The closest town to the campground at Apple River Canyon was tiny Warren, Illinois. At less than 1,500 residents there isn't much going on there but after filling up with gas I walked across the street to have a look at the Apple River State Bank building.
As I always do on these occasions I smile and say, "I'm just being nosy about your architecture," which usually leads to a conversation about the building. This time it was about how long time residents came in after the drop ceiling was removed and commented on how they not only remembered the stained glass that was uncovered but they remembered when the drop ceiling covered it up. What must that be like to be reunited with an old view you thought you'd never see again?
I drove all around on county roads, and saw towns as tiny as Gratiot whose population barely tops 200 to the largest town in Grant County which is Platteville. Platteville has a UW campus and a population over 11,000. Once a thriving mining community now almost 50% of the population is college age students and now that it's summer the town seemed oddly empty and forlorn.
I did spot a mural that paid homage to their mining history and even though it's not Monday here it is.
I saw Shullsburg on the map so I had to swing through to have a look since I've bought Shullsburg brand cheese at the grocery store before. Known now for the home of the Shullsburg Creamery, it was once home to the creator of the fountain pen, and four different State Assemblymen and two different State Senators have lived there. Seems to be a good place to raise bright young people, right?
The strangest thing I saw was as I was driving from Lancaster to Platteville.
The hair was up on the back of my neck and I doubted my own sanity as I pulled over to take these pictures of this disturbed individual's home. Can you imagine being this guy's neighbor? I wouldn't be able to sleep at night, but what could you do, no one would buy your house if you put it on the market.
On the other end of the spectrum the sweet little town of Argyle is always a treat for the eyes.
And with homemade pies on the menu Irma's Kitchen is a must-stop. I brought home some of all three! The oatmeal pecan was quite interesting.
Don't let the sleepy towns fool you if you drive through southwestern Wisconsin. Stop and have a look at what's going on in their historic downtowns, and then head back out to enjoy the views of the cornfields rolling off into the distance as you continue to your destination.