Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

Nothing but opinionated BS

How to know if you are in a true Wisconsin small town.

Does your town contain less than one intersection?
Does your town have a church?
Does your town have a bar?
Does your town have a cheese factory?

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Sounds like Wiota, or Fayette. I went to high school in Darlington, and all the little towns around there fit this to a tee.Screenshot_20220729-075510_Google.jpg
Forgot to mention. When we got to his new house, at 10am, where we met his realtor, a nice guy about 45 named Ed, to get the house keys and do a final walkthrough, we handed Ed a a lukewarm PBR and shotgunned the sobs... the most fitting way to commemorate the finality of an epic voyage.
Cheese curds are the curdled crumbs from the cheese making process and skimmed off of the top as they float to the surface. Fresh cheese curds are HOURS old, not months or years like aged cheese.

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Yep, you have to get them from the dairy as early as possible - if they are still warm, then you have cheese curds. Otherwise, you can buy the same crap in a grocery store anywhere.
Let me spark a little controversy here....

Warren Zeiders is going to become the Nickleback of Country music....

Exhibit A Tell me this isn't a Nickleback song...

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I just completed a form of masochism that entailed driving a 26' slug (moving truck and trailer) across the US with a college buddy to help him move from WA to CT in 4 days, almost all on I-90 till ~Pennsylvania. I'd never been east of Montana (aside from a lone trip to Indianapolis pre marriage with my wife). Here's what I concluded from the trip.
WA- really ugly state, at least from Wenatchee east. Too much traffic, not enough rest areas, and the rest areas we do have are old and shitty. Surprisingly had the most political stickers, all RED in nature, you'd think eastern WA was trying to out-Texas Texas.
ID- It's only like a hour, but took us almost two, because both passes were traversed at a break-necking pace of sub-28 mpg, with the gas pedal hammered the entire way.
MT- Definitely the prettiest state on the trip. It helped that we made a side trip to Big Fork to visit my buddy's folks and drove back down the Swan (first for me), my god is that pretty country. And despite how every Montanan will complain that there's too many people, sure looked like a lot of lonely country could stil be found. It also goes on FOREVER. Nice rest areas and gas stations are generally easy to find and access.
WY- kinda ugly, no great rest areas, Gillette has got to be the second ugliest town in the US (see below), the only saving grace is that you can't go 30 sec without seeing wildlife, esp pronghorn.
SD- biggest surprise of the trip. Beautiful state, so green, tons of native (looking) grass/prairie, I do think western SD must have had a very wet year because the annual precip map looks like it should be on par with my area in WA, but this was way greener. Also, there seemed to be better farming/ranching practices, lots of areas that looked like they were hardly grazed, and ag fields had tons of shelter belt, or un-farmed areas on the margins. Tons of deer. Black hills were expansive, more so than I thought they would be. Definitely not shitty. Though Rapid City was kinda shitty to stay in one night. Also noticed that they don't appear to have any zoning laws, this only got worse as we went east. As someone who works like muni's everyday, this was annoying and gross.
MN - Not nearly as cool as I thought it would be. Corn and soy beans as far as the eye can see. Flat, flatter than SD. Probably the most disappointing state, but maybe my expectations were too high. I kinda felt like southern MN should be ceded to Iowa. But easily the nicest rest areas! They had these little paved trails with native prairie planted along them to stretch the legs.
WI - Super pretty state, prettiest east of the rockies, slight edge over SD. Very friendly people, good beer. Saw more sit-on-top kayaks than canoes and motor boats put together... seemed odd. Smallest ski hills on the planet. Found a giant truck stop that didn't have diesel... WTF is that about?
IL- Shithole #1. F Chicago. Worse stretch of I-90 on the trip. Start of the super stupid toll BS.
IN- my wife's home state. Shithole #2, and the dirtiest, grosses, ugliest area of the trip. Gary Indiana is hideous. WA has homeless encampments that are cleaner and safer. Water tastes like sulfur and chlorine. And more stupid ass toll bs, and super expensive nonetheless. Zero zoning, farming/houses/giant industry, all on the same block, so gross. Also the start of an entirely different rest area/ truck stop system, where everything is combined in these mega rest areas, and again quite gross, loaded with trash (both physical and human). I will adjust my future life decisions to ensure I never go back. The only slightly positive is that we saw several nice bucks from the road.
OH- maybe it was that we'd just gone through IN but it didn't seem that bad. Eastern OH actually seemed dare I say, nice. Still the same mega rest areas and tolls, though 1/2 the price of IN.
PA - central PA is quite pretty. I might, MIGHT, be convinced to live there if the west was nuked. Those damn sure aren't mountains, but a guy would at least break a sweat hiking them. Some cool little streams that I would have liked to stop and explore/fish. Neutral rest areas, but at least we're back to a western style and out of the that mega bs. PA has made it a #1 priority to remind you that bridges... ALL BRIDGES, freeze before the ground does.
NJ - the trip didn't actually go through NJ but we tried to venture that way one night as we stayed at the junction of NJ, NY, and PA for dinner. They don't sell beer at gas stations in NJ... f those guys, I'll never go back.
NY- we weren't that far from NY City yet you could have fooled me, it didn't inherently suck, I mean it was no WI but again, didn't suck.
CT- Clean, good roads, friendly people, nothing is new. Hysterical highway department. There is no reason to terrify out of staters driving unresponsive tanks with signs on the freeway cautioning "crossing traffic ahead", it's called merging, and it's nothing to special, stop with the over-dramatization. Hilly, looks really undeveloped but when you hop on onx there's houses everywhere. There are no straight roads in CT. Very few suburban developments. This is where my buddy moved to. Didn't seem terrible, but as we unloaded the truck, sweating profusely, I asked the temp, his reply... 77. F that. 77 is borderline sweatshirt weather in the summer here, work outside all day weather, enjoy life weather. They said it got up to 103 in CT already this summer, that might as well be the human death zone. I'd rather see 120 here than 103 there.
RI- This were I flew out of to get back home. Tiny, like you could damn near fit it in my daily commute tiny, just like CT except people talk like Family guy... Just Like Family Guy. I laughed at the security guy. He didn't.

More randomass opinions if you've read this far.
-They should not rent 26' moving truck with trailers to people without at least a few minutes of instruction. There was a series of buttons on the dash for all kinds of things that appeared to deal with the transmission and engine. We randomly tried turning them all on or off and couldn't really ever notice a difference.
- Over 75% of the trip the truck was floored. I actually made a sign out of a beer case and tapped it to the back of the trailer than said, "sorry, she's floored"
-We had a 90+ lb white shepherd mix in cab with us that put out more fuzz than a cottonwood in spring. I literally would have to pull hair off my tongue multiple times a day. I'll be finding random white hairs for years after that trip.
-HT's own masshole @wllm is absolutely full of shit to claim new england isn't that bad. I mean it's not Indiana, but to even fain that it is a fraction of the what CO or MT are is ludicrous. I mean maybe it's better than the front range of CO, but that's about it. I'd rather sit all day in traffic on Bozangles soaking the in mountain majesty, able to drive a couple hours in any direction and find wild lands and solitude than live on 100 ac in new england. Hell I got claustrophobia just driving through NE, you can't see anything, ever, in any direction! Just trees and some brush and some cars and some houses.
-Finally, on the flight back, flying over WA, almost right over my house. I decided I'd never want to live anywhere else. All of our mountains, which are way more rugged than Montana's Bob, all be it smaller, are still loaded with snow, they stretch out to the horizon even at 30k feet. At the same time one can pan over to sound, and the San Juans, then to the Olympics. Outside of Seattle, by which I mean everything from Centralia to Mount Vernon, this is ACTUALLY the prettiest state. I feel so fortunate to live here.
So what you're saying is you enjoyed the drive...😁🤣