August 29, 2021
J found out Smith Bros. Coffee in Port Washington, Wisconsin, would be closed permanently after Labor Day weekend. On Sunday we took a quick trip to stop there and a few other places.
It was a good day for me to be in an air-conditioned car — the car thermometer read 97ºF at the Lake Forest Oasis, where the sky was sunny and the atmosphere heavy and oppressive with heat and humidity.
As we progressed northward I noticed enough dark clouds gathering to obscure the sun. Near Milwaukee the skies opened up, accompanied by some lightning and thunder. I’m not sure how long the bad spell lasted — maybe 20 minutes. By the end of it, the temperature had dipped to about 78ºF — that’s more like it.
I found a slightly different route into town that took us past Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve. It’s now on my list.
Our first stop was Bernie’s Fine Meats, which is the source not only of deliciously addictive but unhealthful garlic summer sausage, but also many unhealthful European sweets. I spent well over $100 there. It’s showing in the waistline I no longer have.
Smith Bros. is across the street, part of the Duluth Trading store, which will expand into the Smith Bros. space when it closes. I ordered an iced coffee and sandwiches to go, and picked up coffee beans and an insulated travel mug. Of course I posed with the fisherman sculpture which was installed in 2020. It more or less replicates the sign on the roof, down to the fish on the man’s back, but without the man’s pipe. Our health-conscious times!
Reservations at Twisted Willow were not to be had, so we ordered food and drove around until it was ready to be picked up, about 40 minutes. We re-found the light station, but more important we found Port Washington has extensive lakefront parks. This was a good time to find them because sky was still dramatic from the on-and-off thunderstorms in the area. We decided to return with dinner and use one of the many picnic tables.
After we ate the salad portion of dinner in a strong breeze, during which another rainbow appeared, J took a brief detour toward Belgium and Harrington Beach State Park, home to one of my favorite views on County Road D — a single tree by the side of the road that leads to a stop sign and Lake Michigan. Fail to stop at your peril.
On the way back to the interstate I noticed the sky that had produced drama and rainbows earlier now gave a fire-breathing dragon cloud. What a great way to end a great day.