Eclectic Madison, WI

We’re in Madison for several reasons: a couple of friends live here (more on that in the next post), Tracy went to grad school (and drove a cab) here so knows it well, and it’s a convenient stop for us to secure a campsite for the busy July 4 weekend. Exciting, huh? It kind of is when it’s all about Madison.

Lake Mendota

The large lake in the center of town has a teeny little county park touching it, right off the busy highway and interrupting the impressive houses/estates surrounding it. That county park is where we’re camped.

It would be sweet as can be if we hadn’t accidentally booked the only campsite with zero trees, and therefore zero shade—during a week of 90-degree temps non-stop. The positive side is that our awnings do work well to provide a little protection, and we have electric hookups so we’re running the a.c. all the time. If you know me, you know that’s a desperate measure.

The lake access is fairly lame, but there’s a larger park nearby with a large beach, a dog beach, and lots of walking trails through the prairies.

There’s cottonwood everywhere here, and Banjo ends up with her snout covered in white by the end of a walk.

Madison Doesn’t Need Keeping Weird

Twenty years ago when Tracy lived here, it was a sleepy town, apparently. From my walk around the neighborhoods after lunch today, I’d say it’s sleepy as in trippy/dreamy.

My impression started right after we parked in the campground, as I watched a woman slowly drive her aging van around and around the campground loop, trying out various spots (they’re all reserved) and rolling her window down to chat with anyone she could find, over and over.

When she rolled by me for the umpteenth time and I made the mistake of smiling at her, she complimented me on my tie-dye (okay, I fit in here), and when I wasn’t specific about where I’d gotten it, she asked where I’m from. I said, “Virginia” (gotta say something), and she launched into an enthusiastic a ccapella version of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Like, loudly. I didn’t contradict her for fear of encouraging further conversation. That was my first impression.

Fast-forward to my walk around the neighborhoods today. The lake seems to be hemmed in by private property: amazing estates on the water with limited or no public access. So I walked down dead-ends and acted like I knew what I was doing and snooped.

The old bungalows grandfathered between the huge houses are a wonderful variety. I saw pride flags, art studios, and this classic baby:

Notice the pink ruffled curtains and the mannequin head in the window above the garage. Right before I took this shot, a guy with a long grey ponytail stepped out of the Airstream, revved up his loud motorcycle, and drove away. Huh.

Hard to see from the shot on the left, but this young man walked out to get his mail and do a little weeding in a sarong. On the right is a United Nations flag (solidarity over patriotism, I’m guessing).

And this display is just plain fun, I thought. There are stars wrapped around the copper tree branches, sparkledy bows on the lamppost, and see the yard gnome at the bottom right? And this was a tame yard.

Up next: the funkiest part about Madison are the people we know here.

A Note about this Blog

I read a few older entries recently and was pretty bummed out by typos (I fixed those), a general lack of research, and way way too many adverbs. Please rest assured that I write these suckers in about an hour per entry, and that includes looking through my photos, transferring them from my phone, editing them, and then uploading them to WordPress, which—depending on my connection—takes longer than writing.

I try not to edit the heck out of any entry because that takes all the fun out of writing these. If I took it seriously, I’d be on the danged computer all day instead of walking around Madison taking pictures of guys in sarongs. And we wouldn’t want that.

10 thoughts to “Eclectic Madison, WI”

  1. okay. Lots of comments here! First off, I love the lady in the Van story. I love when you complain about not liking a place. Its friggin adorable AND I have not noticed any typos or too many adverbs ( had to think for a moment about what is an adverb LOL).

  2. I especially like your blog note at the end. Grammar and “adverbs suckers”, was it? It reminds me of old times and you editing me.
    Love, Li

      1. I’m here, no worries. Sometimes I just digg in too deep in silly projects I just have to finish (you know me). I really like your wise words, not spending too much time on grammar, you easily can lose the meaning of it.

        1. I’m glad you’re busy with projects and not being sick. It’s crazy out there, still!