A Wisconsin Circumnavigation

One time my dad came to visit for a week. We started off by riding Hank & The General around Lake Monona, then we continued by driving 1,100 miles around Wisconsin. This is our story—and this is our route:

First up, the Driftless Region. Wyalusing State Park at the confluence of the wide, brown Mississippi River with the wide, brown Wisconsin River, is described alternately as Wisconsin's most scenic, most historic, or most varied state park. I choose least surprising. Here's the view from atop the bluff, but don't bother looking if you've ever seen the Upper Mississippi before.

On the upside, there was that monument to Wisconsin's last Passenger Pigeon. And the 1st in my series: Whitney Jumping Off Things in Wisconsin While His Dad Takes His Picture. And this great field of goldenrods. You can't argue with that.

Next up, La Crosse! Home to Wisconsin's best drinking water, and generally recognized as Wisconsin's prettiest city. At which point I told the guidebook, "Fool me once shame on me, fool me... you can't fool me again." It would continue to vastly over-sell its sights during the remainder of the trip, but I had its number now. Go ahead, call Granddad's Bluff "550 feet above the back haunches of La Crosse", without question the #1 scenic spot in western Wisconsin. I'll draw my own conclusions. Like how awesome that neon light eagle head up there is. Why aren't you talking about that guidebook? 
From there it was north along the river. Surprisingly, we'd passed up the chance to walk "the longest main street in any town or village with only one street" back in Ferryville the day before. Even more surprisingly, Ferryville has more than 1 street. 

We didn't want to give up the dream of the quaint riverboat town though, so we made sure to take in the sights of Trempealeau and the Great River Road State Trail via bicycles. It's been years since I've shifted gears, you know what they say about a derailleur, but I am a sucker for wooden bridges.

Actually I'm a sucker for almost all varieties of bridges. Perfect for jumping off.
Last up on the Mississippi leg—Pepin, WI, childhood home to Laura Ingalls Wilder and pre-blind sister Mary. Otherwise known as The Little House in The Big Woods. Most noticeably missing of course are the big woods. Which just makes me wonder, how long was that winter really, Laura‽
Inland, to Menomonie and beyond! Chequamegon National Forest holds innumerable inscrutable forest roads, one of which eventually leads to the trail to Morgan Falls ("the prettiest waterfall in the state") and St. Peter's Dome (i.e. Old Baldy). Waterfalls are only good for 2 things—jumping into and jumping on top of, and this one was only good for one of those

Domes on the other hand are good for sitting on, looking from, and towering over. ✓, ✓, & ✓. I can see Superior from here! Joanna claims it's only her 2nd favorite Great Lake, but that presupposes that Lake Ontario actually is a lake.

Just look at these lake-cliffs. Sandusky's not going to give you any of that. 

Don't think it's over yet though, 'cause it had just Michigan! [say it. out loud.] That's right, we went to Michigan. We didn't plan to. And it wasn't even the real Michigan, just its upper mitt. They lured us in with promises of virgin forests and words like Sylvania Wilderness, practically irresistible when from clearcut PA. It turns out my timing is lost in Michigan. Or in virgin forests. Or maybe on Fridays. I don't know what, but this is the closest I could get to a jumpshot up there.

Being Friday we needed to get back to Wiscosin though. The fish and the frying were waiting for us, or at least we thought they were. Green Bay had pulled out an unforeseen haute supper for us, foams and gelées included, but no fries. They obviously knew I was coming:

North central eastern Wisconsin proved to be a full load of jumping for the series though. Lambeau, De Pere, Winnebago... they all had one in 'em.

There was only one thing left to do; Milwaukee here we come. Challenges of all sorts ensued. A tomato challenge, a trivia challenge, a hammering challenge, and of course a typing challenge.

I won. Except for the tomato challenge, no one really won that. We all equally avoided rogue tomato shrapnel.


Jobonga said...

I love this. No wonder why the world has been feeling especially wholesome to me lately. Barnebeys on bikes.

jeremy said...

on behalf of the wisconsin chamber of commerce, thank you.