Minnesota and Wisconsin November 2018:
Day 4 - La Crosse


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Minnesota and Wisconsin November 2018: [Day 1 - St. Paul] [Day 2 - St. Paul] [Day 3 - Onalaska] [Day 4 - La Crosse]

Saturday, November 3, 2018: Debbie had been to La Crosse many times to visit relatives, but had never visited it as a tourist, so we went on a drive through town. We started by driving past the house where Debbie's great aunt used to live. Many good times were had here over the years.
It was overcast and rainy, but we decided to visit Grandad Bluff Park anyway.
The road wraps around the side of the hill then turns right at the Alpine Inn.
Here we are!
We bundled up and got out our umbrellas for the rainy walk to the overlook.
Almost there ...
... and we made it! Behold the city of La Crosse.
But wait! There's more!
We took a split second to photograph some of the educational panels along the walk way. But we didn't stop to read them because it was cold out there!
Getting closer.
And closer.
The panorama view of the city was worth the wet walk.
Here's the view to the south ...
... and to the north. When we looked closely, ...
... we spotted Debbie's great aunt's house. Family members tell us that it was the perfect venue for watching fireworks displays on Grandad Bluff.
Hi Tom!
This nice lady is Ellen Hixon, credited with saving Grandad Bluff from becoming a rock quarry in 1909.
We headed back to our warm van ...
... and drove back into town.
The old Heileman Brewing Company is now home to City Brewing Company.
King Gambrinus stands regally across the street from ...
... the World's Largest Six Pack.
Here's Fourth Street, ...
... home of Coney Island.
En route to our next destination, we made an unplanned stop when we saw this huge display of heron statues.
First created in 2008, the statues were restored for a 10th anniversary display this year.
The herons were first organized by the Pump House.
We didn't photograph all of them, ...
... but we did got a lot of them.
Here's a heron.
There's a heron.
Everywhere a heron, heron.
Another.
And another.
And still more.
Running out of caption ideas.
Please let it stop.
Nope, still more.
And we're done! We happened across another King Gambrinus statue at Front and State.
On a nicer day with more time, we would have stopped to visit Riverside International Friendship Gardens, but we settled for a photo of the entrance.
Here are the La Crosse Queen riverboat and a 25-foot-tall status of Hiawatha dating to 1961.
A Christmas lights display was in the process of being installed at Riverside Park.
Here's La Crosse Distilling Company ...
... and a cool sculpture on the other side of the street.
Our next stop was a visit to Onalaska to see Sunny the Sunfish ...
... near the Onalaska Gazebo Lookout on the Mississippi River.
This is located right across the street from Shadow Run Motel, a place Debbie's family often stayed during holiday visits. Sadly, no photos exist from then and we didn't think to take one this time either, so here's a Google Streetview screenshot that was obviously not taken on this day.
Next, we drove to the Onalaska City Cemetery. Debbie's Aunt Carol and Uncle Mark joined us there to help us find the gravesites of Debbie's grandparents and great-grandparents.
Here are John and Alette, who passed away in 1994 and 1998, respectively.
The inscription on the back says:

"The Goose Pond Honker
Founded in Arlington 1973
Later in Apple Valley."

Forty five years later, Debbie is now the editor of this family newsletter.

Here's Mark with his parents.
We wandered around a bit looking for John's parents.
Here they are: Harry and Agnes, who died in 1958 and 1964.
Speaking of Apple Valley, Debbie jumped in Mark's car and we all went to Apple Valley in Onalaska. This entire area used to belong to Harry and Agnes, ...
... and the road into the area is named after Debbie's family.
Then we headed to Drugan's Castle Mound Country Club ...
... where Debbie's Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Ralph treated us to a special Norwegian luncheon.
Lunch consisted of lefse, a soup and salad bar (including Norwegian fruit soup, rømmegrøt [cream porridge], and rice pudding), and a large plate with lutefisk, chicken, mashed potatoes, Swedish meatballs, lingonberry sauce, mashed rutabaga, and stuffing.
After lunch, we peeked into the room where Debbie's grandparents held a family dinner for their 50th anniversary back in 1986.
Here's the specials board, showing that the Lutefisk and Lefse dinner is only served on Sundays. It doesn't note that it is a winter option only, which is one of the reasons that Debbie had never eaten lutefisk here (or anywhere in the US for that matter - it took a trip to Norway in 2013 to finally try it - twice!).
Other sights in the lobby included these Norwegian decorations ...
... and this handsome gentleman who posed with Bonnie.
Just before leaving, gifts and packages were exchanged. Mark gave us an old rock tumbler for our grandkids to use when they are a little older, and gave Debbie this lovely handmade Malört art for our basement. Carol gave us some Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts, including a wine trio from Elmaro Winery and some Matchbox cars for our grandkids.
As much as we would have loved to stay and visit more, we had to get back on the road to make it home to Indy before Claire's bedtime.
We stopped in Sparta to get gas and marvel that the endless orange construction signs we had seen in June and August were still here. However, there was now a fully functional roundabout so that was nice.
We had a nice Facetime chat with the grandkids who were spending the night at our house spreading their toys everywhere in that adorable way that only they can.
We were delighted to see an ad for the Grand Canyon in the middle of the dreary weather. We were even more delighted to remember that we'd be at the Grand Canyon the very next month.
We had to duck into the city of Chicago for one last errand.
It was a visit to Binny's Beverage Depot in Lincoln Park, ...
... where our pre-order of three different types of Malört awaited us.

** THE END **


Minnesota and Wisconsin November 2018: [Day 1 - St. Paul] [Day 2 - St. Paul] [Day 3 - Onalaska] [Day 4 - La Crosse]

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