Rib Mountain State Park, WI

I write to you from the strangest places, and that’s the way you like it.   When we are parked in Tucson for months at a time, blog readership plummets and I get emails from people asking “When are you going to back on the road?”   When I am blogging daily, with a different location every night, everyone seems happy.

Tonight the blog comes to you from the top of Rib Mountain, in Wausau WI.   There is a nice little state park campground on the top of the mountain, with sites alongside the edge of the mountain that have clear views to the north.   We’re in one of those sites tonight, just a short walk from the two ski lifts that serve this mountain in winter.

Should you decide to check out Wisconsin’s Rib Mountain State Park with your trailer, keep in mind that the park is designed primarily for tent camping.   Many sites can accommodate trailers, but there are no hookups, no trash collection, and no dump station.   Still, it’s worth the visit just for the view.   (We’re going to check out the Rib Mountain Travel Center nearby tomorrow for a dump station.   When we are courtesy parking a lot, as we have been lately, I use RVdumps.com to find dump stations along the way.)

A little further up the road from our campsite is a large TV transmitting tower and a large wooden tower with three viewing platforms. The top platform puts you above the trees and basically on par with the TV antennas.   Cell phones are obliterated by the interference and don’t work at the top of the platform, as Emma found out when talking to her grandmother, but when you are at the very top of Rib Mountain and looking down at a glorious 360 degree panorama, it doesn’t matter much.   The view is spectacular and I imagine it is particularly good during fall foliage.

The mountain is basically a big hunk of quartzsite, a very hard stone that didn’t erode as fast as the land around it, which is why this is the third-highest point in all of Wisconsin.   The Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northern Wisconsin are not known for their mountains, and that made our day’s drive somewhat less interesting.   The most interesting part of it was that for several hours we rounded the top of Lake Michigan and yet the water kept appearing off to the left as if it had no end.   You really get a sense of how “great” a Great Lake is when you try to circumscribe even a small part of one.

The other item of interest was of course pasties.   We discovered on a prior visit that the UP is pasty country, those sturdy concoctions of pastry dough and meat, potatoes, and spices.   Pasties actually come in many flavors, but the classic formula seems to be beef with potato.   They are by no means diet food, but everyone can splurge once in a while, right?   We stopped at a local restaurant in one of the small towns along the route and bought one for lunch.   The thing turned out to be so huge that all three of us could have made lunch out of it, but since we actually ordered two other lunches, the pasty became part of tonight’s dinner.

Dinner was necessarily light tonight. Eleanor and Lynn spent Sunday afternoon building an enormous multi-course feast which took the entire evening to consume.   The proposal is that we do this every week when we are all in Arizona this winter, but that’s completely out of the question.   We’d simply explode like Mr. Creosote.   As it is, we’ve been eating a lot of heavy meals and not getting much exercise.   But this morning we left De Tour Village with regret, since our visit was too short.

In addition to eating too much, we are driving too much lately. Today’s drive was a solid 360 miles, a tedious ordeal made somewhat more pleasant by podcasts (including some stories of Canada’s greatest superhero, The Red Panda). We have one more oversized drive ahead of us tomorrow, to Minneapolis, and then we can relax a little.   I will be glad for a few days well away from the car and on a trail, or at least walking around a city.

On the other hand, I have noticed that we will be near the famous SPAM museum in Austin MN later this week.   I may not be able to resist one more splurge. Maybe I can get a SPAM pasty?


  1. Laurie says

    Spam, Spam, Spam – A must on any travel itinerary!!!!! Actually we will probably be checking it out this Friday!