Door County, WI with the Family

It has been way to long since I last traveled. All this was due to covid which is still ravaging the country. Despite that we booked a family trip back in the spring. Pat was really interested in getting everyone together since it has been so long. She decided on Door County, WI and this would be my first real vacation since this started.

Barge going up the Mississippi River just before sunset.

I planned my trip to arrive early and stay late. Flying from Portland I was upgraded to first class on the flight over. After getting the rental car I did some shopping for cannabis now that Illinois is a recreational state. I spent the night in Rockford, IL before continuing to La Crosse the next morning.

My planning and timing sucked for this portion of the trip. I never got to see David and Rose never came back to her room while I was there. The one thing I wanted to do I did accomplish. I smoked a cigar and had a long chat with my dad. I got lunch in downtown at Bodega Brew Pub and surprisingly next door was Deaf Ear Records a really cool vintage store with tons of vinyl. Scored records by Rufus and The Fifth Dimension both of which surprised me. That evening I saw the sunset from along the river.

That night I made my way back to Madison and got a hotel on the edge of town. Saturday was Eillen’s celebration of life which was good but somber as you would expect. Sunday we all drove to the house near Ephraim. It is located way out on the peninsula in some remote territory. First settled by Scandinavian immigrants long ago it became an outdoor playground for the rich at the turn of the century. Now everyone can enjoy what the county has to offer.

Monday started with an errand run for brisket. Bobby and I have been planning all summer to cook one and it was finally happening. Main St. Market in Egg Harbor who’s in-house butcher had a 7lb, not frozen slab of brisket for us. Later we caught up with everyone at Peninsula State Park. Most went to the beach while Bobby and I found a secluded spot along the lake to smoke a cigar.

Tuesday was totally planned out. I was cooking brisket for everyone and this has to be planned out. Kenny and his family were 15 minutes away on their own family excursion but came down for dinner which was awesome. Smoked two cigars and like always had a really good conversations with Bobby about life. Never left the house but doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good day.

Last full day and I was back at Peninsula State Park to hike after a wonderfully lazy start to the day. I probably hiked five miles before the rains came and washed out the rest of my hike. The weather eventually cleared for a pretty colorful sunset. We ate at the Old Post Office for a traditional fish boil. That was tasty and entertaining way to celebrate Annie’s birthday.

Everyone was headed home the next day but I wasn’t leaving till Saturday. We made all this effort to get here so why leave on Thursday? I stopped in Milwaukee for lunch with the Calizon’s at SafeHouse which was fun. After lunch I went exploring the city. Cool place. Eventually I got to Chicago and got my feet wet Thursday night out adventuring before dropping off the rental car. Friday was going to be a full day in the city.

John Hancock Center looms large along the skyline here.

I spent the day experiencing art throughout the city. Got up and out to the Museum of Contemporary Art for my first stop. I recently upgraded my Portland Art Museum membership for reciprocal entry so I could get in here. Smaller than I thought it would be. Main exhibit was Chicago Comics which highlighted the decades of work local cartoonist contributed to the art from the 60’s till now. Interesting but nothing that blew my mind. Just not much into contemporary art.

What a perfect day to be outside. Mid 70’s that afternoon. Cloudy, breeze coming off the water, and cool under the shade of the trees in Milton Lee Olive Park next to Ohio St. Beach. I really want to go to the beach next time I’m in town. Perfect place to relax and write. So much to look at.

Later my day was filled with jazz music. I ended up seeing two shows Friday night at two different venues across town. I started at Andy’s Jazz Club to see Marques Carroll. They offer dinner with the show which was awesome. Got some great braised short ribs and cheese cake to go with my jazz. This show ended in time for me to walk south to Jazz Showcase to see Donald Harrison. Both shows were really good but for me Marques Carroll was slightly better between the two. Never seen two different bands at two completely different venues on the same day. This was fun and I look forward to repeating it. If things work out it is possible I could do three shows in the same day.

This trip has been weird at times because of covid. Still not 100% comfortable with travel. It was amazing to see everyone that I did on this trip. So relaxing and a good recharge. I wish I could do this forever.