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Published: January 4th 2013
It's been a very slow beginning to the snow season here in the upper Midwest. There have been a couple pretty good snow storms, but they have tracked much further south than the northwoods of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I usually ride.
Southern and central Wisconsin have a large array of well maintained snowmobile trails similar to the northern trails. As a matter of fact, Wisconsin has over 25,000 miles of snowmobile trails, the most of any state in snow country. I rode in Green, LaFayette and Dane counties last week with my friend, Pat. It was good enough that I was more than willing to come back this week with Jan. We're staying at the Americinn in Monroe, just north of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line, north of Freeport, IL.
The area is famous as a dairy farming area and the cheese producing capitol of the U.S. It's population is predominanly of Swiss origin. Monroe is a quaint, small town that we used to visit when our family was young. A buddy of mine from college who grew up in Freeport, IL, married a sweet Swiss farm girl from Monroe and we used to visit
their family with our kids often.
We planned a short ride north to New Glarus to check out a very old tavern there. New Glarus is named after the Canton in Switzerland, Glarus. Evidently, the people of Glarus decided to send some of their people to the new world to check out a place for them to settle. As the story goes, when they crested a local hill and saw this valley, it reminded them of their homeland and they settled here.
I love old taverns and had heard about one in New Glarus, named Puempel's. It was founded by the Puempel family in 1893 and they owned and ran it for over 100 years. it seems alot of old taverns in this area have murals painted on the walls. Puempel's has 4 of them.
Another of my favorites is Baumgartner's in Monroe, founded in 1931. We went there for a supper of soup and cheese sandwiches...the best cheese sandwiches around.
The next day, we rode a loop from Monroe east to Brodhead, then north to Albany, New Glarus and the back south to Monroe. The riding and trails were very good. If the snow holds
up, I'll definitely come back.
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