Sunday, June 28, 2015

Peachy Keen

It's not a shoe fetish, just a girl happy to have a new pair of her favorite shoes. After overcoming the battle with plantar fasciitis, I never again can complain about the price of a well made pair of shoes. For me it's the arch support. The Newport Sandals by Keen are the perfect fit.

Sun baked. At least the butterflies don't find them offensive.
So I'd like to dedicate this blog to the shoes that get us going in the morning. The shoes that take us along the hiking paths at Perrot State Park for that awesome view.

This will be my third pair of sandals. My old ones are still intact but have developed the keen stink after several years.

Tried remedies, like vinegar and baking soda and bake them in the sun. Next step kitty litter or Nikwax base wash I've heard had good results. But alas I can't wear them in public anymore.

Now I can keep on truckin', as they used to say.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Winged Guardians

I finally found HaRVey our RV, his very own special decoration for camping. Everytime we camp I'm eyeing up the neighbors unique style of setting their site apart from the rest. I knew I would know it when I saw it.

It of course had to be green and environmentally friendly. So how can you go wrong with a Balinese bamboo flag and a Flying Winged Spirit Guardian in the form of a frog.

As part of the Balinese culture mothers are very protective with their newborns. They may not even set them down on the earth for a while, always cradling them. The Flying Guardians are also sometimes called Cradle Guardians, which are positioned over the cradle keeping an eye on the baby. They are suppose to ward off evil spirits and keep the baby's soul on earth.

My new find comes from SUTRA global by design, a lovely import business in Dakota, MN run by a very special lady Kim Hammer.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Music Stage
Downtown La Crosse, WI is becoming a very fine cultural center for the arts. Our visit to Pettibone Resort positioned us  to partake in the many activities of Artspire.

Visual Artists

This free event is held in what's now referred to as the City of La Crosse Arts District. Centered around the Pump House Regional Arts Center.

Interactive Events

Activities included 30 visual artists with works for sale, performing artists including musicians, dancers and actors. It was an all encompassing  2 days of entertainment.

Lending Library

The changes to the art scene go from subtle with thoughtful sayings and dance steps pressed into the sidewalks to the grand mural on the side the pump house.

Pump House

As the city has transformed itself it just seems to be getting better and better. Check out the new Weber Center right on the riverfront, a very nice addition to La Crosse.

Weber Center


Sidewalk Dance Steps
All the changes keep attracting new businesses. There are lots of wine bars and coffee shops, boutique galleries and craft shops, plus lots of outdoor sports shops and exercise work out centers.

I think a person could actually live in downtown La Crosse and have a fulfilling life.

Keep it up La Crosse.

Monday, June 15, 2015

La Crosse, WI

One of the first sports bars, also a great place for B-day parties
La Crosse, Wisconsin on the banks of the Mississippi River. I first drove through this city some 40 years ago when there existed only one traffic light at Fourth and Main Streets. Navigating the streets was comical as everyone, but me, knew the unwritten rule of staying in the right lane to go straight. My how times have changed.
Downtown staple for breakfast.

La Crosse Queen boat rides

The profile of downtown, with it's mix of older store fronts and new office buildings, is gaining acceptance as a place to hang out in its quaint coffee shops and boutiques. Downtown used to be overcrowded with bars during the glory days of Heilemans Brewery and 18 the legal drinking age.

River walk

To start the day campers require a hardy breakfast. First stop Fayzes. It's nice to see some of the local businesses still thriving. There used to be a McDonalds downtown, I wasn't sorry to see them evacuate to the mall, but do miss the subterranean garden that used to surround it.

Instead of hiking the backwoods or bluff vistas we set off on foot for a closer look at downtown La Crosse. Our first stop was along the water front in Riverside Park. There the La Crosse Queen still docks waiting to take you on a cruise of the Mississippi. The band shell, while waiting it's turn for renovation, entertains weekly with music in the park on Thursday evenings and the center stage for Riverfest.

Band shell at Riverside Park

International Gardens

Gotta love this creative flower girl 

Just at the edges of the park lies the International Gardens, were friends of the gardens and friends from across the world celebrate their cultural differences cultivating plants. This beautiful display is worth visiting many times over. We see the support at our feet with the names of many who concur.

What's a Keeffes?

Our highpoint in La Crosse

We explored the many antique shops. The one on the 8th floor of Lynne Tower had the best vantage point over downtown.

After walking around its always good to try a new restaurant. The Golden Keg, featuring some middle east cuisine is now in the former Midas Muffler shop. The magic touch was the garage doors that can be opened to give you the openness of alfresco dining.

The Golden Keg Restaurant

We spied another new business called Great River Vineyard Church, we could only hope they truly worshipped Bacchus. But it was just a dream, services are Sunday at 10.

No Whining Here

Farmers Markets

All cities need a farmers market and Friday nights and Saturday mornings La Crosse has a wonderful dedicated space just for the fruits of the farmers labor. Local produce, fresh flowers, crafts and artisaen breads and cheeses are available.

Segway opportunities

The area has been evolving into a much more eco friendly place to live, supporting bicycling and new businesses. I think there's something to be said when you become a Segway town and have Parklets.


Creative Rides

Sleep cycles

Resorting to Location

Our vacation location this past weekend was a resort of sorts. HaRVey spent the weekend at Pettibone Resort located near the city of La Crosse, WI. Actually within walking distance, just 1 mile over the double blue bridges that span the Mississippi River. 

HaRVeys weekend pad

Double Blue Bridges connecting to La Crosse.

Pettibone Boat Club and Marina

We choose this location just for the chance to explore La Crosse, a past stomping grounds. As a tourist we saw the river town with new appreciation and enjoyed the local art scene during the annual Artspire celebration. More in the next blogs.

Pettibone Resort is located on Pettibone Island across from Pettibone Park and Pettibone Beach, plus we had to go to the new Pettibone Boat Club while there. HaRVey was also found at Pettibone RV,which is still on the Island but actually in Minnesota.
End of the Resort camping

Okay so you might be wondering who or what is a Pettibone. He, A.W. Pettibone was an area lumber baron during the late 1800's, who was liked enough to even become Mayor of La Crosse during the civil war. I guess he reciprocated the fondness by donating the island in 1901 stipulating it was to remain as a natural park and bird sanctuary for all to enjoy. Today much remains natural, we did see some ducks!

Backwater views
Those that take refuge at the resort consist of family and friends from the area for some campfire cookouts. Summer time on the river boaters that can pull up their fishing boats and pontoons to the edge of their campsites. Then there's northern retirees with their long term commitments and golf carts that transport them for cocktails in the evening. Everyone just wants to have fun and that's okay.

Instead of having hiking trails to wonder on we explored the roads to the ends of the island. Giving us a new vantage point of the river as it passes along the shores of La Crosse.

 Resorting to location has its benefits.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HaRVey in the News!

We'll we knew he was special all along. HaRVey our RV, being so photogenic made the Perrot State Park Visitor paper. Our handsome home on the road shown with his awning stretch out looks just like those big boy rigs. He's now a year old and quite the little trooper.

He's been on seven different outings so far and behaved very well on all of them. With only one minor mishap resulting in a dent on the counter. He's just like everyone else now, he has his own battle scars to prove it.

With his new found fame, he's insisting on his next stay be a Resort. So we'll pamper the our little mini with full hook-ups so he doesn't feel so bloated after a long weekend of revelry.

I hope all this fame doesn't go to his head. There's some talk about a movie, HaRVey/Mini. Can't wait to see the trailer.

Check out the Perrot paper next time you visit the park. Lots of great information on Perrot and Merrick State Parks. If you see HaRVey I'm sure he'll autograph it for you. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BRF Native Ho-Chunk

Museum-an original Carnegie Library
Before arriving in the Black River Falls area to camp I did a little background check. I always  try not to miss what makes an area special by searching on the internet and maybe reading a book.

Ho-Chunk Display

In this case it was a book called "People of the Big Voice" by Tom Jones. The book is a visual history of sorts, depicting photographs by Charles Van Schaick.  From the late 1800's to the early 1900's he was the BRF area photographer.

The people of the Ho-Chunk nation frequented his studio for many family photos. The book includes many of his photos and an account of life for the Ho-Chunk during that time period.

Ho-Chunk Bead Work

Upon arrival we visited the Jackson County Historical Societies' Carnegie Museum, where we got a sampling of Van Schaick's photography and the early settlement of BRF.



The part that interested me most was the early native americans and the artifacts of beadwork and leather items. There is also the Van Schaick Photo Gallery nearby as well.


One of the local curators was on hand for a personal tour which made it all the more meaningful. 

We  also made the pilgrimage to further our exposure, to the local H-Chunk casino. We are not big gamblers but since the weather got in the way of our plans for outdoor water sports we needed something to amuse ourselves.

We signed up for the Players Club card and each received $20 of free play. Next we had to find the nickel poker machines between the blue haze of cigarette smoke and gray haired old ladies.

Oh yeah now I'm one of them. Guess we fit right in. Well it paid off we left with $35.00 in winnings after betting their $40. Not a bad deal.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Black River Falls

Camping at Castle Mound, part of the Black River Falls State Forest gave us the advantage of exploring the city of Black River Falls. This small city or big town of 3600 people has some nice surprises.

After searching for someone to fix our truck we stopped by the Visitor Bureau to get the lay of the land.

What turned out to be our first hike was the Foundation Trail, a four mile paved walk that circles the city going through natural creek areas and city parks.

View from Pavilion to Fishing Pond

This tiny town has some really big ideas. The Lunda Community Park could hold the entire town with room to move.

It has tennis courts, softball, football and soccer fields, skateboard and water park, volley ball pits and children's play plaza, pavilions and band shell with a grassy lawn to spread your blanket on.

Foundation Trail thru Lunda Community Park

Vibrant chairs and awesome salsa

After a long walk we sampled some of the cities food. A little Mexican restaurant called Cinco de Mayo, I believe also found in Sparta since the d├ęcor was the same. Very good Mexican flavors.

Sampling Local Brew


We also stopped by some other establishments to sample the local brew Bugler by Sand Creek.

We missed the opportunity to go on the brewery tour which was only Friday's at 3:30. 

Bar Humor

Also had a taste of the local humor.

Captured a secret meeting.

This town has some secrets to their success.