Welcome To My Blog

Weekends are for wandering Wisconsin. That's what Rick, my guy, and I do. Occasionally we wander during the week, too. Sometimes we just drop in on other people's lives.

This blog is my way of sharing where we've been, neat places and things to do that we've found.

Monday, August 07, 2017

This Is It!

My last post on my blog. It's been 6+ years since I began Wandering Wisconsin at the advice of a friend. And five years of posts. I stopped regaling my readers with stories of our adventures about a year ago but never stopped formally - until now.

It's been a great deal of fun but I'm hanging up my keyboard in the blogosphere and will just concentrate on writing for which I actually get paid!

Rick and I bought a place in The Villages - America's fastest growing retirement community in Central Florida - this past January. We decided we didn't want to spend any more winters in Wisconsin so we'll be driving south in October to return to Wisconsin in early May.

This is our place - two bedrooms, two baths with attached garage. We added
pavers for 2 1/2 feet alongside each side of the driveway so we could park both
a car and a golf cart there side by side. More pavers were installed in front of the door
on the left side for a patio. We also did landscaping in the front, changed out a tree
on the side, and removed lots of junk trees in the back. Our fingers are crossed
that the lawn will be lush and green now that the rains came over the summer.
We should be seeing some colorful flowers next spring as well.
Rick sold his house this summer but is holding on to his 1976 Argosy camping trailer which will be stored in Central Wisconsin while we are in Florida. Considering the investment he made in repairs and upgrades this past winter, the trailer is a keeper for many years to come. We'll still wander Wisconsin in the summer, but probably not as much as we've done in the past. 

Look for the sixth "Birds & Bovines" vintage camping trailer rally next June at Ledge Park near Horicon. It's become a tradition that rally participants are looking forward to having us continue.  

I'll be leaving Madison and my work with Dane Buy Local. However, I will continue to write stories for Madison Essentials. (Click on the link for two more of my stories in the latest issue.) While I've done most of the interviews in person for stories I've written the last two years, I'll do telephone interviews in the future. The magazine is changing from a quarterly publication to a bi-monthly one, so that means even more assignments.

Amazingly, I've come full circle. When I began my studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison I was a pre-journalism major. I ended up getting a degree from the School of Human Ecology, which at the time of my graduation was called Family Resources & Consumer Science (aka Home Economics). Granted, a feature story isn't hard straight news, but the skills required to write both kinds of stories overlap. So, after all these years, I'm back in journalism.

Writing this blog was a good way to hone my skills and a fun way to share what I love about my home state and always will. A big "THANK YOU" to everyone who subscribed to, followed me, and/or read my latest post when I put a notice on Facebook. 

And if you're ever near The Villages (a little over an hour northwest of Orlando), give us a call, maybe spend a night or two. I'd love to show you around my adopted community and introduce you to some terrific people who've become good friends.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Up, Up and Away!

The Menomonie Airfest & Autorama was June 25 at the Menomonie (WI) Municipal Airport. This was the fourth year of the event that had something for everyone - vintage airplanes, aerobatics in the sky, classic cars, pancake breakfast, kids' activities, vendors for the ladies, and - because this is Wisconsin - a beer garden!

Our friends, Larry & Vicki, spent mega hours as organizers and volunteers to make sure this was a great event. (Last summer Larry took us up in his plane for an aerial view of Menomonie. A prior blog post has some of the pictures I took.) Other friends from Menomonie, Jim & Kaye, volunteered during the day.

Rick was at Road America in Elkhart Lake watching Indy car races with his son and grand boys. I went to Menomonie with other friends, George & JoEllen.

A couple of my favorites in the car show section. . .
Red trucks always capture my attention.
As do green cars.

One of the most bizarre vehicles at the show was the Slingshot, sold by Sport Rider, a dealer from Altoona WI. If you have an extra $20K to spare and want the experience of the open road when driving, this just may be the vehicle for you. Here's what the dealer writes about it: 

Slingshot™ is an entirely new on-road driving and riding experience. The open air cockpit of Slingshot™ hits you with a 360 degree rush of sight, sound, and smell. With side by side seating, both driver and passenger experience a front row shot of adrenaline. Its wide stance and sport-tuned suspension will make you want to charge every corner and never let off. With a low to the ground vehicle stance, you can feel the rush of pavement under your seat and in your chest. Slingshot™ is lightweight and powerful, making for heart pounding acceleration. Just punch it and you are there.

All that's needed to drive this on the road is a motorcyclist license.
Another unusual vehicle at the show was the Fairey Gannet airplane. Its wings can fold up. Takes up less space in the hangar, I suppose. 

Here's a video of the plane starting up and its wings expanding. Quite the sight.

The aerobatics were amazing - especially those displayed by the "drunk" pilot. It was a joke perpetrated by the show's organizers and I fell for the pilot's antics hook, line, and sinker.

The show ended with the salute to the missing pilot. I'm not sure how close the four planes are to each other when they're flying in formation before one peels off. Nonetheless, a great deal of skill is required and it's a neat feat to witness - especially with vintage planes. 

George was an aircraft mechanic before he retired so he donned the appropriate attire for the Airfest.
George may have had to answer a few questions from Airfest goers due to his t-shirt's logo!
Next year's Airfest & Autorama will be the last Saturday in June. Maybe we'll see you there!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Birds & Bovines IV - Recap of Our Most Recent Rally

For the fourth year in a row, Rick and I hosted our "Birds & Bovines" vintage camping trailer rally at Ledge Park, Horicon WI June 9-12. Summer did hit us in the face on Saturday but the heat broke by Sunday morning. The rain only fell at night. So, all in all, it was another successful rally. 

Here are a few pictures from our Open House on Saturday afternoon. This time I snapped many interiors of trailers or cute signs. If you'd like to see the outside of some of the vintage trailers from our participants, check out my post from last year. We had quite of our friends return who've been with us for one or more rallies.

This Argosy used to be Rick's but now belongs to Kaye & Jim.
I love how Kaye has camouflaged the trailer's tongue.
Kaye also turned the front couch/bed into a
dining area.

Gotta love BJ's cow that kept with our rally's theme.
This sign for her trailer is from Current.

The grand boys came up with these "Trailer Rules." Probably good for any age!

A few more trailers . . .
This is George & JoEllen's Franklin. Notice the red & black chairs - just
like ones we have - from Aldi's a couple seasons ago.
Don brought his Shasta once again. . .
and his little friend as well. Sorry, Don,
I can't remember your birdie's name!

Rick loved Don & Linda's Award trailer. The air conditioning
vents ran down the middle of the trailer. We won't see this
trailer next year because Don sold it shortly after the rally.
I'm always amazed at how spacious Steve & Tammy's little
Serro Scottie trailer is on the inside. What's nice about a Scottie
is that one can pull it inside a garage to store over the winter.
Bob, the Burger, Norm & Julie's trailer, now has
a diner theme.
Kudos to Julia for her great vision for the trailer's interior.

New this year . . .
This was the first year for Chuck & Janet and their Airstream.
We like the interior - especially the aisle between the beds.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Dave. He figured out that fuses were loose in Rick's Argosy and that's why some of the lights and the water pump wasn't working. In the future, we'll know what to check if we experience the same problem.

Speaking of Dave . . .
The interior of Dave & Monica's Yellowstone features her handiwork.
Trailer folks are inventive.
Skeeter used PVC and pails for his device to
hold everything one needs at the campsite.
I always like how Bill & Anna decorate around their Shasta with lots of flamingos to capture the "Bird" theme of the rally. The big one lights up at night.

And Joan showed off the "Bovine" theme.

I admire the creativity trailer folks display. Derek continues to customize a box trailer so his family is comfortable.
This year he's installed more cabinets.
This year the Washington County Breakfast on the Farm fell on our rally weekend. We took the boys for pancakes, scrambled eggs, and a tour of the cow barn.
The local 4-H kids decorate cows. Neat use of the Star Wars
theme for this one.
Truer words were never "uddered" in cheesehead country,
America's Dairyland.

Hundreds of people are served during one of these breakfasts. It takes a village to scramble the eggs.

Apparently the cows like to have their backs scratched. This device is popular in the barn.

What would Breakfast on the Farm be without the obligatory vintage tractor exhibit?

The littlest camper (Rick's one-year-old grandson), paid homage to our theme with his soft "books."
What better example of pink than a flamingo?
It's great to show the little ones a farm.

One more banner (from Lynn & Brian, new participants).
Probably the best way to sum up a vintage rally experience would be with this graphic - from one our participant's t-shirts.

If you want to join in the fun for next year, Birds & Bovines V will be June 8-11, 2017,  again at Ledge Park. Get your reservations in soon. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Jeanne - The Writer (of more than this blog)

Last fall I took on another assignment - freelance writer for Madison Essentials Magazine. It's a great quarterly publication that highlights unique local restaurants, shops, businesses, nonprofits, and attractions in the Greater Madison area. You'll read about events, entertainment, people, and places - all that's essential.

The writing assignments have been fun and interesting. Check out two recent issues that each featured two articles written by me.

February 2016 Cambridge Winery
One of 120 wineries in our state that opened a tasting room in Madison. The vineyard is located in Cambridge, WI to the east of Madison.

A friend and I visited the tasting room at 1001 S. Whitney Way last fall. It was a fun way to end an evening following dinner.
The tasting room is open Wednesday - Friday 4:00 - 9:00 p.m., Saturday noon - 9:00 p.m.,
and Sunday noon - 5:00 p.m. 
February 2016 Wisconsin Historical Society Headquarters Building
I worked in this building for 7+ years. I never got tired of going up its steps nor of promoting the Society to people throughout the state, especially to its members and donors, many of whom became friends.
I'm saddened to say that this image is definitely historical. With all the recent
construction at the lower end of the UW campus and on Library Mall, these beautiful
crabapple trees are relics of the past.
May 2016 American Provenance
A producer of personal care products for both men and women located in rural Dane County outside of Madison. The owner gave me a ton of samples which, in turn, I gifted to Rick and the men in his family. Along the way, I learned why deodorant is better than antiperspirant.

May 2016 University of Wisconsin Dairy Barn
Just in time for June Dairy month. A great deal of history was made in this space thus qualifying the barn for National Historic Landmark status.
Cows are still housed in the Dairy Barn, one semester at a time, so students
in the UW's College of Agriculture can get practical experience as part of their coursework.
Watch for future articles in the next issue that will be online in August. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Summer of 2015 - A Bit of History (Part 2)

Now for the rest of the summer story . . .

August: Pig Roast at the Gibbsville OrchardOur friends, Bill and Anna, joined us as we partied with other friends, Lori and Jeff Dutter at the Orchard. Their son, Dustin, is the proprietor and Mom and Dad help out frequently. Two bands performed. We camped overnight in the orchard.
Cooking the porker. It was delicious!

The MilBillies - one band
This Big Life - the other band

The Apple Lady - one of Lori's creations.
August: Richfield Days. It's the annual firemen's festival where Rick lives. We went to the Friday fish fry, hosted a party on Saturday, and saw the community parade on Sunday.
The Village (formerly Town) of Richfield is showing
 folks how their taxes are spent. Roads are cleared
quickly after snow falls - especially in August.
Richfield Service has fixed most of Rick's
vehicles over the years - and he's probably
contributed plenty of $$ to this truck!

One of several groups of dancers in the parade.
The educational float in the parade.
September: Midwest Vintage Trailer Rally in Montello. This was our fifth year to participate along with 50 or so others. This year Rick brought another new rig - a van camper. Every year we've had a different camper at the rally. Turned out that this one is a bit too small and Rick will probably sell it this summer. Takers anyone?

Nelson & Pade Aquaponics is next door to Buffalo Lake Camping Resort where the rally is held. We toured the place and learned how auquaponics, the raising of fish and vegetables in an integrated soilless system, is an efficient, sustainable, and local means of food production.
Fish are grown in the blue tanks. With a system of filtration, nutrients
are pulled from the water and used to grow the lettuce shown in various
states of maturity. The white styrofoam sheets float on top. 
Fish raised on site are scaled and cleaned by the owner of the facility.

Our rally hostess, Kimberly Steiner, had another contest this year - best decorated flamingo. The rules were that it could only be decorated with material that we had in our trailers.
Our "chicken" flamingo didn't even place but we had a good time fixing her up.
One of the winners.
The rally is always a good time - and a great way to reconnect with friends we've made over the years.

September: Doors Open Milwaukee. Again, another annual tradition. 

Some of the places we toured included Milwaukee Blacksmith (518 E. Erie) where the smithies forge candle holders like this one.

The Basilica of St. Josaphat is magnificent. This beautiful structure was built by Polish immigrants. Even the women helped. They carried away dirt in their aprons that the men shoveled from the site. 

The rotunda.
Exquisite stained glass windows.
Ceiling detail.
The basilica designation came in 1929.
Franciscan monks minister in urban settings
rather than in rural areas. I'm sure this order was
delighted when the current Pope took the name
This was the first year we toured on a Sunday so  must have been a day to check out religious buildings. One more stop of the day was at the School Sisters of St. Francis.
Even though the St. Joseph Chapel looks like a cathedral, it is technically
a chapel because there is no outside entrance to the space.

A mural depicts the history of the Sisters.
If you like to look at great buildings in Milwaukee, be sure to mark your calendar for the 2016 Doors Open Milwaukee - Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

October:  Volo Vintage Camping Trailer Rally

Once again our hostess, BJ Frantz, put on a good party. It was our last rally of the season. And another good time with our vintage friends. (My apologies to all - I don't have any good pictures this time!)

Here's a teaser for my next blog post!