After last week’s assault by dental types, taking pain pills like candy, and being stuck in the house for days on end, by Sunday morning I was climbing the walls. I got up early (for our family), intending to take a book out on the deck and just read. However, I’d been down for days, and though the three males did their best to handle kitchen stuff, it needed some TLC. So I got busy cleaning it and doing other things I’d normally not want to do but was suddenly thrilled to be able to handle. When the husband got up, I treated him to words he doesn’t necessarily love to hear from me: ”I’m antsy.”
He gave me that worried, measuring look, as if he was trying to decide whether I was let’s-play-a-game-of-cards antsy or time-to-start-a-major-home-improvement antsy.
“Let’s go somewhere,” I said.
Yeah, that get-me-out-of-this-freaking-house-now kind of antsy.
Long story short, I sent one of the boys to find our old-fashioned, well-loved atlas and looked for something interesting between here and the Mississippi. There, in tiny pink letters: Eagle Cave.
If you have boys, you need to take them to Eagle Cave. It’s a privately owned cave, and its claims to fame are that it was Wisconsin’s first commercial cave and is the state’s largest onyx cave. But better than all that mumbo-jumbo, during your tour, they pretty much give you free rein.
Yeah, free rein in a cave, which meant for my guys: crawling down into the “Snake Pit” (which I am THRILLED to report has no snakes) and checking out the four tunnels that branch out from it, exploring the Hornet’s Nest, a side room in the cave (where the record number of people who have been crowded in at once is 32), climbing out on a major rock shelf/bridge, taking in the enormity of the biggest “room” in the cave (which, if I remember right, the guide said was more than 60 ft. wide), crawling into the Bear Den, seeing countless chunks of onyx, touching and getting dirty to their hearts’ content, and a bunch of other coolness.
They learned some geology stuff too, but please don’t tell them that.
Our tour was just the four of us and the tour guide, who directed us through the cave, told us about each feature, then reliably said, “You can climb in there and check it out if you want.” (Coming off a week of narcs, I stayed on the main path, but the other three came home filthy.)
After exploring, I still wanted to visit the Mississippi, so we headed west, through Prairie Du Chien, WI, and across the river to Marquette and MacGregor, Iowa. Both towns had some quaint, touristy areas, but it’s hard to top the life-sized pink elephant on the Mississippi bank at the casino in MacGregor:
After a mediocre dinner in downtown MacGregor, we got back on the road and headed home. It’s a pretty, scenic drive, curving along the banks of the Wisconsin River for quite a distance, with bluffs, farms and a bajillion beautiful trees, but my personal favorite part was as we wound through yet another tiny Wisconsin town, the town of Gotham, and happened upon this bar along the side of the highway:
(No, we didn’t stop. Mainly because two of us were minors.)