I must admit that I had never before heard of this spectacular natural attraction located in western Wisconsin! After skirting the southern edge of Chicago, we made our turn to the northwest on Interstate-94 as we headed toward Madison, Wisconsin but really aiming for Eau Claire before calling it quits after another day of 10-hours driving. The countryside we passed through on the approach to Eau Claire was an interesting area of forests, valleys and stark rock formations. Sticking to the highway, we did not even seen the best of this area, known as the Wisconsin Dells, one of the top tourist hot-spots in the USA.
From Wikipedia: "the area takes its name from the Dells of the Wisconsin River, a spectacular glacially-formed gorge that features striking sandstone rock formations along the banks of the Wisconsin River. The Dells was formed during the last ice age approximately 15,000 years ago, although the rock itself is much older, dating from the Cambrian approximately 510-520 million years ago when the area of Wisconsin was at the bottom of a shallow sea. Approximately 19,000 years ago, the Dells was at the extreme eastern margin of the continental glacier. However, the Dells itself was never covered by glacial ice sheets - it was part of the large area that was bypassed by the ice. The eventual melting of the glacier formed Glacial Lake Wisconsin, a lake about the size of Great Salt Lake in Utah and as deep as 150 feet (45 m). The lake was held back by an ice dam of the remaining glacier. The eventual bursting of the ice dam unleashed a catastrophic flood, dropping the lake's depth to 50 feet (15 m) and cutting deep, narrow gorges and unusual rock formations into the sandstone seen today." From photos I have since seen of the resulting rock formations along the river, they look very much like the cliffs along the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada carved by the twice-daily 40-50 ft tidal actions of the Atlantic Ocean!
Gallery is stocked with local artists of work such as paintings, sculpture, jewelry and local music cd's. Knowledgeable staff will help you if you get the bug to create your very own masterpiece of art.
Ha ha! After 9 or 10 years...I still roll into this old dive!! I love seeing the same faces and drinking out of huge mason or Kerr jars. If you come for happy hour and look at the carpet, you can see all the cigarette burns for the last 20 or 30 years. I will be posting my own personal photos of this place shortly. I have to find me a scanner.
If you are travelling through wisconsin on I94, DO stop in at this very inexpensive watering hole...and then go feed the ducks with various locals later.
You might want to check into one of the seedy hotels around there, as I guarantee you the jar mixers will get you extremely intoxicated.
Last time I checked, a jar mixer went for around 2 or 3 dollars. This is a 16 ounce pint jar with more than a shot of liquor, I guarantee you. I intend to contact a regular customer and have him send me the current prices and specials.
More on this excellent hole in the wall later....
At one time years ago, the Chippewa River
changed course and what is left is a dramatic small "oxbow lake" and island. The park is built throughout that island. Several sections to the park include playgrounds for the kids and picnic areas.