We spent the last three days driving around Wisconsin. The catalyst was my sister's 40th birthday party in Racine. With a little trip planning, we hit on a Plan of Operation that called for a stop in Madison or there-about, a drive from there to Racine for the party on Saturday, and an orderly retreat to somewhere around Madison or north of there Saturday evening, with a final push home on Sunday.
We could have done the whole thing in a day if we were feeling more hardcore, but with the party starting at noon on Saturday, it would have been a brutally early start, so we opted for the leisurely.
We ended up staying in Wisconsin Dells/Lake Delton both nights. What a wasteland that is. It's trailer park/Las Vegas tacky, with an endless parade of water parks, amusement parks, dinner theaters, restaurants and motels. The girl at the front desk of the motel on Friday night told us that "The Dells" shut down at Labor Day. No wonder - they must be so sick of it all by then it's all they can do to hang on until September. It was trying too hard, over-stimulated and sad. Maybe if I had kids and was from Chicago I would feel differently...
We took the scenic route back from Racine, driving Highway 12 from there to Madison, more or less. We made slight side trip in Waterford, WI to snap a picture of the Waterford Precision Cycles building. I was first here to drop off my 1200 for a new paint job in 2007. Well worth the trip - I was treated to an impromptu of the place by Richard Schwinn, and they did a great job on my frame, too. I was kicking myself at the time because I never got a picture, but I righted that on this trip. It's a pretty humble looking shop in a humble little industrial park, but they pump out some pretty amazing bikes from this building.
We also took advantage of the leisurely pace of this trip to explore Rocky Arbor State Park and Mill Bluff State Park. Rocky Arbor is just north of Wisconsin Dells and features massive pines and rocky limestone outcrops. Mill Bluff is neat - it's near Camp Douglas and has those tall limestone island that you can see from I-94. Well worth the stop.