In hindsight, moving out of our apartment on top of the holidays and trying to pull everything together for this trip at the same time was a little farfetched. Throw the fact that we’ve both had wicked colds on top of it, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The week leading up to January 1st was the hardest of our lives- every second had to be used wisely or we wouldn’t be on the road in time (and being on the road in time was of utmost importance to our year-long adventure). We barely made it, but we drove out of Carl’s childhood home in Lino Lakes at 10:30 pm, waving teary-eyed goodbyes to some of the best parents on Earth (without whom none of this would be possible).
We made it across the border to Wisconsin before midnight with time to spare, and set our sights on Eau Claire for the first night. Since we got off to such a late start, we figured Walmart was our best bet for overnight accommodations. It ended up being perfect for what we needed- a place to stash the vehicles, brush our teeth indoors and turn up the furnace to heat our little home. Walmart gets a bad rap, and not without reason- but we’re convinced that its one of the best resources for camper travelers (NOTE, however, that not all Walmarts welcome overnight guests, and those who do prefer that you ask for permission ahead of time!) It saved our butts that first night and we’ll be forever grateful.
We then headed out to explore en route to Green Bay. We visited the town of Chippewa Falls, which charmed us excessively with it’s tinsel Christmas decorations and historic small-town feel. We stopped at the Leinenkugel’s Brewery on recommendation from several friends and it turned out to be a great way to spend our afternoon. It was an inexpensive tour with lots of tasty beer sampling at the end. Their facility has been in production since 1867, and several pieces of the brewery buildings are original.
After a few more hours of driving we arrived in Green Bay and found the neighborhood of Ken and Mary Braband (family friends who are putting us up for a couple of nights). After a misjudged turnaround opportunity at the end of their street, we spent the next hour coaxing the trailer out of a sharp turn with the help of some incredibly kind neighbors. It was at once an affirmation of the generosity of strangers, and an unfriendly reminder that we don’t really know what we’re doing. Winter makes everything more challenging on top of that- but through these experiences we’ll learn more and more (in this case, that a longer trailer hitch attachment might prevent us from getting in jams like this one!)
Luckily a warm night’s sleep is soothing that painful memory, and we’re excited to explore Green Bay and Door County in the next few days. Thanks for following along on our adventures! If you have any Wisconsin or Illinois recommendations, we’d love to hear them in the comments or a message, and check out our route to see where we’re headed in the future.
Anna & Carl / US Anywhere
Once again, a BIG thanks to Ken and Mary for hosting us. You can check out Ken’s kayaking blog here.
And many thanks are in order to Ken’s neighbor David for getting us out of the driveway scrape! He’s a rad entrepeneur who’s Xensr 3D sports motion senser just completed it’s first successful production run.
US Anywhere is a year-long, cross-country documentary project by newlyweds Anna and Carl. We will take the 52 weeks of the year and use them to make a short film about all 50 states (plus Washington, D.C.). The films will seek out unique perspectives to illuminate the states, the people that inhabit them, and the hugely diverse natural landscape of the US. The films will inspire others to dream, travel, explore, and connect with the United States.