Day 18: Wisconsin by Land and by Sea

A whirlwind of a day.  Really digging in and trying to get things done.  The weather has been very cool and clouds mostly cooperative.  Gorgeous clouds rolling through all day long.  It would be a good day for just lying on your back and watching them.  But not me, not today.

Last night, as I was shooting the lit signs outside Northern Advertising in Antigo, a woman was leaving and invited me to “come see the signs inside in the morning.”  I didn’t know there were any!  So you betcha, I was there at the crack of dawn.  It was actually the biggest functioning collection I’ve ever seen outside of the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati.  Loads of beer signs — all porcelain enamel and in fantastic condition.  This is an overview of the front building:

And there’s more signs in the back building:

It’s hard to pick out any favorites — but here are a couple nice ones.  I’ll post a bunch more at my website eventually.


Sure, these modern hamburgers signs are pretty tacky — but I liked the monumental-ness of it here — and it looked pretty good in the sun.  At the Cool Twist in Suring:

At the former Decker’s Uncle Sam Fireworks in Abrams:

From Green Bay — I’m pretty sure this is either a replica or a newly-created sign.  But Al’s Hamburger Shop has been there since 1934.  That’s plastic protecting the neon:


Also from Green Bay — the Willow Street Bakery has been open “for over 40 years”:


Moving on to the Door Peninsula — do Wisconsiners call it the “D.P.”?  This one from Sturgeon Bay.  A very sad, very closed (since at least 2007) mid-century motel:

Barely discernible at the bottom of the sign face — identifying this place as the Dun-Ro-Min Motel:

Another one from Sturgeon Bay — vitrolite of the day shot!  George Draeb Jewelry opened here in 1910.  The vitrolite or carrara glass must have been added to the building in the 1920s or 1930s.  This picture doesn’t do it justice — those are clouds reflecting at the top:

A bit of terrazzo as well:

OK — moving on to today’s big event and time-eater.  I’ve always wanted to get a shot or two of the giant coffee pot on Washington Island.  But it’s only accessible by ferry so I’ve blown it off til now.  Lots of traffic on the little scenic and touristy roads of the Door Peninsula — for a while, it seemed impossible.  Plus, from my pre-printed schedule, the last ferry back to the mainland left at 6pm.  I did the math as I drove and even called the ferry office to make sure I had it right.  The ferry person on the phone said it couldn’t be done.  The ferry takes about a half hour.  If I got there for the 5:15pm boat, I could grab my photos of the Coffee Pot which is right there by the ferry and catch the ride back.   I did some speeding when I could and prayed I wouldn’t get stopped.  Didn’t.  Rather stressful but we got there at 5:10.

More than likely, we wouldn’t make that 6pm boat back so I brought Sparkle along for the extra $25.   If I would up “stuck” there — no tragedy — I’d be forced to romp in the sand with the dogs for a couple of hours and then rough it overnight by camping with Sparkle.  I’m sure the hotels there wouldn’t take four dogs and/or cost a fortune.

Here’s Sparkle enjoying the ride:

The view:


As I grabbed my photos of the Coffee Pot (uploaded one to Flickr tonight), I saw the line forming for the 6pm ferry back.  I hesitated and got in line.  I knew it meant sacrificing a lot of beach romping and exploring time — but I’m just way too far behind schedule.  I’m sure I’m the only person that would have done this:  spent $37 for 5 minutes to shoot a Coffee Pot.  But there you have the insanity of me and these roadtrips.

Back on land…. From Ephraim.  Wish I’d had time to stop for ice cream here — but the light was fading.


From Baileys Harbor — nicely done wood carvings:



The Cape Cod Motel in Egg Harbor.  This area was very Cape Cod-y with rich folks, yachts, cutesy stores.  I couldn’t get out of there fast enough!  No, actually, it was very pretty — the water lapping at the road and I got to take the roads much slower on the way back.


Tomorrow — working our way further south towards Milwaukee.  I doubt we’ll actually get there though until Thursday.

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