Wandering Wisconsin

While pouring over maps trying to decide our destination for the next couple of days, we spot an attraction called Wisconsin Concrete Park.  “Nah”, I said to John, “it’s probably just a big skateboard park.”  Wrong-o!  It’s a sculpture park, all works by Fred Smith, who lived and worked in the area until his death at the age of 89 in 1976. 20141013_105311 The Park is now part of the Price County Park system, and includes the Smith family home.  It’s a curious spot, well worth a visit.  The sculptures are concrete, inlaid with pieces of glass, which seem to be primarily from colored bottles.  20141013_110915Apparently, he used real horse skulls in some of the horse sculptures to ensure that he had the heads shaped correctly. 20141013_10402720141013_105052This one was called Double Wedding.20141013_104834This one was Sun Yet Sen, a “China Woman”.  Not sure what’s with the mustache.20141013_104501 Many of the sculptures are still in need of repairs to replace fallen-out pieces of glass. Others have been restored. 20141013_10412920141013_10533620141013_110709 This one was my favorite because of the old Standard Oil Red Crown on the driver’s head.  My dad was a Standard Oil agent for many years, and we had a Red Crown (from the top of the old gas pumps) in our garage for years.20141013_105442Moving on, we steam toward Governor Thompson State Park.  Along the way, we notice a variety of fir tree which is bright yellow.  They are gorgeous.  But, after a bit of internet searching, it seems as though these trees may be on death’s door, as the result of some type of mite.  In any case, we saw hundreds of them along the road.  I hope they are just some variety of ‘evergreen’ which isn’t, but I fear they are doomed.20141013_115559As the miles pass, we reflect that we’ve stayed in lots of pretty cushy campsites lately, and have gotten away from the National and State Forest campgrounds we love.  So, as we pass a sign pointing to a National Forest Campground, we make a snap decision to change plans.  And so, we find ourselves camped at Richardson Lake Campground in the Nicolet National Forest, near Wabeno, WI.  Great decision!

We pull into an empty campground, having our choice of 27 spectacular sites.  We drive twice around, and finally pick site #1. 20141013_160228 All the sites are HUGE, well wooded.  The pit toilets are pristine – it looks like no one has camped here for quite some time.  There are some yellow leaves on the treetops, but the paths into each campsite have not been driven into.  We quickly established camp before the rain began.  It rained for 14 hours straight, quit for about six, and has been raining every since.  Oh well…..we set up our Thermarest awning (attaches right to the Fireball) and also another awning over the picnic table for some cooking space.  We created a Dutch oven dinner of short ribs braised in red wine with carrots, butternut squash, and dried shiitake mushrooms.  Enough for two days.  Yum!

During the lull in the storm, Jezzy and I strolled around, hiking out to the highway where we saw these two amazing barns on a nearby farm.  They were enormous.20141014_14014020141014_140052Tomorrow will take us back into Michigan, as we begin to wind down our northern adventure.  No hurry, but we gotta get home one of these days….