Growing up, my family was all about day trips or going on quick weekend trips across Wisconsin and the Midwest. In 2005, my mom bought a book called Weird Wisconsin – the authors describe it as a "travel guide to Wisconsin's local legends and best kept secrets." It has stories about ghosts, UFOs, roadside oddities, legends...the list goes on. She thought it would be fun for us to visit as many places in the book as possible and archive all of our adventures, and we've been doing that ever since. So many holidays, family vacations, and random summer days have been filled with jaunts across the state thanks to Weird Wisconsin.
One of our first adventures was meeting the authors, Linda S. Godfrey and Richard D. Hendricks – they just happened to do a book signing at the Pewaukee library a few months after my mom bought the book.
My mom's copy of the book is filled with notes, addresses, pamphlets, etc. For every place we've visited, my mom has paper clipped an envelope filled with a story about our visit, photos, and any paraphernalia from the trip.
Check out my mom's story from our first adventure (note: Gary is my dad, and my mom does not have a "compass-like sense of direction"):
Today was our first attempt to visit a Weird Wisconsin attraction. Let me set the stage – it's 101 degrees outside, we didn't leave until 3pm, and Gary's heart wasn't in it. But we were off to see "Truck in a Tree." The author states it is just outside Clinton (near the Illinois border) and you can see it from I90. Not exact directions but because of my almost compass-like sense of direction, I thought we could find it for sure.
Once we were headed toward I90, we ended up making a rather large circle. Gary said, "Let's drive up 43 and ask in Clinton if anyone's ever heard of this thing," but then we spotted it! The "Truck in a Tree"! We drove past "Customer Only" signs, "Private Drive" signs, surveillance cameras – nothing could keep us from it. We then made our little Sammy, our own child, get out of the car in these hostile conditions so we could take her picture. I took it as fast as I could, and we flew out of there before the cops came.
Another favorite adventure was going to Bill Benson's Hideaway in Campbellsport – his bar is known as the UFO headquarters. Many people have claimed to see UFOs there. We went with a bunch of family friends for the weekend, went camping in the area, and wore alien glasses and tinfoil hats the whole time. We didn't see any UFOs ourselves, but Bill did sign my mom's book, and we still talk about how fun/funny that weekend was to this day.
Another favorite story:
Today Gary, Sammy, and I drove up to Sheboygan to see the "Extraordinary Fence of Daniel Erbstoesser" which is also on the cover of the book. We had a nice ride up, found the fence, and then had a nice picnic on Lake Michigan. Gary and I then proceeded to argue about the fastest way to get home until we were no longer speaking to each other. Ahhh!!
Get out there and explore your state. Here's to many more adventures!