Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

On the road along Wisconsin Highway 21 April 21, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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TRAVELING THE 100 MILES or so between Tomah and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, can get downright tedious.

My husband and I have driven that stretch of narrow Wisconsin State Highway 21 numerous times in the past three years en route to and from Appleton, where our second eldest daughter lives.

With lots of small towns to filter through—and you know how much I appreciate small towns, unless I’m on a schedule, which we typically are—and a roadway that rates as heavily traveled and usually impossible to pass slow moving vehicles, this section of the trip is often taxing.

So we divert ourselves by trying to appreciate the sites around us, although not always pleasant. The shoulders and ditches of Highway 21 are often littered with deer carcases. Better a dead deer than one walking/running into the path of our van.

Sometimes we play a game, seeing how many dead deer we can spot. Yes, I know. Whatever works to pass the time.

I typically rest my camera in my lap, too, ready to capture whatever I find intriguing, in other words potential blog material.

My single Wisconsin Amish photo during our most recent trip shows and Amish buggy in a farmyard and an Amish teen standing next to a small outbuilding.

My single Wisconsin Amish photo during our most recent trip shows an Amish buggy in a farmyard and an Amish teen standing next to a small outbuilding.

Typically I am on shutter button alert around the Coloma area, home to many Amish.

But anything out of the ordinary can cause me to raise my camera and shoot.

Photographed just east of Coloma.

Photographed just east of Coloma.

How often do you see a pink semi cab?

The weaving truck in Wautoma.

The weaving truck, right, in Wautoma.

Or a truck with boats aboard weaving through traffic in Wautoma like some some speed boat on an area lake?

I really should have photographed the crazy multi-lane roundabouts near Oshkosh. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation seems to fancy these traffic intersectors with more than 200 constructed in the state, many in the Fox Valley area where we travel. In contrast, Minnesota has about 120.

While I understand how roundabouts enhance safety, that does not make them any less scary, especially during rush hour. Suffice to say, you best know which lane you need to be in, something not in the knowledge bank of out-of-state drivers like us encountering a particular roundabout for the first time.

In summary, though Highway 21 proves a long drive through central Wisconsin, I manage to keep it semi interesting by scouting for blog material.

FYI: These photos were shot during a March trip, thus the snow you see in some of the images. Check back for additional posts this week from that visit to eastern Wisconsin.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “On the road along Wisconsin Highway 21”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    I have to chuckle with your round-about assessment!!! My first encounter was on the East Coast, near Rockport, MA. 6+ lanes and everyone knew where THEY were going!!!!! DH did, too, as he had been out there many times in the semi (thankfully!!!). There are many sights to see along these rural roads……just need eyes to see (and no nodding off!!! LOL!).

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    Filing the Coloma area away to grey-matter storage. Cyndie and I were just through Sparta this past weekend on our way to Amish county in Cashton and then a few smaller communities further South between Platteville and Darlington. We traveled through many WI small towns; they all have their own unique character. Love the your Amish photo. Doesn’t appear to be your typical Amish stance (thumb in pocket). Really makes me wonder what was going on there 🙂

    • I’ve been in Amish country around Cashton, turned off near Sparta, I believe and eventually ended up in La Crosse. The roads twisted every which way and, for that reason, we did not venture off the beaten path.

      I did not notice the Amish lad until I had the image in my computer. I, too, wish I knew what he was up to on that day.

  3. Jackie Says:

    That Amish lad has me thinking….was he sneaking a smoke, or hiding to try and escape some sort of work, or was he just enjoying the warmth of the sunshine while leaning against that small shed? Your post has got me wanting a road trip…soon I think 🙂

  4. Loving your captures – my favorite is the pink semi:) I am like you in that I have my camera in my lap when road tripping.

    Where I work has only one way out and have to enter a round about – I have sat there for as long as 12 minutes waiting to get out because drivers do not yield and come into it in herds (it is two lanes). There is an area here that has a double round about and we had a lady coming head on with us one afternoon – SCARY. We were almost in a pretty good accident this weekend at a 4-way with a stop light – both directions were GREEN – WTH?!? A lot of road construction going on here and screws up the lights and flow of traffic.

    Have a Great Week – Happy Monday:)

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