This weekend, the whole Doukas clan (plus and Esparza and a Bonk) went up to the great state of Wisconsin for a getaway in Door County (or “Whore County” according to my brother’s boss…)
We rode bikes, we kayaked, we ate lots of fish and had an overall stinking good time. Unfortunately, though, I completely forgot to take pictures and document the trip, so I’m going to post a bunch of words now for posterity’s sake.
Here’s a play-by-play recap:
I left work at 3 p.m. and hopped the orange line to Midway, where my betrothed picked me up in his hot ride. I mean that literally — our car overheated, leaving us stranded at the mechanic for an hour or two. It was a real damper on the trip, but we tried to make the best of it, dining on hardboiled eggs (yes, we brought a container of hardboiled eggs on our road trip) and a bag of sour cream and cheddar chips, all while Guy Fieri talked about his trip to Flavortown, where the sandwiches are the bomb.com and the chefs have a PhDs in Delicous (i.e we watched Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives at the meachanic’s).
A Mexican man eats hardboiled eggs.
I won’t go into the details of how the evening got worse and worse before it got better, but let’s just say we had to rent a car and didn’t end up leaving Chicago until 7 p.m. — a solid 3.5 hours later than we intended.
At midnight, we rolled up to a little hotel in Door County called the Waterbury Inn. My brother and my dad met us in the parking lot and showed us around the joint, before we retreated to our room — a two-bedroom lofted suite for the five of us (me, Tristan, my brother and sister, and my sister’s bf). Much to our delight, my dear parents had also stocked our room with the essentials…you know healthy snacks like bananas and blueberries, plus two bags of Matt’s cookies (chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin), Cheez-Its, Special K Bars, beer/pop, and bags and bags of chips. We were in heaven.
We finished the night with a friendly bet ($10/person) over a game of Yahtzee. And guess who won? This lady did.
Despite staying up way past my bedtime, Tristan, my brother, and I woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, got up and dressed, and headed to my parents’ room to, in Tristan’s words, “see what kind of trouble Ted has gotten into already.” Much to our dismay and surprise, though, Ted — my dad — and my mom were still sleeping! And it was already 7 a.m.! It was truly shocking.
In any case, we walked around outside a bit by ourselves, before returning to their room to drink coffee and watch the Running of the Bulls. Then, we headed to a little restaurant that claimed to have the best breakfast in Door County. I have no idea how accurate that claim is, but damn the food was tasty. Nothing like a light breakfast of cherry pancakes and corned beef hash to start your day.
After gorging ourselves, my brother, Tristan, and I rented some bikes and went for a breezy 5-mile trek through the state park. I wish I would’ve snapped pictures, but I didn’t think of it at the time. In any case, it was a vonderful ride, maybe topped only by the next activity — kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. We’ve gone kayaking before — on an October night in the Chicago river — and I gotta say, this was much more enjoyable. Instead of worrying about falling into the river and getting Hepatitis B or eaten by an alligator, I was able to jump in and out of the kayak without fear.
We kayaked to my sister and my boyfriend, who were lounging on the other side of the beach, let them try it out a bit, and then headed back to the rental place to return our vessels.
When we brought the kayaks back ashore — where I landed on a pile of slippery rocks — we coincidentally ended up running into my parents, who graciously gave us a ride back to our car. The five us then headed for ice cream at a local shop that always seemed to have a line out the door and for good reason. I’m still not sure what a “caramel explosion” is, but I’d do it again.
When we got back to the hotel, Tristan and I swam (i.e played with inflatable toys) in the pool for a bit, before getting ready for Door County’s signature dinner: The fish boil.
The boil — the actual cooking of the fish — is part of dinner extravaganza, so we all gathered around a fire as a portly, backcountry-looking guy explained to us the intricacies of making fish and answered questions from the crowd. Tristan almost asked, “Why did my wife leave me?” but thankfully decided against it. When it was finally time to eat, we all piled into the dining room and got in line for our serving of the boil. I’m not a huge seafood eater, but hot damn this fish was good. Covering it in melted butter didn’t hurt either.
The “kids” at the fish boil.
Saturday night ended with more ping pong, a game called Pass the Pigs (which is stupidly simple but surprisingly fun), and an early bedtime.
Sunday Sunday Sunday — our last day in the county. The last days of vacation are always a bit depressing for me, as I can’t always keep myself from thinking about going to work the next day. But, I tried my darndest to push it out of mind, and I succeeded for the most part.
Big shocker, we started our morning at 6 a.m., when we went for a run through the state park with my parents. It was a short and easy jaunt — only two miles or so — but it felt good to get some exercise on vacation. It’s not something we always do, but something I’d like to start doing more often.
The whole group — all seven of us — had grand plans for making the most our of the day, and we were on a bit of a tight schedule. After our quick run, we headed back to the room to shower, change, and pack-up. I played my dad in a game of checkers (and lost miserably) while Tristan looted the rest of the group’s snacks. Then, at around 9, we all took off to catch a ferry to Washington Island, a scenic spot just a half-hour ride away.
Only Maria and Jeff (my sister and her boyfriend) brought their car on the ferry, leaving me, Tristan, and Nick to fend for ourselves re: transportation. We decided to bike around the island, first from the dock to a breakfast joint — where I befriended an adorable dog named Drake — then from the restaurant to an old church (that actually ended up being a new church that just looked like an old church), and finally from the church to a beach and back. The beach was one of the highlights of this day trip, only because Tristan acted a damn fool, trying to sink himself in the water by holding on to two big rocks, flopping onto the shore like a beached whale, and just generally being a moron. The whole family had a laugh, my dad asked me if I’m sure I want to marry him, and then he and my brother nicknamed Tristan GMC (Giant Mexican Child) due to his size, ethnicity, and childlike wonder.
By the time we got back to the dock, it was around time to start heading back home. We hopped the ferry, got in our respective cars, and then made a quick pit stop for more ice cream (shocker), before finally setting off for Chicago.
Waking up for work this morning was extra hard because of this damn good weekend, which makes the cynical side of me not want to take vacations ever because it’s just so darn depressing coming back. But I’m over it by now, I suppose. I do want to head back to ol’ Whore County sometime soon though. There was a ton to see, and two days (really 1.5 days) just wasn’t long enough to cover it all.