Thursday, July 27, 2006

Chippewa Falls - Day 2

Sunny. It's always sunny at Glenloch.... oh... oh, my god. Okay... Kay, I uh, ow! Banged the kneecaps again. Whew...
Oh, thank God for the gallon of water we'd stashed in the fridge. I took a long pull before coughing... Eh, yeah. That landed in a large, cold thud at the bottom of my stomach. Oh, that can't be good. I probably would have been content to spend the entire morning on the bed, watching weird cable (yeah, we have cable at home, but this was different cable-- all the channels are in weird order and there's HBO! FREE!) But, laying on the bed was not unlike curling up on an inviting slab of concrete. The left half of my body had gone numb in the night. I woke Matt up by playing Cujo (new, not 70's version. The is one mean fucking St. Bernard, jesus!) at top volume. It worked.
We decided to take off in search of more parts unknown - Eau Claire. If the Indy rag was to be believed we would find all things cool in Eau Claire. Plus, my sister has this friend Mackenzie, yes that's her real name, that lives there. Kenz is one bad-ass chick, so it's gotta be cool, right? Wrong. Eau Claire sucks the big one. Seriously! You call this a college town?! I don't think so. I never been to such a lame college town.
We ended up have breakfast at Country Kitchen, which does have its time and place, but really wasn't what I was thinking. I got a potato soup with bacon and cheese on it. It really wasn't very good. Matt got the chicken fried steak, because he knows what's up. Oh, man was that thing good. Fried crisp and doused with artery-thickening gravy. It was divine.
We drove around a bit more cursing the town. It was hard to believe that it could actually be so lame. But it was.
After rolling back into picturesque downtown Chippewa Falls we decided it was time to hit the brewery tour. It had been overcast and rainy up until we pulled in to the parking lot and the sky opened up. Sun spilled down onto the glistening brook and stately main lodge.
We went inside and I was instantly impressed with the Duldely Dooright sense of the place. Uniforms, and the whole lodge was meant to look like a log cabin. You know, if your cabin was full of t-shirts, polar fleece and pint glasses for sale. There was a huge canoe suspedned above the sales floor. We were told to browse for a bit before our tour would commence. What a lot of expensive crap.
Our tour guide seemed like a nice enough girl. I'll bet she could pound a few back.
5 minutes later I'm hating life and even more, hating this big, nasty, dude that keeps ended up in front of me. He's got a Pabst shirt on that says, "Will have sex for food." Gross. He looks like he hasn't showered in ages, his feet are falling off those tattered Birkenstocks and I'm not even going to mention the toenail length. How does he keep standing in front of me?! The only interesting part of the tour was the we got to watch the Honeyweiss being bottled. I started humming the Laverne and Shirley theme song. I wanted to put a glove on top of one the bottle and wave at it.
We had our free samples, but were disappointed to learn that the only two flavors we like were discontinued. The Northwoods Lager tastes like liquefied, half burned campfire wood and the Stout was like burned, foamed coffee. But it was FREE! So, I drank it like a good girl.
Okay, enough of this crap, let's get back to the bars. We decided to go to Sweeny's. We'd seen the name in our handy-dandy tourist brochure and they boasted something like 26 different varieties of hamburgers. It took us FOREVER to find the place, but eventually we did. It had an odd set up. Like they'd purchased one of those large, prefab garages for snowmobiles and then attached it to a foundation. There was a large horseshoe shaped bar when you first walk in, but further back in the room was a set up for darts and video games. It had a familiar atmosphere, people were there with their kids. It was more family-style country restaurant than bar. Well, until Matt played "Why don't we get drunk (and screw)" on the jukebox. I'm sitting right across from a 13 year old. How awkward is that?
I didn't get a burgers, because they sounded disgusting. Besides, nothing could beat the one I'd had the night before. I got the chicken fingers, regressing. Matt ordered a burger and regretted it. It was dry, unseasoned and overdone. The homemade chips, on the other hand, were fan-freaking-tastic. Just thin slices of fried potato. They were the perfect crisp to chewy ratio.
But this was a pansy ass bar, and so far, it'd been a pretty pansy ass day. Time for some serious drinking. Time for the Tomahawk. We'd seen the sign, as they were right on the main drag and decided to go in. We squinted after coming in from the bright light to the dim bar. Blue smoke tendrils wafted over tables and aged Christmas decorations. I turned to Matt, "First ones here!" What was going on here? This is Wisconsin! Where's all the people? Matt gently pointed out it was only 7:30. Hell with that! That is WAY past happy hour in my opinion. The bartender put down her can of Mountain Dew and greeted us as we bellied up. She could only be a sneeze away from 17. What is the deal with the young, chick bartenders around here? I went straight to rum, with a splash of coke. I had two, both equally pale and served with a broken straw.
Finally, more people began to arrive. Oddly enough, Bizarro us that we'd spotted at Sweeny's pulled in. They were similar in build and attitude. It was freaking me out. When Matt commented on them, it was time to go. They were just way freaking me out. She was saying snide humorous things to him! .... that's my thing. Creepy.
We drove aimlessly down side streets around the center of town until we found the Village Tavern. I was reticent to leave the top down because we were parked in front of the joint next door -- LeRoy's, except the "e" had been covered by duct tape. L'roy's? There was a fat, creepy cat in the window. Was that tape over its eye? But the Village Tavern, which looked on the outside to be your average run of the mill type joint was actually really nice inside. It must have been newly remodeled. All the wood was blonde and new. Unlike the bartender. Finally! We'd broken the string of child-girls serving us drinks. The dark-haired dude looked to be about our age and was really friendly. We chatted him up while sipping drinks and listening to the jukebox proclaim, "I love this bar."
We left when I realized that I was drunker than one should be, this early into Day 2 of a bender.
The place across the street from L'Roys was a coffee house. Was it me, or was the slightly mongoloid (noididnotjustsaythat) standing outside wearing a silver, tinfoil helmet? He waved at us.
Yeah... Time to go!
We went back to home base: Glen Loch bar. If nothing else, we were stumbling distance from our cemented resting place, that sarcophagus of a bed. At this point, it was like a bunch of old friends. We'd already waved at the group of locals hanging out front of our motel everytime we drove by. This time we found a few of 'em inside and bellied up to the bar. We had a couple of drinks ourselves before movin' over to the bar to talk to a few of our new friends. We found out that the people we've been appreciatin' these last couplea days r actually not the owners. No. The owners's some guy that lives in a suburb of the cities. Why would anyone do that? Apparently, he's a real " cocksucker"-- hey, is' okay, I didn't say it! Yeah, but they aren't putting up with his bullshit any more. Some of the kind folks from the Glen are quittin'. The bar's up for sale. Goddamn. How come I nver liked country music before? This place is awesome! WOO HOO! Even the Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, they ain't so bad. That's one goddamn stupid lookin' veil 'tho. Jeez.
As a big ol' tour bus full of partyers arrived, we left. Feel asleep to Batman Begins. God, HBO is cool.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Chippewa Falls is the New Vegas

One convertible ride away from utter bliss!
My darling husband Matt just turned 30 this weekend. I think this officially makes him a grown-up, but we'll see. Knowing that he hates throwing parties, getting cards and presents or the whole birthday specticle I insist on creating every year, I decided that we should probably do something more in his vein of interest. We went on a low-brow tour of Chippewa Fall, Wisconsin!
All morning on Friday he was singing around the house a little tune he was calling "'Sconie." He was very excited. I was still trying to be in a good mood, but a really expensive trip to Tires Plus (if ever someone has the balls to say to me again, "It's a GRRREAT day at Tires Plus!!" I will kill.) We slathered on the sunscreen, hopped in the convert and took of, Eastern Bound. Our first stop along the way was a truck stop off of Hwy 94. Matt inisisted that the stop was to pick up a map, but I suspect it was more his general love of truck stops. I don't get it, but it was his turn. Briefly consdiered buying a pink cowboy hat, but decided I looked stupid. I can't wear a cowboy hat without looking like a retard. I'm sure it's the style, and not me, though.
From there we took the back roads. It was a beautiful sunny day. We meandered our way around and finally rolled in to town at about 3:30 p.m. I didn't know where we were going, but was confident we'd find our way. I couldn't help noticing that there are a lot of bars there. Sweet!
After locating the Glen Loch Motel, our destination (no Glen or Loch anywhere nearby) we decided to hit the pub accross the street. The guy working was talking to a buddy about having been there since 8 am. Poor guy. There was a friendly group of guys shooting pool and sharing glory days stories. We were famished and ordered the pizza (it's either pizza or burgers or dill 'tater chips. Oh, and one pickled egg that we were assurred was only 30 days old.) They make all their pizza crust and sausage on site. It was yummy and just enough to fortify us for the trip accross the street. The Spotted Cow beer I had was awesome. Matt had a Pabst and so far, we've been able to avoid the Lienie's so far. Which is not an easy feat, considering that this is where the brewery is, and the main tourist draw to Chippewa Falls. We came, because the tour of the brewery was free and offered free beer. Unfortunately, we're not big fans. But it's FREE.
There was a small mix up at our Motel and we nearly ended up bunking with a small family from California. Luckily, we were able to clear that up and be delivered to our room. It was tiny. There was a Queen bed, though and it appeared clean. The bathroom was so small that I couldn't sit without banging my knees on the wall and there was a window with a lovely view of the parking lot. For fun, I'd stand outside and heckle Matt when he was in there, wave crazily as he attempted to pee. But it did have a fridge and a microwave. We stashed a gallon of water in the fridge and headed out for parts unknown.
Looking down the main drag of town was an idealic view of small town America. There were all these little, adorable store fronts. We parked the car outside of Olsen's Ice Cream Shoppe, where a father and his children were critiquing their cones. Then we walked accross the street to the Pumphouse, a bar with no sign on the outside door. The young girl tending bar inside was kind enough to explain where we were. There were large windows on the front, though, so we could keep an eye on the idillyc scene and my car. Look how cute. It's so cute.
The bar was filled with more friendly patrons, some toting that evening's dinner wrapped in white butcher paper from the meat market next door. I picked up a copy of the area independent rag. Great writing and a fun little read, but according to the restaurants and club pages, it seems the only stuff going on is all in Eau Claire.
I couldn't take another drink of beer and ordered a rum and Coke. I was soon to learn that in this town, that means a short glass with a couple of ice cubes, three quarters filled with white rum and a spash of Coke.
I looked at Matt and declared that although I had just split a pizza with him, I reckoned I could eat a bit more. We decided to head on over to Loopy's a joint that I'd read about on the internet. They were just off the highway in the opposite direction from downtown Chippewa Falls.
It's a new a new-lookin' large log bar and restaurant. There's a huge back deck over-looking a baseball/volleyball field. From the impression that I'd gotten fromt the website, I'd thought that we'd be afforded a lovely view of the river from said deck. Nope. Oh well. Air conditioning is nice. Wisconsin people don't seem to do patio dining. Big gorgeous deck and not a soul out there. Not wanting to be the odd ones out (too late,) we took a seat inside. The place was really nice, with good rock n' roll. I ordered a burger and Matt got the fish fry. Apparently, outside of Lent even, the Friday night fish fry is king is Wisco. The waitresses were all of the cute, young variety. I immediately picked the one girl destined to go wayward. She had a weary look in her eye and the sad thong/back tattoo combo that equals: target, to Stout boys. Poor thing. She doesn't even see it coming.
Our food arrived and I thought I was going to fall off the inordinately high seat. It was a ranch burger with bacon, so I'm thinkin' burger, ranch dressing, bacon, simple enough. But the execution was superb!! The bacon was cut and lovingly placed across the burger, not the usual two marks an X. Each mouthful was garunteed yummy burger with all the flavor combinations. The burger itself, though, was the star. Clearly hand-formed patties that were well seasoned. I'm sure the meat was local. I heart my buger!! Matt mostly enjoyed his fried cod, but it was no match to the Ranchy Raunchy Burger Town that I had goin' on. The coleslaw was made with Miracle Whip. Gross!! The fish was a little too large to be fried, so he didn't get the right fish to batter ratio. Naturally, I gloated.
After we left there we decided to swing in to Stormy's, a little place that boasted a beer garden. From the inside, however, the layout was akin to Mickey's diner. Small, long and skinny. I have no idea what their idea of a beer garden is, but this ain't it. The sign posted above the bar read "Your bartender is.... Vera, Betty, Wayne, John, Matt, Joe." We sat down and ordered. Matt was amused that there is so little gin drunk in this town that the bottle of Beefeater had a paper lable. 'Course she didn't pour from that one, but took a long time finding the rail gin. It's just not popular. Our drinks were served in little cocktail/desert glasses with a stem. This seemed in sharp contrast to our order and our surroundings for that matter. These are glasses for homemade peanut buster parfaits. My drink was nearly clear and would have stung were I not so well versed in the ways of the booze. Our bartender was a tough-lookin' chick. Her age was hard to determine, but I'm guessing late 30's going on 60. Ah, the meth affects on a small town. She eyed us skeptically for a while before asking, "So, from Minneapolis, what-- why would you ever choose to come here?" I looking deep into her one mottled eye- yes, one was a light, clear blue and the other was similar save for a brown splotch coloring the right side of her iris. (For visualization purposes: that's her right.) She just couldn't get over it. But, WHY? She told us none-too-proudly that she'd been born and raised there and maybe that's why she couldn't understand. I thought maybe if she'd gone outside occassionally and laid off the glass she would get what we were talkin' about. At least this is what I was contemplating while dreamily watching the bathroom walls covered with stickers and cutouts of a friendly little underwater scene. Dolphins, seahorses, conch shells, Elvis. What an interesting little place. I was getting concerned that she might brain us with that Beefeater bottle, were we to continue to insist the place was lovely, though. Back away slowly.
Safe in the car with the top down I was sufficiently inspired to write all of this down. Savor every bar, every stop and every interesting charachter that wove their way into my path. That's what Slim Goodbuzz would do. My hero.
We buzzed around town for a bit, trying to select our next location. We decided on the Fill- Inn Station. If this place isn't converted from an old funeral home, I cannot imagine what the architecht was thinking. There's the front area, which is a bar, and a separate back entrance that I'm sure would have been the viewing/visitation area, but instead is now a steak house dining room. Lots of families were in the oddly shaped, angled bar area. The pizza looked good, but I'm not that much of a glutton. We sat at the end of the bar under the rubber-necking gaze of a few confused locals. We ordered mixed cocktails again. And again, no one had any damn gin! What is it that they have against gin? I thought it was a fairly commonplace booze? Oh well, not my problem, I've got my rummmmm.. Hmmmm.. rummmmm. I watched as more platters of fish fry and fries and fried sanwiches paraded by. The guy sitting next to Matt was stuffing handfulls of French Fries into his mouth. This place is weird.
Time to move on.
We headed down the road and back onto the main road we came in on. Amy's Ritz was clearly the "Ritz" before Amy became involved. The outter exterior belied the charming little wood interior that she has created. There were 3 poker machines and right next to them on the wall is this HUGE screen TV/Jukebox dealio playing all matters of modern country music. We took a small table off to the side of the bar, which was short and not that long. It was a pretty small bar. There was a crew of folks that must have been regulars sitting and talking about all matter of whatever. The sign between the two entrances to the bathrooms proclaimed $1.00 Farm Fresh Eggs. The Men's room, it was reported to me, was smurf blue and pasted with tons of pin-up girl cut outs. The women's was black with pasted white gerb daises on it. Cuuuute, but smelly. Gross!! Loud lady at the bar outs her friend.. mother? as the creator of funky bathroom smell. Somehow, this is even grosser, but I find myself laughing along with them. Uh oh, now the guy with the chick, whose mom's butt stinks in dancing on the bar. This is not Coyote Ugly and there is not much room. I think he offers to sell somebody a bag. I need another drink. These drianks ibn Wisconsin.. WHEW. Mmmn, kay.
Next bar.
The Snout. What a name. Geez. Right next to other really, REALLY loud music playing place. KDWB music. Nasty. Snout, though. Love this place! Pigs in all manner all over the place. Harley Hogs, stuffed piglettes, cermanic piggies doin' the nasty. And what? There's SHAG CARPETING buffering my knees from the bar. It's so nice and sqwoosy, fluffy soft. I refuse to think about how dirty it might be. The bartender, is I swear, like, the nicest guy ever. Is he drunk, too? That other nice guy at the bar is definitely drunk. Bartener can hold his booze, though. WHATAGUY!! Free? Swweet. And did you know you can smoke in bars in Wisconsin? It's 'cause Wisconsin fuckin' RULES!! Oh yeah! Where's the fuckin' gin, dude!? BBPPPFFFFTTT!! Shit. I'm out of cigarettes.
What the hell do you mean the liquor store is closed already? GEEZ. Now, Igotta go back to the rome. fft. stupid. County Market chips selection couldbe better, ya know. Supid L.Q. Thiss is Wisconsin! Wheresis all da booooozzze.
heh heh boooooozzzzeee. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz