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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Winding roads: A fall trip

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Since a few folks commented about my trip columns, I thought I'd share about last week's short journey into Wisconsin. We had a family gathering on Sunday in West Des Moines. We decided to take off from there to find the Wisconsin Dells.

We headed to Ames and went east on 30 towards Cedar Rapids to get to Highway 151 which angles northeast. It got dark early as the rain settled in. It poured and poured but knowing the area (after all it is Iowa), we kept on. It finally reached the point we had to pull over and stop as vision was about zero. After settling into a motel, we heard the news, which explained why. A tornado was very near. That's the bad part about driving in the dark.

The next morning we reached the Mississippi River early and headed on over to Galena. We just never seemed to have the time to stop and look it over. This time we took a trolley tour of the town, which is really neat filled with Victorian homes. Probably many of you have been there. We had a delicious lunch and browsed through the numerous shops. Many are quite pricey and have too many tee shirts or far out items that don't agree with my taste. I'm probably getting too old and have a home already filled with what my husband terms as "crap". Wives know what I mean. It's nice but I don't know where I would put much more.

From there we went up towards the Dells. We took a couple of boat rides up there the second day out. It was a treat and so peaceful. It's amazing how sandstone layered between granite can look like thin layers of rock. Along with the trees turning bright vivid colors, it was a beautiful sight.

Another bonus at the Dells is that you can stay in a family owned motel, which are clean at a very reasonable price. There is plenty for families to do there. I don't know why more families don't go there rather than Kansas City. Maybe they do and I'm not aware but it really isn't that far.

That same day we took off for cranberry country. It was interesting to see how cranberries are grown and harvested. They are a beautiful sight. I brought home a number of cranberry edibles which included taffy, chocolate covered cranberries, cranberry chutney, jam, cranberry salsa, a fresh cranberry pie (I must say it is quite good and about the tartness of raspberries) and of course a cranberry cookbook. Recipes are winners of cranberry contests for the last several years. I may have to share some of them with you.

One of the cranberry centers gave me a free pound of fresh cranberries and later we purchased five more pounds that I froze. Cranberries have really gotten the attention in the last 10 years and no more are they eaten on just Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We also received directions on where the Amish live. We drove about an hour on some gravel roads to check it out. We stopped at a couple of farms that had signs posted and purchased two rugs. I plan to use one myself and am undecided what will happen to the second one. But it gives us an opportunity to visit with them. They are quiet folks but they have learned how to market their goods. Quilts ranged from $400-$500 and table runners started at $30.

We missed a turn-off on our way home to check out the casino in Emmetsburg. We thought we'd check it out and see how it operates. We were tired Wednesday evening when we drove in late. We had to get home for MMC homecoming.

We did find our apple stand southwest of Lanesboro. This old gentleman makes the best apple pies, turnovers and cookies. We had a treat and purchased some squash and honey crisp apples. They were less expensive there and so good. Once you find a good place, you always want to go back.

All in all, Wisconsin is a beautiful state and for living so close to it, I'm surprised we haven't went there before this. Oh yes, there is one piece of advice I'd give you if you drive past the "House on the Rock".

Just keep on driving by and don't stop. I was so disgusted at spending $11 to see just the first portion of the tour, I was so glad we didn't go for the whole tour. You would be better off cutting the money up, burning it or giving the money to a millionaire. What a waste. I guess we did get some exercise trekking through it.

The house isn't a house that anyone would live in. In fact, I asked the gal who sold tickets if he was a cokehead or from China or whatever. She replied he wanted to build something to get one thinking or to have a place to sit and meditate. All it did for me was to think I had been had.

Well, this should be the end of our travels for some time but it's good to go when you can get away.