Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2009 USA Tour : March 28th, East To Wisconsin

After A Good Rest


No need for early rise and early depart this morning so it was a wonderful relaxing time to recover from the exertions from our Colorado expedition. Ahead today was about 440 mile drive into Wisconsin but with no gig tonight there was no pressure on arrival time. We departed North Sioux City around 11:00 am as the day was quickly turning from bitter cold to a pleasant sunny spring warmth.


Before leaving, a chat with the campground manager revealed that the USA now has a huge mobile workforce who have leased or sold their homes, bought RVs and now travel the country to where work fitting their trade is still current. He said that almost all Nebraska KAO campers were in that category.


On The Road Again


This was such a pleasant calm journey. The Sat-Nav GPS had somehow changed its mind out sending us route 40 east but sent us north east onto a freeway that crossed just north over the border into and along Minnesota. Traffic was very minimal, roads were dry, sky sunny and best of all absolutely no wind, so a relaxed smooth drive it was.


However, at a lunch stop on the way, with wifi, we read email and facebook warnings of snow storms ahead in Wisconsin. Will this be another Colorado experience?


Our lunch stop also reminded us of the excellent USA facilities for travellers and how they seem to get better and better, even compared to our travels last year. We wondered how any of this could be introduced or improved in Ireland.


There seem to be several wonderful one stop businesses combining accommodation choices of, lodge type hotel that is more comfortable than the old motels, log cabins, full service camper and RV sites, and even some tent camping spots. All this combined with multi fuel filling stations that go beyond gasoline and diesel into bio-fuels and gas plus extremely convenient combined general store and fast food deli providing extraordinary choices from well known favourites to gourmet delights and very healthy choices. Add to this vehicle washing, laundry and full shower services that many also offer too. Oh, I cannot forget good fast free hassle free easy log on wifi service too.


All this in attractive compact ergonomic buildings often in the country in lovely locations but extremely convenient to popular highways.  


Into Wisconsin


Suddenly, the wheat plains landscape turned into beautiful wooded hills, they call bluffs here, that fell into winding roads and then about 8 miles along the coastline of the Mississippi River. Its probably stepping on some pride here, so please forgive me, but this was the most beautiful section of the river we had seen so far. This is near La Crosse. We did not have the time to investigate La Crosse downtown but it seemed that this would be a treasure of a town. I would guess that once upon a time there was a paddle steamer service between here and New Orleans. What a journey to revive? Theme for our next USA tour maybe?


Over the bridge into Wisconsin we noticed an immediate culture change, and temperature change as it suddenly seemed warmer. One culture change was the return of seeing the tall flashing colourful digital signs with promotional messages. This has amused Claire and I on our journey and I wish I had recorded some of them. The first one that hit us here was above a pet store where the sign flashed up, without any punctuation, “50% off live snakes grooming”.


I then gave our hosts, Marita and Bob a call to report our news of being fairly close by. They generously had a spaghetti supper waiting for us but we were ready for camping and rest. They also warned us of impending snow but did not think it would be as vicious as the weather services reported.


Sure enough, about 20 miles before Sauk City we drove into fast falling drifting snow that was quickly covering and hiding the roads.


Before going to the campsite we had to take a sneak peak at the church venue of the concert the following afternoon. WoW! So different to what we expected. This is one of the most stunning buildings we have yet seen in the USA. More about that on concert day.


Onto the Smokey Hollow campsite through thicker snow. It was about a foot deep on arrival, but even at night time this looked like a beautiful place to arrive at. We have a lovely site here.


 


 

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