Travel to the Upper Midwest, and once you get off the interstate, you’ll find long, winding county roads that can take you through miles of gorgeous farmland and forests without ever seeing more than a few other vehicles. Traffic? Stoplights? Nope. Just plenty of cows, corn and water.
Last Friday, we’re cruising along on Wisconsin’s backroads, going from our campsite at Harstad County Park, (about 20 miles south of Eau Claire) , up to Chippewa Falls to go on a Leinenkuegel Beer brewery tour and check out the towns. We’re driving along, and spot a “Farm Fresh Eggs: $1” hand painted sign outside of a homestead. I had to stop; what a deal! Then, as we approach Cadott, (whose claim to fame is that the town’s exactly halfway between the North Pole and the Equator), Jim spots another sign: “Bake Sale Ahead.” Below that, it says “Scratch and Dent Corner Store.” Our two favorite things; sweets, and bargains!
We pull over. Out back, goats and chickens roamed the grounds. We swung open the squeaky screen door, and realized that an Amish family runs the store. Neither one of us were expecting it; we’d never met an Amish person, and the closest we’d ever been to anything Amish is when Jim used to bake Amish Friendship Bread every week. Both of us wrongly assumed that most Amish lived in Pennsylvania. Turns out that in this area of Wisconsin, there is a large, Amish community.