By Leann Burger
Thirty-four Oklahomans invaded the shores of Lake Michigan and environs in Door County last week for Oklahoma Bicycle Society’s Grand Tour 2009. Suzanne and Gary Cannon did a capital job arranging our tour. It takes a lot of time to pull off this type of event, and they did it gladly. They were still smiling at the end of the week. And so were we!
We stayed several days in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay and cycled on the most bike friendly roads you’ll ever find. Wisconsin is the second most bike friendly state, a bridesmaid to Colorado which is noted for its paved trails. County roads are in excellent condition, bridges have bike lanes, motorists are considerably more respectful of cyclists, and renegade canines are almost non-existant. Several of us also cycled some State Park bike paths and the Ahnapee Rail Trail which were both excellent.
Door County, for those who don’t know their geography (like me before I signed up for this trip), is a sliver of land that extends into Lake Michigan east of the ”contiguous” state of Wisconsin. Sturgeon Bay marks the pennisula’s southernmost city and Washington Island sits like a jewel at the north end of the County. Door is know as a resort county in the summer and a winter playground for snowmobiles and crosscountry skiers in the winter. We noted that climate wise, it is spring in Door right now, the equivalent of our mid March weather with trees just leafing out. The cherry orchards for which Door is famous are beginning to bloom.
Lighthouses and observation towers are are plentiful in Door County. I climbed three towers and two lighthouses. One at Eagle Bluff we weren’t supposed to be in, but we were from out of town and didn’t know any better.
I took Michelle’s picture at the top of the Cana Island Lighthouse to prove to her husband David that she DID climb to the top. She’s afraid of heights, but the view was worth it!
Most days we rode to a destination planned by Gary and Suzanne, but on the day we moved from Sturgeon Bay to Sister Bay, we all cycled the 44 miles there. Suzanne ferried drivers back at the end of the day to pick up our vehicles. The weather was picture perfect and we rode through Pennisula State Park which is beautiful. We stopped in Sturgeon Bay to consult the map and we just happened to stop in a very appropriate parking lot at 9 a.m. in the morning!
Gary and Jana are keeping us on the straight and narrow on day two. As you can see, the rest of us don’t really care, just as long as we end up at someplace to eat around noon time. And eat (and drink) we did. Several of us were happy to sample every Wisconsin beer created, and of course, you can’t have beer without cheese, right? And Wisconsin has its fair share of wineries. Jane, Paul and I found the oldest winery on day one in Algoma. Lucky us!
Cave Rock State Park was a favorite stop with the group. We could have stayed longer, it was so beautiful. But the road beckoned us on. Paul really liked it here. So did I!
On our last day we rode our bikes onto a ferry that took us from Northport to Washington Island. It was great fun and we really enjoyed cycling on this unique piece of real estate. Schoolhouse Beach looks like something in the Caribbean with its pristine water. The rocks are very unusual here and there’s a stiff fine if you pocket any.
On our last night in Sister Bay, we experienced the traditional Wisconsin “fish boil” and our “morales directors,” Lynn and Liz presented special “gifts” to us as part of the Survivor’s Party.
It was difficult to leave this cycling mecca, but with our adventurein Door County over, we had one last mission…purchase cheese to take home. And Jane HAD to buy a “cheesehead” hat….which she did at Renard’s in Sturgeon Bay.
Hopefully we’ll get back to this terrific place. If you’re looking for a cycling adventure, consider “the Door.”