Old Diary

St Croix Crossing and Hayward

From Hudson WI we took a pretty easy drive a measly 120 miles towards Hayward.Nov13

I have mentioned before that in the 80’s I worked for a Detroit Diesel distributor and travelled Northern Wisconsin calling upon customers and dealers.  As a result, a days drive anywhere around here is kind of like coming back home, to see places that were really familiar to me in my working days and remember how they were, how things have changed, how towns and businesses have grown or shrunken, etc..

Along with all the retrospective stuff there’s also “new stuff” and one of the not-exactly-goals-of-this-trip was a chance to see and drive over the new St. Croix Crossing bridge near Stillwater.  We watched the bridge being built over the last several years and after it was opened in late 2017 we have not had opportunity to drive across the new span.

For those who were familiar with the town of Stillwater, there has been an old “lift bridge” spanning the river for the better part of 100 years.  In recent times that bridge was the cause of interminable traffic jams and backups. I’m sure the locals are delighted to have a better solution, and there are plans to re-purpose the old span as well.  But just getting a chance to drive across was a “big deal” for me.

here are some public file images of the bridge.

I guess my infatuation with bridges began in 2005 when I was traveling in France on a photo excursion and I came across the Viaduct of Millau not long after it’s completion.

The Bridge At Millau

Finding the road to this observation point took a lot longer than I had guessed, but it was a side trip well worth the effort.

At any rate, I was glad for the chance to test out the new bridge. 😃😃😃

This is a different sort of terrain than we have in Milwaukee.  A lot more low lying wetlands, and mixed prairies and scrubbier vegetation.  There are numerous tree plantations and at the right times of the year you can nearly get run over by logging trucks — many of whom are former customers of ours. Brought back a lot of memories and I always enjoy the scenery.  I’m not big on classifying things, but I enjoy the differences.  I don’t have to have a name for something to find the beauty in it.

A stop in Hayward almost “requires” a stop at one of the 6 Norske Nook’s around Wisconsin.  What is now a little chain of restaurants featuring some of the best pies around was, back in the 70’s and 80’s just a single hole-in-the-wall lunch counter that hired a whiz-bang of a Norwegian baker who turned an average little dive into a growing enterprise.  The lunch counter attracting local farmers for a hot beef or hot pork sandwich has now turned the old store into a gift shoppe, built a brand new much larger stand along restaurant across the street, and then added another 4 or 5 stores around Wisconsin.  The main store can have as many as 30 different kinds of pie.  The outliers have fewer but it seems they always have at least 15 different kinds.  For this trip we each had a piece of pie for lunch and ate our left over Pizza from Sunday night at the Great River Roadhouse for supper.  (Doncha love microwaves in hotel rooms?)