Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
8/21/2019 to 8/24/2019
It seems that this place has turned into a big tourist trap
Wednesday 8/21/2019 Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin was a 219-mile drive from The Mall of America. We are staying in another KOA and they're all starting to look alike. It has a similar registration building with a small convenience store. The sites, while not as small as some, are still fairly close together. We set up and went for a drive to see the area. There are two different main strips here. One is the old section of downtown where you can walk up and down the main street that is filled with souvenir shops, bars, and restaurants. The other strip is a lot longer and is filled with waterparks, amusement parks, hotels, restaurants, go-cart tracks, and other attractions. We passed a lumberjack show and decided to come back later for the 8:00 pm show. We didn't have tickets so we arrived about an hour early for the outdoor, stadium seating show. If anyone has ever seen the lumberjack show at Cedar Point, this was very similar. It showcased four lumberjacks and an announcer. The stadium was divided into two groups who rooted for their two lumberjacks in a competition while shouting YO HO! They did the usual competitions, two men sawing, rapid tree climbing and descending, and log rolling. It was a 90-minute show and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Thursday 8/22/2019 Wisconsin Dells is a very touristy town, very similar to Branson, Missouri or Dollywood. We decided to do a couple of Wisconsin River excursions today but first, we had to figure out where to buy tickets and where to go to board the boats. It's a little confusing, there are several ticket shacks located throughout the town and many different companies offering river rides. We found a ticket shack and bought tickets for a river cruise and a duck boat ride. We then drove and found the parking lot for the river cruise and had to take a short walk down the street and down steps to board the boat. It was a pleasant, slow ride down the Wisconsin River for about two hours. The river isn't very pretty. It's an ugly brown color but our tour guide says it's clean water. It's only brown because of the tree sap which makes its way into it. We made two stops - the first stop was called Witches Gulch. We got off the boat and walked about a quarter-mile through some beautiful, green narrows until it ended at - you guessed it - a gift and snack shop. We returned to the boat and continued on the river until our next stop which was called Stand Rock. This is the site of the World Famous Dog Leap. People used the make the leap from one ledge to another but now a German Shepherd makes the leap. He made it look quite easy - I hope he gets some great treats for his performance. This stop also has a gift and snack shop. We left Stand Rock and made our way slowly back to the boarding dock.
The dock is very close to the older downtown touristy area and we went for a walk up and down the street. There are many souvenir shops, old-time photographers, oddity museums, haunted houses, restaurants and more. We stopped for lunch at a small Italian restaurant on a side-street.
Here's a short video of the dog jumping to Stand Rock
After lunch, we set out to find the duck boat launch site. It was just a short drive away from the older part of town to the other strip area. This is the area that is full of water parks, go-cart tracks, restaurants, and hotels. We boarded right away and our young tour driver and tour guide began the drive. We used Wisconsin's Original Duck Boat company who must own acres of land between their boarding area and the Wisconsin River. We drove through very wooded and beautiful scenic landscapes until we came to the first entry spot into the river. We drove into the river and puttered around for a while and then exited out on land. After driving some more through the trees, we again drove into the river and puttered around some more until it was time to exit and drive back to the starting point. We found it to be a very enjoyable experience.
Friday 8/23/2019 We took another trolley ride today. It began in a parking lot outside of a restaurant. We were hoping to get a guided tour of the city and learn about its history. The driver/tour guide was a nice man who had lived in the Wisconsin Dells area for thirty years. The trolley made a couple stops and the guide told us some stories of days past. It really wasn't as informative as we thought it would be. He drove through the older part of town and then out to a dam with an old small cave they used to use as a bar. It's now full of graffiti. He showed us a community park with a beach and then it was back to the parking lot to let us off. It was only about an hour-long. It was a pleasant day for a drive but it left us wishing for more of a town history lesson. We got back in the truck and drove back to the old part of town, parked and walked around a bit until we settled on a spot for lunch. It's called Monk's and is a small bar and restaurant. It's supposedly one of the most popular places to eat when in town and we weren't disappointed. After that, we just walked back to the truck and returned to the campground for the rest of the evening. The KOA was full of weekend campers and wasn't nearly as quiet as the last couple days.
Saturday 8/24/2019 We didn't have any plans for today. We just wanted a day to rest away from the crowds. We did go for a ride to Walmart to buy a few things and filled up the truck with diesel for our trip tomorrow morning. As we were driving back to the campground, we noticed an unusual-looking building so we stopped to see what it was. It had a catchy name - The Grateful Shed Truckyard. It was a warehouse-style building filled with unique objects. Some were huge like the Greyhound Bus placed up high upon pillars and was remodeled into a dining car to eat the foods you could purchase from the inside food trucks. There was a large square-shaped bar that used old VHS tapes to line the underneath wall of their bar counter. The steps leading up to a second floor were lined with old automobile license plates. A few lucky families were able to eat inside two old VW vans that were altered for dining.
The Wisconsin Dells are known for their many numerous water parks. It's the main attraction for the hundreds of families that come here every day. We snapped a couple of photos of one water park as we drove by.
Sunday 8/25/2019 Today we packed up and are headed to Indiana Dunes State Park.
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