Road Trip Wanders Into Rural Wisconsin

The Great American Road Trip

the book cover

Destination: Wisconsin

Book: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (2008) by David Wroblewski

It turns out that one of my favorite novels of the past five years was sitting on my table while I was trying to figure out who should represent Wisconsin. The fact that I did not immediately think of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel (P.S.) has nothing to do with quality. I think it has to do with the universality of the novel, which led me away from thinking of it as a specific locale.

That David Wroblewski could write such an amazing book as a first novel fills me with awe.

If you have not seen it yet, it has an unusual premise,telling the story of a young boy who is mute and his family who breed dogs–obsessively.  The dogs are major characters in this story–and we even hear what they are thinking about things from time to time.

As far as Wisconsin is concerned, Wroblewski paints the best picture of far northern Wisconsin when the boy runs away and makes his way across some beautiful country.  Since I generally think of Wisconsin in terms of the tame miles and miles of green pastureland filled with black and white milk machines (otherwise known as cows) to be taken to a farm that raises dogs and then to a wild wilderness back country was a totally new world for me.

I don’t want to give anything away to those who have not read it, but I will say that this is one of those books that I did not want to end. I was very sad to say goodbye to the characters–including the dogs.

Wroblewski’s web site shows his personal dedication to dogs. And dog-gone it, does not hint at another book coming out soon.  We’re waiting!!

Oak Tree Pasture
Wisconsin pasture with oak tree

As I mentioned above, my vision of Wisconsin is green, the smell of new-mown hay, the blue and white skies palely imitating the black or brown and white cows below. Signs along the tidy farm roads edged with white fences advertise fudge for sale. Some farms sell cheese.  So Scandinavian that you can see why the early settlers tended to be from those green northland countries. Of course we have also talked about Wisconsin being a preferred hideout for some gangsters. And sometimes the grass is not green. Some times it is WINTER.

Wisconsin in Winter

Do you have memories of a road trip in Wisconsin? Share here and get a chance at one of the five prizes in the Bella Italia contest.

Want to listen to something besides “Mooo” as you take a road trip to Wisconsin? Click over to Music Road and see what Kerry Dexter recommends for playing on the CD or IPOD as we drive.

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Next up we have a very funny movie that taught an expert on Road Trips everything she knows! Then guests deliver us to France, Italy (another doggie book), Maine, and next week on the road trip interview with a mystery author from Minnesota who loves road trips.

It’s my OWN book and you can’t have it! The pictures of Wisconsin comes from Flickr by way of Creative Commons and you can click on the picture to learn more about the photographers.

Do you have memories of a road trip in Wisconsin? Share here and get a chance at one of the five prizes in the Bella Italia contest.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

6 thoughts on “Road Trip Wanders Into Rural Wisconsin

  1. During a memorable and mostly wonderful road trip by thumb from Alaska to New York, my then 13-year-old son and I stopped for the night at the YWCA in Madison. He was feverish and miserable, leaking from both ends. The Y took pity and eased their upper age limit of 12 for boys for that night.

    Later, we both remembered how we liked Madison and the (admittedly few) people we met there, and agreed that we’d like to return to the area one day. Then perhaps continue north and paddle on Lake Superior. That son now has a nearly 17-year-old son and an couple of daughters, but one day maybe we’ll all get there.

  2. Born in Minnesota, but not having lived there much, I remember driving over the state border with my cousins on a mission to find some Hamm’s beer for one of my co-workers in Texas.

    But my favorite memories are on Long Lake, Wisconsin, where my Grandpa Mike had a cabin and my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins used to all travel to Wisconsin to share good times in and on that lake. We used to stop at the Big Bear store (not sure if that was the name or we just called it that because there was a huge standing black stuffed bear off to one side) to buy our comic books and candy.

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