May 17, 2008

Gays Mills, Wisconsin.

Seen — through the fisheye lens — from the overlook as you drive into town from the east on Route 171:

Gays Mills, Wisconsin
(Enlarge to see the town.)

There is a historical marker right there telling you about the establishment of the apple orchards in this valley alongside the Kickapoo River. The landscape is so dramatic because it's driftless — the glaciers didn't make it this far. I drove all the way out here today because the cabbie who picked me up at the airport on Thursday told me that the apple trees will be in bloom along Route 171, and it's a great drive. (We'd been talking about flowering trees in Madison.) Go out past Gotham and Boaz to Gays Mills. He was right about the trees and the drive. There were great curvy roads for my Audi TT Coupe to get some exercise after all these long months sitting in my driveway when I was living in New York. There were almost no other cars out on Route 171 — mostly motorcycles. You could tell that everyone driving there was driving to drive. Propitiously, the radio played "Radar Love."

And here are the mills:

Gays Mills, Wisconsin

I was out traipsing about on the bank of the Kickapoo, trying to get a good shot of the water rolling over the dam. Took a picture of this sign that I didn't bother to read.


Because these things can't apply to me. I'm lucky. A cabdriver tells me about where to find flowers. And — also last Thursday — as I hoisted my two big bags off the luggage carousel at the airport, I was talking to a nun and, when I turned to leave, she said, "God bless you." I was reentering Wisconsin, and everything seemed propitious.



ricpic said...

Filigree of spring.
Blue green tenderness
Stretching from Maine to Minnesota.
Water music washing
Over all.

titusreachoutandtouchfaith said...

I have never been there.

How far is that from Madison?

Which way?

By where?

I am going to come home in June and may want to take my parents there.

My parents have lived in Wisconsin all their lives and I don't think they have ever been out there.

Is it worth it?

I will be driving the cutlass supreme so it may not be as fabulous as the Audi.

titusreachoutandtouchfaith said...

Oh I see where it is.

I have been to Lacrosse and Prairie Du Chien. It looks like it is between the two.

titusreachoutandtouchfaith said...

Now I have to go out and see what I am worth.

Wish me luck!

titusreachoutandtouchfaith said...

One last question. What do the mills do?

titusreachoutandtouchfaith said...

I went to a gay bar in Lacrosse called "Memories".

That is a part of my memory that I would like to forget.

The bathroom was a collage of porno pictures of men having sex-classy.

OK, I am out of here.

Miss me, rare clumbers don't hate me too much. My guilty already leaving you but a womans work is never done.

Ann Althouse said...

Titus, the first link is to a map. Click and you'll see there's a road there called "Old Gays Road," which I thought was amusing. The town is west of Madison, almost all the way to the Mississippi. If you don't go in May when the trees are in bloom, you might want to go in September -- apple season. The second link shows some of the attractions (which aren't much!). There are some historic log cabins:

Unfortunately for me, I didn't figure that out in advance and didn't see them.

It's a long, long drive. If you're not really into the drive per se or heading west on some longer trip, I wouldn't recommend it.

Chip Ahoy said...

Yay for apples!

*does the Apple Dance*

↑ Much like the River Dance except with your arms up.

Oh, how I'd love to kick a poo on the Traipse. Sounds like fun.

Do you think Johnny Appleseed had anything to do with all those apple trees? Would he be buggered for introducing non-native invasive species were he to go about tossing seeds today? He concerns me because I toss chile seeds into other people's gardens mischievously and without permission then on return walks check to see if any of them take.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention: I didn't see if you decided where to vacation this year. If you decide to do the 5 National Parks of Utah, be sure to time your travel (and call ahead for tickets) to take in a show at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.

It has been going now for 39 years and won the 2000 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

You can see the parks by day, and watch Shakespeare at night.

titusibombed said...

Fellow republicans I bombed tonight.

No one liked me, no one wanted me, I was a total failure.

Ce La Vie.

AllenS said...

Be very careful when driving in the driftless area, there are a lot of Amish in that part of the state. Also, did you notice any tobacco barns? Hard to believe, but that part of the state used to raise tobacco for cigars. There is an old tobacco warehouse on the shore of the Mississippi river in Genoa, and another big tobacco building in Viroqua. My favorite part of the state.

Skeptical said...

Sorry, I don't think 'Radar Love' on the radio can count as propitious. That's a song about somebody who isn't driving just to drive; he's driving because there is somewhere that he definitely has to be.

Dr.John said...

Your pictures were great. I'll have to tell my son he lives in Madison.
The comments on your blog are almost as good as the pictures.

Dan from Madison said...

If you like tree blooms, go to the arboretum. I rode my bike through it yesterday and it is stunning.

Ann Althouse said...

"Radar Love" is propitious because it is considered the #1 driving song of all time. If you're driving and "Radar Love" comes on, you've hit the jackpot.

I'd also feel great if this came on.

Der Hahn said...

Great place to go in autumn, too, for the apples and the color. We try make a trip up that direction every year.

East on 171 a bit from Gays Mills is nice little cheese factory in Mt Sterling. IIRC there is a tobacco barn still stand just outside of Gays Mills. After you stop at Mt Sterling keep heading east until you hit The River.

Many little shops tucked in out of the way places. A nice winery near Highland, popcorn in Montfort. You can eat your way across the state.

The area reminds me a lot of my hometown in N Iowa. Most everyone is simply living and working.

Anonymous said...

Titus - In Michgian's Upper Peninsula, way up near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula north of Houghton is a very small community called Gay. Michigan. The population is probably less than 200.

Gay is a popular destination for motorcyclists and ATV riders because the area is stunningly gorgeous, and also because the local watering hole is called Gay Bar.

A warm summer's day will have several hundred motorcycles parked in the parking lot, a lineup of bikers having their photos taken standing in front of the large sign that reads "Gay Bar", having lunch and buying tee shirts that say Gay Bar, Gay MI.

This link should take you to the Gay Bar's web page:

Anonymous said...

Here's a thumbnail history of Gay, MI. Insert your own jokes as necessary. The main characters are named - Gay and Koch.

"The town was named for Joseph E. Gay, a director of the Mohawk and Wolverine Mining Companies. He explored the area that was eventually used for mining and milling. In 1896, a lumberman named Ernest Koch found some native copper where the Mohawk Mine was eventually built. Exploration by Joseph E. Gay proved the find to be valuable. In 1898, the Mohawk Mining Company was formed. Gay became president of both the Mohawk and Wolverine Mining Companies in 1906.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I am not making this up.

One of the former owners of the Gay Bar in Gay, MI was named Dicks.

"Owners of the Gay Bar included Dorothy Lodge and Norman and Mathida "Tillie" Dicks. Norm and Tillie Dicks bought the bar in 1973 to showcase Norm's extensive gun collection. There were over 240 guns on display including some from the 1870s. In 1983, the bar was purchased by Chuck and Jan Gustafson. They added food including their famous cheeseburger"

Anonymous said...

The Gay Menu lists three different kinds of weiners. Plus a Spam sandwich.

Their hats and tee shirts are interesting, too.

Okay, end of hijack.

Rodney Dill said...

I went to High School in Gays Mills in the Seventies. It's underwater again due to flooding, (from the tail end of the same storms hitting Iowa).
It was hit last year August with 12" of rain and flooded then too. Beautiful country in that area when the water's down.