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Token Creek – Home of the Biggest Little July 4th Parade!


 10-13-17 and other visits

Token Creek is an unincorporated community that is part of the village of Windsor. The town of Burke also has some sections here as well. We are going explore Token Creek, past and present.

We had the pleasure of celebrating July 4th here in 2017, so much fun! They distill July 4th to the basics, honoring all veterans , joining family and community together for a day of fun. A favorite tradition is holding hands and singing along to Lee Greenwood’s famous song, God Bless the USA. They call it the “Circle of Freedom”. See it here.

Token Creek also has many businesses on Portage Road and Highway 19. A popular restaurant is on the corner of Hwy 19 and Portage Rd is the Paddle Inn.  We need to eat there sometime.

Turn right at the corner and you find several more.

Gentle Breezes Hot Air Balloons  has been giving you a ride to remember since 1990. Before that there was a different balloon company here called Token Creek Balloons, different ownership. At one time, the water tower near our home was painted with their logo. It now is blue and says “DeForest”.

Juke Box Bandstand provided great music at the Token Creek July 4th celebration. DJ Marc Lovicott did a great job keeping the crowd dancing as well as staging the entertainment and parade. If we needed a DJ service, I would choose them!

Store your stuff at Token Storage.

Take care of your pet at Token Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Back on Portage Rd, visit The Keg.

Next is the parks, Token Creek cares about the wildlife in the are and makes sure they have a place here too.  Token Creek itself is still a work in progress. Across 19 from Portage road is a sign about that.

Continue down the road and you will get to the Token Creek Conservancy, where the old grist mill used to be. 

At this pond behind the sign, only the disabled are allowed to fish here. Just beyond this sign is the Token Creek marker you see at the top of the page.

 

A little past here is more of the park and the cemetery where the Veteran’s Remembrance Ceremony was held on July 4th. First the bridge over the creek.

The mill used to be in this area, now a beautiful park. To the left of the parking lot is the cemetery.

Keep walking streight ahead through the parking lot and you will soon come upon a bridge over the creek. Also a plaque on a rock to the right of the bridge.

A man was fly fishing on this beautiful fall day.

A view of the cemetery.

Our last stop today will be Token Creek County Park.

Here you will find the other marker in Token Creek, near the park entrance.

 

You can camp here too.

Enjoy the pine forest with many mature trees.

I enjoyed my visits to Token Creek. To learn more about the community in the 19th and 20th centuries, I have a copy of this book, Token Creek by Mae Bork. The book is now out of print, but I found a copy here if you are interested.

South Dakota Potpourri-Rest Stops and More!


April 24-29, 2017

In our 6 days in South Dakota we saw a lot of interesting things between our main destinations. We encountered historical markers we had to stop and read. The rest stops alone were worth taking a few minutes to see.  We will be showing you places not covered in our other posts since the visits were short.  We covered the state from end-to-end horizontally.

On our journey we explored three rest stops along I-90 in South Dakota.

We will begin with the first rest stop on the state border just after leaving Minnesota.  This is the Valley Springs Rest Area. See a map of the other rest areas we visited, all impressive!

We are informed of what highway we are on.

The rest stops in SD are clean and attractive, also many contain a picture display of major attractions in the state.  You can see it at the corner of the building.

At this rest stop there are several markers, the first is Minnehaha County, where we were. Let’s read it.

A Purple Heart Memorial Highway marker is also there.  

Another distinguishing feature of South Dakota rest stops is the large teepee-like structure at most of them, and there is another marker there also.

The 2nd one is on the other side of the state in Spearfish . This is the Northern Hills Rest area, near the Wyoming state border.

The most interesting rest stop is  the Medicine Creek Rest Area.

Also called the Presho Rest Area, located in the middle of the state. This was the 3rd rest stop.  This rest stop commemorates when the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed this area. There is a LARGE  Sacagawea statue on a hill overlooking the Missouri River, great view from the hill! You can see the community of Chamberlain below.

The white bridge is the historic Chamberlain-Oacoma bridge, dedicated on September 25, 1925.

The Lewis and Clark Memorial Bridge on the right, the one we crossed to get here.

Many signs and plaques to read here, an important area to be sure.

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Some parts of our trip took us off the main highways and we passed many markers we didn’t previously know about.

This one is in Bridgewater, west of Sioux Falls.

Also this one in Humboldt in Minnehaha County, we saw both of these on our way to Sioux Falls on Day 5 of our trip. The famous Pumpkin Center marker. It is two-sided.

We saw this on the roadside on our way out on Day 1. Porter Sculpture Park. It is located in Montrose, SD. It wasn’t open for the season yet 😦

 

We wished we could have stopped in De Smet to see one of Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s former homes, but we didn’t have the time on this trip.

A seemingly infinite regression of power lines going to the horizon.

Did you ever hear that song, “Eat at Joe’s”?  Well, you actually can in South Dakota.

Here is the song if you don’t know it.

It’s official name is Joe’s Cafe in Alexandria. You can’t miss the friendly Sinclair dino at the driveway, great place for a selfie!

 

 

Here’s Joe’s, I heard it is a popular place!

We discovered this beautiful place on our way out on day 1, the Snake Creek Recreation Area.  We got video driving through it too, our first experience of the changing terrain from the eastern edge of the state. It is just west of Platte.

The long straight road after leaving here.

Soon we arrived in Winner for gas, we  saw a McDonald’s that looked straight out of the 1970’s!

Shortly after that we entered the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

In Okreek we saw Calvary Episcopal Church,  adding interest to a largely treeless land.

The landscape is beautiful too, this hill can be seen from here.

We came across two other markers in Martin on our way to Wounded Knee.

 The first marker refers to the Civilian Conservation Corp.

The second marker, a plane crash occurred near here.

 

That about covers odds and ends of South Dakota, more added after our 2nd trip there in 2018.

 

 

Nevin Fish Hatchery in Fitchburg – Since 1876


3-27-17

I think I might have visited here once MANY years ago, I don’t know for sure when.  In fact, I had forgotten you could visit here. It was time to come back and see things in early spring.  If you bike here, there is a cute fish-shaped bike rack.

The Nevin Fish Hatchery is the oldest DNR managed land in Wisconsin, acquired in 1876. The Capitol City State Trail passes through part of the property also. We pass through the gate here to enter the grounds.

Take a look at my visit here, you can see the fish swimming too.

Here is a map of the grounds, there are many signs placed throughout explaining the different areas of the fish hatchery. Let’s go for a walk! Spring is awakening here. The water never freezes though, they keep it warm over the winter. They have a sign describing winter activities here.

View of the area.

And the raceway below, in the morning the staff clean the water and feed the fish.

Walking a little further, we come to a peaceful pond, reflecting the trees.

We also find a marker on a large rock across from a bench by the creek, dedicated to Tom Palmer. A great place to sit and relax.

This is the Spiral Building, only staff can enter it.

As I walk back to the entry, I read the many signs talking about the history of this fish hatchery.

I had a great visit here, I plan on returning. I learned a lot about the crucial service this and all fish hatcheries provide.

Shawano – City on The Wolf River


9-30/10-1-2016

Shawano sign

shawano-marker

Enjoy the ride to Shawano, plenty to see on the way!

Shawano  is located in Shawano County, Barn Quilt Capitol of Wisconsin.  The city has a population of 9,305 and has plenty to offer.

Stop by the Chamber of Commerce on Hwy. 22, close to the barn sign above.   Read the visitor guide here and/or have them send you one before you come to visit!  We got a lot of great info here.  The goldfish in the tank at the Chamber has a story of his own. It was originally put into the tank as food but it decided it wasn’t going to be food. Cute fish, also quite large at about 3 inches long!

Shawano Chamber of Commerce

goldfish-at-shawano-chamber-of-commerce

Since it is hard to see all the barn quilts in one trip,  we picked up the book “The Barn Quilts of Shawano County Wisconsin”. It costs $15 and a great memento of our visit.  Buy the book here. Learn more about the Barn Quilt Project.

The Barn Quilts of Shawano County, Wisconsin

Even more behind the scenes story here.

Our first meal in town was lunch at The Launching Pad Bar and Grill, a casual restaurant across from the municipal airport (see video).

The Launching Pad Bar and Grill in Shawano

Downtown Shawano

Downtown Shawano

The Shawano Post Office has a mural inside, painted by Eugene Higgins.

 shawano-post-officemural-in-shawano-post-office-eugene-higgins

A city clock too!

shawano-city-clock

 Winters can get cold in Shawano.  It’s no surprise the famous Stormy Kromer™ winter hat is sold  here.  Buy one at Town and Country Cleaners. They are made in Milwaukee.

Stormy Kromer Mercantile in Shawano

stormy-kromer-outlet-in-shawano

 We also noticed that fudge is popular here, just like on Mackinac island.  We got some at Old Glory Candy just off Main St. Lots of old-fashioned favorites here, friendly staff too!

old-glory-candy-in-shawano-collage

Visit the Veteran’s Memorial on the Courthouse grounds.

shawano-county-courthouse

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 Shawano has some beautiful parks to visit as well.  Launch your boat or fish at Huckleberry Harbor, on the banks of the Wolf River.  See this and other parks on this map you can print.  There is a windmill there too. It was repainted in 2015, great job!

Huckleberry Harbor in Shawano

 Windmill in ShawanoSpirit of Shawano Park at the intersection of Main and Green Bay Street greet people with metal sculptures representing various industry in the area.

spirit-of-shawano-park-collage

Another great place is Sturgeon Park. This is the epicenter of Sturgeon spawing in Shawano.  They usually spawn in May.

Record-size Sturgeon have been caught here.  This Stella, caught in 2012.

sturgeon-park-in-shawano

stella-the-sturgeon-in-shawano

 The water pouring over the dam, intensified by frequent rains.

On Sundays there is also a great Farmers Market here, we stopped by and found a great variety of items for sale. It’s at Franklin Park.

Shawano Farmers Market sign

shawano-farmers-market

The market’s first year was 2007 and has been a great success in the community. Learn more about it below.

We took a stroll through the market too, take a look!

Pay a visit to Heritage Park and Sunset Island too. It was not open since the season had ended, but you could still walk the grounds.  The Shawano County Historical Society produced a video of the historical village.  Hopefully we can make it back in 2017 and be here when it’s open!

Heritage Park sign in Shawano

heritage-park-sign

Bridge at Heritage Park in Shawano

We may have been too late to explore this place in further detail, but we were right on time for the Shawano Octoberfest.  Lots of music and fall crafts to be had here!

octoberfest-banner

Shawano is also home to Sundrop™ soft drink, we also enjoyed a self-guided tour at Sundrop University™, the factory in town.  This vending  machine is downtown if you need your Sundrop fix!

Sundrop vending machine

welcome-to-sundrop-university-selfie

We enjoyed dinner about 15 miles north on the Menominee Indian Reservation at the War Bonnet Bar and Grill, they serve Indian Tacos on authentic fry bread, delicious!

war-bonnet-bar-and-grill-in-keshena

indian-taco-and-hamburger-on-fry-bread-at-war-bonnet

A great place to stay if you plan on spending the night here is the Super 8.  Comfortable room and great free breakfast!

super-8-at-night-lit-sign-laurie-kutil

We had a lot of fun here and plan on returning in 2017.

shawano-barm-quilt-selfie

Manitowoc Lincoln Park Zoo


8-19-16

lincoln-park-zoo-achway

We were in Manitowoc for the day for Al’s class reunion. It wasn’t until evening so we went to Lincoln Park Zoo for a few hours.

lincoln-park-zoo-signs

Admission is free but donations are gratefully accepted here.

Donation box at Lincoln Park Zoo in Manitowoc

The walk through the zoo was fun, and the animals looked well cared for, many were taking a nap when we were there  🙂

Cougar at Lincoln Park Zoo

Asiatic Bear at Lincoln Park Zoo

Scattered throughout the grounds are footprints of many animals on concrete squares. Great idea!

animal-footprints-at-lincoln-park-zoo

The zoo also has a fish hatchery dedicated to Dean H. Heili, a man dedicated to preserving Great Lakes sport fishing.  He also invented the diving plane for lures.

Fish Hatchery at Lincoln Park Zoo

In the structure is a monitor  linked to an underwater camera so you can see the fish.  It also gives water temp. Sorry, it is difficult to photograph.

fish-hatchery-monitor-at-lincoln-park-zoo

Fish Pond sign at Lincoln Park Zoo

dean-h-heili-monument-at-lincoln-park-zoo

A beautiful gazebo too.

gazebo-at-lincoln-park-zoo

There also is a platform overlooking a wetland, you might be lucky enough to see a crane or heron here!

Viewing Platform at Lincoln Park Zoo

Platform view at Lincoln Park Zoo

A look at some of the other animals here.

prairie-dog-eagle-pheasant-goats-at-lincoln-park-zoo

We went into the Education and Animal Care building last.  In here are reptile exhibits and an aviary.

Animal Care building Lincoln Park Zoo

 

animal-care-building-inside-at-linncoln-park-zoo

Also a honeybee home. The Queen is painted white, I tried to find her but couldn’t.

Honeybees at Lincoln park Zoo

There is also an inner room for classes, etc. Also an exhibit of fish in Lake Michigan.

Fish display at Lincoln Park Zoo

We enjoyed our visit here, what took us so long? Enjoy the park too.

Cabbage White butterfly at Lincoln Park Zoo

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Bay


6-24-16

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum lighthouse

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum has an important mission, to educate the public about the ships that sailed the Great Lakes over the centuries. Also to honor the sailors that have given their lives while serving aboard their ships when the weather turned deadly.

Our first connection to this museum occurred on February 24th when we went to the Mad City Model Railroad Show and Sale in Madison.  There was an Edmund Fitzgerald model there and the museum was mentioned also.

Edmund Fitzgerald Exhibit at Train Show

We got there just before they opened so we looked around awhile. There is a historic marker for the lighthouse.  To see everything, allow yourself 3 hours.

Whitefish Point lighthouse markerShipwreck Museum info

Coast Guard Lookout Tower sign

Coast Guard Lookout tower

You can even stay overnight here!

Overnight Accomodations at Whitefish Point

The museum opened and we took the optional lighthouse tour too. Our guide Kate was wonderful and was enthusiastic in her delivery.  the view was amazing at the top. You could also see the mouth of the St. Mary River from here if it is clear enough.

View from Lighthouse

View of beach at Whitefish Point

View of St. Mary River from Lighthouse

Visibility was real good that day, this is the view from Google Maps of what you are seeing here.

Map View from Lighthouse of St. Mary River

A fishing trawler was also visible.

Fishing Trawler

The light itself, impressive!

Lighthouse light at Whitefish Point

She even took a selfie with us afterwards, thanks!

Selfie with Katie Beth at Shipwreck Museum

The video also has some of the other exhibits we saw.

We did the lighthouse tour first, so now it was time to explore the other exhibits. The first building was the Coast Guard Surf Boat House.

Coast Guard Surf Boat Building at Whitefish Point

In here is a rescue surfboat on display, this model has enabled rescuers to save many lives.

Surfboat info

Coast Guard Surfboat

Inside surfboat

Next door in this building are Edmund Fitzgerald exhibits. The song “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” specifically mentions Whitefish Bay so it was still surreal that we were there.  There was a model of the ship made of Legos® (video) on display.

Lego Edmund Fitzgerald

Lego edmund Fitzgerald bowLego Edmund Fitzgerald info

Edmund Fitzgerald plaque

In this building is also a wood cut-out to take a picture with.

Cut Out st Shipwreck Museum

And now for the last building with many more shipwreck exhibits, and artifacts from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Main exhibit building at Shipwreck Museum

Panorama of inside main building at Shipwreck Museum

Edmund Fitzgerald large display, there was also a video playing showing all of the 29 crew members who died in the deadly November 10, 1975 storm.

Edmund Fitzgerald Display at Shipwreck Museum

The real ship bell.  You could not help but to feel sadness thinking of this brave crew and their sacrifice.

Edmund Fitzgerald Bell

There were many other ships represented too along the wall on the right side of the room.

Wall of shipwrecks at museum

Other displays..

Niagra Ship's Bell at Shipwreck Museum

Independence Shipwreck display

Lighthouse and ship display

After exploring the exhibits here we went down to the shore.  You accessed it on a boardwalk and stairs down. It was sandy with stones worn smooth by the water.

Boardwalk to Lake Superior shore

Lake Superior sand and stones

There were also dedications to the Edmund Fitzgerald shore side too, we could almost imagine the storm that sealed their fate.  This one listed the 29 crew members.

Dedication to Edmund Fitzgerald

On the shore were three more for three of the crew men, resembling gravestones.

Memorial to crew of Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior shoreline

The summer shoreline is quiet and peaceful, the piles of driftwood showed the results of when conditions get rough.

Lake Superior Shoreline at Shipwreck Museum

We took a solemn self-portrait here among the driftwood, remember all the sailors who passed on.  We are glad we came here during our one day in the U.P. of Michigan.

Selfie at Whitefish Bay

Shipwreck Museum front

 

Prairie du Sac – Village on the Sauk Prairie Waterway


3-5-16

prairie duc sac sign eraseWelcomeEagleWatchers

Sauk Prairie Riverway sign

After our fun morning at Wollersheim Winery, we crossed the Wisconsin River to have lunch and see more of Prairie du Sac and places to shop downtown.

Wollersheim Winery main buildings IMG_2571

And of course, watch the eagles during the winter. We saw only one at Eagle Island, but it is now nesting season.

We began our visit with lunch at the Sauk Prairie Eagle Inn, our first time there.  The food was delicious and we would definitely go back!

Sauk Prairie Eagle Inn

Time to see where the locals shop!  Next door to the Eagle Inn is Sauk Prairie Power Equipment where they can repair motors for you.

Sauk Prairie Power Equipment

Across the street is Luck’s Antique Mall, where we got an early start on Christmas shopping.  Stop here to find a unique gift or antique for that special someone.  It used to be a Ford garage 100 years ago.

Luck's Antique Mall in Prairie du Sac

Luck's Antique Store Formerly Ford Garage

If you cross the street at the bridge and walk far enough, you will see a HUGE eagle mural on the back.  Artist Randy Koenecke did a great job showing off the village mascot, the American eagle. The mural was painted in 2014.

Eagle Mural in Prairie du Sac

Visit the Tripp Memorial Museum to learn more about the Sauk Prairie (Sauk City and Prairie du Sac) area.

Tripp Memorial Museum in Prairie du Sac

Buy or rent or watch the latest movies at the Bonham Theater and Video in the Bonham building. You can also get video games here.  The building might date back to the 1920’s. It has an interesting historic feature in the lower left corner above the blue door, a cornerstone that says “air-conditioned”.  Neat!

Bonham Theater in Prairie du Sac

Air Conditioned cornerstone

Be sure to take a peek on the eagle-watching platform overlooking the river.

Eagle lookout platform

Eagle lookout platform

The viewing scope is free to use, compliments of the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council and other sponsors.

Viewing Scope in Prairie du Sac

The Ruth Culver Community Library is another place to seek out Sauk Prairie history if the Tripp museum isn’t open.

Ruth Culver Community Library

Sauk Prairie Bait and Tackle will take care of your fishing needs for bait and tackle.

Sauk Prairie Bait and Tackle

Two shops are in the building to the right of the tackle shop. DMarie Knit and Fiber  has great knitted gifts yarn to make your own. Also needlepoint supplies.  Prairie Pet Styles next door to get your pet groomed.

dMarie Knit and Fiber and Prairie Pet Styles

What community doesn’t have a Masonic Lodge building?

IMasonic Temple in Prairie du Sac

Another bright mural downtown brightened up an otherwise drab day.

Butterfly mural in Prairie du Sac

River Arts on Water is the community’s art gallery. It also features live performances throughout the year.

River Arts on Water

Our last stop was down by the river at the Prairie du Sac VFW Post 7694. On display is a helicopter. There is also a campground at VFW Memorial Park with 25 sites available, open seasonally.

Prairie du Sac VFW IMG_2917

Veteran's Memorial Park in Prairie du Sac

From here you could see a boat launch and the dam beyond on the Wisconsin River. It was loud today with the sound of rushing water. Saw several fishing boats too.

Dam on Wisconsin River IMG_2935

Fisherman on Wisconsin River in Prairie du Sac IMG_2933

For great shopping and eagles too, visit historic Prairie du Sac!

Downtown Prairie du Sac