Thursday, December 15, 2016


Detroit Harbor shoreline following first major snowfall
of winter, about nine inches that fell Sunday, Dec. 11.
We've counted seven muskrat huts that were created
over the summer, now appearing as snow covered domes.

Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Yes, it can be long, with overcast and sameness for many days, and confining.  But, if you feel good, like the fresh air and exercise - even limited exercise like brief walks to the bird feeder or mail box - then winter can also be a great time of the year to enjoy the outdoors.

Our mild December changed last weekend with snow, then single-digit cold.  Detroit Harbor froze with a light covering of ice in about three days' time.   High winds of Dec. 14 and 15 limited ferry trips due to icing conditions and strong seas.  Added to that mix was a thick blanket of steam hanging over the Door this morning, about the poorest visibility that can be encountered.

Potato Dock vantage point Wednesday, Dec. 14
as Arni J. Richter returns from Northport,
the only trip made that day.

Ferry Traveler Advisory:   In a few days a remodeling project at the Northport Terminal is expected to begin.  Carlson-Erickson Builders will reconfigure the lobby as per plans drawn by Mike Kickbush, thereby opening up the visitor information and lobby area, moving toilets to the former restaurant kitchen space, and all-in-all making this 30-year old facility into what we believe will be a more useful and functional terminal and visitor center.

Essentially the same view, same time of day as the photo captured Wednesday.
Six degree temperature, strong NW winds with rolling sea and steam.  Crossing
took nearly twice as long as normal, in an effort by the
operator to avoid accumulation of ice on deck.

At a certain point plumbing fixtures within the building will be disconnected and will no longer be available for public use, until such time as new facilities are complete and the project is nears final stages in late winter.  In the meantime, portable toilets will be provided in lieu of indoor plumbing, but we also realize that in below freezing weather this option may not appeal to modern-day sensitivities.   We suggest planning your trip ahead - as much as is possible - and that ferry travelers utilize the heads provided onboard the ferry Arni J. Richter.  Sorry for your inconvenience.  We believe the planned improvements, when completed, will be appreciated.  Thanks in advance for your understanding.

And the above reminds me of a humorous toilet joke that Arni used to enjoy telling. His parents, Carl and Maggie Richter, at a certain point had indoor plumbing installed in their home.  The new facility was located in an area formerly dedicated as kitchen space.  Carl liked to say that he could never get used to going to the bathroom in the kitchen.

Maybe this saying will "hold water" for those who in the future will visit the remodeled Northport bathrooms in the old kitchen space.

-  Dick Purinton