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


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