Year 2 Day 240 A Belly Washer

For the last few days we have been getting flood warning notices for parts of Wisconsin. That state was in the path of a major front slowly moving across the US. Normally, it would not make much of an impact with us, since the worst of the flooding was to the north of us. Our hope was that the front would move on and be to the east of us today because our next destination would be Mill Creek State Park, located in the west-central part of Wisconsin.

When we finally hit the road late this morning, the skies were mixed with mostly overcast hanging over us but patches of sun were breaking through on occasion. Our 3-hour drive today was going to be easy peasy being mostly along the I-39 and I-90 freeways. Our destination was Mill Bluffs State Park, a small park that sits in the middle of ancient sea stacks formed during the last ice age along the shoreline of a huge glacial lake that lasted for thousands of years. Sea stacks are columns of rocks that form due to wind and wave erosion along shorelines. Here is a photo of sea stacks that I took back in 2015 when we were traveling down the Oregon coast.

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Below is a photo of the sea stacks at Mill Bluffs State Park that I took from the Internet. The similarities between the two photos is obvious. I am hoping that while we are here, I will be able to take photos of these features to share with you.

Mill_Bluff_State_Park_2012B

Even though our drive started out well, it ended up quite differently. As we were approaching Mill Bluffs State Park, the skies opened up and a massive downpour occurred as we drove into an area of very dark skies. Soon thereafter, the traffic on the freeway grounded to a halt and a backup for miles resulted.

It took us about 40 minutes to clear the traffic jam and along the way we noticed that the lanes of the freeway going the other way were empty. We also noticed that a river we drove over was almost up to the roadway with only 2 or so feet of clearance under it. Shortly thereafter, we reached a freeway interchange and discovered that the police were directing the traffic heading in the opposite direction off the freeway. The only explanation we could come up with was that the bridge for those freeway lanes, which was immediately upstream of the bridge we went over, must have been weakened by the torrential water gushing under it. We discovered that our side of the freeway was backed up because vehicles exiting at the interchange were backed up because of the mess the police were causing by directing the east bound traffic off of the freeway.

We finally cleared the traffic jam and were happy to put the tied-up interchange behind us. We shortly got off the interstate as we exited for our state park. When we turned into the state park, rain was still pouring, which made visibility difficult. We saw a small sign directing us to a side road which we took. It was a narrow lane with a dark canopy of trees. We discovered it was not the road to the campground but, instead, was to where people could rent a covered picnic area as well as take trails to some of the sea stacks. We decided to pull over to the side of the lane and wait until the rain would lessen, restoring the visibility we needed to find the campground.

The rain finally did ease some and we pulled back onto the lane. We followed it to where it ended in a small, tight loop through a dense copse of trees that we barely squeezed through. Whew!

Using an electronic map of the park that I had downloaded previously, we found where the campground was located and as we approached, found a sign that confirmed the direction. The park office was closed so we continued on looking for our campsite. It was still raining so after donning our rain gear, we got out of LeuC to determine the best way to backup and snuggle into our site.

As we were getting ready to back in, with Mary Margaret standing in the rain to direct me in, the park ranger drove up. He was very nice but shared with us that he was leaving the park since no one beside ourselves were scheduled to arrive today. Given how wet and miserable it was, we could not blame him. Soon after he drove off, we were in our site, plugged in and drying our heads with towels.

The next couple of days should be dry so I am hopeful that we will be able to explore a bit before continuing our trip to the west coast.

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