on the road

the gadlfy in...

wisconsin (south of US-10)

gadfly homepage on the road home last contact (south of US-10): 8/2008 first contact: 7/1999

WI Trip Stats (3/08):


Click here to see Northern Wisconsin

Counties visited: 58
Best county: Vilas
Town visited most: Cambridge
Places slept in:
Sayner, Cambridge, Prairie du Chien, Delavan, Fontana, Milwaukee, Winneconne,  Townsend, Superior, Brule River SF, LaCrosse, Wisconsin Dells, Sheboygan, Packwaukee, Lake Geneva
Most impressive town: Boulder Jct.
Least impressive town: Green Bay
Biggest town: Milwaukee
Most scenic area: Northern Highlands State Forest
Most scenic spot: Lone Tree Lake
Three Words: cheese, Ice Age, cows
Best Food: There are many place in the Northwoods offering Friday fish fries.
Road Trips: countless

Neighboring States: IL, MN, MI, IA, northern WI

Major passes: Vertical: US-51 Corridor. Done several times most numerously to get to Sayner and the Northwoods. Great River Road. I have travelled many lengths of the road, but never continuous. US-45/41 Corridor. Travelled nearly completely through state from Eagle River to Union Grove and done in part on Lk Michigan circles. I-43 Corridor. Done a few times while circling Lk Michigan. WI-13 Corridor. Done once coming home from the Northwoods. Very scenic.  Horizontal: I-90 Corridor. Fourf times done on trips through the state to Minnesota. It is much more scenic a drive than I-94. I-94 Corridor. Done everytime I go to Minneapolis. US-8 Corridor. Done half-way when travelling from Chisago City, MN to Sayner, WI. Passed tornado ravaged Ladysmith.

Areas throughly explored: central Vilas County (especially Sayner-Starlake Twp), western Jefferson County, Dells/Portage area, western Lk Winnebago, the WI-50 corridor between Kenosha and Lk Geneva, Milwaukee area

Mississippi crossed: US-61 @ Dubuque, US-18 @ Prairie du Chien, WI-82 @ DeSoto, US-90 @ Onalaska, US-14 @ LaCrosse; US-63 @ Hager City. St. Croix crossed: I-94 @ Hudson, US-8 @ Taylors Falls, WI-77 @ Danbury.

Future Plans: I am not interested in Door County, because I hate peninsulas. (So trapped!) I do plan on continuing explorations of the northwest part of the state, most especially Bayfield County, which proved quite beautiful upon passing through in June, '05. I would also like to canoe Horicon Marsh and visit Green Lake, both remnants of an ancient glacial lake.

First Contact: I cannot remember my first time in Wisconsin, but it was probably as a baby visiting my grandparents in Delavan, where they lived for a little while. In my earliest memories I can recall going to the state fair in Milwaukee and several early trips to the Northwoods in the summers. (A family tradition since God knows when.)

Like most Chicagoans, Wisconsin is the place to go to get away from Chicago so being someone who easily tires of the big city, I am often in near-by Wisconsin. I feel really like it is a second home. (In fact, I wrote this on my laptop in Sayner, WI.)

Walworth Co. (1980)

Walworth. My grandfather owned businesses here in the late 1970's. Excellent antique mall in the village square and ice cream places. Fontana. Just north of Walworth is a small town set in the rolling glacial hills of the west shore of Geneva Lake. A dramatic place that is quickly being filled with spas for the wealthy. How long until they tear down the abandoned frog-shaped building that guards the roadside.  North Delavan. Elkhorn. Williams Bay. Goose-infested parks line the shores of Geneva Lake here. A vital stop on the Geneva Circle tour. Whitewater. Small city hosts U of W. Very useful library here houses history of adjacent farming areas. Bypass recently built that will surely change things in this city. Genoa City. Almost a Chicago suburb. Illinoisans come here to buy Power Ball tickets.

Rock Co. (1982)

Farms and heavy industry make up this county. Beloit. "Bloit!" Not pleasing to the ears, eyes, or nose. Important industrial center on the Rock River calls itself the 'Gateway to Wisconsin.' The fireworks show I saw here a few years back was decent. Janesville. Beloit's bigger, cleaner twin on the Rock. Edgerton. A favorite place to stop for gas. Farming community. Lima Center. Another I-90 pit stop.

Dane Co. (1982)

Cambridge. My other hometown. Small, farming town I have seen go through ups and downs since 1988 when we stayed here to swim in glacial Lake Ripley. Quintessential Midwestern main drag. Known for Rowe Pottery and Matt Kenseth. Used to have a Ben Franklin where I lusted after die-cast tractor toys, but now boring boutique shops line US-12. Cows guard the city golf course. Like most towns in southern WI, proud of Scandinavian heritage. Claims to be the place where Ole Evinrude thought up the outboard motor. Rockdale. Tiny collection of buildings outside Cambridge. Home to pottery works. Madison. The state capital is a growing, liberally-minded and sharp city set amongst glacial lakes and dairy farms. Never spent too much time here as traffic can be pretty bad.

Columbia Co. (1982)

Lodi. Dairy town makes a good pit stop. Portage. Farms give way to forests that surround the waters of the area. Small clearings make feeding places for turkey and deer. Fished a lake here once and got to know many people from town. Place where Marquette & Joliet portaged from the waters of the Great Lakes to the waters of the Mississippi.

Marquette Co. (1982)

Passed through many times along I-39. Don't remember ever stopping.

Waushara Co. (1982)

Passed through many times along I-39. Only made quick stops for gas. Hancock.

Kenosha Co. (1984)

Pleasant Prairie. This place did not seem to exist a few years ago and just sprung up one day. A suburb of Chicago filled with cookie-cutter houses. The Des Plaines rises up nearby. Kenosha. The first outlet mall I ever heard of was located here. Successful commercial drags fill the city. Twin Lakes.  Wilmot. Bristol. Home of the Renaissance Fair. Paddock Lk. Border town used to be a popular Chicago getaway place.

Racine Co. (1984)

Racine. Some rough neighborhoods exist in the east, while dairy farms line the west. Union Grove. Drag-racing capital of the state. North Bay.

Milwaukee Co. (1984)

Milwaukee. South Milwaukee. Cudahy. St Francis.

Ozaukee Co. (1984)

Mequon. Port Washington. Lake Curch. Harrington Beach SP. Belgium. Fredonia.

Sheboygan Co. (1984)

Sheboygan. Kohler.

Manitowoc Co. (1984)


Washington Co. (1984)


Jefferson Co. (1988)

Exploring this place quite regularly since 1988. Oakland Twp. Shore Place, along Lake Ripley, is the location of my father's other front lawn. We have worked here clearing grass, knocking over buildings, and telling neighbors to move their trash. Lake Ripley and its beaches are oases that few passing by US-12 know about. Beautiful sunsets from county roads east of lake.  Lk Mills. A nice, clean Midwestern town with a deep, archaeologically important lake in the middle of town. Aztalan SP. Prehistoric mounds mark the site of an ancient Native village like Cahokia and Mississippian sites. Wisconsin used to be covered with these mounds. Palisades are restored. Jefferson. Family roots here go back to 1868 and so is the first place anyone with my blood has lived in America. My favorite spot in town is along US-18 at the St. Laurence Church cemetery. A huge hill offers stunning views of the town and farms.  Ft Atkinson. As cosmopolitan as Jeff Co. gets. A small and useful city, cut across by the historic Rock River.  Helenville. Small farming town east of Jefferson. Sullivan.

Waukesha Co. (1989)

Kettle Moraine SF. Eagle. Waukesha. Menomonee Falls.

Sauk Co. (1993)

Wisconsin Dells. Lk Delton.

Adams Co. (1993)

Passed throughonly during boat tours. Never on foot or in car to my memory.

Washington Co. (1998)

West Bend. Kewaskum.  

Dodge Co. (1998)


Fond du Lac Co. (1998)

Fond du Lac. No Fond du Lac.  Eden.

Winnebago Co. (1998)

Oshkosh. Butte des Mortes. Winneconne. Neenah.

Juneau Co. (2001)

Lyndon Station. Mauston. Finley. Necedah NWR. Necedah.

Monroe Co. (2001)

Tomah. Sparta.

LaCrosse Co. (2001)

La Crosse. Onalaska.

Crawford Co. (2003)

Prairie du Chien.

Vernon Co. (2003)

DeSoto. Genoa. Stoddard.

Grant Co. (2004)

Crossed bridge over to Wisconsin from Dubuque during an eagle 'hunting' expedition.

Marquette's Point of Discovery near Prairie du Chien from atop the old Pike's Peak. This is where the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers meet and where the French found the great river.