day tripping—denis gullickson—may 2020
Strange times, folks.
As of this writing, our nation has surpassed the 1 million mark of Covid-19 cases and whether you're a conspiracy theorist (the virus is man-made, overblown or fake; the Democrats orchestrated this to smear Donald Trump's great economy; this is the imposition of a New World Order) or you're convinced that “we're all in this together" and a strict advocate of Safer at Home … well, we're living a wild chapter in future history books.
Last month's column, “Art Will Heal," meant to illustrate the important role art and performance is playing under the current paradigm and in the shaky future once the onslaught passes.
This month, hopefully, a safe alternative to the madness that can result from this quarantine.
Generally speaking, “Safer at Home" has kept Wisconsin from blowing up as a hotspot. With that in mind, Governor Evers, has extended his order through May 26 as of this writing. Sadly, Brown County has emerged as one of the state's “hotspots" — putting even more urgency on the best practices in social distancing and cleanliness.
Protestors aside, most of the state's residents — especially our healthcare heroes — appreciate the fact that Wisconsin hospitals have not been overwhelmed to date.
Is limited access to the outside world driving folks stir crazy? I know it is for this writer. While I've longed for a stretch of downtime like this for ten years or more, I will admit to not being fully prepared for it or for it lasting this long.
I am lucky to have a retreat near Lakewood as well. And, never fear, my “Up North" neighbors. When I go to the cottage, that is exactly what I do and where I stay. I am not all over Lakewood “touching things." Hopefully, you are doing likewise staying put and not venturing en masse to Green Bay on a whim.
With gas as cheap as we seen it in a very, very long time, the propensity might be to venture out a bit via automobile — allowing one to expand those “shelter in place" guidelines while staying safe and keeping others safe at the same time. Nothing wrong with that, according to the site, WebMD.
Safe Travel Protocol
Now, let's be perfectly clear about what kind of “Road Trip" this writer is advocating.
We are talking about a drive that can be done in a part of a day, involves absolutely no contact with anyone you are not already in quarantine with and does not involve stopping at any gas station or other place of business along the way. Those aren't suggestions. That is the mandatory attention to detail dictated for such a “day trip."
Such a safe drive starts with planning and preparation. You will bring anything you expect to need from home. You will fill up your tank at a gas station near your home — following safe protocols for that. You will be certain that you and anyone sharing your drive are feeling well.
Remember, you are not stopping anywhere for anything except for enjoying fresh air and scenes of nature and roadside attractions from a safe distance. Essentially, you are extending the horizons of your current stay-at-home circumstances. No ifs, ands or buts.
Of late, days have been sunny if still a bit cool. Perfect.
There are numerous driving destinations within reach of Green Bay and surrounding environs. We could start a list here, but why not make use of a few excellent Facebook pages including Forgotten Wisconsin, Abandoned Wisconsin, Wisconsin Roadside Attractions and our own Photos and Memories of Old Green Bay.
And bring a camera or your smartphone. Heck, why not resume that old photography hobby while you are at it? But that, too, comes with some “rules of the road."
First off, no trespassing. You can take plenty of great shots from the road without violating pandemic protocols or breaking and entering statutes. Like the pandemic, there are a few more people than just yourself to think about — including others who take such photos.
Complaints from property owners is no way to keep this form of venturing out supported or appreciated. The fact that state parks and other trails had to be shut down for a time due to vandalism and overcrowding should be “heads up" enough for all of us.
We could raise the idea of using common sense here, but it would likely fall on deaf ears for those without it and be unnecessary for those who practice it.
May 1 marked the anniversary of the first public performance at The Premier, Green Bay's unique arts and performance incubator. That day, Amelie and Jon of 7000Apart performed in front of one of our big windows along North Broadway, with Lennie's Tap in view across the street.
Things sure were different then. With an exciting year before us, we still could not have anticipated a hip-hop fashion show, a regular songwriter's group, art vendor shows, rock and roll rehearsals, teen gaming hubs, and on and on. Everyone who walked in with an idea became a part of our “moveable feast" meetings and the place evolved.
In the past year, we've become a bit of a fascination at Lennie's — that from a bartender there who remarked the one time we got to drop in, “I've seen every kind of art and performance in those windows. What's going on over there?" To which we replied, “Yes."
Unfortunately, in compliance with the governor's “Safer at Home" order, we have had to pump the brakes on The Premier just as it was hitting its stride. Indeed, we were set to launch a fundraising effort with a press conference and capital campaign rollout on April 23 intending to eventually purchase the floor we occupy and renovate it to further everyone's artistic experience.
Plans continue along those lines and we are simply transposing those efforts to a future date and time when they can be conducted safely and successfully. Stand by for updates and thanks, as always, to Paul Belschner, Brent Weycker, Joash Smits, the Base Companies, DDL Holdings and the Railyard Innovation District. The Premier — Where it All Begins.