Part IV of a six-part series on the Bishops’ bicycle tour on the shores of Lake Michigan
Upon departing Green Bay, two sparkling heavenly light shows across Lake Michigan awaited us. A day of cycling through gorgeous countryside toward Manitowoc, Wisconsin, would eventually land us at Point Beach State Forest north of Two Rivers. Michigan’s shoreline had been smattered with state parks. Now, it was Wisconsin’s turn, and its offering would not disappoint.
The day’s ride to the park reminded us of Wisconsin’s reputation for dairy farming. Silos popped up everywhere we looked, along with abundant crops. I love cycling through farmland. The long views, multi-colored patchwork of fields, and moderate summertime temperatures create a pleasant and relaxed ambiance that reminds me of Aroostook County in Maine, where I grew up.
After her post-ride dip to cool off in the lake at the state park, Debbie’s knot-tying expertise would keep raccoons and squirrels away from our food stash. We nestled into Big Agnes under a full moon. Sleeplessness comes with its advantages in such a setting. Moonlight cast a sparkling sheen across the rippling waters of Lake Michigan while fellow campers snored away in tents and RVs. Heavenly light speaks softly, warmly, and magnetically in such peaceful solitude. No one but me and the creatures of the night were there to take it in.
Ferry rides add their own unique twist to a bicycle tour, as we learned from a handful of “cruises” on our 2012 Atlantic Coast tour and another in 2014 on TheHopeLine Tour. Our third ferry lift on this tour, on a beautiful sunshiny day, would dwarf its predecessors.
We boarded the SS Badger for a four-hour ride across the lake. This boat was built in the 1950s and carried rail cargo across the lake for decades, where goods would resume their east-west travel across America. Eventually, rail routes dipped south through Chicago, and an entire fleet of railcar ferries floated into the sunset, but for the one that remains to transport tourists and locals back and forth across the lake when the ice is out.
Our ride took a big slice out of bicycling time on this day, but the warm sunshine that lit up the lake also helped relax our worn leg muscles. Visits to the ship’s museum, cinema, and cafeteria helped pass the time and divert our attention away from bicycling. We would be back on the bicycle soon enough.
As the sun slid across the maritime sky, the SS Badger approached its destination in Ludington, Michigan. This was familiar ground to us, since we’d eaten there two weeks earlier on our ride north.
In our next and final tour post, we’ll make our way back to our starting point.