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  1. #1
    peach Guest

    Default Great River Road rt 35?

    Hi! and a million thanks for the members list!!! i haven't been here in two years and was able to find my name and by some miracle remembered my pass word!!!

    this june we will be leaving new jersey, heading out to chicago for a family wedding and from there going to south dakota. traveling will be dh, two quirky boys ages 12 and 14 and myself. while in chicago, we will go to the field museum, aquarium and brookfield zoo to check out my favorite pal, the tomato frog.

    what i am really excited about is traveling the Great River Road, along the Missippi River. That corner of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota seems like a little slice of heaven....well, at least in the late spring or early summer!! we have never done this drive before and i was wondering if any of you have, and if you could make any suggestions on places to stay, see or experience. and yes, this jersey girl, will be going to the mall of america...cause by the time i get there i will need my mall fix and i understand that there is an amusement park that the boys will enjoy.

    also, since i am a bird watcher, have any of you tried the binoculars that have a camera in them? and.....ok, last request because i don't want to be too much of a burden....any bird books for the drive from chicago to south dakota you can suggest...other wise i will stick with the audubon, peterson smithsonian field guides.

    thanks for your time!

    maryanne

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Howdy!

    Quote Originally Posted by peach View Post
    Hi! and a million thanks for the members list!!! i haven't been here in two years and was able to find my name and by some miracle remembered my pass word!!!
    Glad to hear that the system is working for you! I can almost remember my high school locker combination (it hasn't been as long for me as for some), but not even half of my passwords.

    what i am really excited about is traveling the Great River Road, along the Missippi River.
    Here is an older thread that has some information about that road.
    Here is another post about the Great River Road

    I'm not much of a bird watcher - passive, sure, but that's about it. I do have some of the Audubon guides and they have helped me to identify many of the strange looking creatures I see while on the road.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default For the Boys

    Welcome back aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I'll be going across your wake in July, from the Quad Cities to Milwaukee, also for a wedding and family visits. There are a number of attractions in southwestern Wisconsin that would appeal to a small boy (speaking from experience). In order as you would get to them on I-90/I-94 west from Madison, the first you would come to is the simplest, the Merrimac Ferry across the Wisconsin River. This is just a short detour off the Interstate, using WI-60 and WI-113, and best of all - it's free.

    If you then just continue up WI-113, you'll come to Devil's Lake State Park with some unique rock formations and the chance to rent a boat or canoe for some time on the lake. Continuing on WI-113 will bring you to Baraboo and the Circus World Museum which does have shows during the summer along with its permanent exhibits.

    From Baraboo, take US-12 north and by all means stop in Wisconsin Dells. Yes, it has gotten a bit 'touristy' over the years, but still, it has several great - and competing - water parks. Just be sure to take a boat ride up into the actual dells, a group of chasms and rock formations along the Wisconsin River.

    The above sites are all within about 25 miles of each other, so now you may want to slow the pace down a bit and head for the scenic Great River Road (WI-35). I-90 to La Crosse will get you there in great shape. The boys will like the scenery and you can enjoy the birding. A good excuse for both of you to get out of the car is to stop and either Lock and Dam No. 4 or Lock and Dam No. 3 as you work your way north. If you're lucky, the boys can watch a barge be taken through the locks while you enjoy the water birds.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-08-2007 at 10:43 AM. Reason: Highway Number Correction

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default My Backyard

    Midwest Michael's Historic Boyhood home is just two blocks off the Great River Road, while its not an official tourist destination yet, someday maybe.... Regardless, I am quite fond of the area.

    Since you mentioned Route 35, which is only the river road in Wisconsin, can I assume you plan to start in Southern Wisconsin and then work up to the Twin Cities?

    I'll start at the bottom and work North.

    In Dubuque, I'd highly recommend the Mississippi River Aquarium and Museum. Its got a really nice collection of the fish and other animals that call the Mississippi River Home, good exhibits on the importance of the River, and even an authentic Riverboat that you can tour. I visited it on the recommendation of someone else on the forum, and was quite impressed.

    From there, you could take a quick trip over to Dyersville, and play catch at the Field of Dreams or Tour the National Farm Toy Museum.

    Next, I would head north and take the Ferry across the Mississippi to Cassville. That one isn't free, but it is the only Ferry I know of that takes cars across the Mississippi from Wisconsin north.

    Cassville has a couple of really good sites. Stonefield is a recreation of a turn of the 20th century farming village. It is right across the street from Nelson Dewey State Park, which has some great blufftop views and hiking trails that overlook the River Valley. There are even a few campsites with incredible views.

    Continuing North to the Prairie du Chien area, there's lots more. Villa Louis is a restored 1800's fur traders mansion. Wyalusing State Park is on the Wisconsin side, while over in Iowa, you can visit the originial Pikes Peak.

    Just to the north of that is the only National Monument on the leg. Effigy Mounds National Monument.

    Once you get to LaCrosse, you can take a view of all three states from the top of Granddad Bluff. And since the Drive-In is the world's most classic roadtrip food, Stop at Rudy's Drive-In, which still features Roller Skating Watresses! You could also take a Riverboat Cruise on the LaCrosse Queen or Julia Belle Swain

    LaCrosse is also a stop where you could stop at a Lock and Dam and watch a barge go through the locks which control the depth of the River. Lock and Dam #7 is also next to a Rest Stop on I-90 that is right on the river, and might be the most scenic Interstate Rest Areas in the US. (One that overlooks the Missouri on I-90 near Chamberlain is another one of my favs)

    On the other side of the River, The Apple Blossom Scenic Byway runs along the Top of the Bluffs, cutting through Apple Orchards that overlook the Mississppi River. That finishes near Great River Bluffs State Park

    Continuing North takes you to Winona and Wabasha, MN Wabasha is the scene of the movie "Gumpy Old Men," and while the movie was shot up around the Twin Cities, they celebrate the movie at Slippery's Bar and Grill

    Get your shopping fix in at the Pottery Place in Red Wing. I think you'll find a lot more unique items there then you will at the Mall of America. Although the mall of america does have a few roller coaster at the former camp snoopy (now sponsored by Nickolodean)

    Once you get to the Twin Cities, you might also want check out Como Park. Its got a free zoo and even some carnival rides. Its one of my favorite little family friendly stops in St. Paul.

    That should at least give you a few ideas!

  5. #5
    peach Guest

    Default

    a few ideas????? you ain't kidding!!!! you all have provided me with enough information of the area to cancel dh's plans to go to south dakota and now new (today) colorado. we have different traveling styles. he is from the see but don't pee school and i am from the poke my nose in every nook and cranny school.

    what's a good marriage without a little irritation, eh?

    AZBuck and Midwest Michael, it was my original intention to do rt 35 by way of Galena, Illinois and to work our way up. BUT if dh sees the 90/94 rt he may want to go that way...so i appreciate both routes. i think it depends upon how the boys and us are faring at the time and how deep i want to dig my heels in. we have about 3 weeks time and i can easily spend it along the river, dh could easily spend it along the road. i'll map out both routes and be prepared for either. i can't thank you enough. i do have a question about taking a ferry....my one son has a movement disorder (think tourettes) and it becomes increasingly aggrivated in crowds. are the ferry's very crowded? i mean, elbow to elbow type of crowded?

    and....Midwest Michael, your boyhood home is destined to be on the next walking tour. i think my girlhood home is destined to be knocked down and mcmansioned!!!!

    now about that school locker, Mass Tim...i'm too old for lockers, we had cubbies, and ink wells and i had to walk 15 miles to school up hill, both ways. i remember the last time i posted a while back ago you gave me some great information concerning your neck of the woods but because of the whole yankee/bo sox thing i couldn't bring myself to go up that route. don't know if i ever will be able to either!!! i enjoyed the heck out of the posts you referred me too. you had me going south on a dirt gravel path swigging makers mark when i am suppose to be going north and doing shots of wild turkey!!!!!

    again, guys, thanks for your time and for all of your help. i appreciate it and if /when i need help on the next leg of the trip i sure know where to go!!!

    m.a.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-03-2007 at 02:31 PM. Reason: removed the extra white spaces

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default "...see but don't pee school ... and the poke my nose in every nook and cranny..."

    Quote Originally Posted by peach View Post
    we have different traveling styles...what's a good marriage without a little irritation, eh?
    I think it a required part of the marriage contract... I like those descriptions....

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Ferries

    are the ferry's very crowded? i mean, elbow to elbow type of crowded?
    Oh lord no!

    The Merrimac Ferry is big enough to hold 12 or 15 cars - Three Row of 4 or 5 cars. That pretty much takes up all the space on the boat, but there is room to walk around the edges a look around a bit. Its a nice quick 5-10 minute ride, plus the time waiting in line to load.

    I haven't used the Cassville Ferry, but I've seen it, and again, it is not a large vessle. and I think it gets less traffic than the Merrimac Ferry.

    and....Midwest Michael, your boyhood home is destined to be on the next walking tour.
    Maybe, just be sure to knock. My parents are welcoming people, but even they have their limits...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default 24/7... as long they knock?

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Maybe, just be sure to knock. My parents are welcoming people, but even they have their limits...
    When Megan and I were on the road in the Phoenix One -- we had a rule -- if anyone found us on the road and knocked -- no matter the time or place, they were invited in for a tour and chat -- the word got around and we had folks "stopping by" a couple of times in the wee hours.... That got pretty nuts after a while -- nice to know that your folks are "OK" with having your fans stop by, as well, anytime...

    Mark

  9. #9
    peach Guest

    Default

    midwest michael...thanks for the info concerning the ferry! we will surely take one of them and the boys and i will get a huge kick out of it!

    and, mark, that comment about marriage and irritation comes from an adopted motto from my nyc/ italian/catholic side of my family. the original phrase, needle pointed onto a pillow is, 'love without irritation is just lust'! the hoosier/baptist side of the family smiles and laughs politely! please no one take offence at that comment...it is just my family!

    and...no one knocks on our door. i think it may have something to do with dh sitting next to his blocked up chevy, amongst the dandilions and faded bobble-headed pink flamingoes, cleaning his shot gun, swigging a bud, wearing short shorts and his marine corp hat! but, hey! that is just a guess on my part.

    i figure if i can't return the favor of providing you all with worthwhile travel information, the least i can do is make you chuckle!

    thanks again,
    m.a.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default This sounds like a tourist attraction to me!

    Quote Originally Posted by peach View Post
    ...i think it may have something to do with dh sitting next to his blocked up chevy, amongst the dandilions and faded bobble-headed pink flamingoes, cleaning his shot gun, swigging a bud, wearing short shorts and his marine corp hat! but, hey! that is just a guess on my part.
    Maybe your place just hasn't been named on the must-see tourist places yet in your county!

    Mark

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