July 30, 2021 Bailey’s Harbor, WI Day 5

When we woke up this morning, the temp outside was 64. We did not sleep with the windows open, but had the heat set to come on if the temp in the bus dropped too low overnight. I can’t tell you how much we are enjoying these cooler temperatures. Bob had set an alarm last night for his Architectural Review Committee meeting this morning at 9:30 Eastern time. Three members were present and 2 members called in for the meeting. We didn’t need the alarm after all, since we got up before it went off. Bob held his meeting as the Committee chairman which lasted until 11:00. I hung out and did some things around the bus while the meeting was going on. After the meeting, we packed a lunch and then took the drive back to the Cana Island Lighthouse around 11:30. Today was one of the days that you could actually climb to the top of the lighthouse, so that was in our plans. We arrived at the lighthouse at 11:45. Cana Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1869. It is 89 ft. tall and has a 3rd order Fresnel lens. It was automated in 1945 and was opened to visitors in 2006.

It was a busy place today and we literally got the last parking space in the lot. We walked over to the causeway and saw people wading across the channel. That made us wonder if the tractor shuttle was even running today. We gave some thought to wading across ourselves, but we didn’t bring our water shoes with us.

The tractor suddenly appeared on the other side as more people tried to wade across. Today the wind was out of the north causing the waves to break on the rocks in the channel. They aren’t sure how the causeway formed, but it seems likely that it was formed naturally. Waves break around the island in a unique pattern. When the lake is high they meet in the area over the causeway. Rocks get deposited on the causeway and raise its level. During storms, some of the rocks get washed away. Some years the causeway is above the water level and usable. During high water years, the causeway is under water requiring people to wade or ride the shuttle.

We waited for the tractor and 5 of us made the very bumpy ride across the channel.

We paid our $10 entrance fee and got a wristband to allow us access to the keepers quarters, the oil storehouse, the privy, and a climb to the top of the light tower. It was 12:00.

There is also a nature trail around the island and informational plaques around the grounds explaining where the shipwrecks lie and where other buildings, now since gone, were located.

We walked the path towards the lighthouse.

We were told to immediately get a number so we could be in a group to go up in the lighthouse. At the office, it said that the wait was currently 30 minutes. Not bad. I was given a card to be part of group 10. Group 8 had just gone up and Group 9 was going up in 15 minutes. However, they forgot to tell us that there would be a 30 minute break before Group 10 could go up. So, in the meantime while we waited, we sat on a bench and ate our lunch, walked around the grounds, and toured the other buildings.

At 1:30, Group 10 was finally called and the group ascended the tower.

I went up alone and Bob waited below. I was the last in my group to climb, so I was able to take my time and take pictures as I went up. I love what a beautiful design the spiral staircase makes in the tower.

At every landing there was a porthole with a beautiful view framed by the round window.

I climbed the 97 stairs to the light room. I looked up into the light at the top.

The light at the top of the tower house is the original third order Fresnel lens.

The light was originally fueled with lard or whale oil, then kerosene, and eventually electricity in 1945. In the 1960’s, an electrical power line was installed to the island and the light was converted to bulbs. Climbing through a hole to get to the observation deck, I stood outside on the platform to get an outstanding view of the area.

From up there, the people looked like colorful ants. Bob stood there under the trees to take my picture.

The sky was so clear today, I could see the Michigan coastline. I confirmed that with one of the volunteers working there in the lighthouse just to be sure. I had to use my 30X optical zoom to get this picture.

In the summer of 2006, the lighthouse tower was opened to the public. In the numerous times I’ve been to Cana Island over the years, I have never been able to climb up into the lighthouse until now, either because they weren’t allowing people to do it, or I was visiting on a day that they weren’t doing tours. I was happy I was finally able to do it and it was AWESOME! This was where my love of lighthouses began.

Bob waited below and was able to take my picture while I was up on the observation deck.

Once I got down, we waited for the tractor to arrive and then we took the ride back. The wagon was full and it seemed that the ride was a little less bumpy, maybe due to the added weight.

We drove back to the campground around 3:00 and enjoyed the rest of our afternoon outside with Auggie.

Our camping neighbors came over to visit with Auggie and chat awhile. At 5:00, we drove a couple of miles to downtown Bailey’s Harbor to have dinner at the Florian II Supper Club.

It is your typical “up north” supper club, complete with music during dinner.

We were escorted to a table on the solarium. We had a beautiful view of Lake Michigan through the large windows.

I enjoyed probably my last (good) Old Fashioned cocktail for awhile. (I just can’t get a good Old Fashioned in Florida.)

Bob ordered the perch fry dinner.

I had the walleye. Both were delicious and we must have been hungry because neither of us took home a doggie bag.

On our way back to the campground, we saw people enjoying some live music in the park in Bailey’s Harbor.

We stopped and listened to the band playing blues and rock and roll for about an hour. They were very good! Most of the towns around the area designate a special day of the week to feature live music in their park. Fish Creek does Thursdays and Sister Bay does Wednesdays.

We got back to the campground around 7:00 and took Auggie for his walk around the campground looking at the new arrivals. While we walked, the “Beantown train” made a few sweeps through the campground with the kids laughing and squealing as they rode by. What a fun activity for the kids! They were having a blast! Oh, to be a kid again!

We got back to the bus and watched some TV. The evening cooled off quickly when the sun went down. We made plans for our last day in Door County tomorrow. This is the farthest north we will go on this trip. On Sunday, we will be heading south on our way back home.

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