Thursday, September 26, 2019

House on the Rock

   The House on the Rock is the ultimate roadside attraction! It’s so bizarre that it’s impossible to adequately describe it. The tickets are kind of expensive but they’re well worth the price.

    The creator of this unusual place, Alex Jordan, was born in Wisconsin in 1914. He bounced from job to job before finding his true calling – hand building the original house which was most likely inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright who lived only 10 minutes away. In 1960, after discovering that curious people were willing to pay to tour the house, Jordan opened it to visitors. The next 20 years were devoted to building a rambling, maze-like museum stuffed with massive collections of all kinds of things. Highlights are a huge carousel with 269 animals and 20,000 lights, collections of musical instruments that play on their own when coins are deposited, and the Organ Room with spiral staircases, and bridge snaking around sculptures created from dozens of large copper kettles and other discarded industrial equipment.

  There are three ticket options. The most limited ticket allows access to the original house which features the Infinity Room, a 218’ spear that extends over a 156’ valley without any visible supports. The other two ticket options include the original house plus the museum with the most expensive ticket giving access to all rooms. All tickets include admission to a museum dedicated to Alex Jordan’s life and creativity. Allow plenty of time to see it all; it took us four hours.
    The original house is not accessible due to many steps. Visitors who can not tour the house are given a discount. The rest of the property is accessible to the extent that there are not any steps but there are many long ramps. A lift is used to access a portion of the museum. It was broken when we visited so some backtracking was necessary. The Streets of Yesteryear and the Music of Yesteryear sections have pathways with dips and steep hills. Use caution so that you’re not caught unaware by the changes. Most wheelchair users will need assistance due to all of the hills and the size of the museum. The museum is pretty dark so visitors with poor vision may have problems seeing some of the displays.
     A section of the parking lot is signed for RVs plus the accessible parking lot has spaces that are long enough for short RVs. House  43.09883, -90.13634;postID=4522043827805966398

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

World's Largest Roadside Attractions

Giant Stuff
  The Midwest has a high concentration of larger than life creations. If they’re near our route we stop to see them and I write a blog post which promoted this funny comment by Lee-

  “Just a thought here---a horror movie in which giant prairie chickens, concrete buffalo, and huge Scandinavian statues come to life in a battle for the upper Midwest. Should be able to work a giant slice of cheese into it, too.....
I'm calling an agent.”

   I searched for a giant slice of cheese because I thought there would surely be one in Wisconsin. Nope, but I did find a cool map. I also discovered that there are cheese carving contests! Anyone know the location of a giant piece of cheese?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Viking Statue

   The original statue was carved in 1999 from the truck of a large maple tree with an outstretched arm created from one of the branches. Time took its toll and the rotting statue was replaced in 2014 with a replica made of fiberglass. The statue is 12 feet tall and has a time capsule in its left leg.

   The statue can be viewed without leaving your vehicle.

   RVs will fit in the gas station lot across the street from the statue. Statue  43.65004, -90.85971

Friday, September 20, 2019

World's Largest Six Pack

   The six storage containers of the G. Heileman Brewery were first planted to resemble beer cans in the late 1960s. The plant is now owned by City Brewing Company which manufactures and packages beer, tea, soft drinks and other beverages. The tanks are painted with the La Crosse Lager label. Gambrinus, "King of Beer," raises his goblet in a salute from his pedestal on the opposite side of the street.
   The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition and it’s also easy to see the cans without leaving your vehicle.

   RVs can be parked on the opposite side of the street. Six Pack  43.80287, -91.25337

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Prairie Moon Folk Art

   Herman Rusch retired from farming in 1952, rented the Prairie Moon Dancehall, and  filled it with his growing collection of antiques and oddities to create a roadside museum. After he bought the property in 1958 he decorated the grounds with more than forty concrete and stone sculptures. Most of the statues were made by Rusch himself but he did buy several from another folk artist. Everything in the museum was sold in 1979 and in 1992 the property was purchased by the Kohler Foundation who restored and repaired the artwork.
   Also on the site is a flower garden surrounding a collection of small buildings and figures of animals and people created by Fred Schlosstein, another Wisconsin folk artist. Columns of concrete,  made by John and Bertha Mehringer,  and imbedded with glass and pottery shards, stand near the entrance.
   The ground is uneven and lumpy making rolling around very difficult.

   The parking area is large enough for any RV. Prairie Moon  44.19748, -91.79951

Monday, September 16, 2019

World's Largest Prairie Chicken

   It seems like every historic account of life on the prairies mentions these birds but we’ve never seen one. In the 1800s they numbered in the millions with a range from the Canadian prairies to the Texas coast. Their population, which has been decimated by hunting and habitat loss, is now around 500,000.

   The statue is located in a little park at exit 38 of I-94. A sidewalk goes to the base of the statue and it can also be viewed from your vehicle.

   The parking lot is large enough for RVs but there’s not a lot of room to turn around. Large RVs can be parked along the road or at the nearby truck stop. Chicken  46.48108, -96.28146

Friday, September 13, 2019

Frontier Village & Big Buffalo

   The buffalo, which was made of concrete in 1958 by a local art instructor, is 26’ tall and weighs 60 tons. Quite an undertaking!
   The dead-end road to the buffalo is lined with relocated and specially constructed buildings to form a frontier village. Many buildings are sponsored by a local group or Individual and the exhibit presentation is uneven.
   The path to the big buffalo is paved and accessible. The boardwalks that run along the fronts of the buildings have ramps but only in a few places so backtracking is necessary. Many of the buildings have high thresholds. Access to the village would be difficult without assistance.

   RVs can be parked in the National Buffalo Museum lot or at the end of the street near the buffalo when it’s not busy. Buffalo  46.88931, -98.6998

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

National Buffalo Museum

  The North Dakota Buffalo Foundation received five buffalo from Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 1991. The small herd grazes in the valley below the museum and can be seen from the museum parking lot and I-94.
   The museum is small. The exhibits tell the history of the buffalo with descriptions of the huge herds that roamed across the US before European settlement and the wide scale hunting that decimated the population and led to efforts to save them from extinction. Native American lifestyles and examples of native artwork are also covered.
    The museum is accessible.

    The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Museum 46.88825, -98.70159

Monday, September 9, 2019

Parkhurst Pipestem Lake

  135 acres of land on the northern shore of Pipestem Lake provide many opportunities for camping and picnicking. Amenities include picnic shelters, vault toilets, fire rings, and a dump station. With the exception of six long gravel parking pads designed for horse trailers and a few random paved pads, the sites are not marked so there are a variety of camping choices – on the rocky shoreline, on the grassy plain or under the trees.
  American the Beautiful senior and access passes are honored for half price camping.

   Due to thick grass rolling is a little difficult. Park  46.96931, -98.76782

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Scandinavian Heritage Park

   Starting the in mid 1800s emigrants from the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden came to the US is search of good land to farm. So many settled in North Dakota that today they make up 38% of the state’s population. This small park, established in 1990, celebrates the heritage of each country with replica buildings and statues.
   Most of the park is accessible but visitors in wheelchairs may need assistance on some of the hills.  The Sigdal House and the stabbur are not accessible due to steps. The visitor center which is mainly a gift shop has a sidewalk that slopes up and a door that opens out making entering awkward.
     A section of on-street parking has signs designating it for RV parking. Park  48.22557, -101.29776