an idiot in wisconsin

March 2001

Saturday, 3rd March 2001.
LRB? No! It's the YRB!

Another first for me this morning! I went sledding! We went to the local sledding hill armed with a sled and an inflatable tube. I let Tara go down the hill first so I could have a good hard look at what it's all about.

As far as I could make out it was about hanging on for dear life, screaming at the top of your lungs and hoping for the best. So I sat myself down in the tube, and it was anchors away! It didn't take long for me to accelerate to a fair speed, and I had a vice-like grip on the panic bars on the side of the tube. Towards the bottom there were a series of bumps, and I got some serious air! At the base of the hill I slid for another twenty metres or so, then came to a halt.
"What did you think of that?" asked Tara with a big grin on her face.
I finished shaking the snow out of my trousers. "LET'S GO AGAIN!" And with that we charged up the hill.

Once we'd had enough sledding, we threw the sledding gear in the back of Tara's HUGE car and set off for Devil's Lake. We stopped off at a dam along the way to see if we could spot any eagles. We couldn't.

When we finally made it to Devil's Lake (we had to detour for food for a hungry Australian) we hiked up the snowy, icy path to the top of the cliff there. I was struggling in the slippery conditions, but no such worries for Tara. It was glorious at the top. From there we looked down across the frozen Devil's Lake below us. Someone was driving a 4WD out across the ice! Crikey!

Walking back down to the car was another adventure. I wish we had a video camera to record the hilarity of my negotiating the path on the way down. I slipped, I slid, I fell over, I grabbed onto trees as my legs went from under me, I swore. Tara just sort of skied down, happy as larry. (Are there any miserable Larrys out there?)

"Have you ever walked on a frozen lake?" Tara asked.
"Yesterday I saw a frozen lake for the first time, so no, I haven't walked on one!"
It's a bit strange, walking on the ice. The crust of the ice shattered and made a crazy noise as it scattered across the ice in front of us. So, another first!

Next stop was Ferry's Bluff on the Wisconsin River. The bluff was closed off because of eagles nesting, so we wandered around the frozen riverbank.

It was Saturday night, so what cultural feast could Madison serve us? A night of bluegrass, that's what! We (me, Tara, Amy and her other half Luke) drove into town and ended up at a smokey bar where a bluegrass band was playing.
"Have you ever heard bluegrass music before, Ian?" Luke asked.
I wasn't sure that I had, but hey I can just add it to my list of "firsts" from North America! The band was called the Yahara River Band. (The Yahara River runs through Madison.) They were all young blokes, and some of them had grown wispy beards so that instead of looking like baby-faced kids they looked like baby-faced kids with shocking facial hair.

The crowd bordered on the hillbilly, but it was a good fun night and everyone in the bar was enjoying themselves.
"So what do you think of bluegrass music?" Amy asked me as we left.
"Well, I feel like marrying my cousin!"