Yesterday I guided a tour of the Coulee Region with our friends Barbara and Dale from California. We turned south on County J, drove on Mallard Ave. past acres of fragrant white trillium and pale blue/purple wild geranium to State Hwy 33 and headed west. State Hwy. 33 is being considered for Scenic Byway designation. The scenic overlook has a marker explaining “coulee” a French word describing narrow valleys with steep hillsides typical in Southwest Wisconsin. County F to the northwest took us to Granddad’s Bluff overlooking La Crosse, the Mississippi River and viewing MN and IA in the distance. Follow Bliss Road down to Main Street west to the Miss. River. More great photo opportunities at the International Peace Gardens, the Big Indian, the paddleboat La Crosse Queen and across the Miss. River to Pettibone Park where disc golfers were playing. Head over to the Peoples Food Coop on Fifth Ave. between Cass and King St. for a delightful deli lunch or head upstairs to Hackberry’s Restaurant.
Head north on Fourth Street to Interstate 90 West to the Lock and Dam # 7 exit and Tourist Information Area. A barge was locking through for more photo opportunities. This is a transportation project completed in 1937 which allows raw materials from the Coulee Region to be exported from April 1- December 1.
My favorite drive in the entire world is Hwy. 14/61 North to Winona, MN. This view includes miles and miles of hardwood forest covered bluffs, rock outcroppings, islands, the energetic Miss. River flowing south and many birds. More great photos opportunities appear with Sugar Loaf, a smaller version of the prominent rock outcropping Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro.
Barbara noted there are discs for disc golf for sale at the local gas station. Winona sports three disc golf courses. Driving through the downtown business district of Winona past beautiful old historic buildings caused Dale to comment that we must not get earthquakes here seeing that we have all these old beautiful buildings.
Cross the Miss. River on Hwy. 43 to Wisconsin 53 south along the edge of the Upper Miss. River Wildlife and Fish Refuge and the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. The migrating birds are beautiful and the wetlands pristine on this warm sunny May Day. We wish we had started earlier to spend time at the observation area in the Refuge to watch the birds. South of Galesville we slowed to follow a farm tractor pulling a corn planter.
We picked up I-90 east to Sparta and south on Hwy. 27 to return to Justin Trails Resort and a timely visit to our friend Beth and her happy cows. We all agreed it was a gorgeous day in God’s Country.