Brief notes on the trip, state by state, with sights, places, and photographs.
In Wisconsin we drove south on Highway 35 from Prescott to Onalaska. Highway 35 is a National Scenic Byway also called the Great River Road that runs along the Mississippi River on the western border of Wisconsin. The hills roll through beautiful green, lush country. In between the small, mostly vibrant towns are gorgeous overlooks and rest areas with historical markers. This road truly made Wisconsin one of the most pleasant parts of our journey.
Most of the towns welcomed us with the population count on their signs, some under 100. However, these towns never seemed to lack something happening – even on a Sunday. Many have galleries that attract artists and tourists. Ice cream parlors tempt that passers-by.
One reason for taking this route was to visit Pepin, Wisconsin, birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We had seen her homes in Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota, and this one in Wisconsin fit perfectly into our schedule. Pepin, Wisconsin is 0ne of the larger small towns on the highway. In town we stopped at the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum (free admission), which is mostly a museum of early Pepin history and pioneer days. However, the museum also had interesting Little House paraphernalia such as a Little House board game (who knew!?) and dolls of the book characters. It warranted a short visit.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin, WI.
From there we headed out 7 miles on County Road CC to visit the Laura Ingalls wayside, where there is a reconstruction of the Ingalls’ family home (the one from Little House in the Big Woods). The drive is enjoyable and the wayside is peaceful. The unfurnished log house is open to the public. Surrounding corn fields and rural farm country enable visitors to imagine what Laura might have seen in her childhood days.
Historical marker at the wayside.
Little house reconstruction.
The interior. This is the loft where the Ingalls girls slept.
Corn fields behind the house.
Another corn field view.
If you are in the area, Pepin is definitely worth a visit, as is the 7 mile drive to the Laura Ingalls wayside. You’ll have to drive back to Pepin to find a highway. Before you leave town, get a cup of coffee at Grand River Roasters. It’s excellent. The snacks are delicious and there is wi-fi.
We continued on WI-35 for a while, enjoying the views and the many towns. Eventually we had to veer off and head towards the interstate. Why an interstate? We had an important mission in Milwaukee, WI that we didn’t want to miss. That story is tomorrow’s post. It’s my favorite part of the trip.