Mother’s Day 2016 just came and went. And we just sat around and did nothing all day. Now, those of you who follow us know that this could not be true. Last year Mama Nomad wanted to Hike The Appalachian Trail at Harper’s Ferry. That was an interesting, adventurous and fun filled day.
This year we are in Northern Wisconsin. The Appalachian Trail is nowhere near by. So, since Mama Nomad does not like to just sit idle, we hit the great outdoors in the Northwoods and went exploring on mothers day.
The first thing on our agenda was the unique and eclectic place called the Wisconsin Concrete Park. It is located at N8236 South Hwy 13 in Phillips, Wisconsin (about a mile south of Phillips on Hwy 13) and is a collection of over 230 concrete figures.
All of the concrete sculptures are the work of Fred Smith. He was born in 1886 and was the son of German immigrants. He spent his life in the Nothwoods of Wisconsin as a lumberjack. At 50 he retired and opened up the Rock Garden Tavern. Around the age of 62, supposedly inspired by a boy’s sweater, he began sculpting. With no formal artistic training or even the ability to read and write, he began making sculptures out of concrete, bottles and a host of other items.
He went on to make over 230 sculptures including Ben Hur, the Budweiser Horses, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, Sacajawea, Paul Bunyan and many, many more. Fred had a stroke in 1964 and his sculpting came to a halt. He lived for 12 more years before he finally passed away leaving a legacy of artistic creation. So, if you are in the area of Phillips, Wisconsin, stop in and see this roadside attraction.
When we finished the Wisconsin Concrete Park, we did not see anything else in the area to do, so we started towards home base. On the way, we passed by a huge statue of a bald eagle. We couldn’t pass it by, so we pulled over.
This was a statue of Old Abe. He was captured by a Native American Brave called Chief Sky. Old Abe was the mascot and the vanguard of Company C of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War. He took part in 22 battles, 30 skirmishes and was wounded 3 times; but he never died. He learned commands and led the men into battle while giving them courage and inspiration.
After reading about and posing with a 10 foot bald eagle, we continued homeward bound. While driving down the road, we saw a sign for a covered bridge. Mama Nomad loves covered bridges. So, I hit the brakes, busted a U-turn and went back to find this bridge.
We turned down the road that was marked and continued to a point where we thought we missed the turn. Then, we saw a small sign in front of a barn telling us to turn right. So, right we went. After a few more miles, we came upon it. It’s architecture was old, classic, covered wooden bridge. But it was actually constructed in 1991. Still, it looked good for being 25 years old.
The boys went exploring under the bridge and along the banks of the river. Mama Nomad and I enjoyed the scenery. I decided to try and run up a wall of the bridge, that was interesting (remembered I was not a teenager anymore and should not copy the boys). And then someone had the bright idea to pick Mama Nomad up and hold her sideways for a pix. I won’t share it all. But I will say I was rather entertained at the whole ordeal!
We jumped back into Ebony, found our way back to the main road and, once again, continued on towards home base. We came to a turn where we could go home the way we came or deviate and take a road we had never traversed, but would end up in the same place eventually. Which one do you think we chose? Yep! The road we had not traveled.
We continued on this road until we entered Waaswaaganing, The Ojibwe Nation Reservation in Lac Du Flambeau. We initially did not see much. Lots of trees, swampy fields and grassy marshes. Then, we came upon a place to pull over and Lac Du Flambeau was presented for our viewing pleasure. This is the name for the town and the lake. We were viewing the lake. It is called the Lake of Torches and has been a permanent settlement of the Chippewa Indian Nation since about 1745, when Chief Sharpened Stone led his people here.
We read all of the informational signs about the history of the people and the lands that surrounded us, like Strawberry Island; one of the most sacred places to all Ojibwe in the Upper Midwest. We also learned that fish were so plentiful here that they were also taken at night by the light of flaming torches. That is where the name Lac Du Flambeau came from. It is French for Lake of the Torches. Although the name is French, the Chippewa Nation always supported the American Colonies and never sided with the British or French.
After a while the mosquitoes began to swarm us and we decided to head out. After this, we actually went into a nearby town and treated Mama Nomad to some authentic local cuisine…Chinese Food. Hey, it was Mother’s Day and she got to choose the meal.
We can mark this down as another fun filled mother’s Day adventure spent exploring new things and seeing new places – the Nomad way. Safe Travels.