Wisconsin is a state that gets a bum rap. It is a verdant land of rolling hills and dairy farms. Granted, I detoured around Milwaukee, so I didn’t see the urban Wisconsin, but what I did visit was idyllic.
I was on a road trip circling the Great Lakes and I was a woman on a mission. The previous day I had driven from Toronto to Lake Bluff, Illinois, a distance of more than a 1,000km. I’m not sure exactly why I was in such a rush, but there was no way to stop me. This was my first vacation in years and I was going to see it ALL!
Coming into Wisconsin, I decided that I didn’t want to go through Milwaukee, so I looked for a way around the city and instead decided to get off I-94 for a spell and take a secondary road that would lead me back to I-94 at Madison in a diagonal fashion.
Suddenly, I had no choice but to slow down since the scenic route meant going through towns and going through towns meant slower speed limits and, gasp, stop signs. I passed an antique shop at one point and wished that I could stop. Two blocks away from it, I had a revelation, I could stop if I wanted to! I was on vacation, for pete’s sake and I didn’t have to be in such a rush!
I ended up doing only a couple hundred kilometres that day as I lost myself in the antique shops of southern Wisconsin, scooping up blue willow dishes and brass candleholders. I don’t have any pictures of the two antique malls I stopped at, among smaller shops, but they are Freddy Bears Antique Mall and Heavenly Heaven Antique Mall (located in a restored church) in Waterford. Plan on spending several hours at each!
When I was done, I found the beautiful Devil’s Lake Campground and set my tent up for the night, guaranteeing a leisurely departure the next day. I remember going for a swim in the shallow lake that was still warm that late in September and whooping with joy at rediscovering life in the slow lane.
It was in Wisconsin that I learned that I want to travel at a slow pace and that it’s when I think that I’m in the biggest hurry that I should slow down and enjoy the moment because there might not be another opportunity to do so. I must have had this lesson in mind during my Chasm respite before one of the worst days of my life.