Part 1--The SS Badger
I packed up this morning and rode to the ferry. When I rolled up, a guy with a drug sniffing dog stopped me so the dog could have a sniff. I'm sure he thought there was some good smelling stuff--and by good smelling, I mean pretty stinky, but not...illegal...I guess... Anyway, he (the guy) told me to go up to the front and tell them Tim sniffed me, and I'm good to go. So...I rolled up and said, "The guy said to tell you Tim sniffed me. I don't know if Tim is the dog or the human, but I've been sniffed."
|The SS Badger|
The SS Badger went into service in 1953. It was built so the freight trains could cross Lake Michigan, but also for passengers too. It has a twin ship, the Spartan, but it's no longer in service.
This ferry reminded me of the big ferries in Europe. Only, in this case, people don't drive their own cars onto the ferry (some do, like the guy with the 1958 classic Corvette--I'm guessing it's a liability thing). The ferry personnel drive all the cars on. There were two tanker trucks. The ferry people didn't drive those on. The tanker trucks had to back on. The first one just backed right on. The second one had to try a couple of times before getting in the right spot.
|Tanker truck backing on|
Once all the vehicles were on (I just walked Tilmann on and parked him off to the side), they closed the back thingy, and with a loud blast of the horn, we were off! I made my rounds of the ferry, visiting all the decks and whatnot. It was really windy unless you were right up at the bow.
|Heading out past the lighthouse|
|Great Lake #4--Lake Michigan|
Since it had been windy at the campsite this morning, I didn't cook my breakfast. I went to the cafe of the boat and had oatmeal with a number of toppings.
I went to the gift shop next. I got a t-shirt for Grayson and a Badger postcard.
Since it was a 4 hour ride, I went up to bow and sat down in one of the lounge chairs. Flat Will sat in one too. I may have taken a little nap.
|Flat Will lounging on deck|
Because on a day off, I seem to eat more than I do when I'm riding, I went to the cafe for something else to eat. I sat down in the main lounge just in time to watch them play Badger Feud. It's like Family Feud, only the people don't know each other. One team named themselves the Mustangs. I thought the other team was far more innovative in their name--The Minnow (you know, Gilligan's Island). Unfortunately, even though the Minnow team got off to a great start, the Mustangs ended up winning.
Next up was Super Badger Bingo. I grabbed a card and joined in the fun. Sadly, while I was just one number away from blackout, I did not win.
|Not doing well!|
Bingo ended because we were pulling into port. The boat has to turn around and back up to the ramp. The ferry personnel drove all the cars off. I walked off with Tilmann. Goodbye SS Badger. Thanks for the ride!
|Welcome to Manitowoc, Michigan|
|Goodbye SS Badger!|
Part 2--I Coulda Been a Carnie!
I stopped to take the obligatory Welcome to Wisconsin photo, even though I've already been to Wisconsin on this trip (twice actually).
|Back to Wisconsin--state number 2 AND 13!|
I stopped at a post office to mail Grayson's postcard, then went to get some groceries. My tasks taken care of, I headed to the Manitowoc Expo grounds. According to my map, I could camp there. I had my first inkling that things might not work out that way when I saw the sign for the free shuttle to the Fair. Uh oh, the Manitowoc County Fair is going on. I rode up, seeing a number of RVs and thought, maybe it will work out after all. I can't say I have ever camped at a fairgrounds while the fair was going on. I'd be like a Carnie, right? Yeah, well, I went to the Expo Office, and was told there was no room. They had no more spots until next week (why do they think that is going to be helpful???).
I told the guy who had sent me to the Expo Office that there was no room. I told him I just HAD to arrive on the opening day of the fair! I told him I guess I would head to a hotel. He told me there was one not far. I rode to the Harbor Town Inn (I think it's part of the Super 8 chain). It was only $63 for the night. That's not bad. Still, might have been fun to get to be a carnie for a night...