Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Write Shot: Rustic Roads: Jackson County

The Write Shot: Rustic Roads: Jackson County: The Rustic Roads program was created about 40 years ago and allows hikers, bikers and motorists to enjoy the less traveled, scenic back r...

Rustic Roads: Jackson County


The Rustic Roads program was created about 40 years ago and allows hikers, bikers and motorists to enjoy the less traveled, scenic back roads of Wisconsin regardless of the season. These routes help to enhance the beauty and serenity that the state has to offer. There are approximately 119 individual routes that travel through 59 counties and when added up equal about 722 miles.

It is important to point out that these routes do not connect to each other and some are quite a distance apart from each other. Also markings are limited and usually only one-way and regardless of what the website says, most of these routes don't end near a major city or road with limited GPS signals. Be sure to print out the map from the website and take with you to help navigate you along the way.

These Rustic Roads will take us across Jackson County, Wisconsin. The first and only route of this county will be route 54. This route is located off of Interstate 94, near Black River Falls, off of County Road O. It is approximately 12 miles long and is paved. The best part of this route is it takes you through Black River State Forest.


It is lined with thick, mature trees with plenty of turn offs to enter the park as well as pull outs to start hiking on trail heads. Easy twists and turns throughout the entire route with small pockets of open fields along the way. The Rustic Road route follows the North Settlement Road the entire way, stay on this road for the entire 12 miles.


During the winter season this route is quiet and desolate, the only vehicles around are maintenance vehicles for the park. There are no residential areas anywhere along this route. About a quarter way through the road comes to a “Y” where there is a small street sign that marks Settlement Road, be sure to turn left here to continue along the Rustic Road route.


The second half of the route starts off with a straight route lined with thick trees and brush but not long after, there are two distinct and sharp turns along the way. A few more twists and turns, some may be sharp, and the route continues to offer more views of the Black Hills State Park. One more long and straight path will lead to the final twists and turns before coming to an end at Highway 54.

For more information about this route and other routes please visit:http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/travel/road/rustic-roads/maps.aspx

Writing & Photography By: Nettie B



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Rustic Road 89

Rustic Road: Dunn County

The Rustic Roads program was created about 40 years ago and allows hikers, bikers and motorists to enjoy the less traveled, scenic back roads of Wisconsin regardless of the season. These routes help to enhance the beauty and serenity that the state has to offer. There are approximately 119 individual routes that travel through 59 counties and when added up equal about 722 miles.

It is important to point out that these routes do not connect to each other and some are quite a distance apart from each other. Also markings are limited and usually only one-way and regardless of what the website says, most of these routes don't end near a major city or road with limited GPS signals. Be sure to print out the map from the website and take with you to help navigate you along the way.

These Rustic Roads will take us across Dunn County, Wisconsin. The first route will be route 89, located near the college town of Menomonie off of County Road P. This route is approximately 5 miles long and is paved the entire way. It begins in residential area with a few twists and turns before the houses move back and on the left you are running parallel with the Red Cedar River. Cross over a small bridge and the road begins to climb with a view down to the river and on the right opens up to fields and farmlands.


Plenty of sharp turns along the way as the road continues to follow the Red Cedar River. For a moment the houses disappear, to allow the vast trees and thick woods to line the road before opening again to farm land and slowly houses begin to line the road. Eventually it leads to a small unincorporated town before the road comes to end, but this is just the road not the route. At the stop sign, there is a Rustic Road sign that points to the right, turn and cross over the bridge before turning left to continue on the route.

The second part is well-marked and starts out with a climb into the hills with the Red Cedar River flowing below. It starts off thick with residential homes and eventually gives way to fewer homes, open farmland and thick woods with glimpses of the river alongside you. Continue a while longer and the route will twist and turn before coming to an end in the middle of no where.


This route ends, literally, with nothing around you. No road signs, street signs, homes or towns just one sign indicating that the Rustic Road route has ended. Not being familiar with the area this can create a stressful situation. Continue straight until you come into a small town and look for a road on the left, which will be 390th Street which may not be marked. As you enter the un-named town the road comes to a “T” and that is the only indicator you have. Turn left onto this road and continue on it until it comes to an end.

390th Street has just as many if not more twists and turns than the Rustic Road you just left. It also becomes very desolate with minimal houses around, the road will turn into 440th which now has hills and some sharp turns, continue forward. Eventually the road will come to a stop sign at which time you will now have reached Highway 72.

From here we'll head on out to the next Rustic Road Route, turn left onto Highway 72, Right onto Highway 25 and follow to US-10E, turn left onto 85E, left onto County M and the route begins on County Road O which is route 107. This route is located outside the town of Durand and is approximately 7 miles longs with both paved and gravel portions.

Route 107 starts out as an easy drive with easy turns along the way which are lined, at times, with fields, farmland, and woods. A drive that allows you to sit back and enjoy the surroundings, this route also runs parallel to the Chippewa River State Trail. As the route continues, hills become high on one side while sinking down on the other offering views of thick marsh land. Soon there is a peak of a river which will be The Chippewa River which is now running parallel to the route.


The road begins to climb taking you out of the thick trees and low land raising you to be above the river and out to open fields and farmland. There will be turn offs along the way but do not leave this route, continue going straight which will lead to a thickening of trees along the route. The remainder of the route continues with an opening to fields, marsh and farmland before closing in again with thick trees and brush. More twists and turns along the way but most of them are easy to maneuver along with the few hills along the way.

Once again, there are a lot of turn offs along the route but do not deviate from the straight ahead road, eventually you will cross over the Chippewa River State Trail, which is used by snowmobiles and ATVs, from here you are a few short miles away from the end; which is marked. The route comes to an end in another small, unincorporated town. Once again, the roads are not well-marked and looking for Highway O is no easy task, mainly because it isn't marked from this direction.



As you leave the Rustic Road Route you will come to a stop sign. From here you have three options and turning right would be the correct one. A short distance later there will be a sign, that can't be seen from the stop sign, that states you are now on County Road O. Like any other county road this one is also full of hills and twists and turns, take your time, and continue on it all the way to Highway 85. This will now end the Rustic Road routes of Dunn County.

Upon arrival to Highway 85, you can either turn right and head back to Durand or turn left and follow the signs to Eau Claire, a major city and college town , that has access to Highway 53 and Interstate 94. As always, the choice is yours!!

For more information about this route and other routes please visit:http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/travel/road/rustic-roads/maps.aspx

Writing & Photography By: Nettie B
**For more travel blogs, photos and videos become a Patron
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Rustic Road: Pierce County

The Rustic Roads program was created about 40 years ago and allows hikers, bikers and motorists to enjoy the less traveled, scenic back roads of Wisconsin regardless of the season. These routes help to enhance the beauty and serenity that the state has to offer. There are approximately 119 individual routes that travel through 59 counties and when added up equal about 722 miles.

It is important to point out that these routes do not connect to each other and some are quite a distance apart from each other. Also markings are limited and usually only one-way and regardless of what the website says, most of these routes don't end near a major city or road with limited GPS signals. Be sure to print out the map from the website and take with you to help navigate you along the way.

These Rustic Roads will take us across Pierce County, Wisconsin. The first route will be route 51 which is located outside of Maiden Rock. This is not an easy route to get to or travel on once you find it. There is only one sign that indicates where the route is and that doesn't show up until you are at the road. Once on it, you are on your own to navigate the route which has no further markings along the way. Hopefully, I'll be able to guide you along the way so you won't have to make several wrong turns to enjoy the route.


First we need to get to the route, head towards Elmwood and take 72 towards Waverly/Ellsworth. Waverly is a town with no sign indicating that you have arrived. Route 72 is basically all hills, fields, crops and farms and eventually there is a cluster of buildings and that is Waverly. Turn onto County Road CC and follow it all the way to the end. Turn left to continue on County Road CC and follow around to Willow Road which is on the right as well as the only Rustic Roads sign for this approximately 4 mile gavel route.


A few homes line the beginning of the route before giving way to large fields and a winding road. The route continues on to more fields, a few farms and rolling hills before coming to a sharp turn to the right and a slightly steep hill, once over this hill begin looking on your left for a 'Y' turn that is only marked by a stop sign. Turn left here, if you reach a stop sign you have gone too far. Continue on this unmarked, unnamed road which continues to be lined with fields, farms, rolling hills and trees begin to get thicker.

This road will come to an end at a stop sign, turn right and continue along the route which runs parallel with North Branch Pine Creek. This part of the route is the nicest as it it twists and turns offering views of the water flowing along side, thick marsh, high hills and high trees. A few more twists and you have reached the end of the route at County Road AA. Turn right and then left at the next intersection which leads you back to Highway 35.

Once again route 51 is not marked and GPS is limited, bring along the maps from the website, which will be posted below, to help navigate you along the way. Road closures, dead ends and private properties are also common along this route and to avoid tricky turnarounds be aware, take your time and use the map.

The final route in Pierce County is route 92 which is located outside of River Falls. Turn right on to Highway 35 and head towards Prescott. This route is also know as the Boat River Route as it follows the Mississippi river all the way to Prescott, along with the railroad track the is between the road and the river. 


Great views and quaint towns are found all along the way. Take 35 through Prescott and make note of the large railroad bridge on the left which crosses over the union of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. Look beyond the bridge and you are now looking at Minnesota.

Once through Prescott turn onto Highway 29 towards River Falls which turns into 29/35 and follow until you see the Rustic Road Route on your right, across from County Road FF. 


Route 92 can be described as residential and not much nature scenery. The majority of the route is lined by homes close to the road with an occasional field and farm along the way. A few minor twists and turns and there is a small section of woods and seclusion before returning to the homes. One last straightaway with an open field and the route has come to an end at County Road O.


Turn left on County Road O which will arrive at Highway 65, turn left again and follow it to Interstate 94. Enjoy the college town of River Falls as you make your way towards Interstate 94 which offers nice homes and shopping along the way. Head West on 94 to go towards Hudson or East and head towards Baldwin. The choice is yours!

For more information about this route and other routes please visit:http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/travel/road/rustic-roads/maps.aspx

Writing & Photography By: Nettie B
**For more travel blogs, photos and videos become a Patron
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Rustic Roads: Burnett County

The Rustic Roads program was created about 40 years ago and allows hikers, bikers and motorists to enjoy the less traveled, scenic back roads of Wisconsin regardless of the season. These routes help to enhance the beauty and serenity that the state has to offer. There are approximately 119 individual routes that travel through 59 counties and when added up equal about 722 miles. 

It is important to point out that these routes do not connect to each other and some are quite a distance apart from each other.  Also markings are limited and usually only one-way and regardless of what the website says, most of these routes don't end near a major city or road with limited GPS signals. Be sure to print out the map from the website and take with you to help navigate you along the way. 

These Rustic Roads will take us across Burnett County, Wisconsin.  The first route will be route #80 located East of Trego, Wisconsin next to Big Lake McKenzie.  After leaving Highway 53N, you'll head East on County Highway E towards Big Lake McKenzie.  The county road is peaceful and quaint, as you get closer to the lake beautiful homes with luscious landscapes begin to come into view and the road begins to twist and turn as you make your way around Big Lake McKenzie.  This time of year, the area is quiet and homes appear to be deserted, clearly a seasonal area that is probably booming during the summer and once again in the winter.  Plan your trip to this route accordingly.


As you continue on you'll come across the sign marking the county line and there ahead lies the Rustic Road route 80. This paved route is approximately 2 miles long and continues to follow along Big Lake McKenzie, offering amazing views of the lake from different angles as well as the continuation of beautiful, lush vegetation and tranquility.  The route is full of twists, turns and hills with speed limits changing along the way.  This route ends at County Road A which can be used to take you to Highway 35.


From here to Highway 35 there are several miles that separate the two but continue on County Road A North the whole way and it'll bring you right to Highway 35.  County Road A also brings you through more resort towns that are currently quiet or closed, but offers great views of woods, wildlife, fields and marsh along the way.  Another route that has the speed limit changing quickly with little to no notice and sharp turns that require to come almost to a complete stop.  Be mindful the whole way!

Once on Highway 35E you'll be heading towards Danbury, Wisconsin.  Thankfully, this route is marked and will point you the way to Old 35 Road which is where the next Rustic Road Route begins which is route #98.


This paved route is approximately 8 miles long and does a complete U-turn to bring you back out to Highway 35.  Lined with very few residents, lots of thick vegetation and plenty of wildlife to call this place home.  


The route continues to be marked along the way to give guidance back to Highway 35. Low hills and easy turns along the way make this an easy route to maneuver don't forget to look over to the side as some areas offer long drops to the streams below as well as the few lakes that surround this route.


As the route continues to bend and turn taking you back towards Highway 35, more resort homes and taverns will be seen along the way, followed by more thick vegetation, hills and turns.  Keep an eye out for those signs that are placed along the way.  


About halfway along the route, there is a sharp turn and a bridge crossing and on either side is Falk Lake and Gull Lake both which flow into a larger lake known as Minerva Lake.  A few miles later and you are now back at Highway 35.


Continue East on 35 for about two blocks and on the left is another Rustic Road Route, which is also marked, and now begins route #79.  This paved route is approximately 2 miles long and is a straight route across the countryside.  Few homes, large trees and a straight and easy road are all that make up this route just before ending enjoy the Yellow River view as you cross over it.  This route ends at County Road F.

Take County Road F South all the way to Grantsburg, Wisconsin where the next route is located.  This is a fun route to take, as there are old barns, abandoned buildings, taverns, wildlife areas and Governor Knowles State Park pull offs along the way.  Traffic is minimal but trucks are frequent hauling logs from point to point but a peaceful route to sit back and enjoy until you reach Grantsburg which is approximately 25 miles away.


Upon arrival into Grantsburg it is important to be mindful of the streets in order to find your way to the next Rustic Road Route, this has no markings and even major highways are not marked until you are there.  Once arriving into Grantsburg look for North Oak Street and follow until the end, then turn left onto S Pine St and right onto Highway 87/48 and begin heading away from Grantsburg.  It is only when on this road that there is a sign to mark the turn off to Rustic Road.  Turn off onto Skog Road and follow for several miles, which is filled with residential homes, lush vegetation and a few twists and turns making you think you are on the Rustic Road route but you are not.  At an intersection a few miles ahead you see the next sign in front of you that says "Rustic Road Ahead".


This begins the final Rustic Road route of Burnett County; route #15 which is a little over 5 miles long and is both paved and gravel.  This route is lined with medium to low vegetation, lots of marsh, swaps and thick grass lines the road.  Parts of the road even look like they are going to be swallowed up by the thick grass and weeds that line the way.  Twist and turn and it feels like you are looking down on them.  Open fields and swamps lead to endless views of various birds, hawks, and eagles soaring high above, while looking down at anything that catches their eye.


From here on out you are on your own as there are no signs to guide you along the way.  My suggestion is have your printed map handy and that at any intersection you come to read the signs and look for Shogren Road.  This is the road needed to take you back out to Highway 48, but even this road is not obviously marked.  

A good indicator that your off of the Rustic Road route is the narrowing of the road which means you are continuing on West River Road, and at times this road becomes dirt but it narrows to the point of only one car at a time.  But not to fret if you find yourself on this route, keep going.  The road eventually comes to an end where you turn either right or left onto County Road O; turn left and enjoy the widened county dirt road, the marsh land that surrounds the area and the pickups kicking up dirt as they drive by.

County road O leads you all the way back to Highway 48/87, you may even see Shogren Road along the way but continue on.  Once at Highway 48/87 head South to enjoy more small towns and communities as you head towards St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.  


Look off to the right and see the St. Croix River come into view as well as the Lions Club St. Croix park that is open year round and has a dock landing.  Stop in to stretch your legs, take a breather and enjoy a nice walk down to the river.  There are also restroom facilities available and open year-round.


Enjoy the buildings and businesses that line the main street of St. Croix as you head closer to Highway 8.  Upon arrival you can turn right and head over to Minnesota or head back into Wisconsin by turning left.  The choice is yours!  For more information about this route and other routes please visit: http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/travel/road/rustic-roads/maps.aspx

Writing & Photography By: Nettie B

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Turtle Lake Museum

Welcome to the Turtle Lake Museum located in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. 


In 2010 the census reported that 1,065 people lived in the village which is located between Polk and Barron county. The village's history dates back to 1875 when European descents first came to the area to settle. Known for its large harwoods and pine forests about half the population was consisted of Native Americans.

The village was originally named Skowhagen by Stephen Richardson as the area reminded him of his home state of Maine. Richardson went on to open a saw mill that became the village's first and principle industry for years followed by a general store and eventually a post office where Richardson was the postmaster.

Logging camps were built around Upper and Lower Turtle Lake. Government surveyors came up the name Turtle Lake because of all the turtles that used the area to lay their eggs. Once a post office was established it only seemed right to carry on with the name Turtle Lake instead of Skowhagen.

As you walk through the museum you will learn more about the history of Turtle Lake. All items throughout the museum have been donated by locals who grew up in the village. These items include band uniforms, military uniforms, cookware, phones and a variety of other items that were used. 

In fact the main building of the museum was at one time the village's lumber mill which was closed years earlier. Repairs continue to help bring the building up to date as well as hold on to the historical ambiance. 

As you first walk in to the museum look around at the glass casings that line the wall. Note the differences in band uniforms that the village used throughout the years. As well as the items donated by the local Cub Scout Troop, school year books and articles posted about local events. Various items that were used on a daily basis as well as events that took place.


Continue on and notice the Army uniforms as you continue on, one of them is a woman's uniform, from a local Turtle Lake resident who was in the service but not many people were aware of until recently. Her papers and what she did in the service can all be found on the display case next to her uniform. She is one of many women who served this country, take a moment to give thanks to all of the unspoken ones who served.


As the tour continues look to the walls and find old pictures of farm equipment, homes, buildings and what the town originally looked like. The photos continue to show the railroad tracks and station that use to go through the village. Moving on you'll find a map of what use to be the Turtle Lake School District Map and photos of the schools that use to operate in the area.


More display cases line the walls to include photography equipment, phones, sports memorabilia, toys, fishing equipment and military uniforms. All uniforms were used by local servicemen with one that has an interesting story to it. Upon donation, volunteers were going through the pockets and in one came across a pack of cigarettes and the airline ticket home. As if the person who used to wear it, took it off and never looked back.

In a display case next to the uniforms is a wooden object that was donated by a local family. This object, known as the Montagnard Crossbow, was used by a group of people during Vietnam known as the “Mountain People”. They were indigenous people of Central Highland Vietnam and considered to be “America's Most Loyal Aliens In Vietnam”.


Continue on to see the set-up of a home and items that were used. Next to it hangs a large quilt with a little bit of a mystery. On it are the names of local business that date back to 1900-1902 which is when it is believed to have been made but the question remains; why? You are left to speculate and wonder why someone would make this and hold on to it for so long.


The tour concludes with more display cases of medical equipment for both doctor, vision and dentist, 


as well as school and newspaper equipment and finally railroad memorabilia. After a short stroll through the museum you will have learned all about the history of the village of Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. 

But before you leave be sure to take a stroll outdoors to view the different farm equipment and buggy that was used in the area which also includes a fire truck.


If your passing through be sure to take a moment to stop by and check it out. Volunteers are on sight to answer any questions you may have about the village or any of the items on display. 

The Turtle Lake Museum is open from June – September, 2nd & 3rd weekends from 10a-4p. There is no fee to visit the museum but donations are always appreciated.

Writing & Photography By: Nettie B, The Write Shot

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