We’ve Come Full Circle

I forgot to show you last night’s luxurious hotel in Sheboygan:

Today is our last day of touring the Great Lakes, and by the end of the day we will have come full circle.

Great Lakes Image full circle jpeg

We had a morning tour of the Kohler Manufacturing plant in the town of Kohler.

Kohler IMG_1736

No photos were allowed inside, but the Clausens provided photos from the Kohler Design Center taken on a prior tour:

This factory manufactures mainly toilets, bathtubs and sinks.  They  have an interesting artist-in-residence program, but this tour included only a small part of the art Kohler has sponsored over the years.  The majority of the art is back in Sheboygan at the non-profit John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

We had a pleasant afternoon drive, with a few surprises:  a little creek running through a town, murals and sculptures, and a FLAG!

This flag was part of a veterans memorial at the ACUITY insurance company headquarters.  It claims to be the “world’s tallest symbol of freedom” and Wikipedia says it is the tallest flagpole in North America.  The pole is 400 feet high, and you can see it from a LONG ways away, as the Hulstrom’s photo shows:


After lunch we had a quick visit to the Old Wisconsin Sausage  and Smokehouse factory outlet.  Lots of yummy samples!

Finally we completed the full circle of our tour at our original hotel in West Allis (suburb of Dearborn), WI, and a group dinner at Mader’s German Beer Hall where we had our welcome dinner 3 weeks ago! Some of us dressed up, some of us didn’t.  And not only did we have our accordionist, Cyndi Krill, but we also had our own trumpeter, John Hulstrom.  And we had several presentations to Marcus (and Mary in absentia) for the wonderful tour they organized for us.

If you’ve been reading our blogs, you know how much fun this group has had this month.  There were also trying times…  A couple of Model A’s didn’t make the entire tour…  Below are photos of the Biebecks’ break-down which could have been really serious.  Fortunately, it did not occur when they were traveling at speed.

I believe the Dickensons had an issue that caused them to put the car on the trouble trailer, but I have no photos. Oops!  Correction, the Dickinsons were fine — I’ll report the trailered couple when I confirm the correct name! Other cars had relatively minor problems, but the group came together to and multiple mechanics fixed most problems. It’s amazing what a group like this can do.

All in all, it was a very successful tour.  Hope to see you down the road!




Snow and Football

The Great Lakes Model A Tour is approaching it’s end. This is the 20th day of the tour, and we started driving south.  We have had relatively good weather…  At first, we had pretty warm weather, then we had periods of rain, but still not too cold.  Then, suddenly, the temps dropped.  On the first part of our drive today, we had rain and even some snow!  Can you see the snowflakes?

Our main stop of the day was in Green Bay, WI, where we toured Lambeau field, home of the Green Bay Packers.

As we waited for our tour, a retired Packer posed with us.  Sorry, I can’t remember his name, but he sure was BIG!

Toward the end of our tour, we entered the field through the same tunnel the Packers use for home games.

We even got a little cardio in…

Not to mention portraits by the Packers’ goalpost:

Here’s a shot from the Hulstroms:


And several from the Clausens:

From Green Bay, we continued South to our hotel in Sheboygan, WI.  Our friends Michael, Lisa, and Julie live nearby, and we met for dinner.  This night was the night of the Hunter’s Moon, which is the last full moon before the start of the hunting season.  I think it’s also called the “orange” moon, although it wasn’t really orange.


Tomorrow, we complete our drive South to Milwaukee, where we started the tour. We will have come full circle.  Check out our final activities tomorrow.



Ferry Crossing and Unusual Food

This is our 19th day of the Great Lakes Tour (Sat., October 12).  We started the day with an early morning 4-hour car ferry crossing of Lake Michigan.  We departed from Ludington, MI, and landed in Manitowac, WI.

Some passengers didn’t enjoy the motion of the waves at the beginning of the sail, and although it got smoother as we approached Wisconsin, some were VERY happy to step on land again.

Here are shots of the ferry taken by the Krills:

The USS Badger is the last coal fired ship/ferry still sailing the Great lakes and it has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Our crossing was the next to last of the season.

We met a long-time friend, Michael, for lunch across from this courthouse in Manitowac.


From Manitowac, WI, we ambled northward toward Door County and our hotel in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Here are a few pix along the way:

For dinner, we all gathered at Scaturo’s Baking Co. for an authentic Door County “Fish Boil”.  It was cold and windy so we gathered inside in the warmth.

Then we stepped outside to view the actual boil-over.  The Hulstroms got this shot of most of us as the boil was about to happen.


Other shots of the process:

And, the final results:



Rained Out in the UP (Upper Peninsula)

Day 7 of the Model A Tour of the Great Lakes started early as we left our hotel and prepared to drive to Bayfield, WI, for a 3-hour narrated boat cruise of Lake Superior.  However, we stopped for breakfast half way there and learned that the cruise had been cancelled.  We were disappointed, but in truth, it was raining, blowing and we had lightning and thunder.  We were sort of relieved.

So, we returned to our hotel room and just “hung out” for a couple of hours until the rain eased up somewhat.  Then we began a leisurely drive toward our hotel in Silver City, MI.

When we arrived, Marcus and Mary surprised the group with appetizers and wine/beer.  It was a nice gathering, followed by dinner on our own.

Here are some shots the Hulstroms probably took yesterday:

Tomorrow, we’ll try another cruise, weather permitting.


We Reach Lake Superior

Today’s drive northward took us along scenic highways and we saw more color and we drove toward Ashland, WI.

Great Lakes Ashland WI

It was drizzly today, but we stopped at Copper Falls for a pleasant hike through this Wisconsin State Park.

No, there are no copper mines here.  The Bad River leading to Copper Falls gets its copper color from tannin, not copper deposits.  Tannin is a natural dye that results when tamarack, white cedar and other trees decay in northern bogs.

When we reached Ashland, which is on the southern shore of Lake Superior, we were delighted by many murals.

Here are “cheese head” photos from the Clausens:

There’s never a dull moment on  a Model A Tour!


The Berries Have It!

On the fifth day of the Great Lakes Tour (Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019), our Model A Fords found their way to Warrens, WI, to the Cranberry Capital of the World! This weekend is the Cranberry Fest, the largest craft show and flea market (1,400 booths) in the U.S.  Everything cranberry – plus all kinds of things you’d never expect. The ladies in pink below are a mother-daughter group (actually consisting of 7 ladies) who visit the “Cranfest” every year, with a special theme each year.

This town of 363 inhabitants hosts close to 160,000 visitors during the 3-day weekend.


We all parked our cars on the Lions Club front lawn to provide a little car show while we were there. The club took a cranberry bog tour, but our little group got caught in traffic and missed it.  You’ll see some photos from other club members below.

Lunch on our own, and we found a café/biker bar, obviously Harley Davidson fans who enjoy making fun of Japanese motorcycles:

Then, we headed northward and we began to see some of the leaves starting to turn color.  And, we found our own cranberry bog:

And a surprise!

These huge birds are bigger than our great blue herons at home.  They’re cranes, and we learned that “cranberries” were originally called “craneberries” because of the many cranes in the area.  They seem to love the recently harvested corn fields.

Here are highlight photos of the cranberry bog tour from the Clausens;

And from the Robinsons:

And the Hulstroms’ shot shows the Cranfest crowd:

IMG_9056Tomorrow, we reach our first hotel actually on one of the Great Lakes.  Stay tuned…

We’re Running Away to Join the Circus

On our 4th day of the Model A Great Lakes Tour, we took an early country drive to visit the Carr Valley Cheese factory.

Afterwards, we took a leisurely drive through beautiful country.  Lots of animals and crops – Two crops we could easily recognize were corn and soybeans, sometimes in the same field.

This is an area where a tour of barn quilts would have been fun.  We captured a few:

Lunch on our own, then as we drove to our afternoon stop at Circus World, we took a side street and discovered Al Ringling’s Mansion.

Beautiful old building – and they were giving tours today.  Of course, we had to check it out!

Then we visited Circus World which has a HUGE collection of all kinds of circus memorabilia.

Group Dinner We all gathered again for a lumberjack meal near our hotel in the Wisconsin Dells.

No one left hungry!

Here are some of todays photos from the Clausens:

Tomorrow, we move on to…  CRANBERRIES!




The Model A Touring Club left our hotel in West Allis, Wisconsin this morning to take a ‘Steel Toe Tour” of the Harley-Davidson Factory in Menomonee Falls, WI. Our tour group got split into 4 smaller groups for  an up-close view of the assembly lines, powder coating, and machining.

Harley-Davidson was serious about the steel toes:

Professional group photos of each of our groups

Everyone headed off for lunch on our own.  We stopped at Ally’s Bistro and met the manager Natalie.  Besides yummy food, we had an interesting conversation with Natalie, whose grandfather passed away exactly one year prior.

IMG_5372Natalie remembers grandfather having a 1927 Chevy (I believe) which would be the same vintage as our cars.   We took her for a ride, and she was really excited.  Also, she said that her grandfather lived in one of the little towns that Eisenhower came through, and he and his high school band played for Eisenhower.

After lunch, we had a pleasant drive along a country road drive and a fun stop in Hustisford, WI, at a Mercantile and Mike’s Hardware across the street.

It was late, but we finally arrived at the Great Wolf Lodge in Baraboo, WI.  The Krills shared dinner photos from town:

Our little group grabbed a quick meal in the hotel and took a brief look around.

Tomorrow, we have cheese and circus “stuff” on the itinerary.



Fred Miller’s Ghost?

Day 2 of the Great Lakes Model A Tour started with a morning tour of the Miller Brewing Company Headquarters and Brewery.  Here in the “Miller Valley” they define hospitality in a whole new way.  Our personal tour guide (with the assistance of Frederick Miller’s ghost) explained over 160 years of brewing history with a modern-day twist:

Here are Burbank and Padgett photos:

And the Clausens got some great shots:

And here are some shots from the Krills:

Lunch on our own, followed by a Milwaukee boat sightseeing tour.  The ship’s tour guide narrated the history and architecture on Lake Michigan and the rivers and harbors of Milwaukee, WI.

Burbank and Padgett photos:

Clausen photos:

And some from the Krills:

Tomorrow, we go the the Wisconsin Dells…