Day 25: Farewell, for now, to Wisconsin

I polished off the Northwest part of Wisconsin today and got us into Minnesota in the late afternoon.  Too bad that as soon as we got here, the weather went from spectacular to dark grey and obviously a huge storm coming.  I took Sparkle in for another oil change.  Then I took the dogs off to a legit dog park in Otter Lake to hopefully take some wind out of their sails for a mega day of shooting tomorrow.  Supposed to be gorgeous here in St. Paul / Minneapolis where we’ll be for at least a couple of days.

No bad news or annoyances to report.  No problems with Dee or Sparkle.  I’m proud to say that I made it through the entire state of Wisconsin with no speeding tickets (just that one verbal warning).  The dogs are getting lots of water time.  Loads of lakes and rivers in this area and easy access to them thanks to all the well-marked “canoe launches”.  A few short steps from the parking lot and you’re in gorgeous, pristine water.  Sure beats some of the questionable spots that I take my guys with factories and sewage treatment buildings looming in the background.  Nobody gets sick though so I must be a decent judge of water quality or they’ve just become immune.

It was close to 90 today and I’m being stingy with the A/C.  Trying to use it only when it’s truly miserable (dogs’ tongues come out).  Sparkle’s working hard enough.  And I don’t want anything else breaking in this home stretch of the trip.

Let’s start with a few photos from Chetek.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Walgreen Agency plastic sign before — only the red and white neon signs like this one:

The Chetek Cafe has one in front of the building:

and one on the side:

Lots of nice signs in Rice Lake.  There’s also this pawn shop gorilla .  I’d love to know his story (what business put him there and why):

A couple of signs from Rice Lake:

This one at Stump Lake Liquor:

On to Hayward.  I’m glad West’s Hayward Dairy kept this old sign:

Even though they have a new one in front.  Bordering on tacky:

They also have a very nice giant cone.  And, no, I didn’t get to have ice cream here — it was before noon, not that hot, and I’d just had a yogurt.  One of my staples on these trips — easy to eat behind the wheel — and almost ice cream anyway.

A couple of signs from Spooner:

From Cumberland:

From Hudson.  Very few signs with guns out there.  I’m always looking for more of them.  I’ve never seen one with a scope before:

So for those of you that are curious about how these trips are put together….  This is what a “State Stack” looks like.  This is what’s left of the trip — 4 chunks for Minnesota and a chunk for the SW corner of Wisconsin.  I’ll probably only get through half of this stuff in the remaining 10 days (technically, 12 days but I’ll be interstate-ing back to NY for probably two of those days).  Within this stack, roughly the same size pile that I already worked through for MI & WI, are four binder-clipped chunks.  Roughly all the same size with splits usually for logical quadrants of the state — or sometimes big cities with suburbs will get an entire chunk.  The list in the front of all the destinations is usually about 20 pages or so.  Clipped behind that — the maps for each place or maps with clumps of places.  Each chunk usually takes about four days — depending on traffic, weather, etc.

More about all this process at the “How to Plan a Roadtrip” page here at this blog (see links on the right side).

Anyway, to celebrate the completion of the Wisconsin, I fueled up and grabbed a snack.  These Freedom gas stations have all kinds of produce and healthy stuff — but I went with just about the lowest of the low — seasoned potato wedges.  Practically no nutritional value but a fun road food.   Hey, they’re not fried!  Oh, and that 500 label — don’t know what that is (freshness dating?) — I think this box was about a buck.  And since I’ve never had Faygo soda — I chose the brightest of the bunch:  Diet Orange.  Far better than expected but I won’t be giving up my DC (Diet Coke).

Hopefully, lots of sunny Twin Cities photos for you tomorrow night.  Early to bed!

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