who knew as we awoke in our luxurious madison side-of-the-highway motel room what a string of unlikely events lay between us and our destination of minneapolis. not us. and, probably, not you.
we took some time getting organized, finishing some little jobs and piecing the car contents back together like a tetris game. then we hit the road - a new scenic byway i had never taken before. on faythe's advice, we had planned out some roadside programming on the way to minneapolis (i am performing there, but that is another story/life of mine). wisconsin, it would seem, is full of roadside extravagances that we have never experienced. this, in spite of the fact that i have been through this whole corridor numerous times. but i used to be younger and i would drive endlessly without stopping. now, in my advancing years, i bother to look at things if only to give my aching back a break from the car.
sadly, the house on the rock did not figure into our plans although it was on the route. the collections there sounds thrilling but it apparently merits an entire day's exploration. it is also slicker (read: pricier) than our current mothy purses can allow. we managed to find plenty of cheap/free roadside mania to partake in, nonetheless.
on faythe's suggestion, we hunted down dr. evermor's forevertron, an entire art park of massive metal sculputres centred around the forevertron, a guinness book record-holding scrap sculpture of immense size. we wandered around the opening to the park, snapping photos and marveling.
then things got weird. as walked towards the entrance to the park proper a couple of other visitors came out and told us to take as many pictures as we could as fast as we could because the entire park was being shut down by "the government." when we tried to enter to snap said hasty photos we were turned away by a lady who said she ran the place. she was flanked by police officers and seemed quite demanding about our departure. while leaving, the other tourists informed us that a live bomb had been discovered among either the sculptures or materials on site and that officials were scouring the place for contaminants of some kind. one of these visitors also told us that a ufo sculpture on site was made out of a flammable metal. weird.
we took a few more pictures around the front of the space before being shooed out by the lady who worked there. this lady confirmed some of the rumours. a live bomb had apparently been discovered there by some visitors a couple of weeks ago and all sorts of police, government and health officials had descended on the place since. it just so happens we had arrived at a critical moment when the decision to close the park had come down.
"dr. evermor's negligence with materials," she said. "i've got to go eat at the welfare...just kidding."
so we left.
onwards towards baraboo. we had seen signs for a circus museum but got distracted by a saint vincent depaul before we even got there. we have been going pretty nuts with thrifts over the past few days. there is a big list of things to pick up and even more things by which to be distracted. but my mind was entirely blown by this discovery:
no big deal, right? just some weird tacky wall thing, right? only, if you look carefully, you will note that is it a souvenir from bruno, saskatchewan! possibly, you might remember our visit there last year. as far as we know, there is little in bruno other than 500 people, all citizens, tyler, serena (sometimes), a religious school, a grain elevator and the usual trappings of a rural town (grocery, bar, pharmacy, bank, insurance, senior's centre...) i mean, it's not nothing. it's a fantastic place. but it's a tiny place, and one that we have a slim but tenacious connection to. and to find such a strange souvenir of it here, in wisconsin. and what are we even doing here, in this small off-the-freeway place? and why did we stop to go to this particular shop? we drank more water and hoped we weren't hallucinating.
we plan on passing through bruno later in this trip so we have to wrestle with the final home of this object until then. we both kind of want to cling to it as a reminder of the difference between impossibility and improbability (a clear difference when living out in the world as we are). but possibly it deserves to be brought back home. tyler and serena, will you cry if we don't leave this with you? let's work it out. we are troubled and dehydrated.
after all of this excitement and confusion, the circus museum seemed pointless. and our drive through the wisconsin dells was entirely too overwhelming to digest. my god, that place is incredible. this is about as much of it as we could actually absorb in our saturated states:
...and there is so much more where that came from. maybe on the way back (with any luck). i kind of want to sleep in an elephant's trunk, or under a water slide, or in an upside down house. why didn't i listen to dr. dave when he told me to go here years ago?
now onward into minnesota to find graham. wisconsin, you have more than piqued our curiosity; you have challenged its limits.