The first week of August is annually marked by the return of the Resorters Tournament to the Alexandria Golf Club . . . and our exit from the city. It’s not a cause and effect. For whom amongst us doesn’t love the Resorters? But it’s also Week 8 at Camp Brosius in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, to which the Callecod family dutifully returns, like the swallows to Capistrano, to celebrate their Indiana University alumni-ness. The Super and her sister Rita, a/k/a Reetz, as a pair The Biddies, are proud Hoosiers and commit as many family members and friends as they can to this endeavor each year – Reetz for more than 30 years now. The camp cycles through 100-plus “campers,” generally two to three to four generations per family, weekly for eight weeks where we all enjoy the singular pleasure of hiking up and down 70-some steps from our lodgings “on the hill” to the lakeside mess hall for three actually quite lovely meals per day. The camp is on Elkhart Lake, a 300-acre spring-fed beauty, exactly on the far side of the lake from the town of Elkhart Lake, population 1,000 usually, about 1 million during the height of the tourist season, i.e., when we are there. The town is about equidistant from a variety of large population centers – Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Appleton, Oshkosh, with Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, and Chicago just beyond normal commuting range – and a horseshoe pitch from Whistling Straits where the PGA Championship will be held this week. The campers – those without age, weight, or health issues – spend their time doing such campy things as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, playing horseshoes, cornhole, euchre, tennis, basketball, volleyball, archery, doing crafts, taking hikes and field trips, singing around camp fires, and such – the rest of us sip wine while reading tomes along the lake shore, napping when we can.
I’m posting this [on Facebook] as a thoughtless gesture . . . because I know you’re going to miss me. The Super and I are taking off on a grand adventure to another foreign country . . . Wisconsin. We’ve been hearing terrible things about this place, that it is now so backward we may not have access to WiFi. If you do not hear from us within a week, alert The Donald, tell him we’re immigrants, and he’ll send a SWAT team. Of course it’s likely we may not make it at all as we will be bucking an outbound stream of fleeing teachers seeking employment in the 21st century.
As part of ongoing efforts to Explore Minnesota (well, actually Wisconsin, but we could see Minnesota from there), the Super eagerly accepted my RFP to map a new route to camp this year. With great diligence and care, highlighting maps wherever possible and printing reams of travel info, she chose a route to mirror Highway 61 south of the Cities but on the Wisconsin side – the Wisconsin Great River Road. And then we followed the Wisconsin River east toward our ultimate destination. We began Friday morning, July 31, and of course as all Minnesota trips must, made a bee-line to the Cities, hoping to shoot right on through without having to slalom through the multiple road repairs currently vexing the metro area. Somehow, we shot right through on I-94. We begin . . .
[The new Vikings Stadium, currently running millions over budget as to be expected with such projects. Just another tax payer gift to billionaires (don’t get Brother Cam started!)]
[The Witches Hat]
[The mighty Mississippi]
[St. Paul (not good angles for city shots coming from the west)]
[We crossed the St. Croix River into Wisconsin at Prescott, just a Paul Bunyan step south of St. Paul . . . ]
[The old railroad lift bridge marks the end of the St. Croix as it merges here with the Mississippi.]
[Just a brief tour of Prescott.]
[Then just a couple blocks further down the road . . . well, you can read the sign.]
[A few selections by the Super.]
[Nice spot for a scenic overlook and a little history.]
[And then . . . fans of the Alexandria music scene will recognize this as the home town of (hang in there, we’ll get to it) . . . ]
[Railroads run along both sides of the river. On the Wisconsin side, it seemed like they came every five minutes!]
[Did you get it yet? This is the hometown of Patchouli – a good 5-hour drive from Alex.]
[Yup, that’s Minnesota on the other side.]
[Then it was on to the metropolis of Stockholm. For most the trip any place where homo sapiens sapiens gathered in groups, the population varied from unincorporated to a couple hundred.]
[Ooops, dirt road to the winery – mustn’t mess the car!]
[So, back to Stockholm.]
[Stop and smell the wildflowers. Well, actually it was just a drive-by photo shot.]
[We shoulda tried Stockholm pie. 😦 ]
[Minnesota’s still there.]
[Now where the hell are we?]
[Who cares where we are? It’s a new winery . . . in Pepin.]
[Beautiful facility – good eats, too!]
[Did the tasting, the Marquettes were good, but thought the Fortaleza was the best lunch buy.]
[Mr. Excitement, living up to his name.]
[Crossing back to Minnesota at Winona. The Wisconsin river road was moving away from the river?]
[Of course, you all recognize the topography as quintessential to the Driftless Area.]
[OK, let’s go back to Wisconsin . . . ]
[To La Crosse, to be specific.]
[And that’s where we’re going . . . ]
[A place I’d never heard of before.]
[And it provides some pretty nifty vistas.]
[See, I told you it was the Driftless Area. 😉 ]
[Ladies and gentlemen, La Crosse.]
[A final ta-ta to the wildflowers of Grandad Bluff . . . ]
[And then it was on to our overnight lodging.]
[See you in the morning!]
Remember the Old Traveler’s Saying: “You may lose your money and your health and your sanity and some important organs, but they can’t take away your travel memories unless they hit you hard on the head.” ~ Dave Barry
Up next: A good guess would be Day 2.
Ahhhh, some breathtaking views. Thanks!
You covered a lot of ground in one day. Such beautiful places to see.
And more days following . . . 🙂