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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Baubles and Baseball

The jewelry artists’ booths are the ones I never fail to peruse at art fairs. So the baubles that caught my eye at Art on the Mill – the art fair sponsored by the Richfield Historical Society last Saturday – were the earrings. It was a perfect summer day – not too hot and a nice breeze was blowing. But this art fair was more. There were tours of historic buildings, music, and plein air (in the open air) painting. As one of the artists told me, “This is a destination art fair.”
The Messer/Mayer Mill is on the State and National Registers
of Historic Places and is a designated Washington County
landmark. The original equipment in the mill is still intact.
The plein air painters worked for about three hours and then displayed their final works – mostly oils and watercolors – in frames. Many different scenes of and around the mill were painted.
Liz Carr from Milwaukee used oils to paint one
of the buildings in the Richfield Historical Park.
 Later in the day we attended the Milwaukee Brewer game at Miller Park. We were guests of Rick’s boss, Dean Meier, who owns Applied Tooling Technologies. Our seats were on the field – in the ATI Club – with a player’s view of the action. I have to admit that I’m not very knowledgeable about baseball. So it’s a mystery to me that if we were on the right field, why was the left fielder on the team in front of us? 
Some of the old has been preserved in the new.
 It was tribute night to the Negro Leagues. Major League Baseball teams, like the Brewers, began to honor Negro League players for their contributions to our nation’s pastime 15 years ago on the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier. One of the players honored was Mamie (Peanut) Johnson who played in the 1950s. She was the only woman to ever pitch in a men’s professional league. Her specialty was the curveball perfected with help from Satchel Paige.
As part of the tribute to the Negro Leagues, the Brewers wore replica uniforms first worn by the Milwaukee Bears, the city’s representative in the 1923 Negro National League. This team played only one season before disbanding. The opposing team, the Washington Nationals, wore uniforms of the Homestead Grays who eventually moved to Washington and were known as the Washington Grays. 
These stands were across the ball park from where we sat.
I managed to get one shot of Ryan Braun - running in at the end of the inning.
A Wisconsin player in a Bears uniform - not exactly what one would expect.
Norichika Aoki, who plays left fielder for the Brewers, was the player
closest to where we were sitting.
The Brewers lost 4-1 but Rick managed to snag two practice balls for his grandsons – to be held until they’re old enough to play baseball.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cars and Boats and Beer

The 40th Annual Iola Old Car Show occupied the second half of our week’s vacation earlier this month. Once again we stayed at the Waupaca Camping Park – same site, same neighbors as last year.
The view from our camp site - Old Taylor Lake. This lake is not part of the Waupaca Chain O' Lakes.
It was almost too hot to spend much time on the Car Show grounds but Rick managed to go through most of the junk yard (aka Swap Meet). I focused on the theme cars under the tent and the book sale. The selection of books from F&W Media (the company that bought Krause Publications - the location of the car show - a few years back) was limited. There didn’t seem to be anything new – just leftovers from last year.
21st Century Orphans were no longer in production after 2001.

Great color on this Pontiac orphan.
And a great hood ornament, too.

An Oldsmobile no longer made.
Detail that's not on today's cars.

This Nash must be a fun car to drive!

A Model A - or Model T - line-up.
A Chevy Panel Truck - very similar to Rick's but a different year. This
is only the third other panel truck he's seen in the 17 years he's owned his '64.
As the title of this post suggests, there was more than cars. The wooden boat show at Clear Water Harbor included art that floats.
Hand crafted kayaks.
Canoes almost too pretty to put in the water.

Our friend, Laura, met up with us on Saturday at the boat show and then we went back to Iola. Laura had never been to the Car Show so I served as the tour guide. Because the Car Show is so big and can be overwhelming for a first-timer, I was pleased to be able to show my friend the cars that were worth looking at.
A 1954 Mercury concept car - never manufactured. Word under the tent
was that this car sold for $425,00 at auction - a price the owner considered
a bargain!
After the Car Show, we stopped at the Central Waters Brewery in Amherst. It's Wisconsin's first green-powered brewery. We had heard about Central Waters beer on a WUWM (Milwaukee Public Radio) podcast and thought a cool brew would be a good way to end a hot day. We weren't disappointed. I had the Happy Heron Pale Ale – just the right amount of hoppiness for my taste.
Love the tag line for Central Waters. Describes us perfectly!
Before we left on Sunday morning we reserved our site for next year at the campground. However, we'll probably leave on Saturday next year because that will be Rick's second grandson's first birthday. He came into the world this year on Friday, the 13th – a lucky day!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Vacation

Because both Rick and I are working part-time this summer, we haven’t taken as much time off as we did last summer. However, we did manage a week in central Wisconsin. Fortunately, for us, it was the week with the lowest temperatures of the past three. We don’t have air conditioning in the camping trailer but were still comfortable during the night.
We've added a couple of birds to our "pat" of flamingos.
One of our neatest finds was the Rudolph Grotto Gardens a few miles north of Wisconsin Rapids in the small town of Rudolph. This grotto was built by Father Phillip Wagner with extensive help from his right-hand man, Edmund Rybicki. One terrific feature of this grotto is the lush garden that surrounds the various shrines. An actual stone hill with a catacomb-like tunnel one-fifth of a mile long lined with statues and Bible passages is another element. Father Wagner used local lava rock and melted glass to build his grotto.

A close-up of some of the melted glass used in only a few places.
Connie Jagodzinski, a long-time volunteer at the Grotto, was adamant that Rudolph’s Grotto was much better than the Dickeyville Grotto because of the use of the natural materials. The Dickeyville Grotto is just brighter and shinier because of the rock crystals, semi-precious stones, and glass that are embedded in the concrete structures. Both are great examples of folk art. Both are tributes to God and country.
The Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company is just around the corner from the Grotto in Rudolph. Cheese curds are made daily so we were obliged to buy some. Much better price than at our local Farmers’ Market, I might add.
One of the employees bagging strings of cheese.
We ended one day of total relaxation by checking out the Shermalot Water Ski Show Team that performed on Lake Arrowhead. The team is the third longest continuous running water ski show in the state. Some of the youngest skiers looked to be about 8-10 years old.
Final act in the show - a triple pyramid executed perfectly.
The second half of the week included the Iola Old Car Show. That’s a post for next week. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Signs of History - Part II

One of the advantages of traveling the back roads of Wisconsin is discovering the signs of history in places where one would least expect them. Of course, some of the signs are on the beaten path - or even celebrate that path itself. Such as Road America in Elkhart Lake.
Imagine racing through country roads and village streets!
Several years ago we took in the Vintage  Sports Car Races at Road America. It was a beautiful weekend with so many stunning cars to look at. 
First winner at Elkhart Lake - a Ferrari.
As long as the cars are beautiful, it's a good car show in my eyes.

Our friend, John, had a Citroen like this one.
The Meister Brauser, a Scarab, was driven by Augie Pabst
The car after the race.
My favorite - a vintage Mini.

And another one.

There's something about the vintage racing cars that is so much more appealing to me than today's Indy cars. It's probably because they are regular cars - and some are so cute!