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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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Everything posted by WisHxGeek

  1. WisHxGeek

    Heeeeeeere's Norfolk!

    I did a bit of wandering while at the Nebraska Tourism Conference.
  2. I just returned from a conference in Norfolk, NE (that's pronounced Nor-FoRk) and had a great time exploring despite the rain. I visited the Elkhorn Valley Museum and Research Center. They have some great vignettes- blacksmith, the parlor, the kitchen and more. Norfolk is the home of the square-turn tractor and they have one there to prove it (built in 1916)! They also have some great memorabilia from local restaurants- I especially like the menu from the Brass Lantern. The biggest exhibit by far is the Johnny Carson area. He hailed from Norfolk- and they even made a special show of one of his "home comings" to Norfolk. The exhibit features a really comfy sectional sofa with a big TV and headphones- there is no way you can pass up this invitation to sit back and listen to one (OK- a few) of his monologues! There is also a life size model of him on stage- complete with the multi-colored curtains that everyone remembers from The Tonight Show (they actually are from a resident's house- she recreated the Tonight Show curtains for her living room- now that is devotion!). Just don't be surprised when the opening song starts to play as you approach the stage area. There are no pictures allowed inside the exhibit- but I was able to get one of the entry area (see the photo album attached). Their research area was great! It was well organized, well stocked and the people were very nice about making copies for me despite the fact that they were expecting a bus load of folks at any minute (Thanks ladies!) I also stumbled upon a great antique shop in the downtown area. They stayed open late and had a great selection of stuff. I bought an oil lamp and a Boy Scout Song Book from 1960's (complete with a "Cussing Chip" which has now been copied for use at our local Boy Scout Shop for Scout Masters to purchase before outings... they should actually be called anti-cussing chips probably). The owner was really friendly and we had a great discussion as we both noticed that we knew the words to an old Charlie Daniels song despite having not heard it for several years. I have included some photos of the shop as well. Here some links about Norfolk, NE: http://www.elkhornvalleymuseum.org/exhibits.htm http://www.visitnorfolkne.com http://www.newvictorianinn.com (This is where I stayed- very nice and really reasonable rates!)
  3. 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)
  4. 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: http://www.bayfieldcounty.org/ice-road.asp http://madferry.com/Photo-Gallery/ http://activerain.com/blogsview/378181/we-...efore-using-it- 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. Christine
  5. 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: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/09/travel/f...html?sec=travel http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/Kringle.htm http://www.ohdanishbakery.com/ The turtle kringle is my favorite- but there are a whole lot of different fillings: apricot, pecan, cream cheese, prune, almond, apple, cherry, etc. Christine
  6. WisHxGeek

    Bonne Belle

    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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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 (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?
  9. Took a weekend trip over to Marinette, WI to drop off Mike for a 5- day bike trip. Each year Mike takes a ride and I take advantage of the drop off and pick up trips to explore with the kids. This year it was a drop off in Marinette, so on the way home we stopped at the Peshtigo Fire Museum and Bay Beach Amusement Park (Green Bay). Great fun, educational and economical! The Peshtigo Fire occurred the very same day as the Great Chicago Fire (October 8, 1871), it killed more people and caused much greater damage. The mix of poor land management, draught conditions and a strong wind caused not just a forest fire, but a devastating fire storm. The Peshtigo Fire Museumis located in an old church that was moved across the river and contains a artifacts from the fire (including some raspberry preserves that were petrified by the flames!) They also have a nice selection of items from the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. There is also an adjoining cemetery where some of the fire’s victims are buried, including a mass grave for those who could not be identified. Several of the graves include a plaque with information about their fire experience. Admission is free- donationa are appreciated. Bay Beach in Green Bay is a traditional amusement park. In fact it is celebrating 100 years this year! It has many picnic areas for a lunch and a pavilion for sitting (or having a burger). The rides include a nice mix of rides for small children and exciting rides for big kids. Favorites for this crew were the Yo-Yo (swings), Scrambler and Tilt-A-Whirl. Admission to the park is free, the Rides take 1 – 2 tickets and tickets are just 25 cents each.
  10. A quick road trip to Stevens Point to meet Randolp Mantooth from Emergency!
  11. Roy and Johnny. Idols of 1970's American youth... or at least my youth. Emergency! Do you remember the guys at Station 51 (Chet, Cap, Marco) and at Rampart (Doctors Joe Early and Kelly Brackett and Nurse Dixie). I still love to watch them and I have hooked my kids on the show (along with Adam 12 and other clasics). I am incredibly jealous that in Milwaukee they can watch Emergency! every night at 6 PM. Thank goodness for DVD's and Hulu! Which brings me to the purpose of this entry... today's impromptu road trip south to Stevens Point. I saw in the paper today that Randolph Mantooth (Johnny Gage for uninitiated) was going to be in Stevens Point signing autographs and such. So... when 3:30 hit I was out the door with my daughter Greta (who was pretty excited, too) and on our way. I remembered to grab Mike's Emergency! game from his youth, but forgot my purse. It was a small crowd so we were able to get autographs right away and get a few pictures even. It was a brief encounter- but a fun one. It took a few years to finally meet him, but I am a patient girl. Robert Conrad, you're next... Eat your heart out Becky! By the way, a bit of trivia... Bobby Troup (Dr. Joe Early) wrote the song Get Your Kicks On Route 66. Here is a link to him singing one of his signature songs:
  12. 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!
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