Three Days in Wisconsin
(Finding Some Unusual
August 3-6, 2012
Day 1 – Beef, Cheese, Mustard and a
by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz
Aug 3, 2012:
It was a rare occasion, an
opportunity to take a vacation. My daughter Chelsea wanted a road
trip…she wanted her daughter Autumn to experience a “Grampz Style” road trip.
So, on this long weekend in August, the three of us hopped in the Town Car and
embarked on a trip to Wisconsin. The goal of the trip was to hit some of south
central Wisconsin, see some “roadside attractions” and then drive to Green Bay
and up the Door County Peninsula and then back to Lexington. We drove on Friday
evening to cut off some of the long drive to Wisconsin, with an overnight stay
in Avon, Indiana. Following is the map of our trip. Following is a map of
our trip from Lexington to Wisconsin and back.
General map of our 4 day trip – Lexington;
Avon, IN; Covington, IN; Champaign, IL; Middleton, WI;
Marshfield, Medford, Tomahawk,
Rhinelander, Seymour, Green Bay, Egg Harbor, Gibraltor and then to Hebron, IN
Aug 4, 2012:
A quick night’s rest in Avon and then on the road to Wisconsin. Along the
way we made a few stops. For fun, I was wearing a “Wear’s the Beef?”
t-shirt that Chelsea had given me from Wendy’s. I had planned to do this
for a stop later in the day, but it worked out really well for our first stop,
which we just so happened to see off of the freeway, near Covington, IN.
There is a place called the
Beef House Restaurant,
which is apparently famous for its yeast rolls. We were way too early to
eat there, but I could not resist getting a photo with the sign!!
I think I found the beef!!
After the quick photo-op stop in Covington, we headed west towards the first
scheduled stop — to see the large Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Noodle statue in
Champaign, IL. Yes, this is a Wisconsin trip so we needed some cheesiness, and
we got it first in Illinois!! Though a novelty roadside attraction for
someone like me, this is actually part of a
campaign begun by Kraft Foods in 2010. These 20 foot long, 9 foot tall
Noodle replicas have been placed in landmark areas such as
Fisherman’s Wharf and
Wrigley Field. They also have one at their plant in Champaign, IL.
Once we found the location, we noticed we could drive into the employee parking
lot and walk right up to the noodle to get photos. Now that makes for a
Beefy Mac and Cheese (with my where’s the beef shirt!!). Here are a couple of
Kraft’s “You know you love it.” giant noodle statue. Map to this
location is below.
While in Champaign we decided to make a stop at the
Curtis Orchard. My
main reason was because of the huge Indian Statue (see below), but as we got
there, we found a number of other treasures. The orchard has pretty much
turned the place into a Wizard of Oz themed attraction, including a Flying
Monkey Cafe!! We stopped for photos, some apple cider and other goodies
and even followed the Yellow Brick Road!!
Chelsea and Autumn enjoy the Giant Rocking chair and find their way on the
Yellow Brick Road at Curtis Orchard in Champaign, IL
The Indian Archer, aka The Chief, was originally located in Danville, IL.
The 17 foot tall copper statue was built
in 1949 for Herb Drew’s Plumbing and Heating. When the business closed in
1994, the owner’s grandson
moved the Indian to the Curtis Orchard. Apparently, the statue represents
Kesis, a famous Kickapoo Indian from Illinois.
The photo on the right is a large silo with a representation of the tin
This is painted on a barn door (notice the lock in the middle. I am in the
picture to provide a size comparison.
Well, we have had the beef, the cheese and some fruit….time for some Mustard!!
From Champaign, we headed north towards Wisconsin to get to the famous Mustard
Museum. However, along the way, we ran into another unexpected
treat…another of the many Wind Farms that I have come across in my travels.
This one is called the Twin
Groves Wind Farm. The Wind Farm features over 240 turbines across 22,000
acres of land. It generates over 396 megawatts, enough to meet the energy needs
of about 120,000 homes. In my travels I have seen these in California, Kansas,
Ontario, Montana, Illinois, North Dakota and more. They are always
fascinating. I really love a couple of the shots I got of these because of
the mingling with the corn fields of Illinois. Autumn and Chelsea were
stunned by the size of these towering wind turbines.
A few of the over 240 Turbines in the Twin Groves Wind Farm
Onward north up Interstate 39 out of Normal, IL towards Madison, WI, we made our
into Middleton, which is situated northwest of Madison on the Beltline.
Originally built and housed in Mt. Horeb, WI (see
my original writeup on a visit there here), the
National Mustard Museum
has moved to much bigger digs in Middleton. There they now have a nice two
story facility with everything you ever wanted to learn about Mustard, but were
afraid to ask…or taste. According to the official Mustard Museum website,
National Mustard Museum began as
the “Mount Horeb Mustard Museum” when its founder & curator, Barry Levenson,
started collecting mustards on October 27, 1986. The story of the Mustard Museum
traces its roots to a late night visit to an all-night grocery when Barry heard
a deep, resonant voice as he passed the mustards: “If
you collect us, they will come.”
Currently the National Mustard Museum houses over 5400 varieties of Mustard from
around the world as well as hundreds of pieces of Mustard Memorabilia.
Also, the place offers degrees from Poupon U. I now have three degrees
from there (snicker). Ironically, we so happened to arrive on National
Mustard Day!! What a kick!
National Mustard Museum — Founder Barry
Levenson on the left along with his fancy glitter headed employee.
Barry’s mustard inspired art work “The
First 27 Virtues of Mustard”. Barry studied under Professor Elbert
Culpepper at the new
museum of Crappy Art in Flushinghard, VA.
A couple of the 1000s of varieties
available for sale.
I think this is the only Mustard Vending
Machine anywhere…and, if you like bacon, you can also get your fix a the NMM.
Mustard displays aplenty…the one on the
left is to show the variety of containers available.
On the right are varieties produced in
every state in the US.
Welcome to Poupon U…you can actually get
a diploma while there. The diploma above is the MBA degree.
There is an official “Poupon U
dumping station” — I made a donation!!
The restrooms feature “Plochman’s
Mustard Bottle” Soap Dispensers
After being mustarded away, we were back
on the road meandering our way towards
Chelsea was excited about Mt. Horeb due to its famed troll statues.
Indeed, the main attraction for the town are the trolls. The town has created a
along Highway 151 with many large carved wooden trolls visible from the road.
Many of these were created by local artist
Michael Feeney. We
found a few on our visit….
Click here for a nice map of the town, with all of the trolls and other
Welcome sign. This scrap metal dragon on the right was
created by Wally Keller, a nearby resident.
I visited his menagerie a number of years ago near Vermont, WI.
See my link at
Open House Imports is full of troll goodies…Moonhill Mercantile
has a cool looking sign
These three trolls reside at Open House Imports
Some of the trolls of Mt. Horeb – A small troll from the shop; a
new one in town; “Sweet Swill”; another nameless one
We finished off our visit and pretty much our day by grabbing
some grub at the “Grumpy
Troll“, a local pub, brewery and dining establishment.
‘Nuff said…and shown!!
Wisconsin Road Trip – Day 2: Jurustic Park, Chain Saw Totem
Forest, Hodag and a giant badger
Wisconsin Road Trip – Day 3: Green Bay, Lambeau Field and Door
Some roadside guidance provided by……
Visit Sumoflam’s “Less
Beaten Paths” blog for more interesting places
All photos and commentary expressed are copyright of Sumoflam Productions and David Kravetz. All rights reserved.