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American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!


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Posts posted by WisHxGeek

  1. My sister has just started a new job that will require her to drive from Chicago, IL to East Lansing, MI on a regular basis (very regularly while she is training!)


    I am looking for suggestions of diners to try between the two, as well as diners in East Lansing.


    Suggestions of menu items would be great, too!


    Thanks folks!



  2. I am not sure if 1970's qualifies as an old amusement park... but I remember Warner Brothers Jungle Habitat in New Jersey in the 1970's. It was not open very long though. It was hurt by the opening of Great Adventure just up the road... oh, and some incidents that have become urban legend.


    This theme park was a drive through safari type of deal (not quite like Jurassic Park...). The animals were free to roam around and come up to your car and say hello.


    I found a great video from a visit in the 70's:

    (complete with background tunes!)


    I understand there are still remains there today and that folks use it for hiking and biking around. Rumors circulated that Warner Brothers just closed the doors and left the animals there- so there are rumors of exotic wild animals still wandering around there today.



  3. Here in Wisconsin (Columbus, WI) there is a newish amusement park called Little Amerricka. They have a whole bunch of vintage rides that they have collected into one place. They even have the ride that I always saw on the New Jersey boardwalk that I was too small to ride- the Wild And Wooly Toboggan (see photo below). It seems I am now a bit too big to ride.


    They also have a monorail around the park, bumper cars and the parachute ride. There are 3 roller coasters- a kids size, The Mad Mouse (sans seat belts or bars) and a new wooden coaster. They also have a train ride that goes quite a ways through some farm scenes.


    Here is there website: Little Amerricka


    They also have a FanPage on FaceBook.


    The only thing they are missing is Skee-Ball and Pinball.



  4. Tell us all about your favorite Summer Drive!


    The best response, as determined by the American Road Staff, will be included in the Summer Issue of American Road. If your response is selected for inclusion in the magazine we will also send you a special gift.


    We want all the details! Be sure to include:

    Your Name

    The Route

    The State/Region

    Why it is your favorite drive... what makes it special?

    The names of some of your favorite spots (diners, motels, shops, parks, etc.)

    Send along a photo (at least 1200 x 1500 pixels) from one of your summer drives along this route.


    You may post your reply on the Forum or email it to me at cmartens@americanroadmagazine.com.


    Think Summer!



  5. Our FaceBook fans continue to grow in numbers- 390 as of today! Don't forget to reccomend the AR page to all your friends and neighbors.


    Our Twitter following is growing as well- each day we add several new folks. The magic number right now is 1,072!


    Thanks for all your help and keep spreading the good word! :D



  6. It's a most Excellent new contest!


    The rules are simple:

    1. Give us your best answer to the following question.

    2. The most Excellent answer (as chosen by the AR staff) will receive a copy of the book Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure by Matthew Algeo. (read more about this Excellent book at this most Excellent link: http://www.trumanroadtrip.com/page/page/6814761.htm

    3. One or two word answers are just no fun at all. Be sure you explain your answers!

    4. Any posts that include inflammatory comments will be discarded.

    5. Entries may be re-posted online or in print by American Road.

    6. You have 2 weeks from the posting of the contest to post your entry in the Forums or on FaceBook Discussion Tab.

    7. Winners will be announced in the Forums, on FaceBook and Twitter.


    So... here's the question:

    Which 20th century president would you most like to have coffee with at a diner? Bonus points for including which diner and why.



  7. On Madeline Island (WI) in Tom's Burned Down Cafe there is a sign that reads "Free Beer Tomorrow!"


    Tom's Burned Down Cafe burned once many years ago and they threw a tarp over the bar and continued on... a few summers ago it burned again. Now the advertisement on the ferry for Tom's reads something like "Burned Again By Popular Demand!"






    It may or may not be a lie, but my "favorite" BS coming from a local, sometimes referring to the weather or local business activity is:


    "You Should Have Been Here Yesterday!"




    Keep the Show on the Road!


  8. Each year The Burlington Liar's Club crowns a new World Champion Liar... no little white lies will bring you this prestigious title! I am sure a lot of training goes into winning a world championship of this caliber.


    Straight from AsSeenInWI.Com Blog is the story of this year's doozy:


    December 31, 2009 Sun Prairie man's bank quip makes him World Champion Liar for 2009


    A jab at the woes of the nation's banks has been named the top tall tale of 2009.


    The Burlington Liars Club bestowed its highest award Wednesday for this line: "I just realized how bad the economy really is. I recently bought a new toaster oven and as a complimentary gift, I was given a bank."


    The quip earned Larry Legro of Sun Prairie the dubious — but serious — distinction of being the year's World Champion Liar.


    So, now I ask our Forum Folks... what is your favorite road trip "lie"?

  9. Big paper bags of popcorn with lots of butter. Footie jammies and lying on the roof (trying not to dent it). Parking backwards and "cozying up" in the back. Lots of great memories are made at the drive in!


    But, what is the most memorable movie you've seen at the drive-in??


    I still remember seeing West World with Yul Brynner (1973). Freaked me out so bad that Mom made Dad take us home early. That movie still freaks me out! Great movie though...




    See the preview here!


  10. Today we were busy telling "road" jokes...


    My favorite:

    Why did the skeleton cross the road?

    To get to the body shop!


    My dad always told this one:

    Why did the duck cross the road?

    Because he was stapled to the chicken (this explains a lot about my childhood... :D )


    What are some of your favorite "Cross The Road" jokes??


    Remember... a pun at maturity is fully groan...

  11. Some of my favorite stops on a road trip are the ones that you had no idea existed until you stumble upon them along the way...


    Metropolis, IL- not only a giant Superman- but also a giant guy holding groceries at the edge of town (I swear he was bigger than Superman, which concerned me...)


    Huber's Orchard & Winery- we saw this sign along the highway and it led us through hill and dale until we came upon this attraction... farmers market, winery, petting zoo and more. http://www.huberwinery.com/content_display.php?id=1


    The general store in Cornucopia, WI

    Corps of Discovery Welcome Center in Crofton, NE


    What are your favorite unexpected finds?

  12. Car ferries are a highlight on roadtrips (or at least for me)! Here in Wisconsin there are many to choose from and I have ridden several- hope to ride them all someday.


    Two take you to islands-

    Madeline Island Ferry- I ride this one at least once a year. http://www.madferry.com

    Washington Island Ferry- http://www.wisferry.com/


    Some cross rivers:

    Merrimac Ferry (this one is free and has a ice cream or snack bar at the landings!)- http://www.tn.merrimac.wi.gov/ferry.htm

    Cassville Ferry- The Cassville Car Ferry connects two National Scenic Byways; the Great River Road and the Iowa Great River Road. Not sure if it is still the case- but to call the ferry you turn on the light on the building. When switching directions the pilot house actually rotates! -http://www.cassville.org/ferry.html


    Some cross Lake Michigan-

    Lake Express- The newest and fastest (gets you to Michigan in a hurry)-http://www.lake-express.com/

    The Badger- Gets you to Ludington, Michigan at a leisurely pace with lots of amenities on board.- http://www.ssbadger.com/home.aspx


    Rode a great ferry in Kentucky near Mammoth Cave- it was a three car deal. I think it was the Green River Ferry. Now that was a small ferry! Great Fun!


    Christine (Wishxgeek)



  13. One of my favorite winter road trips is heading to Bayfield (at the very top of WI) to drive the ice road to Madeline Island. Each year a county road is created once the temps drop and the ice in the bay is thick enough. In the summer the ferry is used and for a few weeks when the ice is forming a wind sled is used.


    This road is even plowed for traffic. Once the holidays are over the Christmas trees from local folks are used to line the road. The trees help drivers find their way across in heavy snowstorms.


    Here are some links about the road:





    You can also ski across the road to the island- once there be sure to head to the Bell Tavern for a hot cocoa and lunch. The ice caves are also worth the trip out (not on the ice road- but pretty close). Here is a link to a great gallery of photos of the caves: http://www.pbase.com/summerfields/ice_caves.



  14. Kringle is one of the yummiest bakery goodies of all time (layer upon layer of buttery, flakey pastry). For those who have never had a kringle here are some links:






    The turtle kringle is my favorite- but there are a whole lot of different fillings: apricot, pecan, cream cheese, prune, almond, apple, cherry, etc.




    Looks like a charming place to stay...but I had to look up "kringle."




    Keep the Show on the Road


  15. Located in the Kettle Morraine in WI the Bonne Belle is the only motel in Kewaskum, WI- and a great place! The rooms were very nice and good size. Gino was very welcoming- and he had kringle out for breakfast (BIG BONUS POINTS!)


    They have a website at http://www.bonnebellemotel.com/3.html.


    There is a lot to explore in the Kettle Morraine area- plan to spend at least a couple of days and, of course, spend the noght at the Bonne Belle.

  16. I can not go near Madison, WI without stopping at The Plaza Tavern in downtown (just off of State Street). Plaza Burgers are a classic with fried onions and a sauce much like a gyro sauce. My sister introduced the family to them more than 20 years ago and all of us still crave Plaza sauce and must make pilgrimages as often as possible to satisfy cravings.


    The Plaza's customer's are a great mix of college students, alumni and legislators. They even serve 1/2 pitchers of beer.


    Definately the best burger- ever! http://www.theplazatavern.com/



    What is the one burger that you have cravings for?

  17. It seems that a good number of my childhood memories come from visiting amusement parks or fairs with midways. My dad taught us how to properly lean to make the Tilt-A-Whirl go fast enough to make us all queasy :wacko: (and I have passed this along to my kids- it's an important life skill, you know!)


    By the number of websites I have come across that commemorate defunct parks and show what's up at parks still operating it is obvious I am not alone!


    This summer I visited two great amusement parks:

    The North Pole in Colorado Springs- Lots of great old rides, entertainment and Santa reigns supreme year round. The candy cane roller coaster had unexpected speed and the train ride was fun and educational. The carousel includes all eight original reindeer and Rudolph. You can even have Santa send your kids a letter around Christmas time- or send a postcard marked North Pole.


    Bay Beach in Green Bay, WI- Free to get in and the rides are only 50 cents a go round! The classic rides include the Yo-Yo (swings), giant slide, Tilt-A-Whirl and Scrambler. The kiddie ride area has the traditional boats, motorcycles, bugs and even a mini Yo-Yo. There are picnic areas near by so you can bring lunch and have a bite to eat before spinning around at high speeds.


    I still have memories of riding the Lost River (or Lost Canal) at Bertrand Island in NJ. That ride scared the socks off of me- so I rode it alot! That is the park I also learned about the helicopter ride and being able to make the helicopter go up and down at my command- such power!


    What are your amusement park memories?

  18. Be sure to go to http://www.explorehwy51.com and put the Levee in as a Best of Hwy 51. You can even send in a bit about your Hwy 51 adventure for the Share Your Story part of the website.


    Sites along the way include:

    The world's biggest can of chili (Beloit), penny (Woodruff) and Corkscrew (Hurley- or close to largest corkscrew...it's big!)

    Little Bohemia in Manitowish Waters (used in film Public Enenies with Johnny Depp)

    UW Madison

    Pumpkin on silo (Janesville)

    Home Of Sterling North (Edgerton)

    John Muir stomping grounds (Waushara County)

    Point Brewery (Stevens Point)

    Ginseng fields in Wausau area

    and lots more!


    Order a freee passport and journey journal at their website- cool stuff!



    Quinn, Natalie and I recently made our Easter trek up to Northern Wisconsin...enroute we were able to take some of US 51, which is very well promoted these days in Wisconsin with the "Explore US 51" program...when we got to Portage, we stopped at an excellent little greasy spoon called the Levee Restaurant...it is an old truck stop from the 1940's, and the interior looks like it hasn't changed much from that time...the food (we had breakfast) was fantastic, and, from the pies sitting on the counter, it looks like they have some great pie! It is named for the Wisconsin River Levee which is right across US 51 from the place...It is a great place to stop taking your "highway 51" trip, and I recommend it (and taking US 51 from the IL border to Portage and points North...Tsingtao Kip


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