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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 8: Around the lake and on to Wisconsin Wine Country

After leaving Fred's house on Day 8 Kitai and I drove 479 miles which, according to Google Maps, takes 7 hours 26 minutes to accomplish. We could have taken the Lake Express Ferry to cross Lake Michigan but it would have cost $187 for the car and trailer and an additional $82.50 for me to travel one way. On the S.S. Badger it would have been $69 for me, $69 for my car, and another $59.50 for the trailer.

The fifth leg of my Michigan or Bust Roadtrip: Mi to WI

Instead we drove all the way down and around Lake Michigan opting to take I-80 to I-39 to avoid having to drive through Chicago. Worth noting the $1.10 toll for autos I had to pay on the way to MI had increased to $1.70 with the trailer and a third axle. Which sounds like a jump until you consider that one way for autos on the Golden Gate Bridge is $6.00 and with the third axle on my trailer the price jumps to $18.00.

Remember when I said driving through NV, UT, and WY I only played the Eagles and John Denver on my stereo because their music and lyrics so perfectly suited the drive? Well, when I got to IN and IL I felt like I should put the Scorpions "Big City Nights" or Guns and Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" on because suddenly the idyllic drive I'd been enjoying so much became a much more dense and less polite digital derby.

One interchange I needed to take in particular after leaving Fred's house was almost impossible because all of a sudden people wouldn't let me change lanes. Finally a sympathetic semi let me in so I wouldn't have to miss my interchange and double back. It was nerve wracking to say the least but thankfully it didn't last very long.

Except for that one incident Kitai and I were good to go. We made stops for gas and had to laugh when at one station a woman popped out of her pick up and came over to tell me "We saw you driving down the highway and I told my husband 'Now THAT'S a travel trailer!' He said you must have picked it up in Indiana because there are a lot of trailer companies in Indiana." I told her about Fred and the custom build then invited her to take a peek inside because I knew she wanted to. It would be the first of many tours I'd give of the trailer now that I was on the road.

At one rest stop I took this hilarious picture of The Glampette parked beside a large RV. It looked ridiculously tiny. It looks even smaller when surrounded by semis and tankers :)

To give you an idea of what it's like towing The Glampette these two pictures kind of say it all. The top image is to show you I was on a straight away with no cars for miles when I slowed down and held my camera aloft with one hand to snap a couple of quick pictures. The lower image shows how little of my field of vision is blocked by the trailer that's a foot more narrow than the width of my car. I can almost see all the way around it.

It's tiny and tows like a dream. It's easy to forget it's back there but I check my rearview mirror constantly to make sure it's steady and tracking squarely behind me.

Another gas stop where I also picked up a Subway sandwich for dinner that night since I didn't want to have to cook anything.

Since I'd been on the road for over a week and had yet to do anything touristy I made time for   a fun stop late that afternoon at Burr Oak Winery and Kennedy Vineyards in New Lisbon, Wisconsin. It was right off the interstate. I spotted their billboard as I drove along I-90 and found the winery no problem off HWY 12.

I parked beside a beautiful old tree and farmhouse, loaded Kitai into his dog stroller, and headed towards the tasting room.

The property is really lovely. The buildings include the production and tasting rooms as well as a bottling area and patio. I was warmly greeted and invited into the tasting room.

Inside there's a beautiful, vintage, stained glass window that graces the display area where wine related gift items are sold. The hand painted ceramic spoon rests in the lower center image are made by a local artist and were especially beautiful.

And then it was time to taste wine! I sampled 9 wines total both reds and whites using the tasting sheet to take notes. Of them I enjoyed three in a row which is pretty much a miraculous moment for me and my supertaster taste buds.

I purchased two bottles of wine, a sweet, white, estate wine named Lorelei and a red that was a Cranberry dessert wine so it didn't have the same kind of heavy flavor that dry red wines possess. It was light, bright, sweet, and a little tart.

To my horror I dropped the Cranberry bottle almost the moment I stepped out the front door of the wine tasting room. Terribly embarrassed at the mess I'd made I repurchased the bottle and apologized profusely. I know accidents happen but I'm usually not that clumsy.

My only defense is it was the first time I've ever purchased two bottles at once. Obviously I'll need to do so more often to practice carrying them without creating a wine catastrophe :) Or, if I need more once I'm back in California I can always have Burr Oak Winery send me a few bottles by ordering from their online wine list page. The next time I'm driving through Wisconsin on I-90 I'll definitely make a second visit to sample more wines.

After the wine tasting I was able to capture the sun setting over Kennedy Vineyards.

It was The Glampette's first day out in the wild away from home. I think she missed Fred a little.

Fortunately I was able to distract her with this gorgeous sunset over the vineyards.

The view got better as colors began painting the sky.

As the sun finished setting I thought to myself that we had had a very good first day. More are sure to come. In my next post I'll share with you the funniest twist of fate when I made new friends in South Dakota who turned out to be old acquaintances from California.

To be continued.

To follow my Michigan or Bust road reports here they are:

Days 1-3: Picking up my tiny travel trailer: 2364 miles to happiness :)
Day 4: Be still my glamping heart: The cutest vintage grill ever!
Days 4-8: Meeting Fred and The Glampette for the first time
Welcome to The Glampette: A peek inside
Day 8 Part 2: Around the lake and on to Wisconsin Wine Country
Day 9: A suspenseful night at the Kennebec KOA
Day 10: It could have been worse
Day 10 continued:  Overnight at a Walmart, a traveler's rite of passage
Day 11: Montana to Washington car don't fail me now!
And my favorite RV Park was: Hi-Way Haven in Sutherlin, OR
4974 miles later our adventure comes to an end

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