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Door to Nature
In Your glass
On Your Plate
Door County Map
The strength of a community is determined by how well it is able to take care of itself.
How strong is Door County?
When a historical building is in disrepair, when a natural wonder is threatened, when our economy is decline, when art and culture are needed, and especially when a member of our community is sick, Door County comes together.
It is the spirit, hospitality and generosity of its people that enables Door County to overcome the largest of obstacles. We take care of our own and our visitors. Despite political differences, religious beliefs and individual life choices, the people of Door County have built, and continue to build, a community.
We are small in population, but we are immense in our generosity.
It is an honor and privilege to live and work in a community that finds a way to take care of itself. This issue provides a snapshot of just a few examples of the people who work every day to make our community a better place. Thanks to all who contribute, volunteer and participate.
Thanks for reading.
Enjoy our community.
A day in the life of a snowstorm
By Matt Ledger Photography by len villano
It’s about 3:00 am when, on the road outside the Baileys Harbor Marina, I step up into Bobby Schultz’s snowplow. It’s dark, cold, and I honestly wish I were at home sleeping.
But here’s Bobby: sitting in his big orange behemoth of a truck with a giant smile on his face and a large Thermos of coffee on the floor of the truck’s passenger side.
“Hey, buddy,” he says, “good to see you.” He’s chuckling as I climb into the plow’s passenger seat.
And I know then that I’m in for a treat.
Bobby’s been driving heavy equipment for the county for 23 years, and he’s been in a plow for seven of those. This morning we’re plowing Bobby’s usual route, which is a portion of Highway 42, a couple county highways including County Q, and the local roads in the Town of Baileys Harbor.
The snow is coming down fairly heavily and there’s a 40 mph wind that’s blowing everything around. You can see out of the truck, but visibility’s not the best. There is definitely a storm happening around us.
Bobby’s telling me stories and driving with the window down to get some fresh air. He’s not nonchalant or unconcerned; he just knows exactly what he’s doing. He knows when to toggle what switches to adjust the plow exactly to his liking. He knows to start throwing down sand rather than salt because it won’t blow around as much in the wind.
He does all this without breaking verbal stride. It’s second nature to him.
So we cruise at about 25 mph down the highway (Bobby says it doesn’t pay to go much faster than that), and Bobby gets around to telling me what I think is his favorite plowing story. It’s not a story about a big mishap or the worst storm the county’s ever seen.
It’s a story about a boy in an ambulance who desperately needed to get where he was going.
“We plowed out to the house where the ambulance call was, then we plowed all the way to Sturgeon Bay, then the county line, then into Kewaunee County,” says Bobby. “We took turns plowing all the way to Brown County, with the ambulance following behind us.”
That, says Bobby, is what keeps him going at six in the morning when the sun is just coming up and he’s feeling a sluggishness that not even the giant Thermos of coffee can shake off. There are times when people absolutely have to get where they’re going. Other times, it’s just nice for the roads to be clear at a decent time.
Either way, someone has to do it.
It’s at about this point in time that I realize I have no idea where we are. We were on County Q, but at some point we took a detour to go help out with another plow’s route. I lost all sense of direction somewhere in between, and here in the snow and the dark there aren’t too many landmarks in clear view to help me out.
Bobby knows where we are, but he says that sometimes – when the snow is really coming down – even he loses track of his exact position.
“When that happens,” he says, “you just keep plowing.”
As we get back onto Bobby’s normal route, he tells me some more lighthearted stories. Stories about the times he was stuck in the plow (yes, even snowplows get stuck) or the times he’s done battle with the county’s many hills.
Hills, it turns out, are the worst enemy of the snowplow and the snowplow driver. Going up them, yes, but especially going down them. Especially when there’s ice.
“I’ve gone down the Sister Bay hill sideways,” says Bobby. “I’ve had a couple times that happened. So yeah, I’ve had some experiences.”
Now, about two hours after I climbed in Bobby’s truck, so have I. But it’s 5:00 in the morning, I haven’t slept, and I have to go to work in about four hours. While Bobby’s as chipper as ever, I’m dragging.
So when we pull back through Baileys Harbor, Bobby drops me off where he found me. He’s been on the road since at least 2:00 am, and he’s probably going to be out until 9:00 or 10:00. He’ll then go out again later in the day to make sure everything still looks okay.
But he’s not thinking of any of that right now. Right now he’s watching to make sure I make it safely down the steps of the plow.
“Take care, buddy!” he says, raising his voice to make sure I can hear him over the rumble of the plow’s engine.
And then he’s off again, the orange light atop his plow cutting into the darkness and bouncing off the snow.