Wednesday, August 22, 2007


No more about Michigan and Wisconsin after today, but as usual there are leftover scraps.

Hang-on Express Chinese & Thai Food, in the unexpected spot of Suttons Bay, Mich., few miles north of Traverse City, offers good food.

Two bumper stickers spotted near Traverse City:

“PAVE LEELANAU Our land is too precious for trees.” That would be in the sarcastic line of stickers; Leelanau is the name of the peninsula and county that Traverse is in. Small print under the main slogan: “Coalition of the Disposed to Dismember Developers.”

“Sure You Can Trust the Government. Just Ask an Indian.”

Pellston, Mich., calls itself – at least on a billboard at the edge of town – the “Icebox of the Nation.”

US 2 through the Upper Peninsula was thick with hand-lettered signs. I have to like a road like that. My favorite advertised “Honest Injin’s Tourist Trap." I don’t know about Injins, but the tourist trap part looked about right.

When I was very small, someone asked me about my favorite football team. Maybe they were expecting the Cowboys, but I answered Green Bay. The name appealed to me.

It still does, and while I’m not claiming any favorite pro football team, I like the Packers for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s publicly owned, not by some oafish millionaire who insists on sucking the public teat. Then there’s the fact that Green Bay isn’t a major market. There ought to be more small-market pro teams. The Bangor Lumberjacks ("I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK!" for their fight song), say, or the Walla Walla Warriors.

We overnighted in the city of Green Bay on the way into Wisconsin, as a way station between the Michigan and Wisconsin segments of the trip. The morning we left, I volunteered to put gas in the car, but my real ambition was to see Lambeau Field, home of the Packers, which I’d missed on previous flybys through Green Bay. It’s an impressively solid piece of work, classic stadium design, even including the quasi-mall that’s been added to one side (the “Atrium,” it’s called). If I’d had more time, I would have taken the tour, provided it wasn’t too expensive. Just because it doesn’t go to any oafish millionaire doesn’t mean I’d want to be gouged.

We all liked the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, as I mentioned before, but it did seem to be missing an exhibit on sideshow freaks. A perfect opportunity for wax figures. I did see Gargantua the Great’s cage, however.

Just a little off the courthouse square in Baraboo is Salecker’s Baraboo Bäckerei – a German-style bakery. It reminded me of one of my favorite bakeries anywhere, the corner establishment I visited many times in Lüneburg all those years ago. Just the smell was worth driving a few miles for.

The Al. Ringling Theater on the square offers tours every morning at 11. We were looking forward to taking the tour the morning we left Baraboo, but it was closed that day due to construction work. Designed by the same fellows – the Rapps – who did the Chicago Theater, the Al. Ringling is now another reason to return to Baraboo someday.

And there’s one more reason: the Foreverton, south of Baraboo on US 12, billed as the “world’s largest metal sculpture.” I don’t know how that’s measured, but I wanted to see it. We got to see other interesting metal sculptures in the area, mostly of birds, but the Foreverton itself was closed – we could see the top behind a wooden fence – on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


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