Morning: On the road and a local lunch
Now the days are just flying by and we’re headed home. Which means we’ll be on the road more and more each day. We left Door County early this morning and drove through Green Bay (and by Lambeau Field) to downtown Oshkosh for lunch. Not wanting to overwhelm any single eatery, Willie and I scoped out the options at the other end of the street from where the bus dropped us off and we found the Distillery Pub. I had to ask if they served lunch since there were no customers at 11:45. They said “SURE”! So we sat at the bar and started looking at the menus. It reminded me of the type of bar you’d find in any midwestern town that is usually just for locals. It had lots of Green Bay Packer’s memorabilia and we let them know we were from Manhattan….where Jordie went to school. We had a fun time getting to know the bartenders who talked Willie into ordering The Dominator: a pizza burger with a beef patty, sausage, pepperoni, mozorella cheese, and marinara sauce. I opted for a hoagie thinking it would be more manageable than the burger. Turns out my hoagie was bigger than the burger, but both were great. Once again I was reminded that if you’re open to it, you can find commonality with most people. Oh, and the total bill for lunch, including two beers, was just over $10. Less than if we’d eaten at McDonalds (according to Willie, since I never eat there).
Afternoon: Boat trip!
It took a bit to get everyone back on the bus, thus we were late getting started. Which meant we were late for our Dells Boat Tour in Wisconsin Dells. Basically, the Dells features a beautiful section of the Wisconsin River as it flows through limestone bluffs. It really is amazing. The problem is that the town has grown in to a grotesque tourist trap. I know some people like this kind of thing, but I don’t. But I digress: Back to the boat. We were late, but Becky called and got them to wait for us. We seem to be getting slower and slower, but we finally got everyone on board the 1965-era passenger board. A total of 103 passengers and 2 crew members motored up the river stopping hear and there to gaze at the cliffs, trees, and young women jumping into the water. Actually, most people missed the last part, but it happened. It was a two hour tour with two stops. Each stop we disembarked and got to walk on a boardwalk into a gorge (or canyon?) and buy ice cream. The rock formations were great and Becky and I marveled at how cool (literally) it was in the gorge. But I swear that most people made a beeline straight to the snack shop.
At the second stop, we disembarked and got to see a german shepherd jump back and forth across a chasm between the high cliff and a standing rock. He did it once. Really. Google it if you don’t believe me. The return trip to the main dock was uneventful but we had some difficulties getting everyone back to the bus. It was a little frustrating that the tour company wasn’t a little more sensitive to the mobility needs of some of our residents. One of the elevators in an adjacent building didn’t work so a couple of people got stranded after walking up too many stairs. We got it figured out, but it left a few people frustrated and worn out.
Evening: Dinner and (another) show
Dinner tonight was at the Thunder Valley Inn, which is a Norwegian-themed bed and breakfast with special dinners run by a really nice couple. The itinerary promised “a scrumptious homemade meal, topped off with food for your soul – fiddling, sing-a-long, accordion playing….” That’s where I stopped reading. I missed the part about Olé and Lena jokes. The meal was really good: roast beef, mashed potatoes, cooked peas and carrots and bread. Honestly, the bread was the best part. Topped with their homemade strawberry and rhubard jam, it was fantastic. (I would have liked to bring a loaf home.) The rest of the evening’s entertainment I opted to opt out and browsed the gift shop, the animal pens (goats, chickens, swans, a peacock, and a rabbit a sign warned me not to touch). I did go back in when they sang Happy Birthday to Linda and brought her a very nice dessert. Afterward she admitted to being less than enthusiastic about the Birthday Tiara. After everyone got back on the bus, we departed for our hotel here in Wisconsin Dells.
Tomorrow will be another early start as we have two final tours (Little Norway and House on the Rock) and have to get all the way to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for our Farewell Dinner. Then, just a final bus ride back to Manhattan on Saturday. I’m looking forward to getting home.