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Archive for the ‘Courtney’ Category

EXIT 4: Willow River State Park

In Courtney, Exit Episode, Parks & Recreation, Travel Tips, Wisconsin on Mon-17-Sep-12 at 4:23 PM

After our crazy camping adventure, we decided to see what else exit 4 had to offer. Craving more nature, we found Willow River State Park and set out to find a beautiful little waterfall.

The hike was in no way strenuous.  We were hoping for a little more adventure, but the day was so nice (and we were a bit hungover) so it worked out for the best.  It was about a mile walk from where we parked to the waterfall.  There seemed to be more interesting trails near the falls.

The waterfall was full of life and energy.  Lots of people enjoying the day.  Old people, young people, dogs, rock climbers.  Definitely a change from the campgrounds we had just visited.

Our hiking tips:

  • bring water
  • always take the stairs (unless there is a funner way to get up to the view… but always go up to see the view)
  • wear hiking sandals (just for the tan lines)
  • bug spray isn’t ever a bad idea
  • don’t be completely hungover (a little bit is fine)
  • go on a day when the weather is exactly how it was when we went…

 

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EXIT 4: Tubing & Camping in Somerset, WI

In Courtney, Exit Episode, Parks & Recreation, Wisconsin on Sat-08-Sep-12 at 5:47 PM

River tubing has always been one of my favorite things… because it combines 2 other favorite things… day drinking, and being on the water.  I’ve actually only gone just a few times in my life, couple times when I was younger, once in Virginia, once in Vang Vieng, Laos, and once just now in Somerset, Wisconsin.  Each time has been a very fun and memorable experience.

This summer in Wisconsin has been very very dry… so the river was pretty calm and low.  We didn’t get to the campsite until later in the evening, so we only had time to do half of the section (which turned out great… since it was so cold by then).  We filled plastic bags with beer and tied our tubes together (haha).  I think usually tubing is great with a big fun group of people and an extra tube for the cooler, but it was only Courtney and me, which was just as good.  We had a quality heart-to-heart and took turns pushing the tubes away from the trees and chasing after escaped beer cans (the plastic bags weren’t totally reliable).

We camped at Apple River Hideaway… once of many campgrounds/tubing places on the St. Croix River.  It is definitely a party atmosphere… they don’t recommend bringing your kids on the weekends.  Our friend, Emily, joined us for the night and the 3 of us cuddled up in our 8-person tent.

Things we recommend bringing when you camp:

  • A tent
  • Blankets
  • Flashlights
  • Water
  • Beer
  • Extra Blankets
  • Extra Beer
  • Optional – things to start a fire (otherwise you can make friends with people who already have a fire)
  • Garbage Bags
  • (not mentioned in video) Towels… to dry off the tent before you pack it away in the morning… so you don’t have to set it up in your backyard again the next day when you get home to dry it out

EXIT 2: The Original Red’s Savoy Pizza in Hudson, WI

In Courtney, Exit Episode, Restaurants & Bars, Travel Tips, Wisconsin on Tue-28-Aug-12 at 9:43 PM

Pretty much anything with cheese and hot sauce is automatically awesome, but the taco pizza fries we had at The Original Red’s Savoy Pizza were exceptionally tasty.  We had asked the worker what the restaurant was known for, and he told us, “The pizza fries!”  There were a few varieties, and I’m pretty sure we chose the best one… the taco pizza fries.

Pizza fries are basically a pizza with no sauce, and cut into strips instead of slices.  Ours was topped with taco meat and served with sour cream and hot sauce.  (Was kind of expecting more of a “taco” sauce/salsa type dip… but was pleasantly surprised with the many hot sauce packets we were given… since we are very much into hot sauce.)

Since most of the hot spots in Hudson are by the river off of exit 1 (or so I assume), we had to drive around a bit to find this place… but it isn’t far off the highway.

A tip for anyone:

If you’re in a new area or trying a new place, ask the workers what the best thing to have is!  They usually are happy to tell you what the place is known for and what they recommend.

EXIT 1: Pepperfest in North Hudson, WI

In Courtney, Events, Exit Episode, Travel Tips, Wisconsin on Sun-26-Aug-12 at 9:41 PM

Our journey has begun!  Courtney and I crossed the St. Croix River from Minnesota to Wisconsin. (Yes, we did come from Wisconsin, so we went to MN just to turn around for the official start.)

We had a recommendation from a Facebook follower to go to Pepper Fest in North Hudson, so we thought we would check it out.  We drove through downtown (I think it would be considered the “downtown”) Hudson… which seemed very cozy and lively.  I’m sure we could have found plenty of fun things there, but we ventured a bit more north to North Hudson, population 3768.

Pepper Fest is an annual event held on a weekend in August.  It is very community and family oriented.  We asked some of the locals what their favorite part of the festival was… and the decision was unanimous:  The People (with food being a close second).  With a variety of homemade Italian food, a sequence of food-eating contest, and a small carnival area with rides and games, anybody is sure to be entertained.

We happened to be there during the first round of the Spaghetti Eating Contest… which was not as exciting as it sounds.  We think they could have used more sauce, more mess, and more cheering to add excitement.  Who knows… maybe you will see a special spaghetti eating contest from Courtney and me in the future…

Overall Pepper Fest was good.  It is a great thing to check out if you happen to be there during the festival or live in the area, however I wouldn’t advise going out of your way too much or making a special trip just for that.  As the locals said, the best thing is the people.  We can definitely see that knowing people and running into old friends is a huge attraction of the fest, and being from out of town, we did not get to enjoy those awkward encounters the same way as if we lived nearby.

A tip for anyone:

Festivals in general are always great finds.  Keep an eye for signs around town or flyers in restaurants and coffee shops.  You can  search for events on your smart phone or online before your head out.  These type of events are not typically advertised on billboards on the highway.

Bonus Episode: Exploring La Crosse, WI

In Attractions, Courtney, Matt, Parks & Recreation, Restaurants & Bars, Special Episode, Wisconsin on Thu-23-Aug-12 at 9:34 AM

To prepare for Explore 94, Matt, Courtney, and I decided to film a test episode in La Crosse, WI.  We spent time at Riverside park, visited the World’s Largest 6-pack, and shared some appetizers at Buzzard Billy’s.

Home to Hiawatha (“Indian Man”) and Fido (a dog statue which you can apparently adopt somehow), Riverside Park is a scenic park along the Mississippi River.  The park was full of energy with people visiting, locals jogging, and boats racing.  It’s a lovely spot to hang out, have a picnic, people watch, or attend an event.

While in La Crosse, you might as well take a few minutes to pass by the World’s Largest 6-pack, because really, how cool is that?!  City Brewery also has a gift shop and offers tours.  You can also visit King Gambarinus (he’s legit), who resides across from the big beer cans.

Our final stop was Buzzard Billy’s, a great gem in the historic downtown area of La Crosse with authentic New Orleans and American Cuisine.  My ultimate recommendation is the sweet potato fries.  I would definitely go back for those!  (And to tell you a secret, we had been there before… and I wanted to go to get the fries again.)  The Buzzard Eggs (chicken tenders, jalapenos, and cheese wrapped in bacon) were obviously good because they were wrapped in bacon, however they could have used more cheese and less chicken.  It’s something different to try, but next time I’ll just double up on the sweet potato fries.

It was a fun evening with Matt and Courtney, and a lot of footage to edit.  It gave me a better idea of how Explore 94 will go, although every exit will be a different experience (especially when I’m not exploring with 2 people who live in the town).

Welcome to Explore 94

In Courtney, Matt, Special Episode, Wisconsin on Sat-11-Aug-12 at 12:04 PM

Welcome to Explore 94!

Jackie and the Shotgun Crew are on a mission to explore every exit on I-94 in Wisconsin.  Yes, every exit!  Starting at Exit #1 in Hudson, WI, all the way to the Illinois border. 348 miles.

How long will it take?  Who knows….?

The goals:

  • To have fun and go on adventures
  • To show you how awesome Wisconsin is
  • To inspire you to create your own adventures
  • No speeding tickets

You don’t need to take expensive flights or even have a passport to travel, there are places to travel to all around you if you just take a second to look.

Thanks for watching and reading!   Hope you enjoy the show 🙂