed off to dinner. He insisted on treating me for dinner since I'd come all this way to visit, and we drove over towards Lambeau Field (home of the Green Bay Packers). Getting there was pretty easy. We just headed back to the Highway 172 bridge over the Fox River (which we crisscrossed a number of times while I was here), went towards the airport and then took US 41 South just a couple of miles to the Lambeau Field area. (I might mention that I was very familiar with US 41 from my Chicago days. It comes into town from the north as Skokie Boulevard, then turns into Lincoln Boulevard and finally becomes Lake Shore Drive. It goes all the way into Indiana, and I used to follow it to get to I-65 going back and forth to Indianapolis.)

Very much in Green Bay is associated with their football team; it is one of the main businesses in town now. So it was not unusual that Guy picked Brett Favre's Steakhouse near Lambeau Field as a place to try. We both had steaks and salads, and they were OK, I guess, but Guy wasn't impressed- not by the steaks and certainly not by the wine he tried. It was an OK experience, but not a restaurant he would return to, Guy said, particularly for the price.

 

Guy's Apartment

 

After dinner, Guy drove us back towards St. John's Church where he is now the priest. Moving here has been an adjustment for Guy. One of the biggest reasons, of course, is that he has lost the close contact with Prudence and Ron. While Prudence and Guy thought of themselves as being very similar, yet very different from the outgoing and boisterous Ron Ruckman, Guy thought the world of both of them and they of him, and when he was in San Antonio, they spent a great deal of time together. He doesn't have that anchor friendship now, and that is difficult for him. The second big reason that Guy really didn't want to move wouldn't really be a factor for another month or so- the weather. Both Guy and I have lived in Chicago, and the winters there are bad enough, but in Green Bay they will be worse. So Guy was already missing the warm climate of San Antonio.


But the third big reason that moving was so stressful was that the rectory, where the priest would usually live, was currently occupied by two priests from another order, and the Church had committed to them that they could live in the rectory until sometime in 2007- so Guy could not move in there. What the Church did was to carve out an apartment for Guy in the unused school building next to the rectory. I do not think that there is a Catholic school there anymore; I don't think the population of Guy's church has enough kids to make one worthwhile. So the building is used only occasionally for special things.

The Church took the library on the third floor and renovated it to become a three-room apartment for Guy. That would probably have been OK, save for the fact that the only bathrooms in the building were the ones used by students- and they were at the other end of the structure. They did have a small bathroom as part of the library area, but to take a shower Guy has to traipse down the empty hallway to the old student bathroom where the Church rigged up a shower for him.

Other than that, the apartment would have been satisfactory as a temporary solution, but that made it a hassle. (I might note that about nine months later, Guy was able to get the Church to spring for an actual apartment for him nearby, and he is now much more comfortable. He should be moving into the rectory shortly.)


I'll try to describe the apartment with some pictures so you'll get an idea of what it was like. First, of course, you have to climb some stairs to get to the second floor, and then walk down the hallway to the end of the building and up a couple of steps to the hallway leading to Guy's apartment. Just before you come through the door into the apartment, there is a small bathroom with a sink and commode right in front of you. When you enter the apartment, you are actually in one end of the kitchen where guy has put his dining room table. At the other end of the room is the kitchen itself, and the kitchen area is quite adequate for the use Guy makes of it.

As you are facing the kitchen area, there is a door to your left that leads into the living room; this picture is a view from the living room into the kitchen/entry. The living room is pretty good sized, and there seems to be room for all of Guy's antique furniture that was moved up here from San Antonio. I took two pictures in the living room to show you both sides of it (there is a circular table in the middle) and you can view those pictures here and here. Guy has arranged things very nicely, and there are plenty of plants around.

The last room of the apartment is a combination bedroom and study, and it is reached through the French doors that you just saw here. It is a very large room, and Guy has been able to get not only his poster bed but also his large bookcases and desk into it. If you stand in the doorway and look into the room, the study is on the left and the bed on the right, exactly as shown in the two pictures below (click on the thumbnails to view the full-sized images):


After showing me around his apartment, we made plans to meet about noon the next day. Guy had a church function he had to do in the morning, and meeting at noon would give me a chance to work out in the morning, so that was fine. Guy dropped me off at the hotel.


 

October 5, 2005

 

St. John's Church

 


Guy came to collect me the next day about noon, and we drove first to his new church- St. John the Evangelist which, as you can see from the map, was quite close to the hotel where I was staying.


The church occupies all of one side of the block where St. John Street connects Jefferson and Madison. The building where Guy is living is at the corner of St. John and Jefferson, the rectory is in the middle of the block and the church itself is on the corner of St. John and Madison. In between the church and the rectory there is a parking area so that all three buildings are connected in a sort of compound. To get a better idea of the arrangement of the buildings, watch the movie I took of the church area using the movie player at left.


Probably the best way to describe the church itself is to let you read what is on the commemorative plaque on its front. In case you can't read it:

ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST CONGREGATION

In the Fall of 1831 a young Dominican missionary, Rev. Samuel Mazzuchelli, was sent to La Baye to establish a Catholic parish for the Indians and French-Canadian fur traders living here. The first church was built at Shantytown, the site of the present Allouez Cemetery, on land donated by Joseph Ducharme. The Redemptorist Fathers and other pioneer missionaries continued the work of Father Mazzuchelli. A fire in 1847 and the change in the center of population brought the congregation to this site in the Borough of Green Bay. Two successive churches were also destroyed by fire in 1872 and 1911. Under the direction of Rev. L. A. Ricklin, this church was built by the Foeller Construction Company and completed in 1915. St. John the Evangelist is the oldest continuous Catholic parish in the State of Wisconsin.


There is an entrance to the church from the parking area, presumably to allow church officials easy access from the rectory and the school building. Just inside, there are meeting rooms and classrooms, plus an elevator and stairway leading up to the chapel. We took the elevator and, when we came out onto the chapel floor, I took a movie of the interior of the church, and you can watch it with the player at left.

We have come out into the church at the front of the nave, and walking across the front of the sanctuary you can see the baptistry and, on the far side, statuary and the hymnal board. There are doors on both sides leading back behind the baptistry.

One of the really beautiful things about this chapel, which I don't recall seeing in San Antonio, was the beautiful stained glass, described by Guy in the movie that I made. You can watch it with the player below:


As Guy said, some of them were starting to come away from their frames, and they will have to be taken out, reframed and then put back in. It is going to be a tremendous job, Guy says, and the church is already looking for donors to help defray the cost. Take a look at the four images below, and you will see how pretty the glass is. Pay particular attention to the fourth image (click on the thumbnail to see the full-size image):


If you look very closely at the last window, and look just to the right of the saint's knees, you will see a small representation of the Statue of Liberty. Guy tells me that this is the only known stained-glass window in a church in the United States that has a Statue of Liberty in its design. I'm not about to contradict him!

We walked all the way through the chapel to the front of the church, and then descended the steps in the entry hall to go out the front doors and back to the rectory. There Guy showed me around the building, including his office. Then we headed off to get some lunch and see what Green Bay is really famous for.

 

Lambeau Field

 

Guy had an errand to run out by Lambeau Field anyway, so we left the church and drove back towards the airport and then retraced our drive yesterday. As we were crossing the bridge over the Fox River, I was able to look back and catch a glimpse of downtown Green Bay and St. John's Church- it is the red brick spire nearest to us. We crossed the river and then headed south. We were going right by Lambeau Field so we stopped to see what it was like. You could get inside where the shops and stuff were, but you couldn't get to a place where you could see the field without taking a tour. So we just walked around a bit and then headed further west to get some lunch and so Guy could stop at Barnes and Noble bookstore.

 

Manitowoc, Wisconsin: The Maritime Museum

 


After lunch, we stopped to take stock of what we might do today and tomorrow. Guy wanted to take me up to Door County, but from experience he knew that it would be an all-day trip. In addition, he needed to stop by the Catholic Retreat Center near Bailey's Harbor sometime tomorrow, so we decided to do Door County on Thursday. So for today, Guy thought he would like to go to the Martime Museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Some of his parishoners had told him about it, but he'd not yet had a chance to go.

We headed off down I-43 towards Manitowoc, but got off the expressway a bit early to see some of the fall color. So we came into town from the north, along the lakeshore.



The Maritime Museum is right alongside the Manitowoc River that flows out into Lake Michigan here. We found a parking space across the street and headed in. I probably should have taken a picture of the exterior of the building, but I neglected to. In place of that, this small image, taken from the Maritime Museum's website, will have to do. Admission to the museum was about $12, but that included a tour of the USS Cobia.


The museum was very interesting. There were a great many exhibits on everything maritime. A typical exhibit, like this one describing a ship chandlery, were detailed and informative. Actually, there is more here than can be absorbed in just a few hours, if one is intent on reading all the informative legends and labels. There were also a very large number of model ships, such as the Great Lakes vessels that appear in the movie I made. You can watch this movie with the player at left.

Most of these models look as if they would have taken an incredible amount of time to put together. I wondered where the museum got them all. Of course, right at the entrance to the galleries there was a model of the USS Cobia, the submarine that is moored right outside. The Cobia is the centerpiece of the museum, and probably its main attraction. Our admission to the museum included a tour of the Cobia.

But before we went outside to tour the Cobia, we spent more than an hour wandering around the museum looking at the various exhibits. We were only able to skim the surface of what is here, but I think we did right well. I've culled out some of the many pictures I took of the various exhibits and models for you to look at. To see the full-sized images, just click on the thumbnails below:


 

Manitowoc, Wisconsin: The USS Cobia

 


After spending some time in the museum, we arrived at the USS Cobia just a few minutes before the tour started. When it did, we all grouped together with the guide and boarded the USS Cobia. Once on board, our tour guide, not a WWII veteran, of course, but rather an amateur historian regarding Great Lakes shipbuilding- specifically submarines- gave us an orientation to the history of the Cobia and some of the superstructure.

I took two movies of his explanations before we went below, and you can watch those movies using the movie players below:


As he told us, the World War II fleet submarine USS COBIA (SS-245) has local and national significance as an icon of Wisconsin's shipbuilding heritage. COBIA is a GATO-class fleet submarine similar to the twenty-eight subs built in Manitowoc during World War II. Even though it is the same class of submarine built by Manitowoc shipbuilders, COBIA was a product of the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut.

COBIA was launched in November 1943. In June 1944, it began the first of six war patrols in which it sank thirteen Japanese vessels for a total of 20,000 tons of enemy shipping. By July 1944, COBIA had established itself in the annals of World War II sub history by attacking an enemy convoy bound for Japanese-held Iwo Jima. COBIA sank two vessels, including a troop transport carrying a Japanese tank battalion of twenty-eight tanks. U.S. Marines considered this sinking critical to their success in capturing Iwo six months later. COBIA's most colorful battle took place in February 1945, when it engaged two armed Japanese sea trucks in a running gun duel. COBIA sank both of them, but not without the loss of Ralph Clark Houston, a 20 mm gun loader and COBIA's only casualty of the war.

Ever since World War II, COBIA's role has changed to keep pace with its various missions. By 1959, the U. S. Navy considered COBIA obsolete as a deployable warship and transferred it to the Milwaukee Naval Reserve Center. There it served as a training platform for the next eleven years. In 1970, the Navy decommissioned COBIA and it was towed to Manitowoc to serve as an international memorial to submariners. In 1986, COBIA was incorporated as a part of the Manitowoc Maritime Museum, declared a National Historic Landmark, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.


We began the tour by descending the hatchway forward, and found ourselves in the forward torpedo room. In this room, of course, were the forward torpedo tubes, and also storage for armament and bunks for some of the crew. Pipes and dials and gauges and wheels were everywhere. Standing here and looking aft you could see the main passageway that leads through the boat from stem to stern. Looking at someone going through the passageway, you can get an idea of how cramped the quarters were. (If you really want a realistic picture of life aboard a submarine, albeit a larger one, try renting Das Boot- probably THE definitive submarine movie. Obviously it's not about an American submarine, but don't let that or the subtitles dissuade you if you're of a mind to learn about submarine life.)

The next major stop on the tour was just about midway down the boat passageway- the operations center. From here, the captain controlled the boat. Today's large submarines seem to have, if movies can be believed, commodious operations centers, but on a boat this size the operations area seemed quite small. While we were here, our guide explained and demonstrated the diving procedure to us. You can watch his demonstration using the movie player at left.


In the center of the boat was the mess (why military kitchens are usually called "messes" escapes me, unless it is for the obvious reasons). Sitting in the eating area, we listened to our guide telling us about life aboard the boat, and all of what he had to say was immensely interesting. You can listen, too, with the movie player below:


While he was talking, I snapped a picture of one of the period posters that was on the bulletin board in the mess; I thought it was topical for what is going on today. Right nest to the mess itself, of course, was the kitchen, and just on the other side of that was the officer's mess and workroom.

In the movie, you heard the guide explaining about how much food was brought aboard and what the meal service was like. He also made the point that if seas were rough, it was sometimes tough even for seasoned sailors to keep food down. But even on good days, one couldn't help but wonder about the "facilities" on board (kind of like wondering how the astronauts take care of the same functions). I thought it would be a good idea to go back forward and show you what the facilities were like.

In the stern were first the engine room, with all the controls and the machinery for the boat's diesel engines and, behind that, the aft torpedo room and tubes. In both of these areas there were nooks and crannies where fold-down bunks afforded a space where sailors not on duty could sleep. (Although I'd imagine the engine room wouldn't be the quietest place to sleep, I guess sailors got used to it out of necessity.)

The tour was very interesting and lasted over an hour. Although some of the people in our tour group were older, I doubt that any of them were veterans. World War II is so far in the past, now, that even the youngest veterans of even the last year of the war must be over eighty years old by now, and I doubt that many of them would be traveling extensively or climbing up and down narrow gangway stairs as we had to do. But when the tour was over, we listened as some final questions were dealt with and then crossed the boarding ramp back to the museum.

 

Manitowoc, Wisconsin: The Town and Shoreline

 

After leaving the Cobia and the Maritime Museum, we were going to head back to Green Bay, but first, since we were here, we thought we would take a quick tour of downtown Manitowoc just to see what it looked like. As you can see, it was a pretty normal Great Lakes town- everything built a lot more solidly-built than down in Dallas. We circled through town to head back by the museum to the lake shore, and on the way passed what we presume was the courthouse in Manitowoc; we weren't sure about the reason for the outside stairs.


To get back to Green Bay, we were going to drive up the shore of Lake Michigan for a ways and then cut inland through some small towns and back to the Interstate. So, just north of Manitowoc, we found a small park and walked down to the shore of Lake Michigan and out onto a short pier, where I took this picture of Guy at the Lake Michigan shore. It was just as cold as Guy looks in the picture, although it wasn't so much the actual temperature as it was the cold wind. I had Guy take a picture of me at the shore. The picture of Guy was taken looking north, while the picture of me looks south.

It was cold walking around, but I also wanted to take a couple of movies so you could get a better idea of what the shoreline was like, and you can watch those movies using the two players below:


Before we left, I took a couple of more pictures of the Lake Michigan shore at Manitowoc, and you can see the full-size images by clicking on the thumbnails below:


When we got cold enough, we piled back into Guy's car and headed back to Green Bay. It was about an hour's drive back and when we returned we found a local diner where we had dinner. It had a little buffet that was actually quite good. Then it was back to the hotel and Guy's apartment. We made plans to set out early the next day for our tour of Door County.


 

October 6, 2005

 

Door County: Fish Creek

 


We met in the morning about nine o'clock, and we headed off for a day in Door County. Guy had been to Door County quite a few times, both on business for his Church and for his own pleasure. It is just the kind of place where he and Ron and Prudence would have taken their day trips in Texas- scenery, antiques, B&Bs and so on. So Guy was the guide and he knew where he was going.

We left the city of Green Bay and headed northeast into Door County, which is basically a peninsula that sticks northeast up into Lake Michigan. We drove for about an hour to Sturgeon Bay, a picturesque town on a smaller bay off Green Bay. Next, we drove northeast along the east side of Green Bay and through the small town of Egg Harbor. Finally, we continued another half hour or so to the town of Fish Creek.


Fish Creek is a small town, and very much a summer destination. Now, in October, it was overcast and quite chilly, but still there were people here. The main street is lined with antique shops, restaurants and more than one bed and breakfast. A day like today doesn't show off the town to its best, but it reminded me very much of the shore towns near Muskegon, where I grew up. At one end of the town's main street, the road dead ends into the upper part of Green Bay. It was cold and windy, and so the sound in my movie of Green Bay at Fish Creek is almost drowned out. You can watch the movie using the player at left.

Next, we continued northeast out of Fish Creek towards Peninsula State Park. Between the two it is marshland, again much like some of the areas near Muskegon. We found a turnoff just before the State Park where we could see the marshland and Fish Creek.


 

Door County: Peninsula State Park


The next stop on our tour of Door County was Peninsula State Park, just near Fish Creek. Actually, there were quite a few things that we did while in the State Park, and so I'll deal with each one separately.

On the map at right, you can see our route from Fish Creek through the park and then back on the road towards Ephraim and Sister Bay.

 

      The Bluffs

We entered Peninsula State Park from one of its many entrances, and drove through a forested area towards the western side of the small peninsula. Along the way, we saw a line of bluffs to our right inside the forest and shortly came to a parking area for a short trail to them. These bluffs were not right along the shoreline, although at some point in the distant past they might have been. The trail led us to the foot of the line of rock cliffs that stretched off to the right and left as far as we could see. These were not sheer, bare-rock bluffs as one might see out West, but rather cracked slate walls that were easy to climb. Of course that's exactly what I did, and from my vantage point near the top of the bluffs you can see Guy at the bottom of the bluff face.

As I looked up and down the line of bluffs, I thought them to be very unusual, nestled as they are in the forest. It looked as if there would be many easy routes up and down them, but I could also see that some places would be dangerous to climb. I really wanted to get a picture of myself on the cliff face, but the only way to do it was to climb back down, give my camera to Guy, and then climb back up to a different spot so that Guy could take the picture.

 

      Eagle Bluff Lighthouse


We continued from the bluff area over to the western side of the peninsula, and then drove the short distance to the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse.

It wasn't until the completion of the Erie Canal that the Great Lakes began to grow into a vital transportation network for products and people. As lake shipping increased, so did the numbers of shipwrecks- caused by unmarked shipping lanes encountering submerged shoals and reefs, dangerous straits and narrow entrances to harbors and rivers. This prompted the government to establish aids to navigation throughout the Great Lakes.

The first lighthouses of the Great Lakes were built in the 1820's, and Door County, with its nearly 250 miles of rugged shoreline, boasted 13 of them. Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was built in 1868 to guide ships through the east channel down to Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay, away from the park bluffs on one side and the large, flat shoals of the Strawberry Islands on the other. It was constructed at a cost of $12,000; the materials were brought in by boat from Detroit, Michigan and Milwaukee. The light tower is 43 feet tall, so the light shines 76 feet above the bay.

The tower was equipped with a mid-sized Fresnel Lens, which gathered the light from a lamp and via refraction, projected a narrow bright beam visible for 16 miles across the water. The source of the light was a wicked oil lamp, later fueled by kerosene. Here at Eagle Bluff, there still is no electricity. The beam that shines across the bay each night is powered by energy created from a small solar panel at the top of the tower.

For 58 years, from 1868-1926, keepers and their families lived at Eagle Bluff and tended the light. The light was automated in 1926, and the next 34 years saw the automated light shining over the bay, but the keeper's house was dark, mostly empty, and gradually it deteriorated from lack of use and interest. In 1960 the Door County Historical Society selected Eagle Bluff Lighthouse to research, restore, completely furnish and open as a museum. The restoration took 4 years and an immense amount of work. After repairing, removing paint, varnishing, wallpapering, and cleaning, the house was then furnished with choice examples of furniture and artifacts of the period. Members of the last keeper's family participated in the restoration, contributing photos, documents, artifacts, and information on how the house was furnished and arranged.

The furnishings in the house were not the original items. Instead, the restoration team relied on the memories of Walter Duclon, the youngest of the last keeper's children, to find and restore items as close to those as described as possible. Walter was actually able to help recover some of the original artifacts. In 1970, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


The enthusiastic tour guides who interpret the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse story enjoy telling about the lives of William and Julia Duclon and the activities of their seven spirited sons. You can listen to some of what our guide had to say by using the player at right to watch the movie I made. Due to the isolation of their home, they had to be very self-sufficient. Julia did most of the educating of her boys, gave them a love of music and taught them to play several different instruments including the beautiful Rosewood piano displayed in the music room along with some of the other instruments. The living quarters contain a kitchen, dining/living room, formal parlor, music room and master bedroom. The second floor was comprised of a sewing room/guest bedroom and a large bedroom used by all the children. At the end of the second floor hallway were the spiral stairs leading up to the lantern tower, from which you can still get a spectacular view of the entire upper Green Bay.

While on the tour, I took a number of pictures of the individual, restored rooms in the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. If you'd like to see them, just click on their thumbnails below:


 

      Eagle Panorama


As we continued around the peninsula from Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, the scenery was amazing, even on a cloudy day with winter coming closer. Eventually, we reached Eagle Panorama, with a view of the Wisconsin islands and Upper Michigan shoreline from the observation point where Guy was standing.

This is a good place to point out one of the biggest differences between living up north as opposed to living in Dallas. Up here, you have the opportunity to be enchanted with Fall color because of all the hardwood trees and the cold nights in September and October. Down home we don't have the hardwoods (live oak is most common) nor do we have cold nights until well into November or December. So it was a pleasure to be able to be amazed at all the color I saw, with this being an excellent example.


 

      Eagle Tower


Just a short ways from the panorama point was our last stop here in Peninsula State Park- Eagle Tower. As you can read on the sign, Eagle Tower has been here for almost a hundred years. That's pretty amazing, but when you're at the top in a stiff breeze, it's not exactly comforting that the last time it was rebuilt was over seventy years ago.

It's not a long way up, but the view from the top belies the short climb. I couldn't help but think, looking out on the flat islands and water that this entire area could be just as lonely and forbidding as any in the desert West or southeastern pine barrens, but the chill in the air and the overcast sky lent an eerie quality to everything.

Guy and I took turns taking pictures of each other here at the top of Eagle Tower, and you can see those pictures here and here.


In addition to the pictures, I thought you might like to see a movie of the views from Eagle Tower, and you can watch it using the player at left.

 

Door County: Sister Bay


It was lunchtime by now, so we were looking for a place to stop and eat. Guy, who has been up here a lot, knew of a Swedish restaurant in Sister Bay, so that's where we headed next. We drove through more beautiful Fall scenery until we got just north of the town of Sister Bay and found the restaurant.

What made this restaurant so unusual was that it had grass growing on the roof, as you can see in this picture of the building looking from the parking area beside it.

But the restaurant turned out to be very good, with lots of Swedish and German food. It was relaxing to just sit down for a while, but after lunch, we got back in Guy's SUV and continued north along Green Bay.


 

Door County: Northport


Leaving the restaurant at Sister Bay, we simply continued north along the shoreline of Green Bay. The next town we came to was Ellison Bay, another picturesque town on the shore of Green Bay. Looking at the picture, I am struck by how open this area of the Great Lakes really is. They say that Montana is "Big Sky Country," and the the spaces out West seem to be really open, but here, looking at the forest and the islands and the water as far as you can see in every direction it seems to be just the same. Plus, I start imagining what this spot will look like in January and February and I get chilled just thinking about it.

Then it was on through Ellison Bay to the end of the Door County peninsula at Northport. Northport is not actually a town, but rather the boarding ramp for the Washington Island Ferry. We found that the Ferry leaves here for Washington Island on a varying schedule throughout the day and from day to day. It actually made me wonder if, during the winter, there is too much ice for the ferry to operate, and how long the residents of Washington Island might be isolated.


I took a picture of the shoreline looking west and east, and you can see those pictures here and here. In addition to those pictures, I made a movie of the Wisconsin shoreline at Northport that will give you a good idea of what we actually saw. You can watch it using the movie player at left.

Well, this was as far north as we could get, so we had to turn around and retrace our route until we could find a route across the peninsula to Bailey's Harbor.

 

Door County: Bailey's Harbor


From Northport we would now be heading generally back towards Green Bay, but Guy had us taking a different route to see some other interesting things in Door County.

We retraced our route back to Ellison Bay, but then took Route 57 south and across the peninsula to the town of Bailey's Harbor. Just before entering town, we stopped at an antique shop that Guy knew about to look around and see what we could see. The antique shop was actually comprised of two or three buildings with a yard full of knicknacks. Guy told me that one building had most of the furniture items and the other was mainly small stuff and crafts, and we spent most of our time looking at the furniture. Just outside that building was a colorful arrangement of flowers and garden items and I thought it well worth a picture.

Just adjacent to the antique shop was a little driveway, and alongside that was an excellent example of some of the early fall color here on the peninsula.


 

Door County: St. Joseph Retreat Center


Guy wanted to show me the St. Joseph Retreat Center where he has come for meetings and such since moving to Green Bay, and I think he had some short business there as well. We headed south from Bailey's Harbor, and then doubled back north on a country road around the west side of Kangaroo Lake, shown here in a picture taken from the lake shore on the retreat grounds.

When you turn into the grounds of the retreat, there are first some buildings housing some historical information and crafts, and then the entry drive brings you to the St. Joseph Retreat Center main entry.

St. Joseph Retreat Center is a ministry of the Priests of the Sacred Heart and is situated on more than 400 acres of farm and woodland. It is an ideal setting for rest and renewal and can be used by groups or individuals of any denomination or faith. From the entry, there is a main entrance into the administration building where the clergy who work here permanently or frequently have their offices. The buildings are very nice, done in a rustic, yet modern motif. One of the most pleasant rooms was the solarium, which was at the back of the administration building bordering on the forest and the lake. It was a beautiful room, and it made me wish I had one just like it- with the forest and lake outside, naturally.

Just next to the offices there was a very handsome staircase to the second floor, where the buildings connected to the dormitory wing of the complex. Here is another view of the stairway showing Guy on the stairway landing. At the top of the staircase were some audio-visual rooms, meeting and conference rooms, and more offices, plus the hallway to the dormitory wing. There are over 25 private rooms in the buildings, plus dining halls and kitchens.


Connected to the main buildings by a wide hallway, and with its own entrance from the outside, was a very modern chapel. While the retreat is run by the Catholic Church, the chapel did not strike me as being overly "Catholic" in appearance. Perhaps it was because the nature of the site where the retreat was located would have made a traditional Catholic Church look out-of-place, or perhaps it was just because that was the way the priest who was instrumental in getting it built wanted it (and Guy told me a whole story about THAT). But the sparseness of the chapel suited the area quite well. Just by changing a few accessories, the chapel could just as easily have been Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist or just about any other denomination. It could even be a Jewish Synagogue, if some of the new ones I have been in are any indication. In any case, I thought the chapel to be very attractive, and you can see some full-size images of it by clicking on the thumbnails below:

We also spent some time wandering around the grounds. There was a large house right next door, and I think it was connected in some way to the retreat center. And at the other end of the lakeside property there was an old lodge that had, if I remember correctly, been home to the priest who was instrumental in getting the chapel built and the retreat center started. I confess I've forgotten the story Guy told me about those years, but I do recall there was some kind of controversy over the methods that the priest used to get the center built.


 

Door County: Whitefish Dunes State Park and Cave Point


The afternoon was growing late, and we had one more stop to make in Door County- Cave Point in the Whitefish Dunes State Park. So we left the Retreat Center and headed back down the country road south to Route 57, and we took that along the western shore of Lake Michigan (see main map at left, above) until we got to the turnoff for Whitefish Dunes State Park (eee inset map at right, above). Then it was only a short drive to the park itself and to Cave Point.


There were a number of interesting informational signs describing the history and geology of Cave Point. From a sign describing the ancient geology of this area, we learned that the formation of the rocks that comprise the backbone of Door County occurred approximately two billion years ago, while the deposit of the material that formed the rocks found here, at Cave Point, happened much later- about 400 million years ago, with the youngest bedrock found in Wisconsin having been formed 360 million years ago. So by that time, the basic geology of this area was set; that is to say that there was to be no more upwelling of mountains by plate tectonics or deposit of bedrock by volcanism after that time. All the rest of the work on the character of this area would be the result of erosion. For comparison, the Appalachian Mountains were uplifted 100 million years later, and the Rocky Mountains 200 million years after that! So while the Rockies are only about 60 million years old, the bedrock of Wisconsin is five times older.

It was extremely interesting to learn that the cliffs and bedrock that are found here, in Door County, are part of the same huge rock formation that was laid down, all at the same time, and which covered a huge arc from Wisconsin, across the top of Michigan, through southern Ontario and all the way to Buffalo, New York and Niagara Falls. From the map, it almost seems as if Lakes Michigan and Huron are "following" that arc, and perhaps they are, responding to the geology far below the surface of the land we see today. I've done some additional investigation of this on the Internet, and I've learned that geologists have compared rock taken from the base of Niagara Falls with rock taken from Cave Point, and found their composition to be identical, whereas rocks taken from the west side of Green Bay (just a few miles from here) and rocks taken from just ten miles south of Buffalo show marked differences- the strata are that well-defined.


The rocks here were formed during the Silurian Period, when, amazingly enough, the area that is now Cave Point was located near the earth's equator. Coral reefs bordered what was then a tropical sea. Over the millions of years throughout the Silurian Period, the remains of the marine plants, animals and calcanaceous material were deposited and accumulated. These materials and the conditions that existed, followed by millions of years of compaction and chemical alteration resulted in the formation of dolomite. This is the type of bedrock exposed at Cave Point.

Approximately 410 million years after the Silurian Period, the most recent glaciation of the northern hemisphere took place as massive lobes of continental ice sheets advanced and retreated several times over the Upper Midwest. As the ice covered and uncovered the area, a series of ancient lakes came and went. As a result of scouring by these ice lobes and the drainage system they created, the modern Great Lakes were formed. This glaciation was responsible for much of the erosion that accentuated areas such as Door County and many of the prominent rock outcroppings in the Midwest.

As the scouring action of the ice lobes removed the softer rocks and sediments, the more resistant dolomite remained to be attacked by thousands of years of erosion through wave activity. The jagged cliffs and sea caves that we could see here are examples of those wave-cut features.


But why does Cave Point look just like it does today? There are many forces at work in this geologically active area. The most obvious is not very hard to witness. As you look out into Lake Michigan you can see the waves breaking against the cliffs and bedrock exposed here at Cave Point. Watch the movie using the player at left and you will see what I mean.

The continuous act of erosion is slowly removing the bedrock where water and land meet. As water enters crevices and other openings in the rocks it collects and freezes in the winter. As the water freezes it expands and enlarges the openings until gravity does its part to remove the large sections. Water also erodes in a less visible but possibly more significant way termed dissolution, the chemical breakdown of the bedrock as a result of it's reaction with water. Erosional processes have been changing the way Cave Point looks for millions of years, and will continue to do so in the future.


One of the most interesting things here at Cave Point was actually walking along the edge of the flat rock shore and looking down into the water. You can walk along with me using the movie player at right. Sketched on some of the signs showed what the area was probably like before the lakes themselves filled. When walking along the level shore I am actually walking along the very edge of cliff that is, in places, over 50 feet high. Again, walk along with me using the movie player below:


The water here drops off extremely quickly and, just thirty or forty feet from where I am standing, the water is over 100 feet deep. As the movie said, if there wasn't a lake here, there would be no way I would walk so close to the edge and peer over into the abyss!

This was a really intriguing place and we were here until we started to lose our light. While here, I took a number of other pictures, and you can look at them by clicking on their thumbnails below:

Well, this was our last stop today in Door County, and, as it turned out, the last opportunity I had to take pictures here in Wisconsin. So, I finished off with a really nice, late afternoon picture of Lake Michigan:

Then, it was back to Green Bay and dinner at a restaurant in town.

Guy came by for me the next morning, and took me out to the airport for my flight home. It was a good visit, and now I can visualize things when Guy writes or talks about what he is doing. I know he'd prefer not to be in Green Bay, so far from his family and his friends here in Texas, but he must do what is needed and where it is needed and, for now, that means Green Bay. I know that Prudence and Ron will eventually get up here to visit, and I am sure they will like Door County as much as I did and Guy does.


 


October 13-19, 2005: A Trip to Florida
September 24, 2005: A Trip to the Arboretum
Return to Index for 2005