Day 19 – Ludington, MI to Neenah, WI

We woke up early to get to the boat with plenty of time to spare. The SS Badger is an enormous steam engine ferry that crosses Lake Michigan. 

It takes 4 hours to cross, but with the time change that happened mid-way, it was only three hours later when we arrived in Wisconsin. The ferry was equipped with cafes, a gift shop, an arcade room, and two little movie theaters, but we opted to read and sleep most of the ride. There was also a snack or two in there.

It was fascinating to watch the water as we pulled in to the dock, because about 50 gulls swarmed and began landing in the churning water. We realized that the boat was bringing lots of little fish to the surface, and I could sometimes catch a flash of silver before a gull swooped down to retrieve its minnow snack. Yum. 

We met two other cross country bikers on the boat who were from New Zealand. They’d already been on the road for two months, having gone from New York to Bar Harbor ME and are now headed west! 

Our first stop after getting off the ferry was a bike shop. Aidan got a new spare tube, and I got spare brake pads. The bike shop guy totally approved of our route from Al!

Wisconsin earned my respect quickly, as within our first 10 miles we saw 3 Sandhill Cranes (I was so excited I forgot to get a photo) and a wildlife refuge area and nature center! There were more gentle rolling hills today, with lots of farms on either side of the road. Some of the cornfields we’ve been growing accustomed to lately were replaced by dairy farms. It didn’t feel like Vermont, but at times it certainly smelled like it! 

We biked through the heat of the day, remembering why we’d started taking a siesta during the hottest hours! But after a few snack breaks, a water refill, and some ice cream, we felt pretty good. 

Everything in the ice cream stand was frog-themed. There were neat little frog ceramics and carvings all over the walls, and I was particularly amused by this stone right outside the door. 

We stopped to fill our water bottles at a bar in Potter, Wisconsin, which we now believe must be on the Adventure Cycling route. The only other person in there was a guy from Germany who was bike touring around parts of the U.S., and the woman who worked there was not in the least surprised to hear we are on our way across the country by bike. She did note that we were headed to a different destination for the day than what is typical for people coming through Potter, so more kudos to Al for helping us find the road less traveled! 

Dinner came right after a swim in Lake Winnebago, and showers (!). We ate our can of baked beans and some rice that we’d been saving, and added meat, cheese, hot sauce, and our beloved garlic spice mix. It was certainly a bizzare combination of flavors, but we both thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Now in the sixth state of the trip, we’re in our tent in a town park. And we’re happy after having eaten even more – cereal by the handful and chocolate for dessert! 

5 thoughts on “Day 19 – Ludington, MI to Neenah, WI

  1. Greg Murphy July 6, 2016 / 10:05 am

    Brilliant plan to cross the lake on a ferry. Trying to navigate metro Chicago and its suburbs would be less then ideal cycling. Get up early these days and get some miles in before the wind builds strength in the plains later in the day.


  2. Leslie July 6, 2016 / 10:58 am

    Hey Aidan and Clara. I am loving this blog and so grateful and in awe that you write every day after biking miles and miles! So I spent 3 years in Appleton WI so know just where you are. You will enjoy the flat roads and the yummy cheese, for shuuuuure. LOVE this trip. You guys are rocking it! Xoxo Les


  3. Kate Shaw July 6, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    Aidan and Clara – A very heartfelt THANK YOU from Vermont Land Trust! We were thrilled to hear of your adventure and to receive the very generous donation raised though your generosity page. We will put the money to good use and by the time you reach Portland, you will have helped to protect many more acres of Vermont farms and forests! Bravo!.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dad Chris July 7, 2016 / 12:12 am

    Even though The Boss changed “Wisconsin” to”Albany” for our benefit when he played it in February; I can’t think of a better ear-worm than Cadillac Ranch for busking on the open road in WI.

    Liked by 1 person

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