Wednesday, July 15, 2009
There's something special about the Midwest. Maybe it's the friendliness of the locals, the good beer or the endless farms. There's a lot to like:
Madison- what's NOT to like? Good food, clean city, central part is on an isthmus that divides two lakes, the University of Wisconsin, bike friendly, progressive people, pretty girls, free zoo, wonderful ice cream. Camp Randall Stadium is apparently a great setting for football and "Jump Around" before the 4th quarter is a classic and awesome tradition (see videos above).
Mineral Point- historic and artsy. Located in the 'driftless' region, a place untouched by glaciers during the last ice age. Good town with nice folks. They have a local brewery that I enjoyed. I rode 25 miles in tough, rolly terrain along rows and rows of corn and several dairy farms. The crows tracked me and the cows eyeballed me. And I got to visit with friends Dave and Mary Martin.
Mineral Point has places like the Midway Bar and Grill where a guy came in, sat at the counter and the bartender had an opened Miller Light in front of him. It's where everyone knows each other and looks out for each other. Alisha (below), who worked there and just graduated from Mineral Point High School (about 250 students), gave me the lowdown on the wrestling program there. Wrestling is huge in this area and Mineral Point has won 3 state championships in a row. Her brother is trying out for varsity nexy year.
Small towns- I've been avoiding interstate as much as I can. I get to drive through small towns and communities that I would otherwise miss. Places like Dixon, Illinois (home of Ronald Reagan), Fayette, Wisconsin and Kimball, Minnesota. Perham, Minnesota, where my old high school friend Jeff lives, is another place like that. These are places surrounded by farms large and small and where the pace of life is much different from mine (and I consider myself from a small town). It's really an envious thing to have be slower and less rushed.
Jeff teaches and coaches at a school with less than 400 students and while we do the same job, we have very different experiences. Perham is a town of less than 3000 people, the closest Walmart is 30 minutes away and the big industry is dog food and the several lakes around the city that brings in summer and weekend tourists. There are lots of advantages to what he does and how he lives. There are also lots of advantages to the way how and where I live.
By the way, Perham is a good athletic school. They are competitive every year in cross country and track, baseball and wrestling. Their gymnastics team has won 6 straight state championships. That's Jeff and their gymnastics coach talking in the photo below.