I visited Wisconsin last week and had a delightful experience. The weather for America’s Dairyland was predicted to be 80 degrees and sunny, so I hopped on my motorcycle and set out for the the north woods, about 500 miles away.
Wisconsin is a beautiful state to ride in because you never know what you’ll find around the next corner. Cheese curds are made with a combination of curds and whey, just like Little Miss Muffet used to enjoy. Then, they put them in a machine and knock the whey out of them so all you have left is the curd. It’s a chunky little thing and I figured, “How bad could it be?”
Cheese curds are not a silent food. They squeak when you eat them. It sounds like you’re eating a mouse. To wash down your curds, you order a beer, and when you combine the squeak of the cheese with the noise provided by the beer you have the makings for a Wisconsin One Man Band.
The goal on this trip was not to chow down on curds, but to have dinner at a remote restaurant in Manitowish Waters. The Little Bohemia Inn was built in 1929 as a restaurant and vacation lodge. In 1934, their most famous patron paid a visit.
John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and the rest of the gang were looking for a place to catch a little R&R. Robbing banks and going on the lam can really take it out of a gangster and the boys just wanted to rest up. They booked rooms at the lodge through a mutual acquaintance of the owner, but at check in, the owner’s wife recognized Dillinger and freaked out. After a couple of days, she called the FBI and informed them of the location of Public Enemy #1.
The FBI decided to raid the lodge and finally nab Dillinger. They rode up the narrow drive when another car approached for the other direction. The feds blasted away at it and shot three people who just had dinner.
The shots alerted Dillinger and the gang, and a massive gunfight ensued. Sin
ce the thought never occurred to the FBI to surround the building, the gang escaped out the back and eluded capture once again.
Today, the lodge is only open as a restaurant, but they preserved Dillinger’s room along with the bullet holes in the walls and windows. It was also featured in the 2009 Johnny Depp film, ”Public Enemy”
On my way back to Chicago, I passed by one of only four unique places on the planet. In the small town of Poniatowski, sits the center of the northern hemisphere and the western hemisphere. It is know as a 45-90 mark, being 45 degrees latitude from the north pole and the equator, and 90 degrees longitude from Greenwich to the International Date Line. The other three 45-90 spots are in China, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean so I figured I had better stop to see this one.
I walked down a path through a soybean field to a large orientation marker at the exact spot. I stood on that spot and waited for a divine message from the universe. I waited and waited and then it came to me. I felt my life change. I had a craving for cheese curds.