One thing I have learned on our retirement road trips is that there is a distinct difference between travel and vacation. Obviously we love our travel; otherwise we would be enjoying retirement at home. Travel is “enjoy while moving”. Nevertheless, as we entered into our second week of traveling through the Heartland, we both felt a need for a bit of vacation. It was time to “enjoy in place” for a spell.
During the planning for our trip we had been told that we needed to allow some time for exploring Wisconsin around Green Bay and Door County. Several friends had helped us plan, and one of my high school friends had just returned from a vacation in Door County and brought us a treasure trove of maps and brochures from that area. We were eager to explore but just as eager to sit and breathe some fresh air from the shore of Lake Michigan.
We also knew that we would be arriving in that area around Labor Day weekend and getting accommodations could be problematic. Once again we hit the jackpot. We were able to secure a room in a Lighthouse operated by the US Coast Guard at Rawley Point on Lake Michigan. We’ve had some great experiences on our road trips and shared a lot of them on Easin’ Along, but this rest stop has to be one of the most memorable.
This lighthouse was erected in 1894 and stands 113 feet tall. The beacon can be seen by ships 28 miles away. It was manually operated until 1980, but is now completely automated. The keeper’s home, built in 1874, has been converted into three apartments. We were assigned apartment “B”, a large, two-bedroom unit, complete with a large kitchen and living room. Our view was to the east and overlooked the shore of Lake Michigan. This was just what we needed.
It did not take us long to unpack and make the beds. We emptied our travel cooler into the full size refrigerator which was nice to have and, with that done, Helen (adorable wife) checked out Trip Advisor for restaurants in nearby Two Rivers, WI. We decided to visit Casa Mexico for some good Mexican Food. We arrived just as dusk was setting in.
The restaurant was large and we were given a table by the front window with a view of the street. The hostess and the server were both polite and extremely friendly…I love it when that happens. We were in a beer mood and ordered big mugs of Modelo, a Mexican brew. It was served in frozen mugs…I love it when that happens also. We passed on appetizers.
Helen ordered a Quesadilla Rellena. This was a flour tortilla stuffed with chicken and refried beans and topped with a cheese sauce. It was served with lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, Pico de Gallo, and rice. This was a lot of food and it was great!
I ordered a Gordo Burrito. I know just enough Spanish to know that Gordo translates into “fat” or “large”, and this was one “fat” burrito. I’m not a big rice fan and always order a second helping of refried beans as a substitute. Our polite server was eager to please. To me, Mexican food always has to be served hot in order to taste the best and this food came out hot and good…I love it when…(you get the drift). I managed to eat every bite. We paid up and then walked for a few minutes before driving back to our lovely lighthouse.
Fortunately for us, we were blessed with only one or two channels of television so we decided to hit the bed early and leave the windows open. With the sound of waves rolling in from Lake Michigan, it didn’t take long to be sound asleep.
When I woke up from a deep sleep the next morning, Helen was walking in the door to the apartment. She was up before dawn and walked out to the sandy shore to take pictures of the sunrise. While walking northward she encountered a large flock of gulls and continued to walk toward them thinking that flying gulls would make a nice picture. As luck would have it, the gulls flew to the south in front of the rising sun, and she captured what I think is the winning picture of our entire retirement road trip. That picture is shown here along with a few others from that morning and the next. The setting was just about as beautiful and as peaceful as a vacation amidst travel can be. A Picture Gallery has been posted, so Ease Along over there by clicking here.
That afternoon we ventured into Door County, WI. The details of that excursion will be shared next week along with our stop in Green Bay for a tour of Lambeau Field so please come back next Friday.
We did make one short side trip while in Door County that I’ll share here. We spotted a sign to Whitefish Dunes State Park while driving south toward Sturgeon Bay and decided to visit there and take a short walk. It was an awesome day to be outdoors and we had both fallen in love with the beaches along Lake Michigan. I have a link to the State Park (here) and have posted a picture of a view from the dunes below.
That night we decided to take advantage of the barbecue grills outside of the lighthouse and eat in our large kitchen before calling it a night.
We love to travel, but vacation ain’t bad either…and, after all, we’re just Easin’ Along.