Yeah, I know. I’ve been slacking again. I blame the weather. I have never seen so much rain in my life. Driving in it isn’t fun and going out in it is even worse. But the worst part is the mosquitos AFTER the rain stops. They are relentless. I think part of the reason for my “slackadaisical” (I just made up that word and will be copywriting it so don’t steal it) behavior is the loss of blood I’ve sustained from all the mosquito bites.
Okay – I will stop rambling now. The rest of my time in Milwaukee was wonderful. Finally got to use my reciprocity privileges with my SFMOMA card at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Incredible structure which reminded me slightly of the USS Enterprise.
After looking at a couple of open houses, it was time to hit the road again. Madison is only a short drive from Milwaukee and I opted to hole up at a county RV park for a couple of nights. Side note on RV parks: I have found that county/city/state parks are FAR SUPERIOR to private RV parks. Why? 1. They are less expensive. 2. They are generally in an actual park or are surrounded by nature and therefore aesthetically more pleasing. 3. They are NEVER located by a highway and almost always peaceful and quiet.
Anyway, it’s a good thing I booked two nights because the rain was relentless and I ended up not getting to do as much as I’d hoped in Madison. Saw the capital, went to the Farmers Market and replenished my supply of cheese curds (yay!!!!!!), realized that pretty much everything in Madison is related to the university – note the liquor store sign. I also found the only place to get Mexican food in Madison. While I was tempted to try it, I figured I was safer eating a handful of cheese curds.
Next stop on the Wisconsin itinerary was Spring Green which is known for two famous buildings that could not be more different: House on the Rock and Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer house. I visited HotR first and all I can say is that it’s weird. Really weird. Filled with more stuff than you can imagine. Even the ladies restroom contained doll, Christmas and airplanes displays. There were instruments that played themselves, an infinity room, “Streets of Yesteryear” which reminded me of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, a crazy imaginary sea creature being attacked by a giant octopus and these mechanical toys that would move if you deposited a token. The Dying Drunkard was the best (sorry the picture of the token box is blurry) with the drunkard rising and falling from the bed while the skeleton would pop out of the clock.
I really enjoyed the Japanese garden – mainly because it was outside. And the enormous water wheel was a nice touch.
But the best part (IMHO) was the enormous carousel. Incredible carved figures and not a single horse!
The actual town of Spring Green is quaint and I visited the Wisconsin Artist Showcase where I got a small painting by Tom Kelly, a local artist. I had to – this painting was basically me! The other picture demonstrates why I don’t like private RV parks – I paid $40 for one night and they have coin-op showers. Seriously, I was pissed.
Yesterday morning, after a nice run through town and a free shower in my MoHo, it was time to head to Taliesin. I opted for the less-expensive (aka cheap) $21 one-hour tour. I did NOT get to see FLW’s house, but I did see the school that he built, including the assembly hall, theater and the Romeo and Juliet water tower. These buildings were created over a 50 year period beginning in 1902 and still in use today. So cool. In fact, the water tower was the first instance of any building in the county having running water! I definitely plan on visiting Taliesin West when I’m in Arizona next year.
From Spring Green, it was a 30-minute drive to Mineral Point and big surprise, it rained pretty much the entire way. The good news is the rain stopped by the time I arrived and Juno and I spent the next few hours wandering around this adorable town. Lots of art galleries to enjoy, I hit The Pear for some locally sourced yarn, got more cheese from Hook’s Cheese (their curds might be the best I’ve had) and found the nicest tractor ever. The highlight was my conversation with Lisa and Don, and their friend Carrie. Lisa painted the chairs in front of High Street Candy, along with the Little Free Library. Don showed me pictures of their kitchen ceiling which she recently painted. They, along with everyone else I spoke to, encouraged me to move to Mineral Point. I said I’d think about it.
After departing Mineral Point, I needed to stop for groceries and since there was a Walmart off the Platteville exit, I figured why not? I’ve been having a challenge with finding the kind of fresh produce I’m used to – some local supermarkets don’t even have kale. I figured Walmart should have the basics. Well color me surprised! Not only did they have nice big bunches of fresh kale, they had a huge bin of broccoli crowns and both Honeycrisp and Envy apples! I was sooooo happy!! But here’s the best part – they also had liquor tasting in the store! Yep – they were sampling different bourbons. Did I partake? Of course. Fortunately, there was also a cracker tasting near the register so I grabbed a snack on my way out. Walmart – seriously not so bad at all…
I’m back in Illinois now – crossed the border and holed up in Galena last night. Just as soon as the rain stops and I apply more bug spray, Juno and I will be checking out the town. Have a great weekend!