Virtual Travel – Wisconsin

You are in Wisconsin doncha know. Our state tours are coming to an end but there is plenty to see and do in Wisconsin, and beyond.


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State Capitol

1947     1953     1966



Madison is the State Capital. The Capitol building dates from 1917.

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State Symbols

State Dance – It seems nearly every state has square dancing as the state dance, but not Wisconsin. Let’s play the Beer Barrel Polka


State Pastry – Kringle



Madison is a pretty city situated between two lakes. The state animal, and nickname for the University of Wisconsin sports teams are the Badgers.





Towns and Cities

1940     1967     1972     1983     1997     2001    2003    2008     2017


Milwaukee – Wisconsin’s largest city is a Lake Michigan port city. There are a number of museums and parks along the lakeshore.

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Racine is a smaller port city near the Illinois border.

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Ashland is located in northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior.





Wisconsin Cultures

1948     1958     1969     1987

Government State Wisconsin 1948



The Northern Great Lakes visitor center celebrates life on the Great Lakes.

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The German culture thrives throughout the state. Beer, brats and cheeseheads! (photos from the internet)

Bavarian Bierhaus | © VISIT Milwaukee

look at that cute cheesehead!"-a packers fan #greenBAE #greenbay ...




Wisconsin Roads and Attractions

1970     1971     1973     1976     2006     2010     2011     2012     2013


Government State Wisconsin 2006



Wisconsin Dells – A popular tourist attraction in south central Wisconsin. While there is natural scenery there is an abundance of man made attractions. (photos from the internet)

Trips on a Tank: Wisconsin

Facts | Wisconsin Dells | Media Information



Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee

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Wingspread – A Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece in Racine.

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House on the Rock is located in Spring Green. This amazingly quirky structure was built as a result of a feud between a man named Alex Jordan and Frank Lloyd Wright. When Wright told him he wasn’t qualified to build a crate, Jordan set out to build this home.

Many question if this story is true or not, but regardless this place is like nowhere else. It is filled with automated musical instruments, strange collections, circus features including a massive carousel, and many other collections. The highlight is the ‘Infinity Room’, cantilevered out over the valley below.

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Michigan UP, Wisconsin and Minnesota – National Parks Road Trip – Day 3 – Abandonded Air Force Base, Marquette, MI and Duluth, MN

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We started our day in Marquette, Michigan at the abandoned Sawyer Air Force base. There are literally hundreds of vacant buildings scattered about, with a few in use. We went past entire apartment complexes boarded up after the military left in the 1990s. It looks like it could double for Chernobyl.

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Interestingly though, as a tourist attraction, are a number of jet airplanes parked around town. They seem to be in good shape, just parked in fields and parking lots. At the edge of town is a new, small terminal that is used for the Marquette International Airport. We walked in to check it out and the board has one destination written permanently, ‘Detroit’.

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It was about a 15 minute drive into the middle of Marquette, the largest town in the U.P It is also home to Northern Michigan University. Given the tough weather, over 200″ of snow per year, they have a domed stadium, the Superior Dome, however theirs is unique in that it is made of Douglas Fir beams and fir decking. This geodesic dome arena is the world’s largest wooden dome and is in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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We made our way inside the Wildcat football arena, walking onto the cushioned Astroturf, with a beautiful smell of wood used to build the arena. The ceiling was stained wood inside and had white panels for the exterior designed in a sloping fashion to funnel snow off the domed stadium into large wells positioned on the ground at points around the structure.

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We saw another amazing item in the arena. It is the World’s Tallest Trophy at 22 ft 6.5 inches tall given for the largest skateboard parade and this trophy is also in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Along the Marquette Harbor we stopped at the Marquette Maritime Museum but it was closed, however there was a torpedo stationed outside that was perfect for sitting on and waving my arms as if I were Slim Pickens in the movie Dr. Strangelove while I had my photo taken. Just across the parking lot is the Marquette Bay Park, with a massive abandon ore dock.

We met a person in the parking lot of the park who told us how it was used; there was a massive train bridge that spanned across downtown Marquette, crossing overtop the buildings, and onto the ore dock. Trains would pull in with loads of ore, and dump them directly into the boats headed down the lakes. Given the fact we were along the Lake Superior shore at an ore dock brought to mind the Edmund Fitzgerald disaster, along with the accompanying song.

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Leaving Marquette we stopped in Ishpeming to see the U. S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame, but it was closed. The building was designed with a steep roof modeled as a ski slope. An old ski lift chair provided seating in front of the building and international flags and an Olympic torch stood in front outside to complete the scene. We checked out the items outside the building and the well painted murals on a nearby bridge.

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Also in Ishpeming is Da Yoopers Tourist Trap, a store I found on the Roadside America website. Large strange and unusual contraptions were placed on the store property along the road, including an 18 foot long chain saw called Big Gus.

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Another ‘feature’ was an old pick-up truck with a rifle mounted to the bed that stuck up over the cab of the truck and extended about 8 feet beyond the front of the truck. Amazingly both the chain saw and the gun actually work.

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Lower Michigan becomes the butt of humor due to the dislike from Da Yoopers of Upper Michigan which is seen in many of the items for sale. Some items emphasized a local affection for beer and pasties- pronounced with a short “a” sound not long “a”. Pasties are dough sandwiches stuffed with beef, rutabagas, or other vegetables, not what I was expecting when I first saw the signs.

Our route this day took us across the western half of the U.P. across the M28. As was our goal we tried to find something interesting to stop for every hour or two, including Agate Falls Park, located in southeastern Ontonagon County, Michigan. What appears to be a basic roadside rest is actually the park for this 39′ high waterfalls, coupled with a classic old highway bridge crossing just above.

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Wakefield, Michigan was our next stop to see the Peter Toth carved Native American. We were disappointed to see that the carved head of a Native American was only half the size and not as intricately carved as a similar wooden statue in front of the Judith Resnik Community Learning Center in Akron, Ohio.

We continued on through Bessemer, Michigan to find the giant ski bum noted on Roadside America. The Ski bum was at the entrance to a ski resort called Big Powderhorn that claimed to be the Ski Capital of the Midwest.

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Finally we arrived in Ironwood in the early afternoon, and found the railroad station built in 1893 listed on the National Historical Places. In front of the depot is a memorial carved of three miners from an old tree. This town also has a mural painted the length of a downtown building of every miner with his name and the name of the mine he worked.

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In addition, this town boasts the “World’s Tallest Indian” as is noted at the foot of a 52 foot tall Hiawatha. The statue is made of fiberglass and erected at the top of Suffolk Street next to a neighborhood. This statue towers over the houses. You really cannot miss it even though we asked someone where to find it.

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Just across the border into Wisonsin we found another Roadside America classic, a giant large corkscrew in Hurley, Wisconsin. Appropriately it stands in front of a liquor store. Thank goodness Roadside America kept us entertained with oddball items like this to see along the way. You may interpret this mishmash of oddity as rambling fun, weird education, or just plain stupidity to fight boredom.

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Ashland, Wisconsin was our next stop, to see the murals on buildings throughout the town. There are murals painted on the sides of downtown buildings on most of the blocks. The murals paint life of downtown businesses and life through the decades. Nearly all the murals depict people who were residents of the town.

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Just outside of town we visited the Northern Great Lakes Center. The center displayed dioramas and murals of native tribes, wildlife, geology and life history of the area. It also exhibited professional photographs of Apostle Islands and Pictured Rocks. It was interesting to see these photos of Pictured Rocks which hung here in the Center because these photos were taken at different times of day and season to show so many beautiful captured scenes of the same landscape that we photographed while on our cruise. The winter scenes of Pictured Rocks and Apostle Island were especially outstanding.

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Dark clouds appeared with expected storms so we made our way to Superior, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the accordion museum there was closed and so we moved on to Duluth, Minnesota.

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Welcome to Minnesota.

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We drove around Duluth and were surprised to find steep hills within the city, which of course we headed up. I had read there was an overlook but I was having trouble finding it.Eventually in one of my efforts to find it I ended up in a parking lot of a Catholic Church where there was some guy just hanging out in his dingy old mini van. When I asked him where it was he said ‘follow me, I will take you there’. Knowing this violates every rule of every slasher movie, we did follow him, far enough I knew where it was and I turned and took off the other way, leaving Freddy Kreuger to himself. The overlook was at Engel Park, with a 80′ tower at the top.


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The view from the top was spectacular, with a 360 degree view of the city, bay and lake. We spent quite  bit of time watching an ore boat leave the harbor under the lift bridge, as well as many ore docks, some still in use. On the Superior, WI side there were massive grain elevators.

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Our hotel was near the harbor in a restored area with restaurants and parks. Returning we walked to one of the more popular ones, Grandma’s Saloon & Grill (that is really the name of the restaurant) then walked through town and later walked the boardwalk along Lake Superior for amazing photos of the incoming storm, before retreating to the cover of the large porch of our hotel to watch the storm blow through. Afterwards we walked again for more great photos trying to capture lightning and ships through the fog. We got some great photos to end our day here.

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Lightning on the Lake

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Milwaukee – September, 2014 – Harley Davidson Museum

The Harley Davidson Museum is in downtown Milwaukee, just south of the river in the middle of town. The complex is made up of 3 buildings with over 100,000 square feet of exhibits. As you arrive you are greeted with a sculpture of a 1920s dirt bike rider going up a hill climb.

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One of the first areas you see is the engine room, detailing the evolution of Harley engines, including the classic V Twin.

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The main lobby has a spectacular display of bikes over the years.

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The Tank Room was a great display of stylishly decorated tanks.

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A replica of a velodrome presented numerous early bikes as though they were racing on a high bank wooden track.

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Racine, WI – September 2014 – Frank Lloyd Wright House – Wingspread

Racine, Wisconsin is the home of Johnson Wax, where in 1936 famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright design a new administration building for the company. This building has many of FLW’s features, but in a change from the prairie style he had been doing has numerous curved Cherokee Red bricks that created the sweeping curves of the interior and exterior.

It remains to this day one of the his most noteworthy buildings.

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The owner of the company, Herbert Johnson, was so impressed he commission Frank to build him a home at the edge of Racine.

The 14,000 square foot home is set in the neighborhood of Wind Point, near Lake Michigan.

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The living room is the center of the home, with four wings extending from this base.

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As with most FLW homes there is a close integration of exterior and interior, with numerous patios and porches.

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Another classic FLW feature was built in furniture.

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Used today as a retreat and conference center for SC Johnson, Wingspread is one of the finest examples of FLW architecture I have seen.

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Spring Green, WI – 2012 Road Trip – Day 16 – House on the Rock

We continued our eastern route Saturday morning into Wisconsin along I-94, past Eau Claire, finally exiting at Maulston to lead us south to Spring Green. This small Wisconsin town is the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, and as a result they have the famed home and school of his, Taliesin. We had a nice lunch at the visitor center, but we chose not to tour the compound for two reasons; 1 – we had seen numerous FLW buildings and 2 – We were there to see House on a Rock


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House on the Rock: The “house” itself is atop Deer Shelter Rock, a column of rock approximately 70 feet  by 200 feet (61 m) on the top, which stands in a forest nearby. In addition to the House on the Rock itself, the Gate House, and the Mill House, are reminiscent of the work of FLW, though much less coherently designed than is characteristic of Wright, given its patchwork of external structures and interior spaces.


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According to the story, the building actually began partly to spite the master architect FLW, who ran his Taliesin communal school near Spring Green. These early structures feature exposed stone, low ceilings, dark woodwork, and antiques on display

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One of the highlights is the Infinity Room, an engineering marvel that extends 218 feet out over the valley, sitting 156 feet above the ground. The Infinity Room has 3,264 windows for walls that treat guests to a truly spectacular view.

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We spent more than 4 hours wandering around this amazing place, thoroughly amused throughout. Someday we might return to Spring Green and see Taliesin, but it is clear we made the correct choice this day.

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Our hotel was in Madison, only about an hour away. On the way we went through a small town called Mount Horeb, the troll capital of the World. All around town are statues of trolls.

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But you can only have so many trolls, and a short time later we were in Madison. Our home for the night, Hotel Red, was trendy boutique hotel that offered cocktails upon check in. In addition, it was just around the corner from Camp Randall Stadium, home of the University of Wisconsin

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As with other college towns that are seats of the government, it was a nice city, much cleaner than most, and obviously has some wealth. Situated between two lakes, there were many lakefront parks and homes.

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After some time driving around, then walking campus we found a small French/Belgian restaurant called Brasserie V, a casual, European inspired neighborhood basserie located on Madison’s historic Monroe Street. They advertise they were born out of a passion for the French Joie de Vivre developed from time spent in Belgium and France, that combines their love of rustic French food with Belgian beer.

All in all our last full day on the road was great, with the uniqueness of House on a Rock, the trendiness of the boutique hotel, and the nice French restaurant.