Loosely translated Sheboygan means “Land of bratwurst,” which makes it a little slice of heaven for two of the three of us.
***This is another ‘catch up’ post from a week ago. Apologize***
Start: Manitowoc Town Harbor, Manitowoc, WI
End: Sheboygan Marina, Sheboygan, WI
Total Distance: 22.4 nm
Average Speed: 5.6 kts
Another 20ish mile run on tap for today. Manitowoc to Sheboygan. The wind has died down to 10 knots from the north and they diminish as the morning goes on. Waves were forecasted to be 1-2 feet and pushing us along. Sounds like a good day to head out. So after 5 days in Manitowoc, we pushed off the dock, pumped out (AJ broke the cardinal rule of no #2 in port) and headed south. First thing we noticed when we got around the break wall were the waves. Very gentle, rolling waves, but not in the 1-2 foot range. Maybe add a foot. Or two. But they were pushing us south, so it was all good And it was a rolling, rollicking ride. We had the sail up for about two hours, then the wind dropped enough so that it was hanging uselessly. The waves pushed us and some were quite large, the result being that our speed went from 4 knots to 8 knots and back again as we surfed down the waves. And, for the first time on the trip, dramamine was broken out and used. AJ was playing electronics while we were under way and either the wave action with the iPad or the breaking out of the school books caused a bad reaction. Either way, he was the first to take the magic medicine.
We arrived in Sheboygan just after 1 and the marina is fantastic. Docks are relatively new and plenty of space in the fairways. The amenities include a (small) pool, beach right next to marina, nice ships store, wine bar on the second floor and an observations deck overlooking the marina. And the usual nice people from Wisconsin.
Sheboygan is known far and wide (or at least in Wisconsin) as the home of the bratwurst. So it is a MUST STOP on my list. It is a town of ~50K people and its waterfront section is welcoming for boaters of all types. The Harbor Center Marina, where we are at, is a mixture of power and sailboats. The river is lined with charter boats ready to take fishermen out into Lake Michigan to get their next big haul. Ice cream , fish and tourist shops as well as, restaurants line the river and invite you to dispose of your hard earned money. The town is clean and lots of construction going on downtown.
We head off to explore and end up putting 12 miles on our feet while we stumble around town. We manage to find ice cream, which makes it better for AJ and we get to the wine bar which makes it all better for Jan.
Our plan was to spend four days or so here and then move to Port Washington for a couple of days but we decided to adjust our schedule and spend a week in Sheboygan and then head straight to Milwaukee and return to Port Washington via car. The marina is wishing walking distance of the town, there is a beach right next us and enterprise rental car will come pick us up. This is a good place to spend a week.
In (subjective) order from best to still good but not the best:
1. White water rafting on the Wolf River. When I was a kid we took trips with the church youth group that my parents led. One of the places I remember going to was the Wolf River. It is still a pretty vivid memory because I can recall my dad in a canoe successfully shooting the rapids and a second canoe not so successfully shooting the rapids, hitting a rock broadside and the entire canoe bending around the rock. So I googled Wolf River and rafting and found Shotgun Eddie website. We were in.1 So we called up Mr. Enterprise, got us a car and headed up north land two hours.
North Central Wisconsin is not filled with large cities. Or big towns. Or much people at all. Once you leave Green Bay, you are on a highway through farmlands and small fields/forests with rivers and lakes throughout. It is an outdoorsman’s paradise. We arrive at Shotgun Eddie’s at 1030, it is 70 degrees and sunny. We ask for the trip that won’t kill us and load up into the van, are carted some miles up the river and released. Unlike other white water rafting trips we have been on there is not guide, no training, no anything. It is the one raft, two paddles and three people and the instruction to make sure we get out when we see our car. It will be on the left. And to have fun!
We are off. It was three hours and four good rapids. The river is about 1.5 feet deep so if you get in trouble, you can stand up. The rapids are fun and we learn the hard way not to hit rocks sideways. We do a couple of times, the most memorable one was when AJ got ejected from the boat into the water. So hard that he got blown out of his flip flops and we ended up chasing the flip flops (after we got AJ into the boat) through the rapids.
2. Uncle David comes for a visit. Would be number one if Uncle David had knocked AJ out of his flip-flops into the water. My brother drove from Eau Claire to Sheboygan to spend the day on the boat and look at our version of a tiny house. And help trouble shoot our fridge (still not working). And drive us to dinner, to Dairy Queen, Menards and Jan to hair appointment.
3. Frisbee Golf: Lucky and I found a park on one of our morning run (Lucky)/Walks (Jim) through town. It was walking distance from the marina and one afternoon we decided to give it a try. Quick trip to Walmart for three driving and one putting disc and we head off to the course. We get the basic instructions from the nice people running the course with the instructions that if we get confused about hold locations, ask someone on the course because “99% of them are really nice,” and we are off. It takes us an hour and a half, we only had to ask for help twice and we all had a great time. This is on our list of ‘things to keep doing on the loop.’
4. Bookworm Gardens: Gardens inspired by children’s books. It is hard to explain but really awesome to visit. It was a favorite of all of us. It was very crowded but you still could find pockets of peace to relax. It had the Magic School Bus (a real bus!), the Magic Tree House, Winnie the Pooh and more. There was some eye rolling when we pulled up at the gardens (three guesses who was rolling the eyes2) but all of us had a great time.
5. Mini-Golf. Last night in Sheboygan we stumbled upon a mini-golf course and someone (AJ) stated that he would kill us in mini-golf, we should play and the loser make dinner. We all jumped on that deal. The upshot? Jan was en fuego. She killed us. Even with my creative scorekeeping, I couldn’t keep pace and AJ didn’t have a prayer. AJ got his wish and made us dinner–Indian food (Josh Rogan) and rice with a lovely side salad.
6. Miesfeld’s Triangle Market. Fancy name for MEAT STORE! My little slice of heaven. Though I have to say it was a winner for all of us. My favorite part of being back in Wisconsin are the savory, rich foods. Meat sticks. Sausage. Cheese. And the best of both worlds Sausage Cheese! Jan likes her wine and this hit both of our sweet spots. It was a big butcher shop with meats, cheeses, bratwurst and a large selection of wine. Throw in a bag of bacon cheddar pop corn for AJ and we were all happy. We walked out with fresh pork for Thai green chili pork and green beans, beef sticks, sausage cheese, the popcorn, black bean veggie burgers (which were fantastic) and three pounds of bratwurst. We grilled big big when we got back to the marina.
7. Beach: Spent the afternoon at the town beach located right next to the marina. Would have been rated higher had the water been warmer than 40 degrees.3
Lace and Dick Lacey (M/V Confetti): Gold loopers who are liveaboards at the marina in Sheboygan. Come from Texas to miss the ugly summers and enjoy Wisconsin. Gave us great tips on what to see and how to get around Sheboygan.
Faye’s Pizza: Fantastic thin crust pizza in little store. Walkable from boat but it would be a hike. Which may be good…work off that pizza.
Black Pig: Downtown. Good take on comfort food.
South Pier Parlor: Ice cream shop with old fashioned floats, sodas and fudge. Across the river from the marina; quite a walk but probably good to work off the sweets.
Marina Wine Bar: Second floor of marina. Great view of Lake Michigan.
Dairy Queen. We can’t pass one without stopping.
Rented car for two days
Jan had hair appointment. I was hoping she would get it cut off so I could jump to the lead in our hair length contest, but only a trim.
1Slight digression: We acknowledge that the amount of planning that we have put into this trip has probably been lacking a bit in some of the finer details. And as a result we make decisions on when to do things that don’t necessarily fit with where we are at any given time. I’ll explain. Had I thought of white water rafting in the planning stages, we could have looked at where we thought we would be and then pick the smartest (i.e. shortest driving distance) place to go to that excursion. It would not have been Sheboygan. It could have been Manitowoc, which we drove by on the way to the river. Or Green Bay. Or Sturgeon Bay. All much closer than Sheboygan. But where is the fun in that?!
2Hint: It rhymes with AJ.
3. OK. It wasn’t 40 degrees. But it was cold. Or ‘refreshing’ if you want to put lipstick on the pig.