Posts Tagged ‘Manitowoc’

Badger Badger Badger

Saturday, 15th August 2009; 1:35 am - Location: ,

I had an unwelcome surprise when I got to the Badger. The web site explained that people with motorcycles had to “bring two tie-downs per bike”. Fair enough: I bought a set and lugged them halfway around Lake Michigan for the Badger crew to use. The surprise was that the passengers are expected to secure the bike in the hold themselves. Um… why would they assume I know how to do this?

I’ve never even put my scooter on a truck, let alone knowing how to secure it on a car ferry (which I’ve never been on in my life). Sure, the principle seems obvious, but that’s a long way from being able to do it. (Kind of like… riding a motorcycle?) I searched with my iPhone for an online “how to”, and tried my best to improvise. Unsuccessfully. Fortunately a crewperson took pity on me and showed me that my tie-downs had been threaded wrong in the package, fixed them for me, and showed me how to tighten them (that part I could’ve figured out). But it was frustrating and embarrassing, and could have been avoided if they’d said what they meant: I needed to find someone ahead of time to show me how to do this. Instead they implied that all we had to do was “bring” the accessories needed to do what I thought was their job: transport us and our vehicles safely across the Lake.


Friday, 14th August 2009; 11:27 pm - Location:

“We don’t need no steekin’ badgers,” you say?

Of course we do.

Racing the sun

Friday, 14th August 2009; 11:25 pm - Location: , , , ,

Although I left the final decision until I reached the scheduled campground, I proceded from Escanaba as if I were going to take the Badger at the end of the day. Although J. W. Wells State Park was nice enough, I concluded that I was ready to go home, so I went into the ranger office and canceled my reservation (getting some of my money back).

From that point on I was in a race with sun. I wanted to get to Manitowoc before nightfall, because I don’t like riding at night especially if I don’t know where I’m going. I still had to stop for fuel of course, and I stopped… Quite a lot actually. I had to stop to take a photo at the Wisconsin border of course. I stopped when I saw a trio of cranes wandering along someone’s lawn by the side of the road.

And I stopped more times than I can count for navigation. The Wisconsin DOT royally screwed up the route I’d planned to take from Marinette to Green Bay (especially around Peshtigo), and none of my navigational aids knew how to deal with it. The GPS actually sent me into a subdivision with no outlet, telling me to “turn left” at the end of a dead end street. My preplanned itinerary and iPhone were almost useless. For example, Google Maps clearly showed a road that no longer exists. I ended up taking US41 for much longer than I wanted; at least it’s so screwed up at the moment that not many people are using it in that area. The GPS came in the most useful in getting through Green Bay. I just told it to take me to Manitowoc, and dutifully did as it told me. One hazard of this was that I wasn’t conscious that I’d left the city altogether (as opposed to taking a road along the outskirts as I would’ve otherwise), so I didn’t make a point of getting fuel first (as has become my habit). Fortunately I found a gas station before I ran out.

I had my first real spill at the station, in the gravel pulling out of the lot. I slipped and dropped the scoot. At about 2mph. All it did was knock the mirrors out of alignment and spill a little fluid. I hope. I got some bumps and a little scrape. The slacks I’m wearing will now have to be removed from office duty, due to a little tear.

The odometer rolled over (again), to 3000, in Rockwood WI.

I reached Manitowoc just as the sun set. This left enough twilight to successfully find the dock and get my reservation changed to tonight. This left a few hours to kill in town, which I’ve spent wandering the streets and the grounds of the maritime museum (which has a real decommissioned naval sub, built here), and getting a sandwich and a couple beers at the “family fun” Pizza Pit, one of the few places downtown still open and serving food. Several bars, but I wanted a meal.