Sphagnum Moss – Wisconsin’s Invisible Industry

Driving from Minneapolis to Chicago takes you through the great northwest corner of Wisconsin. I always imagined this area to be low-lying farmland, but it was far from that. It is quite hilly and forested. In most places the hills and the valleys are marked by silos and pastures that are home to many, many herds of contented cows.

Sphagnum Moss - Wisconsin?s Invisible Industry

I stopped at a rest stop near Black River Falls, WI and saw this fascinating route marker. Holy peat moss, don’t they have anything more exciting to say about the Wisconsin wilderness? I guess if I was a gardener or a florist I might see things differently.

Freeway Driving

All I can say is it is fun, fun, fun on the freeway! The speed limit for most of the drive was 65mph and the traffic basically drove 65-70. When I got closer to Chicago the speed limit dropped to 55mph, and the traffic drove 75-80. The closer to Chicago I got the more hellish and crazy it got until I breathed a sigh of relief and exited at O’Hare Airport.

The tollways are another wonderment of mine. As you approach the tollbooth there is a sign that says “Toll Ahead, 60 cents for passenger vehicles”. So, I fish my fingers into a pile of US change I had collected for such an occasion and find exactly 60 cents. However, when I get to the tollbooth the sign says 80 cents, so I had to quickly fish for more spare change. This happened more than once… I think that they just increased the tolls but did not change all the signs.

On Course for the next Four Days

The next four days I am on Voyager training at the Ex-Libris offices here in Des Plaines, IL. The office is located just north of O’Hare airport and I have plotted a route to their office that avoids most freeways. Travel should be a breeze tomorrow.

The O’Hare Hilton

While on course I am staying at the O’Hare Hilton. This is a beautiful 4-star hotel, booked on Hotwire.com for only $89/night. The bed is wonderful and I am looking forward to a good night’s sleep. I should tell you that when your book on Hotwire they do not tell you exactly which hotel you will get until you complete the booking. In this case they told me that the hotel was in the general area of O’Hare Airport… however when I confirmed the booking I discovered that the hotel is AT O’Hare airport. I can see inside terminal 2 from my hotel window, and the control tower is just outside my room.

Despite being at one of the busiest airports in the world, it is surprisingly quite here right now.

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow, after class I am heading into Chicago for an evening at the Second City comedy club. I have booked a ticket for the 8PM show.

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  1. Janet Smith

    Mark, thanks for the tour! It’s pretty cool to follow you along the way. Have a great trip.

  2. Gordon McBean

    My wife, Janice’s ancestors spent a generation in Black River Falls, WI and we have visited there. It is a beautiful part of the state. We have also biked several of the bike trails in the Elroy Sparta area famour for their cheese created of course from those contented cows.


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