Wisconsin

warning: on this ride, you may get wet

August 1- August 27, 2012:

From the Windy City Chicago, to Madison WI bike trails and green space, to Stevens Point WI for PaddleQuest adventure race, to Southern VT for BLR Play It Forward, to Upstate NY for Finger Lakes and wineries, to Toronto Canada for a first time visit to check one big one off the leap list, back to Upstate NY, to Middleburg VA to a horse farm and dessert shop visit.

Whew!

The past 26 days have included runs through green fields, corn fields, soccer fields, dirt roads, paved roads, farms and over bridges, time with friends kids, a wedding, boat rides, swimming in rivers, swimming in quarries, fresh grown food from gardens, gifted dinners, dancing under a tent, some seeing old friends, meeting new friends, mistakes, accomplishments, time with family, the biggest event I have ever planned, so much pride and joy, a bunch of tears too, locally brewed beers and locally made wine, a border crossing, intriguing strangers and unexpected connections, life lessons, lots of fun, tons of laughs, deep thoughts and reflection, some regrets, buckets of excitement, another birthday, more miles on a trusty Honda Civic than I have yet to calculate- and then some.

It’s amazing what can happen in a month or less of life. I knew this would be an “epic” August, but I never imagined at the tail end of it I’d be sitting typing reflecting like I am right now. This month proves once again that you just never know. The things you think are going to be off the charts amazing and perfect- often times end up less than stellar, and the things you don’t ever expect- often end up being beyond any stellar you could’ve imagined. Pads and shin guards anyone?

Here’s to being able to roll with the punches, letting yourself feel every bit of the tilt-a-whirl ride, and the wonder of what wild unexpected adventure will come next..

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epic august

The word “epic” has become very trendy and overused these days to describe anything and everything big time and cool. I’ll have to jump on the epic bandwagon here like everybody else, because I’m quite sure my August is going to be epic and them some. Here’s what this month has in store for Blue Lollipop Road and I:

*Major road trip action~ Chicago to Wisconsin to Vermont to Upstate, NY Finger Lakes to Toronto to Washington DC to Virginia

*A 34th birthday

*BLR PLay It Forward Event

I always end up doing some kind of fun adventure each year this month because It’s summertime and my birthday time.. This August though, I’m by far more thrilled about and anticipating than any other. It might be something about a bunch of great road trip time, feeling happier healthier, and more balanced as I get older, and hosting an event that means everything in the world to me. Yeah…that.

Here’s to august 2012 and living life like you mean it!

 

 .

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inspired by best of the road

After these past few weeks of talking about, reviewing, voting on, and dreaming of America’s most:

*Beautiful
*Patriotic
*Friendly
*Fun
*Best for food

…small town spots. Team Blue Lollipop Road was inspired to dive into our photo archives and pull out some of our snap shots that reminded us of each category.

*Beautiful

Sitting on a lawn during sunset in Cape Elizabeth, Maine:

Cape Elizabeth Maine sunset

Morning grapevines and hot air balloons after a run in Napa:

Napa morning hot air balloons

Hiking near Hood River, Oregon:

Hiking near Hood River, OR

On a boat ride and fishing trip in Juneau, Alaska

on the water in Juneau, AK

*Patriotic

Driving through Poland Springs, Maine

Flag on firetruck in Poland Springs Maine

On the back roads of Sandgate, Vermont:

The BLR-Mobile in Vermont at covered bridge

The town square in Bath, Maine:

Town sidewalk in Bath, ME

*Friendly

With Ferry Manager in Swan Quarter, North Carolina:

Swan Quarter, NC Ferry Manager

The staff at Mainely Custard in Freeport, Maine said- “Come on in!” when I told them I was a big ice cream fan:

Staff at Mainely Custard

The Popcorn Man in St. Helena, California:

The Popcorn Man in St. Helena, CA

3 gents I met at Alaska Brewing Company in Juneau, Alaska:

Friends in Juneau, AK

*Fun

Our hilarious rafting guide near Hood River, Oregon:

Rafting guide in Hood River, OR

Staff on a Beatles themed  food bus in Virginia:

Staff on the Yellow Submarine Food Bus

Dancing Pedro at a country bar in Illinois:

Diane dancing with Pedro in Illinois

Concert goers dancing the night away with us in Wilmington, NC:

Fun concert friends in Wilmington, NC

*Best for food

Me noshing on a whoopie pie in Maine:

Diane noshing on a Maine whoopie pie

Dessert at Dano’s on Seneca, Hector NY

Dessert at Dano's on seneca Lake

Breakfast crepes in Madison, Wisconsin:

Crepe at the Bradbury in Wisconsin

Fresh veggie quesadillas in Illinois:

Quesadilla in Illinos

Dessert crepes in Charlottesville, Virginia

Diane noshing on Crepe in Charlottesville, VA

(Clearly we are not afraid to dive right in!)

So many amazing people, place and things in America to enjoy. We love that when you travel, all you have to do is be your interested, open, and curious self- and people invite you right in to join anything!

There is always plenty of adventure around every corner…

Here’s to the road!

 .

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road trip!

To my horror, I realized the other day that I had not been out of the state by car in 5 months. How did that happen?- I though. Simply unacceptable for me.

So I decided I’d drive to Nashville this weekend.

The week didn’t turn out quite the way I had anticipated, so I am taking a a shorter, quicker road trip. Hint: To a cheesy place with really cute kids:

Ali and Wisconsin Farmer's Market cheese bread

I’ll have to go get my country on in Nashville another weekend soon. This face is too hard to resist.

The road and good old friends await, so I am off…

Here’s to not letting too much time (like 5 months) pass in between doing what you love and seeing who you love..

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a delicious loop around

***(Continued from can you believe i didn’t get the nutella one…)

After our Bradbury’s crepes, we continued up the hill to the packed Capital Square of Madison and made out way through the crowd. There were all kinds of fruits, veggies, flowers and baked goods to be bought. My favorite; Fresh corn:

Fresh sweet corn: Madison Farmer's Market

…pretty flowers making me wish I had my own cute little apartment, so I could buy them and have them on my cute little dreamed of balcony table:

Fresh flowers: Madison Farmer's Market

Fresh flowers: Madison Farmer's Market

…cherries at their peak of perfection:

Fresh cherries: Madison Farmer's Market

…and of course we had to do a repeat visit to get the Stella’s fresh, warm, spicy cheese bread:

Stella's spicy cheese bread

(The only way to do it is buy, take a seat on the Capital steps, tear, and eat as the cheese oozes out. Mmmm…)

Stella's spicy cheese bread

The Gord Man was having fun freaking the kids out:

The Gord Man: Madison Farmer's Market

…and I couldn’t resist one of the huge cinnamon buns at one of the bakery tents:

Cinnamon bun at Madison Farmer's Market

Cinnamon bun at Madison Farmer's Market

I ate the whole thing. Yes, alone and did not feel very good after. The portion size could’ve fed 6 people, but it was so good I kept eating and eating! Lets just say my run later that afternoon was shorter than usual and a bit painful. What can I say?- I get excited when there are delectable treats around. I’m an easy sell on sugar, and clearly I was trying to make up for not getting that Nutella crepe. (Laughing at myself as I type this.)

Wouldn’t it be great if every town could have a Saturday market as large and as accessible as the one in Madison? I’m already looking forward to my promised annual visit back to my friends there next summer!.

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can you believe i didn’t get the nutella one?

I know right? I can’t believe it either. It probably won’t ever happen again. The thing is, I had some life-changing fresh peaches last week when I made some red sangria, so when I saw the option for a peach and blackberry crepe:

Bradbury's Menu

…at Bradbury’s:

Bradbury's: Madison, Wisconsin

…on Saturday morning, I just had to have it. I made a good choice:

Peach and Blackberry crepe at Bradbury's Madison, WI

Peach and Blackberry crepe at Bradbury's Madison, WI

I gobbled this thing up in a second. It was the perfect fresh and all-organic breakfast to fuel me for the mac-daddy of all farmer’s markets; the Dane Country Farmers Market on Capital Square in Madison.

***(To be continued in part 2…).

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welcomed interruptions

Scene; Sitting at Starbucks in Wisconsin this morning typing away on the patio with my coffee. Gentleman walks up to me:

“Sorry to bother you, but I’ve gotta ask you- What’s Blue Lollipop Road? I drove in behind you.”

A conversation ensues and in a few short minutes I share that Blue Lollipop Road is my blog, that I have traveled for years, and actually today was the day 1 year ago I crossed the Alaska border, hitting my 50th state in Skagway. He has been too. He grew up in Maine, and right near one of the towns I will hopefully be going to, so I can meet up a very interesting guy on my Honda Adventure in September. (Working on a few things, still TBA.) I share where I am from in Vermont, he has been there as well, and is now currently living in the Midwest like me too. Our conversation quickly wraps as he apologizes for bothering me again (which clearly he is not) and I go back to my head down typing away.

Moments like the one that just happened are fairly regular for me and I absolutely love them. Small worlds, unexpected and welcomed interactions with people I would have never otherwise met. I’m sure I could have talked to that gentleman for hours. Blue Lollipop Road has offered me such a great platform to open conversation on all subjects, and to prove that everyone has a story and something in common.

I can’t wait for my next random stranger interruption..

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i might have been in heaven this morning

Actually, I was in Wisconsin driving as the sun rose:

Sunrise near Madison, Wisconsin

I was exhausted and racing back from camping to pick someone up at the airport and grumbled a bit at the early wake up call. That is until I drove out of the park and saw this sky above.

I wish I could properly share how scenes like this make me feel when I am alone, windows down, in the summer, and on the open road. There’s just not a single better feeling of peace for me, or an understanding that anything is possible….

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things you can buy at wisconsin rest stops

Treats if you’re hungry, like pork hocks and tid bits:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

(Exactly what part of the pig is the “tid bit” by the way?)

…cheese curds of course:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

…and meat shaped like beer bottles:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

If you’re not hungry but want some cool schwag, there’s always the pioneer coon skin cap:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

…the deer head:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

…beer pong balls:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

…ultra classy stickers to “pimp” your ride:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

…various ceramic goodies like sorcerer’s:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

…sunglass wearing monkey salt & pepper shakers, or religious themed signs:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

Then there’s always the bottle opener ring:

Wisconsin rest stop gift ideas

(I can’t lie- I actually think the bottle opener ring is cool.)

All that and more in just one stop at the Pioneer Plaza:

Pioneer Plaza, Wisconsin

Gosh, the only problem with this stop was making the decision on which items I just couldn’t live without.

Hee hee….

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