DRIVE THE INTERSTATE and you mostly miss the nuances of a place.
But travel a back county road or a state highway and you begin to see the details that comprise a location. Like rural Wisconsin.
Wisconsin State Highway 21 between Tomah and Oshkosh has become a familiar stretch of highway for my husband and me as we travel that route to reach our second daughter’s home in the Fox Valley region. It is a busy stretch of roadway which often leaves us wishing for a quicker, safer east-west route. But options are limited, especially if we don’t want to travel through the Twin Cities metro.
So we make the best of it, watching for the cranberry bogs east of Tomah, the Amish between Coloma and Wautoma, the natural wonder of Castle Rock,
the Milty Wilty in Wautoma and anything that screams Wisconsin.
Highway 21 takes us past potato and dairy farms,
past hunting land and the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, across rivers and creeks,
through small towns like Omro and Redgranite,
past bars and churches,
to roadside stands and Piggly Wigglies.
This route reveals so much about the character of Wisconsin. Signs for brat fries. Bars aplenty. Strong opinions voiced in handcrafted signs.
Small town diners.
Farming and fishing.
Travel the interstate and you will miss most of this. But follow a state highway and you will begin to understand a place. Like rural Wisconsin.
© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling