Vacation Over – Back in Michigan

Bill's Blog

This is our last morning on Washington Island. It was sunny and mild. We were in a cozy little bay, so we didn’t get the bigger waves. The evening before I went on a long hike, just down the country roads. I walked for about 4 miles, maybe 5 – just enjoying the woods, fields and the homes and cottages. I walked past a pizza place. Get this…it’s open from 11 am to 7 pm. Most days is closes at 7 pm! It’s 9 pm on Fri. and Sat. There were 3 or 4 relatively small taverns on the island stayed open later, but that was it. One gas station was open 24/7, but there was no attendent…just one pump…you put your credit card in and got gas, which was about 50 cents a gallon more expensive than on the peninsula.

View from the Ferry going back to the Peninsula

This is from the top of the ferry going from Washington Island to the mainland. There was a fresh, southwest breeze and perfect visibility – very clean air.

Pilot Island – a Ghost Island

On the way to the mainland, we passed Pilot Island – now a “Ghost Island”. The lighthouse has been abandoned and the island has been taken over by cormorants, gulls and other birds. The birds have accumulated an enormous amount of guano that has not only killed the vegetation on the island (including all the trees), but it also produces a putrid smell that can make anyone downwind very uncomfortable. There are approximately 7,000 birds living on the island. Each Cormorant eats about 1 pound of fish a day, so they are having an effect on local fishing. The island is just 3.25 acres. Cormorants are protected, but some Washington Island residents have petitioned for a waver to reduce the island’s population.

View from a County Park

When we got to the mainland, we started driving along the west coast of the Peninsula. This was one of the county parks. We’re actually up on a cliff about 100 feet above the water. You can’t see it in the picture, but you could see land way on the horizon from the top of the cliff. Awesome visibility, a bright blue sky and deep blue water that was clear enough to see down at least 8 feet.

View from the clubhouse at Peninsula St. Park Golf Course

This is the view from Peninsula Golf Course looking back over the bay to the town of Ephraim. Our family came up here several times while I was growing up and I remember playing this golf course when I was about 15 years old with my father. I remember the spectacular views.

The famous 8th hole at Peninsula Golf Course

I remember the 8th hole from when I played the course back in the 60s. The hole is just 69 yards long. It’s also about 69 yards DOWN. You hit off a high cliff. You can’t see the green below. The group ahead of you signals when they are done putting.

Besides the traditional 18 holes, they now have a 6-hole course of small par 3s. The holes ranged from 70 yds. to around 120 yds. and you can play the course in about 45 min. I played it twice. I had 3 fours and 3 fives the first time I played. The second time I started 4-3-3-4 (lucky), then a 5 on the 5th hole. The 6th hole went straight into the sun and I never saw my drive – it went right into the sun and was gone! There were some trees on the right, but I didn’t hear it hit anything and I thought I hit it OK. Oh well, I had fun.

Having lunch by the putting green

We got a sandwich and ate by the cigar-shaped (to fit the hill) putting green. In the distance is the 18th green. Peninsula St. Park is a big park, nearly 6 square miles.

View from the top of the cliff at Peninsula St. Park – DNR pic.

This is the view from one of the cliffs at Peninsula St. Park. There is a fee to get into the park ($11 per can with an out-of-state plate).

Here’s a view from the golf course at peak color (mid-October)

How about this for a pretty view (front of the scorecard at Peninsula St. Park Golf Course.

Dolomite Rock Quarry

Sorry this pic. isn’t brighter. It’s a giant Dolomite quarry. The dolomite was most often crushed here and loaded unto trucks and ships to be used for roads. There were many signs against a proposed RV park at the rock quarry.

Geese at Egg Harbor

We saw numerous flocks of geese…almost all of them in formation flying south. This was at Egg Harbor…there were more than 100 geese here near shore.

View of Green Bay

A short drive down a very bumpy dirt road got us this view of Green Bay. There were many cedar trees here. Color only about 5-10% turned, but that will pick up with the shortening daylight of October.

View form our motel in Algoma the last night we were in Wisconsin

This is the view the last night we were in Algoma. We watched the Packers game on TV – they lost this time.

Badger arriving from Ludington

We took the Badger across Lake Michigan on Friday. It was a cloudy, breezy day with occasional light rain, sprinkles and drizzle. Gale Warnings were out for Lake Michigan. A ship like this can handle gales, but it did rock a bit. The buoys at Muskegon and Ludington both measured waves up to 8.2 feet high.

On the boat looking west toward Manitowoc

This was on the boat looking west at the city of Manitowoc.

Leaving Manitowoc on the Badger Ferry

There’s a lot to do on the boat…bingo, movie, buffet, historical room, etc. Gayle and I stayed at the back of the boat and watched Manitowoc slowly disappear. We could still see the tallest smokestacks from 15 miles out. We also would see an occasional migrating monarch butterfly or gull almost to mid-lake. At one point we passed a dark object floating to the right of the ship. It looked kind of like a football that was about twice normal size.

We enjoyed the trip across the lake…but next time I’ll hope for a little calmer conditions and maybe even a little sunshine.

We stopped at McDonald’s on US 10, then got on the expressway for home. We hit some fairly heavy rain on I-96. I wound up with 2.17″ of rain at my house. It’s been a wet year.

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