Sip & Shore West Road Trip

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This year we decided to mix things up for our annual Sip & Shore road trip. Traditionally we travel to Traverse City, MI, but this year we headed to Door County WI. The impetus was the very generous offering of a long time good friend to use his compound at the very northern tip of Gills Rock for the weekend. As ususal, Fuelfed driver Frank V. and our beautiful wives were quick to jump on the opportunity to drive north.

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This year, we decided to drive something vintage but would give good fuel economy. Frank brought his recently restored 1976 BMW 2002 and I, my 1983 GTI. Weeks of late night car prep ensued. Frank with brakes and carbs, and me with new Bilstein / H&R suspension, big brake upgrade and p&p intake mods. Par for the course, each of us were nervously tweaking just minutes before departure. 9:00am Thursday arrived quickly, but we were packed and ready.

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First stop, Comet Diner in Milwaukee for their Commuter breakfast sandwich, then off to Two Rivers and the Hamilton Type Museum. Frank and I are fascinated with design and vintage Americana. The Hamilton combines the lost art of wood type and vintage letter press printing. Thank God some people still care about the value of working with their hands and mind. Well worth the stop.

Next stop: Death’s Door. The compound was located a mile into the woods at the end of a gravel trail. The 2002 had a little trouble navigating it with racing slicks but we managed.

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The treasure at the end of the trial was jaw dropping. Beautiful rustic main house with matching cottage perched high on the rocky bluff above Death’s Door passage separating Lake Michigan and Green Bay.

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The weekend was filled with local diners, supper clubs and late night cocktails on the house’s many decks. Just what the doctor ordered.

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Door county doesn’t have a lot going on, but what it lacks in activity, it makes up for in perspective. It’s a place that has preserved a part of American culture that is now only a memory in our grand parents minds. A time when vacations were about spending quality time with family and friends. Supper clubs, where the prime rib is as good as the stiff cocktails. And the 80 year old family owned lodges where fish boils still happen on Friday and Saturday nights.

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We enjoyed plenty of red meat and alcohol for four days and nights. One of the best antidotes for driving vintage cars was everywhere we stopped, someone had to come over and inquire about the cars. Something that fueled our spirit, yet mystified our wives.

The beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon was spent touring the east side of the peninsula in search of twisty roads. Most were nice sweepers but Glidden Drive is the only one worth mentioning.

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Yes Frank was jonesing for BBQ again, so we hit Casey’s after a cocktail at Donny Glidden’s Lodge. Casey’s follows suite with most rural restaurants in Wisconsin; pine wood walls with vinyl pleated seating with minimal lighting but the BBQ made up for it.

The trip back to Chicago was long but enjoyable following scenic county Q along the lake shore and eventually merging into route 42 south. A quick stop in Algoma for fuel and we were met by an inquisitive 356 owner. Dan was curious as to why our classic cars were driven this far from Chicago. We explained the Fuelfed fraternity motto and he wanted to pledge right there. All I could offer was my Fuelfed magnet which he graciously accepted.

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Finally, the weekend ended at DeMarinis supper club over looking Lake Michigan in Milwaukee for some family style pan pizza. Not Malnati’s but worthy as the last stop for Sip & Shore 2011.

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