Great Lakes Tour – Day 7

WHERE: Ashland -> Silver City, Minnesota

WEATHER: Rain, RAIN, Rain! – can’t see across the street, does clear throughout the day and eventually even makes it to 72* briefly.

We wake up to it pouring rain and things are flooding. Including distributors on Model A’s. The very sad news is that our boat trip all through the Apostle Islands is cancelled, but as everyone knows no one controls Mother Nature.

With no alternative we head out, when everyone is running, to make the best of the day. The farther we go it slowly clears and we enjoy the Fall colors.

On the shore of Lake Superior (from our hotel in Silver City)
SUNSET on LAKE SUPERIOR (even though we saw very little sun today).

We do find some interesting things near the hotel though:

A little more car work is necessary when Rick discovers Kenny’s generator is dead, thus why it isn’t holding a charge and won’t start with a push. David Krill comes to the rescue with a spare alternator and Rick puts it in.

Rick, David and Kenny putting in alternator.

The rest of us enjoy getting together and having cheese, crackers, meats, and drinks supplied by Mary & Marcus, before we call an end to another day.

Great Lakes Tour – Day 6

WHERE: Wisconsin Rapids -> thru the Wisconsin countryside to-> Ashland on the south shore of Lake Superior

WEATHER: Clouds all day, with rain on and off, with some wind, cool and a high of 56*

We get up at 7 and are on the road by 8. It is cloudy with sprinkles of rain. It is actually kind of nice to be in our “Modern A” with this cool and rainy weather.

We don’t go too far and I say I smell something hot. Rick says “Oh you and your nose.” But soon after our traveling companions are all pulled to the side of the road. And Jim & Dorothea’s car has trouble.

We are on our way again and by 10 we make a breakfast stop at a little cafe called Amber’s Colby Cafe. They have great homemade breads and pies. We eat breakfast and each get a piece of pie to go. Our next stop is to a little creamery that a local recommended for getting cheeses.

Look what we found in the “Specialty Cheese ” aisle:

Four very ‘special’ cheese heads! Looks like we are having fun.

We continue on through farm country. I love all the old barns.

We continue on through forested areas and the fall colors are just starting.

We make it to Ashland and we get our first look at Lake Superior! Our hotel is right on the banks of the lake. It is pretty blustery and there are white caps on the lake. It is so big it looks like you are at the ocean.

We check into the motel and the desk clerk is great. She lets us set up a Happy Hour in the dining area. Those of us that have arrived bring snacks, fruit, cheeses and drinks and all share and have a nice time . Time to hit the sack and get ready for another full day tomorrow.

Addendum: The Biebacks get the hard luck award of the day. Their front spindle/axle broke and they were taken back to the starting point on the trouble truck by Marcus. Hopefully they will be able to continue on with us in a modern??

Great Lakes Tour Day 5

WHERE: Wisconsin Dells->Warrens(Cranberry Fest)->Wisconsin Rapids WEATHER: Clear skies & 64*

We get up at 6:00, pack up and check out and on the road at 6:45. We gather everybody at JellyStone Park to go into the Cranberry Fest to park the cars together. It is one HUGE craft fair with the theme being cranberries, but it is also just prior to the holidays. We see several things of interest to buy, but not having a car here and flying home we gather ideas instead of items.

We go on the bus tour out to the cranberry marshes/bogs and learn the history of how cranberries are grown and harvested. They like this area for several reasons: the abundance of water and the sandy acidic soil. The productive life of the plants is an average of 50 years and they do not require rotating the crops to replenish nutrients into the soil. When the plants are first planted it takes about 5 years to reach their productive maturity. Most of the cranberries grown here go to the Ocean Spray plant.

Some of the machines used to harvest the cranberries:

We buy some cranberry wine and some dried cranberries with cinnamon, both are good. When we get off the tour Rick and I get a feeling of what it is like to retrieve cranberries from a flooded bog. It was fun!

At the end of a day’s work!
All is good that ends well!

We finish our time at the Cranberry Fest by Rick finding and buying me Cranberry Cream Puffs!

Yum yum!

We leave and are told the highway to Wisconsin Rapids is closed but we make it to the hotel. Rick invites people to our room for some wine, beer and cheese and crackers prior to finishing the day with a dinner at the hotel.


WHERE: A mini circle from Baraboo/Great Wolf Lodge -> La Valle/Carr Cheese Factory -> Baraboo/Lodge -> Wisconsin Dells/Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty for dinner and back to the Great Wolf Lodge

WEATHER: Clouds, that turn into a light rain, which turns into a full rainstorm 63*

We get an early start, (before restaurant open at the lodge), at 7. Some grab a little at McDonalds and then we head to the cheese factory. We drive through pretty farm country.

We end up at the Carr Cheese factory. A little family run operation, with things done by hand. On the other end of the spectrum from the massive automated Harley Davidson factory yesterday.

Lori & Marilyn
Dorothea & Kenny

We learn the short version of making cheese:

Cheese curds
And it takes 10 gallons of milk to make one pound of cheese.
First comes the cows to get all the milk
Then bringing the milk to the cheese factory
Adding color and heating milk up and separating creme from whey
Cheese blocks
Cheese curds
Final product!

Next we go to another family diner and have some brunch. Then it is on to the Circus World Museum in Baraboo. It is very informative with the history of the Ringling Brothers and the circus.

It is then back to the lodge for a little while before going to dinner at the Paul Bunyan Cook Shanty.

It is back to the lodge. It has been raining all evening and is now dark and we are glad to be in a modern car tonight. It is up early tomorrow for another FULL day.

Great Lakes Tour Day 3

Where: From West Allis/Milwaukee -> Menominee Falls -> Wisconsin Dells Weather: Warm, sunny, blue skies with scattered clouds, 72*

We get up at 7, have breakfast, check out, and are on the road at 9. We are going to try and stay off the major highways and take the smaller back roads. Well between us we have 2 GPS’s, maps on an iPhone, and a good old map and guess how many times we get turned around? Well let’s just say each car took their turn in trying to lead! We arrive at 10:10 and the tour at Harley Davidson was to start at 10. Oh well, they are very nice about it and they just form another group with a tour guide for us. Then she says I can’t go with my shoes even though they are closed toes, they have slits on the side. She says no worries and lends me a pair of “closed” shoes. Everyone has to don orange vests and steel toe protectors.

Steel toe protectors
There is always a first time for everything – I have never been on a motorcycle. Might as well start out big, by trying out a HOG!

The tour is very interesting. It is a huge factory, covering 15 acres. They only do the building of the power train/engines (with powder coating and all the machining) at this factory. All the precision work is done by robots! It runs three shifts/day, seven days a week. Totally automated with a lot of quality control. Automated cameras take pictures to make sure everything is put in its correct position. Any mistakes and the whole line shuts down. No pictures were allowed in the factory.

Our group for tour through the Harley Davidson Factory

We are on our way after the tour, heading for Baraboo, Wisconsin. We decide to definitely stay off the highways and take our time seeing the country. I find the country side very interesting with a lot of farming and small towns with large old family homes. Large green lawns (truly needing ride-on mowers) and large mature trees around each home. In one of the small towns we stop for lunch. We find a little family cafe called The Apple Tree. What a good find, we all fill up on homemade chicken and dumpling soup and stuffed tomatoes with tuna salad.

Taking the ‘RUSTIC ROADS’ ( as they are called here) has it’s ups and downs. The ups being very pretty country and slower travel. The down being if you break down there aren’t a lot of places to get help, but FRIENDS HELP FRIENDS and usually working together can fix things. That being said, we really miss traveling in our Lizzy where Rick has tools and spare parts to work with.

A pressurized radiator does not do well without a radiator cap! And even trying to make do with stuffing it closed is of no use. But Rick takes an extra cap he had seen on Kenny’s overflow and puts it on Jim’s radiator, add some water and we are on our way!

We arrive in the Dells and check into the Great Wolf Lodge.

We check in. We decide that after our large lunch that a stop in the ice cream shop will do us just fine for dinner tonight. We call it a day and go to bed by 10.

Great Lakes Tour Day 2

WHERE: West Allis & Milwaukee, Wisconsin WEATHER: Beautiful skies with light fluffy clouds, slight breeze & 77*

We get up after a much needed night’s rest and have breakfast at the hotel. Bob and Marilyn invite us to ride with them and Kenny and Shirley and Jim and Dorothea are going to follow us to the Miller Brewing Company for a tour.

Jim, Shirley, Marilyn, Bob, Dorothea, Rick, and Kenny at Miller Brewing Company

It is a fun tour through the whole brewery, including samples of course. I may get to like beer yet! If not, it won’t be for a lack of trying different kinds of beer, between Germany and here.

The Girl in the Moon
The cave
The whole gang in the cave at Miller’s Brewing Company!
Work never ends for our leaders – Marcus & Mary

From the brewery we head to take a Milwaukee boat sightseeing , history and architecture tour on Lake Michigan.

We end the day by going to a Mexican restaurant and having a good time together with good food and margaritas helping us to slow down and get ready for another day.

Great Lakes Tour Day 1

Well life gives us many twists and turns and we have had our share to deal with lately. We thought we were prepared for this trip but I think Tin Lizzy was just a little too smug in getting to go again and leaving her siblings behind. As things turned out she too gets to stay at home this time and see what it feels like! (The reason being my Mom had a cardioversion done two days before we were to leave, which was successful, but the following day ended up in the hospital with fluid overload and early CHF. She was discharged to a rehab hospital Monday evening and we were able to get tickets and fly to Chicago on Tuesday morning, leaving Tin Lizzy behind.)

We rented a ‘FORD’ in Chicago and drove to West Allis, making it just in time to go to the Welcome Dinner and beginning of the tour. It was so great to have everyone glad to see us. We enjoyed dinner at a German restaurant, called Mader’s German Beer Hall and Restaurant.

Our first sighting of one of the Great Lakes-Lake Michigan as we fly into Chicago.

Makes for a very enjoyable starting of our tour!


As always preparation is half of making a tour turn out fun and enjoyable. We have a lot going on so prep time is going down to the wire with all its twists and turns. The weather here has gone from the 90’s to our first snow and a high of 45* in the last few days. Thus a lot of winterizing both to the cabin and here that we weren’t planning on doing before leaving on the tour. Also a lot of prep has gone into making arrangements for Mom since she won’t be joining us this time. She had a cardio version done today with success, now if her heart will just cooperate and stay in normal rhythm. The rental house has taken up a lot of time, but will be here when we return. So somewhere in there Rick has been burning the midnight oil working on Tin Lizzy. With any luck we will pull it all together and leave Thursday morning to have a GREAT TOUR around the GREAT LAKES! (Thank you Marcus and Mary – you have definitely had your share of twists and turns in putting this tour together, and we appreciate all you have done!).

View from our driveway of first winter storm, just a few days before leaving for Great Lakes Tour.
Tin Lizzy is enjoying all the attention and has no trouble saying good bye to her siblings – ” MOM’S 30″ and “The Coupe”, leaving them at home again.