June 3rd–June 6th, 2018
I picked up Kinsey from the airport and we immediately headed out to Wisconsin.
We chased the sunset for a few hours before pulling over near one of our favorite fishing spots within driving distance of Chicago, Castle Rock.
The next morning we discovered the river was running high and muddy—no good for fishing. We decided to keep moving north-west and try another spot along the way.
We stopped for coffee at Kickapoo Coffee in Viroqua, WI and had a fun conversation with a barista who recognized my Bellingham, Washington flag hat. He had apparently just recently moved back to Viroqua from Bellingham. It was pretty unexpected for us, and probably for him as well.
From there we headed out to the Timber Coulee river where we had a little better luck with the shape of the water. It was pretty hot, and the fishing was tricky, but we managed to land a couple of browns before we needed to hit the road to get to Minneapolis to meet our friend Kelly for dinner.
We made great time and rolled up to Kelly's with plenty of evening to burn. Kelly drove us around on a quick tour of Minneapolis before heading to Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge for some food and tacky tiki drinks. The weather was great and we snagged a table right by the river to enjoy the last of the evening light while enjoying our tropical drinks.
The next day Kinsey and I explored a bit of downtown and posted up to do some work in a small coffee shop for the afternoon. That night, we all headed out to Surly Brewing. The brewery was gigantic! There were two floors (each with their own restaurant) and a giant patio with lawn games and plenty of open seating. I was amazed by how packed it was on a Tuesday night. If I lived in this town, I could see myself biking here with friends on the weekends to enjoy some cornhole and beer.
Now for a bit of backstory to set up the next day...
About a year or so ago, I was fishing just east of Minnesota when I met someone coming up the trail with a fishing net full of garbage. I inquired about the net and he informed me that it was all junk he was pulling out from the river. I told him how much I appreciated that he was taking care of the river system and we started chatting a bit. He told me his name was Scot and that he lived in Minneapolis area. I told him I was being a weekend warrior from Chicago and that I loved exploring the Driftless area of Wisconsin. Before he took off we exchanged some contact info and agreed to fish together sometime if we were ever in the same area.
Now that I was back in the area, I figured it would be a good time to reach back out to Scot. He decided to take a morning off of work to show me some of his favorite spots, as long as I could get there by 530 AM. There are few things that will get me up before 7, but fishing is one of them.
That morning I woke up at 4 AM and hit the road towards a predeterminned spot. There were large storm clouds moving through the area and I was worried we would be forced off the rive but we ended up rolling the dice and it paid off. The fishing was really good, especially right when we hit the river. We were catching fish almost every other cast for over an hour—we were even lucky enough to land two fish at the same time.
The rest of morning was also great. We hit up two more of his favorite spots before calling it quits in the late morning. It was really generous of him to show me around—I hope I can repay the favor someday soon. We said goodbye and I thanked him for guiding me. Then I drove back to Minneapolis to meet up with Kinsey for the afternoon.
Kinsey and I took a walk across a stone arch bridge with a great view of the falls on the Mississippi River and a few ruins of old flour mills. Across the river, we grabbed a quick bite at a small cafe with a view of downtown before heading back to do some laundry and take it easy before dinner that night.
Earlier that day Kelly had told us she was probably going to have to work late that night and that we should probably make our own plans for walked in at 5:30 PM and caught us napping on her couch. We were both embarrassed to be so lazy in her place and excited to see that she was able to get out of work on time. We took advantage of the time and had one last dinner out.
It was so good to spend a few days with Kelly. She's been such a good friend to both Kinsey and me, and it was incredibly gracious of her to host some dirty car dwellers into her clean apartment for a few days. We've been lucky with the people we've emet during our time in Chicago.
The next morning we got up early, packed up, said our goodbyes, and headed out towards The Badlands.
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