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, October 24, 2011

In Our Backyards (well, almost)

Sometimes Wisconsin Wanderers go their separate ways and find interesting events practically in our backyards. Rick and I split up on Saturday. He attended the First Annual Reunion of the Hales Corners Speedway and I went to downtown Madison. 

The Hales Corners Speedway is an icon to many like Rick who grew up in the 50s – 70s. Drivers with their modifieds raced there until 2003. Rick says that dirt tracks are the best and he attended many races in the southeastern Wisconsin area in his teens and early 20s.

Here are some of the photos he took of the racers from his past.
Billy "The Cat" Johnson drove this racer.
This modified belonged to Miles "The Mouse" Melius. Both drivers were Rick's heroes.
Drivers who raced on the Hales track built their cars using materials from others cars and whatever else they could find in their garages. Their craftsmanship had to be admired. 

The Wisconsin Book Festival took place this past weekend in Madison with its theme of “Voices.”  My first event was a panel discussion with essayists who have broadcast their stories on “Wisconsin Life,” produced by Wisconsin Public Radio in partnership with the Wisconsin Humanities Council. Catch the Wisconsin Life segments Wednesday and Friday mornings on Wisconsin Public Radio.

On Saturday morning it was a discussion of the book, Apple: A Global History, by Erika Janik, former colleague of mine, and now a producer at Wisconsin Public Radio. Erika is a historian and she has published a variety of pieces in the Wisconsin Magazine of History.

In the afternoon I attended a conversation about People of the Big Voice. This book is a beautiful visual history of Ho-Chunk families from the 1870s – 1940s from Black River Falls photographer Charles Van Schaick. My friend, Mike Schmudlach, is one of the authors.

It had been several weeks since I'd been to the Dane County Farmers' Market around the Capitol Square so I was pleased to get there on Saturday morning to pick up some great fall produce. 

With beautiful weather, the day felt like a celebration!
Rick and I did reunite for one more weekend adventure on Sunday, but that’s a story for next week!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Sometimes we don't have to wander very far from home to find a unique experience. Such was the case this past Sunday when we were part of an interactive dinner theater with the theme of -- murder!

We dined at the American Serb Memorial Hall in Milwaukee. Actors from the Murder Mystery Co. warned us that something was amiss that evening at the Billionaires' Club's annual masquerade ball. And sure enough, we had just finished our first course when General D. Motor, president of the Club, died in our midst - from a poisoned cigar. Suspects were scattered throughout the hall. One of them, Miss Jessica Flesher, famous mystery writer, was at our table. 
General D. Motor, victim. 
The General with Rita Book, crack reporter on the scene.
It was up to Stacie and Bill from Brookfield,  Sue and Craig from Appleton,  and Chad and Mindy from Beaver Dam, along with Rick and me to solve the crime and figure out whodunit.
Stacie and Bill
Sue and Craig
Chad and Mindy, who played Jessica.
(sorry, Mindy, that the photographer caught you almost blinking)
It turned out that Jessica wasn't the murderer - thank goodness! Unfortunately, the best detectives weren't at our table but we had an enjoyable evening, nonetheless, with some very nice people. I even saw friends, Deb and Marilyn, from Madison who had ventured out for a night of mystery and intrigue.

I love improv comedy and would be delighted to be chosen as one of the "players" the next time we participate in this type of dinner theater. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

It was a hoot!

Sometimes Wisconsin wanderers end up out of state as we did this past weekend when we landed in Woodstock IL for another vintage camping trailer rally. This one was hosted by BJ Frantz who did a super job of ordering the perfect weather, picking a great campground, and putting together a stellar group of "canned ham" trailer enthusiasts.
WillOaks Campground has a lovely pond.
It was fun to see some of the same people we'd met three weeks ago at the vintage trailer rally in Montello WI. And there were new folks, too, who seemed like old friends after just a few minutes of conversation. Some of the veterans brought different trailers so we had a chance to see more of their collections.

Apparently there were coyotes in the area. At first I thought it was the kids camping in the rustic area whooping it up at 4:00 in the morning. Later I learned from our fellow campers that it was probably coyotes howling at the almost full moon. 

We checked out the annual Fall Diddley arts and crafts fair in Belvidere and chatted with our friends from Creative Design Studio. We had burgers at The Public House in Woodstock with new friends, Anna and Bill. Rally activities included outdoor movies with a vintage trailer theme, a progressive cocktail party, potluck dinner, trailer trash gift exchange and speed grab, and group campfires. 

It's all about the decorations! Julia and Norm from DeKalb
have some of the best.
Rick was probably using his iPad in this picture. He even set up his cell
phone to be a Wi-Fi hot spot! The guy just can't be disconnected at any time.
One of the "canned hams."
Sandy from Indiana owns this '67 Shasta.
Bill and Anna's Shasta - restored from the bottom up. Shastas have wings.
John and Ann's Friendship trailer - another restoration with great windows.
This trailer was made in Friendship WI.
We were pleased that our friends, Jim and Michelle, from Wayne IL dropped by on Friday afternoon. Jim had recently bought a vintage pick-up truck in Wisconsin.
Jim's Ford truck came from Curtiss, WI.
Yes, it was a hoot - a fun weekend with a wonderful group of people from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. I'm sure we will be joining them at next year's rally when we once again will wander south of the border.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Fall Festivals

Mayville is one of our favorite communities. Young friends of ours, Troy and Amanda, live there so seeing them is always a bonus when we attend Audubon Days, the first weekend in October. This year was the 25th year Mayville has hosted its fall festival and we’ve been there for maybe five of those years. One of the Saturday events is a classic car show and Rick was there with his ’64 Chevy panel truck. 
One of the pretty show cars.
And another one.

Rick's truck. Most of the cars had hoods raised. Guys like to
show off their "prowess."
Sunday’s parade is a highlight of Audubon Days. Bands from area high schools and American Legion posts perform as they march down the street. Community groups throw out candy from their homemade floats to kids viewing the parade. This year was special for us because we were IN the parade. Danielle, a volunteer with Mayville’s Main Street program, was trolling for trucks on Saturday at the car show. She was looking for a vehicle suitable to pull the Main Street Mayville float with its “Happy Days” theme. Rick's truck fit the bill, especially since it has a hitch on the back!

The youngsters on the float were straight out of the TV show.
Parade watchers ready to get the candy.
One of several viewers who gave the truck
a thumbs up.
The parade police had a good time, too.

Mayville's mayor rode in this beauty in the parade.
And here we are in the parade, the '64 Chevy Panel Truck in its glory - photo courtesy of Bridget Brown.
Saturday evening we attended the fall harvest benefit near Ashippun for Tall Pines Conservancy. Delicious hors d’oeuvres and dinner were prepared by Chef Earl who is the Executive Chef at the Audubon Inn in Mayville. The evening concluded with Michael Perry, Wisconsin author and humorist, performing with his band, the Long Beds, on an International (truck) stage. We had a fun time with Marge who was related to the owners of the farm that hosted the event.
The hosts of the fundraiser live here. 
We stayed at Ledge Park between Horicon and Mayville
once again. While fall colors haven't hit their peak, it was
a beautiful weekend.
Even though the weekend was a bit cool, it was a great time to be wandering. It looks like Indian summer is just around the corner and we are looking forward to a couple more camping trips before the season ends.