day 1 of our Road America IMSA/Wisconsin-lovin’ weekend
Despite our best plans, Thursday ended up being mostly a travel day and not an adventure day. Our vacations are guaranteed to have a work emergency for Zach happen on a day we’ve had marked off on the calendar for months. So we were delayed in leaving home so he could attend court and we had to stop several times en route for him to make calls and review and sign documents.
Ada and I went absolutely feral in a Kwik Trip in East Troy, WI, as we do. Ada referred to a rotisserie chicken as an “emotional support chicken” and earned a look of respect from one of the employees. We stocked up on crunchy salty things and Kwik Trip’s cosmic brownies, which are better than actual cosmic brownies.
Somewhere also around East Troy, Ada spotted a Jeep Wrangler with no doors with a Yorkie riding around in a complicated basket/seatbelt system in the backseat. It was the exact vibe she’s been chasing since she was a toddler. Gonna be hearing about both the Wrangler and the dog until it’s driver’s license time.
The Thursday afternoon weather initially made me feel pretty good about a decision I’d made earlier in the week – I bailed on tent camping onsite at Road America for this weekend. Hassle, heat, losing part of our travel/setup day to work – I just knew I’d be grouchy. I felt vindicated as we followed a rain cloud into Manitowoc, Wisconsin at around 4pm, just barely catching it as we reached the south edge of town.
As it moved ahead of us, we quickly realized it wasn’t a typical storm. Tree branches were down everywhere, water was pooling in the right lane, intersections were both flooded and had no functioning stoplights. Manitowoc is not a small town and as we got closer and closer to our hotel on the bay and still had no stoplights, we wondered if we’d even be able to check in.
The front desk was able to check us in via cell phone, but they were pretty stressed and unsure of whether they were the only ones without power. I explained that the whole town seemed to be out as we drove in from 43, and that there were trees down all over. They were shocked and disbelieving – the storm had only been a few minutes, it “just seemed like hard rain”.
Meanwhile, right outside the front door of the hotel:
We didn’t find that tree until we went for a walk about an hour later after we waited out another brief rainstorm in our room with no power and no air conditioning (well, I went for a walk, and Ada ran and did squats and jumping jacks because she was feeling so much pent up energy).
Our room was on the second floor, and the stairways and hallways were only lit by emergency lighting. I laughed bitterly thinking about the high capacity portable batteries I’d left with our camping gear in the garage at home.
I’d chosen this hotel because it was on the water and walking distance to every restaurant on my list for the weekend. We would have been able to see the SS Badger buzzing around from our window except that service was just suspended due to repairs needed on the ramping system on the Michigan side.
(Speaking of the Michigan side, we were also safe from the diesel fuel leak of the Manitowoc this weekend because that was a ship NAMED Manitowoc, not a ship IN Manitowoc, as it was on the shore on the Michigan side.)
Whew. One disaster at a time. Every business around us for miles had no power. After consulting with the very informative Manitowoc Public Utilities Facebook page, we decided to jump back into the car and leave town to find dinner.
We ended up at the Waverly Inn in Two Rivers, WI (which we referred to the rest of the weekend as the “big mac pizza store” because of the Waverly pizza, which was everything that’s on a Big Mac + tomatoes (I won the debate about whether Big Macs have tomatoes (they don’t))). They also had crab rangoon and mozz sticks that were wrapped with wonton wrappers. And cheese curds. And maple bacon wings. And cheeseburgers. A whole situation. We were maybe a little panicked that we’d never see electricity again.
By the time we returned to our hotel at about 10pm, power had been restored just in time for us to turn out the lights and go to bed.